Last year I did a post detailing about how my 2016 went, I think the title alone summed it up well: 2016: What a sh*t year, bring on 2017. It’s crazy reading that post then comparing it to what I’m about to write about this year because things have changed so much, and for the better! In 2016 I never would have guessed I would be where I am today, there was even a thought that I might not have made it to the end of 2017.

At the end of the 2016 post I put:

Bring on 2017! I hope 2017 is a lot better than this. Maybe I won’t have to go into hospital at all, maybe I won’t self harm for the whole year, maybe I will go to university and cope, or maybe I will get a job and manage to hold it down.

So yes at the start of the year I did go into hospital, I did self harm, I didn’t go to university BUT not only have I managed to hold down a job and not had one day off (a massive achievement for me), but I have also only had 1 psychiatric hospital stay this year (as oppose to 3 times last year), haven’t been sectioned under the mental health act in over a year and I have not self harmed for over 150 days! I also hope to go back to university in the next year or two. I never would have thought all this would have happened, it’s hard to believe.

I did do a post earlier this year briefly talking about my year but I want to do a more detailed post about the whole year as a lot more has happened in these last few months.

Let’s start with the negatives of 2017

In February I became psychotic and did something which landed me in A&E for 3 days before I was transferred to a private psychiatric hospital almost 2 hours away from home as there we no beds nearer. I ended up spending my birthday there – not the ideal way to spend your 20th birthday! I was then transferred to a psychiatric ward in Colchester for a bit. But if there was one positive from these experiences, is that I made some lovely friends in both hospitals, it’s the other patients that help you get through it.

I started driving lessons in May but unfortunately, I have had to stop them after I spoke to the DVLA about my mental health problems until the DVLA have reviewed to see if I am allowed to still drive or not on medical grounds. It’s taken a very long time and I still don’t have an outcome. I really hope I am allowed to continue driving.

I also had a severe relapse in self harm in June and self harmed the worse I’d ever done, I  was told I should have had stitches but I didn’t and now I have another scar on my body. But after just a couple more incidents after that I did stop completely as I’ll speak about later.

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There have been quite a few celebrity suicides this year and I have also sadly experienced the suicides of some friends which has also been upsetting. I did a post on one earlier in the year. I also sadly lost one of my fur babies who I have known most of my life which was very upsetting.

I also went through a bit of a manic phase in July to August and did many stupid, reckless and risky things, some of which I don’t really want to admit. But some of you reading this will know exactly what I’m on about.

Now the positives

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I saw some great live music including Olly Murs, and my favourite ever band, Green Day. Seeing Green Day live for the first time was such an epic experience. I also went to the last ever year of V festival and saw the spectacular P!nk and Craig David!

I was lucky enough to go on 3 holidays this year. I went away with my mum, step-dad and younger brother in April, to Tossa De mar with my dad and to Torremolinos with my friend. I have some lovely memories from all of these. I guess you could also count trekking across the country to Aberystwyth to join one of my best friends for a couple of days for her freshers week was also a holiday!

I made many new friends this year through various things such as being in hospital, going to mental health support groups, starting work and just generally going out more. Last year when I attempted university, I went clubbing and absolutely hated it because of anxiety…this year I now go out clubbing regularly and really enjoy it for the most part (I still get anxious when left alone but I have good friends and a boyfriend who make sure I’m not left alone unless it’s for a loo break!)

But my most treasured person that I met was my boyfriend Reece at the end of August. Snapchat-1312182723He has helped me in so many ways and call it coincidence or not but I have not had another depressive, manic or psychotic episode since August….you may have noticed how most of my negative things happened in the first half of the year, then since the end of August I’ve been mainly positive. I could write a whole post about Reece because he is such an important part of my life and I love him so much.

In October, after some motivation from both within myself and also unintentionally from Reece, I got my first job in over a year after being on disability benefits. In the past, I’ve never coped well with jobs due to having them alongside bipolar episodes, self harming, panic attacks etc. Previously, I would have called in sick regularly, feel dread about work daily and would eventually quit…this time around things are sooo different. I have not had one sick day which I am really proud of, I actually enjoy work and I have now got a permanent job.

In October I also got the great news that I was well enough to not only come off my medication but also that I was allowed to be discharged from the community mental health team. After mental health struggles since I was 14 and being under professionals for my care since I was 18, this is such a shock but a good one. If you had asked me earlier this year if I thought I’d had gone 5 months without an episode, off medication and coping on my own I would have thought you were telling a pretty mean joke…but no, here I am miraculously! I am so happy that (*most) of my mental health problems have gone into remission. I still get some OCD and anxiety symptoms and have the odd day where I feel hyper or low but I think they are just mostly normal mood swings.

After being stuck in hospital on my birthday last year, I will be partying extra hard on my 21st in 2018!

This year, I hope to go away somewhere with Reece at some point this year, make sure I still keep in contact with all my old and new friends and maybe even give university another go. I will have also been vegan for 3 years in March 2018, which equates to saving over 1000 animal lives!

If anyone in any photos I used wishes for me not to use the photo let me know.

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