Happy (Old) Year


2015’s been a weird year, and I don’t know what to think of it yet.

It’s almost been two years in one- everything before August, v.s returning to uni. I normally don’t do this kind of reflection, but this year deserved stopping and thinking about. Things that I expected to be there, like church, fell out of meaning; new things to explore appeared instead.

Mental health-wise, this year was pretty important too. For one thing, I spent the whole year without some kind of depression, the first in a very long time. Because of that, I’ve finally been able to look at my “baseline” level, and also see how much depersonalization/ derealisation on its own affects me. Turns out; much more than I expected.

Having that baseline year also means I have some idea of how things may generally be, and what situations I ‘ll be fine with or struggle with next year, although I’m not 100% sure of that. I’m still not completely sure what aspects of myself are “supposed” to have happened, and which have been changed by my experiences. Although I think that’s a question which can’t ever be completely answered.

I didn’t get all the answers this year, but I did learn some new things at least.

Things I learnt in 2015;

I can’t tell from feelings alone whether I’m in a good place or a bad place. I need to find objective ways to answer that question.

During my year out, there were a lot of things I intended to do, learn, or change. Some of these succeeded, but for a few months I felt stuck, able to do far less than I wanted-frustratingly so, as I thought I was in a good place. I only worked out near the end of the year that I hadn’t been.

Events in work had affected me quite a lot, but the way they built up slowly (and my own beliefs that reinforced them) meant I didn’t realise just how anxious I was. If I’d noticed things were wrong and dealt with it earlier, those months would have been a lot different.

Video games don’t deserve the place in my life I’ve given them.
They are: a fun activity, a way of socialising that’s low-stress, a way to keep in touch and spend time with friends, and something I can learn about and share with my boyfriend and our friend group.

They are not: the main activity I want to care about, something in want to spend all my time, money, or attention on, or the lens filtering the rest of my experiences.

One of my friends has the motto “time enjoyed is never time wasted”, and I do get enjoyment out of games, especially if I’m sharing them with someone. But I don’t do the sensible thing of stopping playing when I stop enjoying myself, so end up mindlessly keeping going until I get frustrated at myself. That’s my problem, not the fault of the games, but definitely something I need to change.

I’ve lost the ability to tolerate silence, and to focus on things that are actually important.

This is kind of connected with the previous point- they’ve probably both influenced each other.

Little-known fact; a lot of mental health issues can have cognitive effects. After getting pretty much better and coming off medication etc, I had some effects like that, and brain fog etc. I felt like after coming out of everything, academic learning and anything requiring a lot of thought, had become much more difficult than it used to be. When I was younger, most of my concept of myself rested on being the smart one- while I’ve mostly grown out of that, having difficulties at all was still something I felt really ashamed of.

So I dealt with it by… not dealing with it.

After a year of doing little apart from work and xbox/internet, my usual “being easily distracted” had turned into “having the attention span of a squirrel” and jumping from interesting thing to interesting thing, getting bored if there was any effort required to understand it-  this was really frustrating and discouraging, as that’s something I’ve never wanted to be like.

Luckily, going back to uni and having people to work with and interesting topics has helped me undo that a bit, but I’ve still got work to do there.

All the resources and information in the world won’t help me if I’m too scared to do anything new.

This also links in to the third point; while I have ideas for things that are interesting, or that I want to learn or do, I get caught up in the ideas but never actually work to make them real.

I’ve spent so much time in the last year listening to TED Talks, reading so much inspirational and helpful articles. I’ve got access to loads of information, loads of resources, everything I could need.

But I’ve not used any of those resources, because I’m still stuck in the idea that anything I could do would be useless, so there’s no reason to try. Which is a level of pessimism I would talk other people out of. I kind of know why I get stuck, and how to fix it, but again, more work required.

So, on to next year 🙂

Following on from the list, what I’d like to happen next year is fairly logical. Really, they can all be summed up by number 5- following that rule would make a lot of things easier.

Goals for 2016

  • Actually think about what matters.
  • Make time away from everything digital.
  • Do things that are scary.
  • Work on the job situation- leave retail!
  • Choose things because they’re good, not because they’re easy.

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