Happy / Grumpy / So-So / Dreadful (delete as applicable) New Year, my dearest reader. Why yes, I do appreciate that is already past the mid-point of the first month of this, the year of Our Trump – sorry – Lord, 2017, and this is the first I have typed; but surely you know by now that I am a champion procrastinator and whilst there was a wall to be stared at or snoozing to be done, nothing else of note was going to appear from me.
I am, nevertheless, ready to rejoin the world and return to something of a routine. With my usual dark humour, I have chosen Blue Monday – the most miserable day of the year – to hurl myself enthusiastically back into the blogosphere and dazzle you all with my sparkling wit and literary genius.
Just as Virginia Woolf needed a room of her own; all I need is a cheapy drop-leaf table from the local Christian charity furniture warehouse and more felt-pens than is probably healthy of a woman of my age (23. Again).
I am currently channelling my inner Virginia by wafting around the place in Tesco pyjamas and slippers with animal faces on whilst looking for a clean wine glass for my bottle of Co-Op Spanish Red; and trying not to think about hurling myself into a river. So far, so good.
As you know, 2016 wasn’t really the greatest for me; culminating in a pretty impressive breakdown at the end of it (how delightfully Virginia!) and I will confess that I have spent the last couple of months doing the absolute bare minimum, mentally; getting through Christmas and Hogmanay; and just building up my strength so I’m more prepared to face what we have to deal with in 2017. The tablets (Citalopram) are definitely working, probably better than I expected, to be honest, and now is the time to start plotting and scheming and planning ways to successfully get through the next challenges we face, if I don’t decide to slope off for a wee nanna-nap first.
(I think my cortisol levels were so high that I was like a coiled spring the whole time. I told my GP that I felt as though every single cell in my body was trembling in fright, awaiting something horrible to happen at any second; and when I think back now to how long it has been like that – over two years – I don’t mind that the Citalopram seems to have led to a bit of a ‘shut-down’ and that I am permanently exhausted, because I’m sure I could actually physically feel my brain relaxing, then my muscles loosening. I felt what it was to be still, with my mind at peace, for the first time in so, so long. It suddenly dawned on me that it felt as though my brain hadn’t slept for two years; that even when I physically slept, my hormones kept my brain racing, processing and over-processing and over-analysing and over-exaggerating and spreading its poisons far and wide. So, you know, pardon me if I need to take it slow and heal.)
With this in mind, my plans for this year have shifted somewhat. I just want to work on feeling better, on finding the old me – I know she’s in there somewhere. She’s a bit older, a lot greyer and thicker around the waist than she used to be, but she’s there.
I want to write more, too. I rediscovered one of my old, long forgotten blogs recently, and I forgot that I was, on rare occasions, actually quite funny. (That strange parping sound is the sound of me blowing my own trumpet, incidentally). I always loved writing, sharing words and stories, dreams and fears, tears and laughter, but anxiety and depression silences you. It undermines you, it calls you stupid. It mocks you as talentless, as a no-hope. It smacks eager fingers from keyboards. It doesn’t, after all, want you to talk about it. It wants to stay the terrifying, snarling black dog lurking in the shadows ready to bite. It doesn’t want to be understood, far less does it want to be tamed.
I shall spend this year doing more of what I love. Writing, walking, watching the changing of the seasons, embracing everything that nature has to offer. Celebrating the beauty in each month, the new growth, the metamorphosis as the year’s wheel turns without dreading what is to come. I have learned, since moving to Scotland, to love the Winter, to embrace the cold, crisp days that make your cheekbones ache but also to embrace the low cloud and drizzle that helps to bring forth the new greenery, to cosy up in the current buzz-word of ‘hygge’ – we have long had our own sense of hygge with after-school onsies, hot-chocolate and boardgames and laughter on dreich and dismal days followed by bowls of wholesome broths and stews with homemade bread; I’m not entirely sure why it is suddenly ‘a thing’, but that’s a rant for a different post.
This year I am going to love my brain, and I am going to do whatever I can to make it as well as it possibly can be. Anything else, well, that’s a bonus.
Watch this space.