So, we all know that 2016 was a massive bucket of shit generally, in terms of politics especially. A tangerine twat is the President of America and Britain is leaving Europe (personally I wonder if it’s because those low scores at Eurovision have been taken too much to heart by the majority of the British public).
But you know, we’ve been plagued by headlines and posts about those for too bloody long, so I’m instead going to bore you with *my* 2016. Not going to lie, it started out a bit shit. Well, very shit actually. I was forced to “suspend my studies” at university – which is a nice way of saying that I wasn’t doing any work and spent most of my time crying about how pathetic I’d become.
Depression isn’t a fun thing, and I held on at uni as long as I could, until the welfare officer and my therapist (who were both so caring and supportive), sat me down and basically said “please, for your own health, stop.” So, I did. It wasn’t easy – I spent lots of time crying, feeling like a complete failure and thinking that my illness had “won”. But if I’m honest, it had “won” far before I’d suspended my studies. It had won the moment I couldn’t sleep, hated every inch of myself and who I was, lost all confidence in my abilities to do things, and lacked the will to get up. And that had begun to happen years before, but especially from December 2014.
Just as I’d suspended my studies in March this year and started on my medication of antidepressants, my grandfather passed away at the beginning of April. I’ve always been a lot closer to my mother’s side of the family. My dad’s parents had already passed away (his dad when I was quite young, and my grandma passed away while I was in first year at university). But when we lost grandad, it felt like a chunk of me left. I tried to be strong, for my family, though I guess we were all trying to do that. It’s hard though, when someone so pivotal passes away. April was difficult. And awful. The rest of the year has been spent trying to heal from losing him.
I’ve always lived in Birmingham, and my grandparents on my mum’s side reside in Lincolnshire, so we’ve always been far away. Which has possibly felt like more than a hinder than a help to healing as well, because being with family is important when you’ve lost someone. Just after he passed away, I got my first tattoo in remembrance of him. I think I’ll do a post about the whole weird story next week, but that definitely helped me deal with my grandad’s death. Whenever I look at my tattoo, it makes me feel warm inside and I remember him.
But as the year progressed, so did I. Grief takes a long time to heal, but my depression has been entirely separate, and it’s definitely improved. Therapy and my miracle anti-depressants have helped me get my life back of track. Some days aren’t as good, but they are so much rarer now than they used to be, and that’s amazing. I can do so much in a day now, and I am so proud of myself.
This year, since I’ve been so much better, some amazing things have happened. I’ve started my Masters year again at the University of Nottingham, in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, and I think I might actually graduate now (finally). I’ve helped to set up Blog Soc, with the most amazing group of people that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and work with. I’ve done a bit more with Her Campus Nottingham, the online magazine which I am so fond of and which does great charity work over the year as well. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made more fabulous memories with my besties and gained some amazing new friends too. You guys are the shizzle.
Obviously, this blog and all my social medias – Instagram (which I am utterly obsessed with), Youtube and Twitter – have all been born this year, and I feel like they have also really helped me become more confident in myself. Bonus points for all the extra photos I’ve been taking too, which are always great to look back on.
I’ve also started my very first job this year – just this month in fact – at the wonderfully tacky and sparkly Claire’s Accessories (though genuinely, the best place to get body jewellery from, they have a huuuuge selection). The people who work there are very friendly and many have really cool hair (that’s important). But the fact that I had an interview and didn’t completely break down with anxiety and then got the job?! Last year’s Sarah, or even April 2016 Sarah, would not have been able to do that. (Go me!)
I’ve also been lucky enough to have been in a relationship with the best man in the world for over two years now (blimey). And okay, I’m kinda bias, and I’ll try to spare you the soppy feels, of which I have many, and just say that I am impossibly in love with him. He’s helped me so much getting over this depression and just respects me so much. I also had the pleasure of meeting his massive family this year, who are so welcoming, and also a bit batty, but lovely. Between them, they also have four dogs, which is a definite plus!
I have had a topsy turvy year all in all, and it’s had it’s ups and downs, as everyone’s have had I’m sure. But overall, I am proud of where I am now, and who I’ve become. And that’s not only down to myself, but to my supportive family, amazing friends, gorgeous boyfriend, therapist, doctors, tutors, crazy doggies and the wonder pill Citalopram (gawd bless). I am excited to see what 2017 brings for us all, and hope you have a lovely year ahead!