Life Does Get Better: Reflections On My 23rd Birthday
So I thought I’d write this post because…dum dum dum…today is my 23rd birthday!
Now I know everyone seems to freak out over getting older and this is one of those things I’ve never really understood: when I was three years old a lot of people would ask my family how old I was and they would answer them, then I would pipe up with “I’m not 3 I’m 6!” I actually got really cross about the fact that I was three and not six, its still a family joke even all these years later.
To this day I’ve no idea why I picked 6 as the age I thought I should have been. My grandad says that someone had said I had the intelligence of a six year old at the time and that’s probably where I got it from. It sounds like a good excuse so I’m using that one.
Even now its something I still do, most people will try to make themselves out to be younger than they are, would hold on to being 22 right up until the last possible second.
I’ve been saying I’m nearly 23 since early September.
It’s something I’ve always done, I remember saying I was nearly 15 the day after my 14th birthday…well I never did claim to be normal.
I remember a time in my life where I genuinely didn’t want to be here anymore. I didn’t want to die as such (I’m too much of a coward for that) I just couldn’t cope with the life I had and could quite happily have taken a break from it for a few weeks. I was in situations that were out of my control and that sucked: Being physically and mentally bullied all the way through school, stuck in a controlling relationship that I couldn’t get out of, a job that I hated and made me dread waking up every morning.
But eventually that all changed, school finished and I walked out of my last exam without a backwards glance, I recovered from anorexia and found the strength to cut all ties with my ex and I acted on the spur of the moment decision to quit the job I hated and enrol at university- starting within a week of handing my notice in!
I have come so far from the frightened little girl I hate to admit I once was. While I’m still fighting a daily battle with my mental health, I’ve realised this week that not only am I winning this fight, but I have come such a long way without realising it!
I have made some wonderful friends who I have some amazing memories with: I’ve travelled around the county, been front row at a gig (twice!) seen Les Mis on stage in London and Billy Connolly live in Sheffield. I got over my fear and started this blog, had a brilliant idea to help other mental health survivors and put plans in place to get it started. I’m even thinking of setting up a shop to sell digital artwork!
When I look at where I was 5 years ago and where I am now, I honestly can’t believe the difference! Just last week I stunned Abby while we were shopping in Urban Decay: a woman and her daughter were wondering about the different setting sprays, what the differences were and if they were any good. Even just a year ago I wouldn’t have dared to say anything to them. Now? I just turned round and started explaining how amazing the setting spray is and what the differences were between them! Abby was flabbergasted, the look on her face was a mix between stunned confusion and pride. I must admit I was impressed with myself, it felt so natural to talk to them I didn’t ever realise what I’d done!
So if you’re in a bad place right now please trust me when I say life does get better. Maybe not this year, or next, but eventually you will get to the point where you can face your demons and when you do, you’ll realised you’re a hell of a lot stronger than you’ve given yourself credit for all this time!
I also know that when you’re in the depths of depression this can be so hard to believe.
A trick I wish I’d known back when I was younger is using a Happy/Memory Jar. I wrote a post a while back called What is a Happy Jar & Why You Should be Using One! which goes into detail on what one is, why they’re useful aids to your mental health and also how to make one should you want to use this technique too. I really would encourage you to have one, as it’s helped me so much over the last few years!
I know this isn’t the normal kind of birthday post that people write, they usually do a “What I Got For My Birthday” one, and I’m sure I’ll end up being a typical blogger and doing one of those in a few days, but I wanted to take this time to reflect on just how far I’d come in life and hopefully help those people who are still fighting to get here themselves.
Besides, like I said at the beginning of this post, whoever said I was normal!