There is no doubt that 2017 has been the most difficult year of my life and the battle’s look to be going into 2018. That said, there has still been a lot that I am thankful for from new friendships to new experiences to a new found passion.
Firstly, a look at the good that 2017 has brought.
At the turn of the year, I was full of optimism. I had lost weight and felt that I had my business on the right track for a successful 2017. With the weight loss, I knew I had to take up an exercise of some kind to help reach my target. In March, I decided to attend a local couch to 5k running course. I never expected that within 7 month’s I would be completing half marathons, never mind winning an award at my local running club of which I am a very proud member.
Running has brought a new purpose and dimension to my life. I chose running as it can help depression. What I didn’t expect was the wonderful friends that I have made. I have met so many inspiring people whom I class as my extended family. I won’t name them here but they know who they are, if not they can ask.
With being someone who suffers with social anxiety I have really made 2017 a year where I tried to push my boundaries and experience new things. I had the delight of seeing Andre Rieu and his orchestra perform with a dear friend, went to my first opera, enjoyed more ballet performances and not to mention plenty of 1st class cricket. I can’t forget the wonderful evening at Tolethorpe watching a Shakespeare production.
I enjoyed a wonderful sponsored walk supporting close friends raising money for MND Association, a 26 mile walk from Lincoln to Sleaford. For my 35th birthday I hosted a charity afternoon tea for Sense of whom I also completed two half marathons raising money for them and wait for it! This introvert dressed up as a fairy for Newark Mind.
A recent fundraising highlight for me was being part of a team arranging a concert for Hope for Justice. The performer was Philippa Hanna. To be a part of Sleaford freedom from slavery, the local fundraising group for Hope for Justice, also known as an abolitionist group is pure joy.
My Career has hit a stumbling block. Despite bringing in safe guarding measures, the economy after Brexit, school fines, Migrant crisis in the Med and Terrorism has hit the travel industry seeing many companies such as mine and Monarch go into liquidation/ administration. That said, I am now studying to become an electrician and while I do this, working for Tesco’s part time. A delay in my professional life but only for a year.
So to the bad.
As many of you know, I have been very unwell during parts of 2017. In late spring/ early summer I had a break down and the depression spiralled out of control. I hit rock bottom and walked the paths of hell. I feared the worst. This was caused by the stress of the business and past events in my life which resurfaced.
I have been much better recently with running being a massive help as well as support from close friends and family outside of running, not forgetting to mention my loving parents. Getting the correct balance of medication also helped, especially as the first lot reacted badly.
One of the reasons why I set this blog up is to share my story and help raise awareness of what it is like to battle mental illness whether it is the depression or the anxiety. Please do not think it is about being an egotist or even being a professional victim as someone once suggested. I am not someone who lives in the past and I most definitely do not like reliving what I have gone through. That said, if I have been able to help one person, then it has made the pain and emotional agony a bit more bearable.
I have one more battle I must overcome. At this current time I am going through various tests and if these come back clear, I will be referred to an eating disorder clinic. I can’t add much more at this time, it is something I am very much trying to get my head around. All I know is I have gone from someone who loved food to hating it and avoiding it! On a positive, I will have answers at the start of the year and hopefully find a path to recovery.
There is a chance that it could be the current medication that I am on causing this. The issue with food started in the summer and although I am currently at a healthy weight, if I do not get on top of it by the spring, I will be underweight.
Looking to 2018
During 2017 I have had to rebuild myself and this will continue moving into 2018. When you hit rock bottom and face the battles that I have, you learn how strong you really are. The depression and anxiety will tell you different but to fight the fight I have, I have needed courage and strength.
With someone who has low self-esteem, it is not common that I can be modest but I know I have to accept that I am strong, that I have courage, that I am a good and likeable guy. I am someone trustworthy, someone that is always there for people. A person of strong positive character. I am told it time and time again, it’s just holding onto it and moving forward with a positive outlook on myself as well as life. I can soon put an act on but it does not mean I am always confident.
I am still ever hopeful that I can heal my lonely heart and meet my soulmate. Most likely a miracle needed here 😀 I have a wonderful loving family and some of the greatest friends whom I would trust my life with. I can’t thank them enough for being there for me through the good and bad. I just hope one day, someone can find it in their heart to let me in.
As I continue to rebuild myself and my career, I will continue to break the social anxiety boundaries and when possible, experience new things. Mr. Recluse has long gone and this is something to celebrate. In May, I have another charity afternoon tea in the planning for my birthday. This is for Mind. I will be going to Bilbao with Sleaford Striders to run the night half marathon and enjoy some wonderful culture. I am also part of a team raising money for Hope for Justice and running the Equinox24 under ‘Team Freedom’.
In 2018 ‘The Darkened Path’ will be published which tells my story in detail. Keep an eye out on here for news of this.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.