Having the first few weeks of 2019 under my belt, I can safely say that 2018 already feels so far away. I remember having high ambitions and hopes for it, but such was not the case. It was by far the worst year of my life. It’s no wonder I want to distance myself from it. As the year drew to an end I couldn’t help but notice other people declaring it to be an awful year for them as well. I had no idea that so many other people had such a terrible time as I did.
Last year I reflected on the best of 2017 and I outlined it by the joys of each month. It would be almost impossible for me to do the same this year, as many months seemed to blur into one another. I was completely off my game this year. My body, brain, and my overall health took a spiral downhill and I simply could not take it anymore. I broke down. Multiple times, actually.
It was the year I fell apart.
My body began to function in ways that were foreign to me, from my brain down to my bladder. Everything was off. After driving myself to an MRI appointment early morning before work, I broke down when I was told I was halfway through the session. No one told me about the beeping noises the procedure would produce, and I can’t explain why, but my heart seemed to tighten and shatter all at once. My brain felt like it was breaking. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry! But I had to stay perfectly still for the brain scan to complete before moving again. It felt like an analogy for my life; I was alone in the dark, crying on the inside but appeared fine to others. I was collapsing inwards and I felt helpless.
It wasn’t a decision or plan, it just happened. I took a break from work. One day I went into my office and it felt like I hit into a wall, and I couldn’t see a way around it. I cried a lot in front of my colleagues and then went to see my doctor. I was advised to take time off work and I listened. But at first, I didn’t want to. But I’m so glad I did. (More on this at a later date!)
One of my hiking missions
The whole year was different and while there were definitely many positives, there were many negatives that hit me hard. When I say the whole year was different, I mean it. Everything changed. My identity seemed to change. The things I liked about myself, like remembering to say happy birthday to people, seemed to pass with the wind. Suddenly nothing mattered except my own health. Not my friends, not my family, not my job, not social media, nothing really mattered. I had to go so deep within to come here to the other side, the one that’s healing.
At one point, and perhaps arguably still, my monthly reflections were the only piece of writing I felt I could produce. While I have what feels like a hundred topics I want to blog (and possibly vlog) about, my monthly reflections were all I could push myself to accomplish. And I was fine with that. I had to be fine with that.
My social media usage slowed down and halted on many, many days. It’s not that I stopped caring about my friends’ posts, it’s that I had absolutely no energy to consume their content, to step into their joy, to wonder if what I was seeing was true or a fabricated snippet of their life. I wished everyone well but stopped caring to check in. I figured that if people really wanted me to be part of something, I would hear from them personally, and not through an electronic public social echo chamber. I felt bad replying to tweets and direct messages days later, but it’s all I could manage. I stopped calling friends and family and waited for them to call me. I needed time off my phone. I needed time to unplug and unwind. I needed time to not think, not compare, not consume, not do anything but just be. I slowed down completely. I did an incredible amount of soul work and healing and I truly feel it has made a world of difference. My health has improved, and I’ve learned to actually take care of myself, not just think I am doing so.
2018 was a very strange and challenging year. I suppose it was for many of us! Thank you to the people that stepped in and helped me when I truly needed it as well as those who gave a word of encouragement. Thank you to the strangers that smiled at me and the people who encouraged me. Thank you, 2018. You helped me grow.
Highlights of my year
- Taught a course at Red Deer College
- Actively made decisions in my best interest
- First solo hike
- First solo camping trip
- Figured out some health issues
- Emails with a cousin
- A beautiful trip to my hometown in Ontario
- Witnessed the Perseid meteor shower
- Reconnected with a dear old friend
- Climbed Sulfur Mountain in Banff, AB
- Went for counseling (it’s hugely beneficial, yo!)
- Learned to actually take care of myself
- Learned to embrace my body
- Learned to follow my heart
In asking myself, “What did you just write? What is the point of all this?” I suppose I want people to know that it’s okay to have a crappy year, just please make sure you are present for the next one. Don’t let your current situation define you. Ignoring issues, whether emotional or bodily ones could potentially really negatively affect you later on in life. Take care of yourself now. It’s important to know that you are a strong individual and you are capable of going through life’s challenges because they will only better you. At least, that’s how I’m choosing to look at life, and I hope you do too.
Thank you for reading this entry. I wish you the beauty and healing you deserve to live your best life.