Today, August 27th, is the anniversary of my first post on this blog. Not usually much of a cause for celebration, I’ll admit, but considering the topic of that first post – my decision to finally ask for help after several years of fighting my depression alone – it’s a date I couldn’t help but notice.
But luckily, I’m able to look back at the events of the last twelve months with no small amount of pride, and from a much, much higher place that I was at the time I started this blog – so, if you’ll forgive a little sentimental self-indulgence, here are a few things I’ve done since August 27th, 2015 that at the time I thought were utterly impossible:
- First of all, I actually did get help. Not all of it was “official” or medically approved – a lot of it was simply taking better care of myself and communicating more with those offering help around me. But just because yoga isn’t prescribed on the NHS, doesn’t mean it can’t provide genuine therapy.
- And speaking of unconventional therapies, I also adopted a cat. If I’m honest, I never once thought I was in the right state of mind to be responsible for another living thing at the time; but in spite of my anxieties, adopting Dolly proved to be the biggest single breakthrough in my entire battle with depression. Say what you will about my soppy feline devotion, but I doubt this anniversary would have been anywhere near as positive without her.
- I got back into playing bass. Making music really fell by the wayside during my early struggles with depression, and when I tried coming back to it later on I found – or rather, told myself – that my playing had become so rusty that it left me too disheartened to keep going. So I made rectifying that part of my recovery, and even splurged the remainder of my student loan on a brand new Ibanez SR505 to financially guilt-trip myself into keeping that promise – and twelve months on I can gladly say that my bass guitar and I are back together for good.
- I joined the Pit Crew Online. The other major thing to go was my ability to say yes to things; turns out anxiety is such a bitch when someone says “Here’s an opportunity, would you like to take it?” Which is why when the Pit Crew Online put out a call for new F1 writers back in January, I threw my name at them before I had time to second guess myself – now I’m their Formula E Editor too, and this week interviewed my first driver. ‘E who dares, Rodney, ‘e who dares.
- On that note, I also started working at my local Sue Ryder Care shop. Sure, a few voluntary hours in a charity shop might not sound a lot to some people, but for someone who a year ago used to freak out about even going to a shop – let alone working in one – it’s an absolute bloody triumph.
- I went to WOMAD festival even though twelve months ago there was no way I’d have been able to keep calm in the heart of a festival crowd. But not only did I keep calm amongst so many strangers, I barely even noticed they were there. I know, right? I make me so proud sometimes.
- And last but not least, I left college with an A in English Language and Literature, which is honestly such a surprise given all the lessons I missed and the times I wanted to quit. Opening that envelope last week really rammed home to me that every time Depression tries to tell me I can’t do something, it’s wrong. I can do anything. I am a disco ball, Depression, and I’m going to fucking dazzle ye.