Per the rest of the internet, I have taken finger to keyboard and started my 2017 review but taking inspiration from Ellie Spigariol’s 2017 review where she looks at her year through the photos she took which can be found here.
I started January asleep by (probably) 10pm the night before. I posted a digital drawing I made while my family and I watched the various NYE shows. Nothing exciting. That weekend, my sister and I spent two nights in Dublin and really enjoyed it. I was riddled with anxiety that I couldn’t walk much further than the hotel (I asked my friends to come to my hotel room because I was so scared) but I enjoyed myself. My uncle then became worse and passed away at the end of January. It was heartbreaking but a relief he wasn’t suffering any longer. January was quite a start to 2017.
February started without a hitch. I found myself crying a lot after my uncle but the pain was lessening. I should have realised it was too early for grief to leave but I didn’t and fell into a spiral of depression that I didn’t notice. I was so long into it and the entry was soft I just thought I was tired and anxious. I spent a lot of February with my cat, she was very helpful. It was just lovely to have something alive and breathing on my lap, perpetually purring. I spent a lot of time watching First Wive’s Club, listening to Arctic Monkeys, and drawing. My aunt was in the throes of selling her house and building a new one. That stressed me out but I didn’t think it was taking such a big toll. I think that is the theme to this month – disillusion.
Nostalgia was the theme for March. I went through my paternal Grandmother’s photos and looked at everyone’s life before me, before I knew them. It can be strange to remember people had lives before you were born. Seeing my aunt in her nurse’s outfit, or my dad at a pub with someone who wasn’t my mother (before my mother and he got together), seeing my granny in her twenties holding a brand new baby with my granddad. It pushed me and my mind outside our comfort zone and for such a lovely experience it ended in a panic attack. This was the start of me coming to terms with my dad’s death which happened over twenty years ago. I was still ignorant about my depression but I was trying to tackle the anxiety. I spent a lot of time messing around artistically. I enjoyed writing and drawing but I wanted more. I spent a lot of my time wishing I was somewhere else, entirely unsure of what I wanted in life.
I started driving. I cannot explain how nuts this is but I will try. I have had a provisional license since I was 17 (nearly ten years now) but I was terrified to drive for the last 9 years. I came to the conclusion I would never drive but there I was terrified and all too aware I was driving a death box of metal but, I was driving. This coincided with a bad bout of vertigo but I am sure it was spurred on by stress and anxiety. I spent the whole month planning a holiday that I knew I wasn’t well enough to take. I wanted to fly into Rome, drive to Pompeii and then to Sorrento and Positano. Alas, that never happened. As I glanced through my photos for April 99% of them are of the internet or my bed. I was stuck to it and terrified to get out. My comfort zone had grown smaller again and was then confined to my double bed.
The weather started to improve and so did my health. I started to spend more time outside. My sister got me to sit outside in the sun and we would talk out there rather than my bedroom. I started to feel like my comfort zone was growing again or at least I was pushing against it. I was driving again and writing and drawing but still, I had depression and anxiety. I needed help for both I just didn’t realise it at the time. That being said I was starting to feel better. My mother and sister were a great help 99% of the time. I was also trying to teach myself Italian through Italiano Automatico (Albi’s YouTube channel is definitely worth checking out!).
I don’t remember much of June even though it is my birthday month. According to my photos, I spent time outside, in the sun, and baking. I also got my hair cut. Nothing exciting to report.
July was a huge turning point for me. Everything started to shift. It started with counselling. The counsellor I saw was the best counsellor/psychotherapist I had ever been to. He was considerate and thoughtful and listened to me and actually heard me. This coincided with a small side job in a local veg shop. I never thought I could do it but I did. Looking at my photos for this month they beamed positivity. I was downloading affirmations, I was working for the first time in two years and, for a weekend, my cousins and I went to Galway. Unfortunately, Galway happened the same weekend as my uncle’s birthday so I happened to have a panic attack one evening and we couldn’t go out. I still cringe at the thought of that night because my cousins saw me so vulnerable. I hate anyone seeing me like that but I will let that go. Other than that it was a glorious weekend of eating and walking (I think we walked 25km in two days!) and sitting on the beach. I loved it and it gave me huge confidence going forward. Another time that happened in July was that I saw an angel reader, Patricia Buckley. This was amazing. I am not a fool and I don’t jump blindly into things. I always say I am split down the middle; one side a realist and the other a dreamer so you can only imagine how much conflict was going on in my head. That being said, Patricia said things that I didn’t know at the time. She told me things I couldn’t explain and even if it was all a con (which I don’t believe it was) she was such a lovely woman and it was so comforting I would do it all again. Then, on the last day of July while I sat in the little fruit & veg shop I booked my ticket to move to Italy for February 2018. I was ecstatic.
August went off without a hitch. I, along with my family, was minding my granny full time. I spent a lot of August trying to get my eating habits under control. I was still in the shop and enjoying myself. I was even driving much more. Not much more than that happened in August.
In September, I decided to follow a dream of mine and make a digital mag called Into The Nebula. I was still minding my granny most of the time. The biggest excitement of this year was that I passed my driving test. It was a huge relief to be free of that burden and to never have to do it again – woohoo!! I really found myself getting better both in relation to mental and physical health. There were odd days where I felt like my earlier this year but I felt, for the most part, the depression had lifted and I was much better. I was happy again.
October was nothing exciting either. My granny was getting worse and worse and more cross but we were just about coping. I spent October driving, walking, bathing in Lush products and eating avocado toast with spinach on the side (AKA living my best millennial life).
November was a whirlwind month. I went to Limerick three times which was a big push. I wandered around shops and went to pubs and restaurants and I felt “normal”. I missed living in the city. I spent time with friends, I wrapped Christmas presents and I had a skincare routine. I even had some graphic work on the Irish soap opera ‘Ros na Run’. I was thrilled! My excitement for Italy had peaked and I was looking forward to my future. November also meant NaNoWriMo and I finished my novel – double woohoo!!
December was a lovely month filled with family but it was also a time I noticed stress and anxiety start to creep back in. I started the gym and spent time with family and friends but I started to get anxious about moving away to Italy only two months later. Christmas break was really nice but it was laced with anxiety though, I feel a lot of people can relate. I found myself worrying about my siblings and my mother and I was let with a very stressed version of me. It also didn’t help that it was coming to the time of my uncle’s anniversary. That being said, it was a month filled with baking, TV, laughing, walks in the woods, and being happy. It was a quick year but I am much happier and less anxious. It took hard work but the hard work paid off!
This year was eye-opening. It taught me that my family and I are very resilient and can keep going through tough situations. It also showed me I overthink everything. I am now in a flux of wanting this year to be over and to start afresh with 2018. I am in a predicament of do I want to go to Italy (the answer is yes), am I able to go to Italy? (the answer is probably), will I go to Italy? (I hope so). I want to push past the fear and get back out there. Fear holds you/me back. So right now, after a night of worrying about my future, my brother, my family in general and everything else I take a deep breath and let it go. I don’t need this fear because it is not helping me, it is hindering me and preventing me from living my life to its fullest. So, I say to fear, FUCK OFF!
(That can’t be the second last word I write in 2017 so I will finish by saying Happy New Year, have a lovely 2018. I hope/know it will be kind to us!)