Goodbye to all that

I didn’t like 2018. On a personal level it really hurt, which was quite annoying really because it was an even number year, so my theory that even numbers are better was proved wrong.

But joking aside – it hurt a lot.

But I did read some good books, interacted with brilliant people and really enjoyed spending my days with young people. I also got to see my son graduate, I had a moment where I sat on my bed at the end of the day and realised that despite all those years of struggling and worrying as a single parent, something good happened. I also have brilliant parents who constantly support and help the kids on their way when I have lacking in strength. I have a daughter who is also at uni and is kind, astute and supportive when her mum needs it, but also guaranteed to make me laugh every day. I spent my summer making myself a new bedroom and slashing back my over-grown garden and felt like I had achieved something. I work in a superb department that support each other, and where I am assured a laugh, hugs and a packet of Space Raiders. I have some good stuff.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in therapy this year, and one of the things that really sticks with me every day is this. To spend time focusing on the past can be bad for us. Whether it be because things went wrong and we beat ourselves up over them, or because things seemed better then, we can use the past to beat ourselves up and think that is how people see and judge us. If we spend too long focused on the past we can become depressed.

But being focused on the future can sometimes not be so great either. It’s good to think about things that you have to look forward to, but anxiety is embedded in our expectations of a future, and if we start to think that our future may not go as planned, and in my experience it never does, we can trigger quite negative thoughts.

So basically this pull between the past and the future is perhaps how best to understand what depression and anxiety actually feels like. So really there’s only one place to go and that’s the present. Every day I try to focus for at least 5 minutes on the present – I practice mindfulness, not everyone’s cup of tea, but 5 minutes does ground me back where I need to be. I have reiki sessions, something I felt sceptical about, but actually help me to bring it all back to now. Because now is generally an alright place to be and we all need to just stop and breathe for a bit.

I know there are people who don’t like New Year, I don’t, and it is probably all down to that very reason. We reflect and we hope and both together can be overwhelming. I shall be reminding myself that it is just another day, it begins and ends in the same way as any other. Tomorrow is another day too. The sun will rise and night will be at the end. So just do what you want to do, read a book, watch trash telly, or join me in eating lots of cheese. Don’t feel like you have to make lots of resolutions. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do things you might not be able to do. See what happens and you might achieve more than you imagined.

So goodbye to 2018, it was a mean year. I don’t hold out much hope for 2019, dare I mention Brexit, coupled with the fact that it is an odd number year…no, I have no idea where this irrational hatred of odd numbers comes from. But there will be some good bits, because there always are.

But as always I wish you all the best, I hope that you achieve and there is love in your life.

I will however be 44 in 2019, there must be something in that….*forces self back to present*

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