So my mum sent me a picture of a this whiteboard from my old room. I remember writing this note in my bedroom at her house, determined to change my life.
I really really meant the message.
I was just about to start studying a new degree, after dropping out of my previous one because I couldn’t leave my house without having panic attacks and anxiety attacks. I was struggling with my sexuality, my body image and my overall mental health. I had shut myself away on my computer for a good 7 months solid at this point, sometimes not talking, showering, sleeping or eating for days.
Slowly, very slowly, I began to do one thing a day. Whether it was a shower, or a consistent meal, or talking to a relative. Sometimes it was excruciating, I would fight myself, my depression determined to consume all of me. But I kept at it.
In the space between that time, until today I have:
Ran a half marathon.
Worked at the same job for eight months in a row.
Moved out of home.
Gone on student exchange.
Completed 3 and a half years (basically) of my degree with a distinction average.
Had new relationships and friendships.
Learnt to make phone calls on my own.
Learnt to go to appointments on my own.
Learnt to go to unfamiliar places or situations by myself.
Started a social group for people with social anxiety.
Become a volunteer.
Survived a fucking fire.
I have completed all of those things and more. I have survived two of the most emotionally traumatic things to occur in my life (my stepdad passing away and the fire) but I’m still going.
I’m not always okay, sometimes I fall apart terribly, some days I can’t make a phone call, I can’t get out of bad, and on the worst days: I still want to die. But I’m here, all this time from that time. A world away from the time that I wrote that message. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours outside of my house busy with activities without a break.
This is a reminder to myself that I am improving. That I can do this. That I am able to fight this and learn to cope with these illnesses. They may slow me down but I will not let them stop me.