Just like that I have spent one year of my life living in the UK. The past year has brought along a rollercoaster range of ups and downs. There has been heartache, there has been pain, yet there has also been loads of laughs, good times and things to be grateful about. This year has moulded and shaped me into the person I am today and I am so thankful for all of the experiences - both the good and the bad. To all of the people who I have met here in Plymouth, thank you for accepting me as one of your own. It really is an amazing feeling to be able to call this city "home".
As this is the space where I force myself to be honest and open with the world - here are ten things that I am continually learning on this adventure.
Number One - Anxiety and Depression can be a bitch.
I've spoken about this (and probably all of the following pointers) before on this blog. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for multiple years. Only in this last year have I really started to take a grip of myself and force myself to begin thinking about my own self-care and begun to analyse and define what exactly that means for me. I'm still in the process of learning (and probably will always continually be learning) how to manage my anxiety and how to cope with my depression. It has hit pretty hard this last summer, I'm not going to lie. But I have finally started to accept both of these things as part of who I am and what makes me myself. It's a process, it's painful, and it's pretty shit at times - but we'll get there eventually.
Number Two - Admitting weakness is not the same as admitting defeat.
This year has caused me to reflect on my life a lot. I've been on plenty of long train rides and plane rides with nothing but my own thoughts which has been extremely beneficial to me. I have allowed myself the space to really analyse who I am, and what my strengths and weaknesses are.
Admitting weakness is always something which I have struggled with. I have always felt the need to try and be the one who has their shit together, so admitting defeat does not come easily to me. Over the last year, I have begun to slowly take off a mask which has been developing since I was young. I have started to realise that struggling with weakness doesn't make me less impressive, it simply makes me more human.
Number Three - It takes strength to admit to needing support.
This is the part where I emphasise how important family and friends are. Nobody can do life on their own. We all need support around us, and I am incredibly privileged to have a loving family around me and some of the best, kindest, and brilliant friends in the world. However; it's important to not feel shame about needing professional help at times. Sometimes when you are struggling, it's difficult to admit it to the people you care about. Sometimes you need an unbiased opinion to come in and evaluate situations for you.
Number Four - Continually rising.
Nobody watches to see how many times you fall, they want to see whether you get back up. The "down days" don't define me, the brighter ones at the end of the tunnel do. The journey may be difficult, dark, cold and even pretty fucking lonely at times, but I will continue to move forward and push myself back off the ground whenever I fall into old habits or destructive patterns. As long as I keep getting back up and doing everything I can to prevent a fall in healthy ways, I'm gold.
Number Five - I am who I am. Baggage and all.
I think I am simply coming to terms with who I am as an individual, and that I can be whoever I want to be. I have started to understand what acceptance truly is. There are certain things about myself which make up who I am, but those specifics do not define me. People see the whole picture whereas I often simply see the one obstacle that I struggle with. I come with baggage, and I've made my peace with that.
Now I promise to be done with all of the cheese. ;) Here's to another great year with crazy adventures in the UK.