Just another End of Year or New Year post – 2018 – Mental health for realsies

Cat meditating drawn by the artist Qitji
Artwork by Qitiji

 

 

Now that 2019 is right at the corner… Isn’t it the perfect time to talk about 2018, or The-Year-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named? Before you continue, be warned: this isn’t a “couting how many cakes I made this year” type of post, it’s more a “how my mental health went to shit” type of post, but also a little bit of a “I’m getting better now so hoping it continues in the new year” type of post.

 

2018 has been the most challenging year in my adult life. It started with some very tough stuff and as I tried to carry on riding the waves, ignoring all the past trauma that was waking up and the trauma it was creating, it only got worse.

 

I reached a point when I was just crying multiple times a day, everyday, and having panic attacks multiple times a week. Of course no sleep as I’ve not been able to sleep properly since I was about ten, add to the mix fibromyalgia and lupus, severe depression and the total inability to communicate in a healthy way for me or to say no when I needed to, I guess we can all agree it was a pretty bad cocktail.

 

 

Rowan from Parrot and Pineapple Photography and me, freezing in the snow. Photographed by Emma + Rich Photography
Picture by Emma + Rich Photography – The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza, 2018

 

 

I am actually pretty impressed with the fact that I carried on like this for months and months. We probably don’t know what we’re made of until we manage to keep ourselves together while on the verge of breaking.

But breaking I did.I broke my back and my wrists, I didn’t take any time off to get better, I didn’t make any time to do exercises and stretch and just get my body mended – which is exactly what had happened to my hips two years before. Not to mention get my mind mended – to do that I would have had to admit to so many people how much I was struggling, how much I was failing. I was so ashamed of it.

 

 

2018 top photos
Top Nine of my most liked photos on Instagram

 

And then there was the day I could barely talk and walk, I had had so many panic attacks in so little time and tried to take meds to calm them down and it wasn’t working, and I couldn’t even stand properly and my heart was racing so much I thought, “this is the day. This is the heart attack from which I die, I am dying over a cake because I can’t admit I have a problem”.

 

I messaged a friend and she told me to call the emergency, and that’s when I realised I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was ready to give everything up, get myself admitted in hospital, go back to France to my mum’s, just anything but this. This life I had built and worked so hard for, that brought me no joy anymore, just anxiety and terrifying thoughts.

 

 

Me at my stall for VegFest Bristol
Bristol VegFest, 2018

 

 

Hold your friends and your family close. Listen to them, ask them questions. Look for the little things. They may be laughing when they tell you they were crying last night, but it isn’t funny.

 

I know it wasn’t 2018 alone though. 2016 and 2017 had been hard on me on a lot of levels. But 2018 is also a year of rebirth – yes it was the year I broke, but it was also the year I started to mend, physically and mentally. I’m now back to doing photoshoots, and cakes for friends; doing pole on a level I wouldn’t have dreamed of last year; running again which I feared I would never be able to do again. I’m also writing this in Western Australia, spending beautiful days seeing kangaroos and sting rays and lorikeets and quokkas and emus and octopi and fish and baby seagulls and snakes and lizards in the wild. Sure it was a hard year, but it was also the year that led me to where I am now – yep that’s cheesy AF, but eh, if you can’t do cheesy for the new year when can you?!

 

Here’s to 2019 – may it be full of laughter and may we all have the strength to cope with whatever life throws at us. May it teach us lessons without breaking us. May we all love each other deeply and truly, and may it bring justice to all who need it.