2017 has been a shit of a year, not gonna lie. It’s been tough and I’m so glad it’s almost over. However, all the crap has taught me some valuable life lessons. Life lessons that I needed to learn and that, in retrospect, have made me grow as a person. So, with 5 days until Christmas, let’s take a look at what I’ve learnt this year.
The year started off with the second house move in the space of 5 months and that was immensely stressful. We’ve downsized to a much smaller property and fitting a large detached house into a 2 bedroom bungalow was not fun. I’m not a magician so I couldn’t wave a magic wand and make it all happen in an instant. Even now, months later, I’m still trying to figure out where to put things. It doesn’t feel like home yet and I don’t love it here. I’m hoping that I won’t be here too long, but I am learning to make the best of it.
It was around this time that I realised that I was struggling with my mental health. I’d been spending money like it was going out of fashion, and I couldn’t make sense of what was going on inside my head. I’ve never been the sort of person to open up about how I’m feeling and I kept trying to bury how I was feeling.
I found myself opening up slightly in some blog posts about things that have had an effect on me, such as the rape, Mum dying, my illness, but it barely scratched the surface. Every day I felt like I was drowning in a sea of darkness. It resulted in me being a fairly horrible person, especially online, and I couldn’t seem to stop it. Day to day I painted on a smile for Mick, but inside it was just a whirlwind of blackness.
In March I wrote a blog post about a brand. I thought nothing of it as I was typing it. In my mind, I thought maybe a couple of hundred people might read it and that some would agree with me and some would disagree. Holy shit how wrong was I? Sooo many people read it (they still are) and it caused a lot of debate. Cosmo picked up on it, my Twitter went crazy, as did my Instagram and it was stressful. Very very stressful. Whilst a lot of people did agree with what I wrote, a hell of a lot didn’t and boy did they let me know.
For weeks, if not months, I was receiving hate messages and even death threats (not even joking). I saw whole threads about what an evil person I was and it just wasn’t very nice. At the end of the day, we are all allowed our own opinions, but it’s not right to just constantly attack someone over a blog post. Saying that, the blog post is still up and I still stand by every word. I just did not expect the hate campaigns and the total over-reaction to what I wrote. To say this had a negative impact on my already spiralling mental health is something of an understatement.
Money was another of the life lessons that I’ve learnt this year and I really needed to learn that. I’ve been open about the fact that I spent a huge chunk of my Dad’s money and I’m not proud of it. I spent months on the spending spree of my life … some of it, a lot of it, I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it. Looking back now, I can see that I was ill but at the time, I just had no control. This resulted in a lot of financial problems that we’re still digging ourselves out of.
It was the money that was the tipping point for my fragile mental health and I attempted suicide at the end of August. It’s no secret – I’ve spoken frankly about it. As horrible as that experience was, in a way I’m glad it happened. It made me open up to Mick and my Dad and even all of you. There are no secrets anymore. No more lies. I admitted that I needed help and that my depression was starting to cripple me and that was a huge relief. CBT sessions have started, and I had high hopes. So many people said it was a game changer for them so I assumed that it would be for me. It isn’t.
CBT teaches you how to deal with negative thoughts in a productive way, but a lot of it is common sense and I don’t feel that it’s enough for me. I have some very deep-rooted issues going back many years that I’ve never dealt with so I feel counselling may be a better option. In the New Year I’m going to explore this, as well as trying to find a new surgeon to deal with my ever worsening endometriosis. So let’s just say that’s a work in progress, but I am learning what works for me and what doesn’t.
Finally, one of the life lessons I’ve learnt over 2017 is that some people are just shit. Friendships have come and gone this year and it’s toughened me up. People have used my mental health as a way of attacking me, which is just nasty and actually says far more about them than it does about me. I’ve had ‘friends’ lie about me, bitch about me and drop me for no reason … probably because I don’t share my PR contacts. Who knows? However, 2017 has also shown me some real and genuine friendships that I truly treasure – the most amazingly supportive group of women who lift me up when I’m down, who always make me laugh and who I never want to be without.
2017 has also reaffirmed something I already knew – Mick is amazing. He’s held my hand through many bad patches over the last 9 years and this year he has really been there for me. I could write the World’s longest post on just how truly special this man is and one day I probably will. He’s quite a private person so I don’t publicise a lot of what he does for me, but he’s my World and I owe him a huge thankyou (and apology) for the last 12 months.
Have you learnt any life lessons this year?