My year in review 2016!

It's come to that time of year again where I look at the past year. I can't believe that I have been doing this for three years now! Where to start...

Although I expected this year to be one of little change, it turns out that there have been some things that have happened which have been unexpected, I suppose! One of my biggest achievements of this year was getting my first car and driving by myself. This is something that I was petrified of in the beginning, but as soon as I got used to it, it become second nature to me. This was even more so the case when I got my first paid job. If you have been reading for a long time, you'll know that getting a paid job was at the top of my anxiety hierarchy and after doing volunteering for two summers, I finally got the courage to go for a paid job. This was extremely hard for me. I spent many days crying both before and after getting the job, panic attacks whilst at work and swearing I would never go back because the anxiety it gave me was just too much. Nevertheless, this paid job allowed me to earn my own money and with that came a sense of achievement, it allowed me to drive my car alone a lot more and definitely increased my confidence. It also happened that this year, I handed in my resignation for this paid job too because with third year degree studies and working so many hours in a week, it just wasn't good for my mental health, so I took that challenging step too. Even though I only worked there for three to four months, I don't regret undertaking it.

In the ice bar of Amsterdam!
During this year, I also went on holiday with my friends to Amsterdam. Now, that was one of the best trips I have been on. I definitely recommend Amsterdam and I will hopefully be going back. I also went on my first holiday with my partner. This makes two holidays where I've had to rely on my own instinct to get home in one piece. I will hopefully be travelling a lot more.

As many of you know, I am now into my third and final year of my Law degree. I have managed to survive it this far, so I'm just hoping that I will graduate next year. Further to this, I also became the president of my university's mental health society in which we set up events for people to come along to and raise awareness. I also try to improve the welfare side of things at university by working with students and staff as a member of the welfare committee. It's a very busy final year and can also be very anxiety provoking!

Renting my own flat with my partner is something that I have never done before until now. In theory, it will be my first flat where I will no longer be a student and out in the big wide world of work. This will be the first time we will be living together outside of shared accommodation, so a new challenge will be underway!

A final challenge I can think of is part of my weight loss journey. Since January of this year, I had been determined to lose the weight that had been put on, partially because of medication. To this date, I have lost just over three stone. It has been extremely hard and for me, it's been about counting calories and going to the gym. Nothing more and nothing less. I have had times of crying, I have given up, but most of all I have still made it. I have little bit more to go, but If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. This is the same with your mental health. Sometimes, mental illness can require a lot of willpower to overcome your fears. Sometimes, you won't be able to, like I have felt many times before, but sometimes you will find that spark that allows you to take that bit of courage and run a mile through your fears. I promise, that with will power comes hardship, but it's worth it and every single one you is capable.

Overall, this year has been full of many achievements. But there have been also some times of severe depression, suicidal thoughts and self harm and feeling utterly lost and out of control, especially during the Summer months. These elements are still present in my life and are things I still tackle on a daily basis, however I feel I have improved year on year and it just goes to show, even if you have faced times of extreme lows, you can still go ahead and achieve things. We are not alone in this battle, and I know you have the strength to battle this illness. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.

I'd love to hear what your year has been like.  Let me know in the comments below.

Merry Christmas! 

Amy Xx