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  • Writer's pictureTara Vaughan

New Year, New Me?

New Year, New Me? Not quite. Although, I was asked last week if I am feeling better then I was this time last year. And my answer was and still is, a definite yes. I am pleased to say that I got through 2018, that I am still standing and I have now realised that I have so much still to enjoy, explore and express about myself.

I can confidently say that I have grown a lot, learnt a lot and healed a lot through 2018. Don’t get me wrong there is still a long way to go. But if I look back at 2018 I can see just how much I have grown. My anxiety attacks are few, maybe one or two a month and I’m throwing up less and less from the anxiety, only now occasionally from a social situation, not just from a thought.

My depression is sitting at bay. There are times when I still feel low but I’m getting good at pulling myself through. Sitting with my feelings and listening to my different parts talking and trying to understand what they are telling me I need. What part of me needs looking after, needs nurturing, needs love.

I have learnt so much about myself this past year. I have always known how important animals are to me but I’ve never really put them to use as I am now. Riding every day, most days twice a day, is a fantastic thing for me. I get outside, to be one with nature. I get to feel and touch a magnificent animal with bags of intuition and sensitivity, they understand vulnerability and have helped me to realise that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a strength. And although I don’t see it as exercise, it is. I am being active and that’s great.

On the therapy side of things, I have learnt about affirmations, meditation and mindfulness. I have learnt to use ‘could’ instead of ‘should’. ‘Could’ gives me choice. ‘Should’ makes me feel bad if I don’t do it. And I have learnt to start owning my I’s. So many people, me included, use ‘you’ or ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. I try and correct myself if I notice that I’m saying ‘you’ instead of ‘I’. Not sure if that’s making any sense, so here are a couple of examples; “I felt angry when you did X” instead of saying “you made me feel angry when X”. By saying “I felt” I am taking responsibility for what I am thinking and feeling and that prevents me from blaming that person. Whereas if I said “you made me feel” I am blaming or accusing that person for the way their behaviour made me feel.

My second example of using ‘you’ or ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ is “when you’re driving and someone pulls out in front of you making you almost hit them and you get road rage” here you are talking generally about everyone, try saying “when I am driving and someone pulls out in front of me I get road rage”. Here I am owning it by saying that this is what happens to me, which can also be common to other people but by saying ‘you’ or ‘we’ I am assuming that everyone feels this way and that’s obviously not always the case.

I have learnt that I don’t have to get married and have children. I don’t have to have my life all figured out. I do not have to do what my parents tell me to, or any family member for that matter. I don’t actually have to do anything if I don’t want to. I have learnt that it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to not always be okay. I have learnt that writing is a great way of getting things off my chest and out into the open. I have learnt not to be afraid of my vulnerability. That my mental health is not a weakness but can be a strength. I have learnt that my thoughts only control me if I let them – I am not my thoughts. I am learning to trust my intuition and not to ignore it. I am allowed to say no, to not answer calls, to break plans, all to take care of myself. One thing that I have learnt recently is that I am not lazy, I am in recovery and that too is okay.

I used to believe that I had to do what society had conditioned me to do because it was the ‘right’ thing to do and that crushed my soul. I have now learnt, and I guess that’s another way that I have grown, that I do not have to experience life the way I have been told to. I do not want to live ‘by the book’ ever again. I want to live my life the way that I was meant to – free and doing the things that I love, surrounded by people that I care for and who care for me.

It has certainly been a year of ups and downs, actually not many ups mostly downs and that’s okay. It has been shit, I think that’s an understatement, but I have got through it. I have survived my worst days. I have been to hell and back. I may have crawled out and slipped back in a couple of times but I am out now and I do not want to go back. I crawled out of hell, now I am learning to walk, and soon I will be running, free like a bird soaring in the wind. I am strong and I will make it on my own.

Thoughts for you that I have been asking myself lately. A year ago today… Do you remember what you were doing? Do you remember how you felt? Now, try finding a note from yourself from the past, an email from your inbox, an abandoned file, or an old photo on your phone. That right there is your call to action. It’s your realisation that we best get after it and enjoy the ride because time will pass. You can see for yourself that we can improve significantly in just a years time. And that so much is possible in the road ahead; don’t take it for granted.

2018 thank you for all of the lessons, I have grown considerably and you have been one giant learning curve. 2019 let’s do this. Let’s come home to myself.

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