New Year’s is a time of reflection. A time when you look back on the preceding year with a sense of nostalgia.
I’m not going to do that. My 2015 sucked.
I can honestly say that in my 29 years on this earth, this was my worst one yet.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful here. My life is great and I’m thankful for it every day. If anything, this year only sucked so much because I’d previously had it so great in comparison.
I won’t go into extensive detail here because in general, I try to avoid going into personal detail when writing to possibly complete strangers.
But I also don’t want to do that vague thing where people talk about some mysterious, undisclosed health problem without giving any details but it’s clear they want you to pump them for more information. I don’t want you to do that. That’d be weird and I wouldn’t tell you anyway. So, please don’t. Thanks.
(So now you’re thinking why did I even bring it up if I’m not going to say anything about it? Good point, You. I bring it up because frankly the rest of this blog post won’t make any damn sense if I don’t mention it. So there you have it, there’s a sort of explanation. Now as I was saying…)
What I will say is this – it’s been a weird year full of doctors’ appointments, medications, physical therapy and one quick, not very serious surgery. And now months later, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again (yay!) which is good because if I haven’t mentioned this before, I really like me.
What I haven’t liked is my year. Because (just to reiterate) it sucked. But I’ve noticed that when sucky stuff happens to wise-sounding, philosophical-type people, they try to learn something from it. So, I tried that too. Because it’s always fun to pretend to be something you’re not every once and awhile.
Anyway, here’s what I came up with:
1. My family and friends are awesome.
I truly could not have made it through this shit without you. ( I’m not just saying that the way some people say it, offhandedly, just to be nice, even though they know full-well they could have handled it all on their own. I couldn’t have.)
In particular my husband, mom, brother and Beth (she knows which one I’m talking to) were all support system superheros who were often at their empathetic and encouraging best just when I was at my weepy, weak worst.
I don’t say it enough (and I never say it in blog form) but you’re the best. Seriously. I’m thankful for you every day. Even if I forget to say it sometimes.
2. You never know what someone is dealing with, so try to be nice. Always. Even when you really don’t feel like it.
Speaking from someone who now understands, you never know how hard it was just for someone to leave the house that day, so cut everyone some slack and just be kind. Life’s hard enough without us making it any shittier for each other.
3. Always trust in your gut and stick up for yourself.
I went to more doctors appointments than I care to remember in 2015 and some of them really sucked.
In particular I was not a fan of one doctor who told me my very real physical ailment was anxiety and I’d quickly feel better if I’d just stop thinking about it so much.
Here’s the thing – when something is wrong with you, you kind of think about it. Because something is wrong with you and you want it to be fixed. That’s sort of why you went to the doctor in the first place.
So basically if this ever happens to you (which I really, really hope it doesn’t, because I wouldn’t wish that on anyone), do what I did – get a new doctor ASAP. One who actually wants to listen to you and I don’t know – actually help.
(Brief sidenote so I don’t sound like a total ass: I don’t want it to seem like I’m downplaying the severity of anxiety. It’s real and it sucks and if you have it, you should see a mental health professional because mental health is just as important as what we typically think of physical health and it should be treated as such. I just wanted to be clear on that. I’m even clearer here when I wrote a whole blog about it.)
Anyway, the point is I didn’t happen to have anxiety. I happened to have another problem entirely. A problem this doctor for some reason couldn’t diagnosis at the time but instead of just admitting that, she made me question myself and my understanding of my own body. It sucked. I hope this never happens to you.
But if it does, I hope you trust yourself enough to not take that kind of weak-ass shit as an answer. Doctors are supposed to listen to you. They’re supposed to help you and if they can’t, they should guide you to someone who can. Don’t settle for a doctor who does any less.
4. Jenny Lawson is my hero. She should be yours too.
Jenny, the Bloggess, is a writer who talks about her struggles with mental health. It sounds like kind of a drag, right? Wrong. Somehow she makes this stuff both heartwarming and hilarious. Yes, hilarious.
Not to oversell her here or anything, but I think the written word may have been invented just so Jenny Lawson could write books.
Look her up now and then buy everything she has ever written. Don’t get it from your local library. Buy it. This is not a time to be cheap. This stuff is priceless.
5. There is a light at the end of every tunnel.
Sure, sometimes the light is super far away. Way, way farther than you really want to go. Farther than you ever think you can possibly reach.
And sometimes the light is not only far away, it’s really dim. Ridiculously dim. So dim you wonder why someone even bothered turning it on if it was going to be so damned useless.
And sometimes, the light is also covered in bird shit. Because, really have you ever seen something that’s outside for long periods of time that isn’t covered in bird shit?
Anyway, I digress, the point is, there’s a light (albeit a possibly bird-shit-covered, far-away, dim one). But it’s there.
There is hope. Don’t give up.
2016 just may be our year.