A Summary of a Year Gone By; 2016

2016 was the biggest learning curve of my life. Maybe Kylie Jenner was onto something about it being the year of ‘realising stuff’. It was, for me at least.

2016 brought some of the lowest points of my life and some of the happiest times. It was the hardest and most emotionally exhausting time of my life. My sister nearly died on two occasions, one of which I was the only person there for, I became incredibly anxious out of nowhere, I hated my job, my boyfriend had to move 3 hours away from me, my beloved pet rabbit died, my mum got breast cancer and I basically gave up my entire life to help with everybody else’s illnesses for a while there. I also graduated with a science degree, met some amazing people, got a new job (Which I love), kept my relationship going through the distance, I got my drivers licence, my mum beat her cancer and I discovered some new hobbies to occupy my mind!

The biggest struggle of 2016 for me was enjoying the good moments when the horrible moments were hanging over me. I found it near impossible to enjoy the amazing parts of 2016 when so many terrible things had also happened. As hard as it was to get through that, I learned. I discovered that I have the strength to get through anything. I found myself counting more on the people who I trust and less on the people that became poison to my life. I discovered that saying no is okay and that in some cases, it’s liberating. I accepted that I am who I am and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.

When I started to ‘realise stuff’, enjoying the good moments became easier. I made an event out of every good moment. My graduation became a big party at my house. My sister’s return from hospital required a small gathering. Christmas was a massive event. I made a bigger deal out of the good things and that made the bad times pale in comparison.

One full week into 2017 and I’m hopeful. I don’t believe that just because it’s another year, life will magically get better. No. Instead, I believe that the realising I did in 2016 will help me cope better with what 2017 has to throw my way. I know that I will enjoy 2017’s good moments more than I did in years gone by and I’ll cope better with 2017’s crap moments.

So, thank you 2016. Thank you for teaching me everything that you did. Thank you for being terrible. Thank you for being fantastic. While I’m glad that you happened, I’m so so relieved that you’re gone. Goodbye 2016.

Driving anxiety

I’m 21 and I have only JUST gotten my license. I know what everybody is thinking… I know that everybody thinks I’m lazy, that I’m a little bit pathetic or that I’m not a good enough adult. I’m well aware that I’m behind the eight ball on the whole driving thing. I’ve heard it plenty of times.

For a long time now, I’ve copped plenty of criticism for not having my licence, but not one person has endeavoured to ask me why I haven’t got my licence. Here is why; I had driving anxiety.

There are so many things that I have the ability to do without feeling any kind of anxiety. Exams? no problem. Powerpoint presentations? I’ll do it. Karaoke? I mean, maybe not.. But you get where I’m going with this. The one thing that I could NOT bring myself to do was my driving test. I could drive. Driving itself was no issue for me (Except for when things went a little wrong. I’d go into some kind of freak out every time), but the test itself… well… Just the thought of booking the test would make me cry for so long. Anyway, eventually, I got so much anxiety from people criticising me that I sucked it up and booked. I did the test… and I passed!!!!!

For anyone who is scared to get your licence or to do the test, may I offer some words of wisdom? Don’t listen to anyone. If you don’t have your licence or you’re too scared to do the test, that’s okay! If anyone criticises you, it’s probably because they didn’t experience the anxiety or fear. It’s probably because they, themselves had no problems with getting to that point.

At the end of the day, not being able to drive does not mean you are a bad person. People will make you feel like that sometimes (They probably don’t mean to) and it sucks. trust me, I know. However, you just have to remember that it’s JUST driving. It’s not like you’re a puppy kicker or a criminal. Not being able to drive doesn’t reflect if you’re a good person or not.

I will say this as well… From one anxious driver to another, the test is not hard. I felt kind of stupid. I had almost three years of some of the worst anxiety over the test and driving and it was for nothing. 25 minutes is all it took me and I passed.

A Part-time Young Carer

I don’t know if anybody has noticed, but I have largely kept this blog going in a way that keeps my identity somewhat anonymous. I’ve done this because I have wanted to discuss the following at some point.

I’m 21 years old and since I was 6 years old, I’ve been at least a part-time carer. When I was 6, my second sister was born. She was born with a rare Syndrome. This has made her both physically and mentally disabled, all at different levels throughout her life. Being the oldest child, I was always unintentionally placed in a caring role. This was never a major issue for me because I love them all so much and thought it was my place to step in.

Two years ago, my other sister was diagnosed with anorexia. My entire family’s lives were completely changed, along with my sister’s life, when this happened. Her mental illness is currently at its worst and everyone is forced  to suffer with her.

When I’ve been struggling with some of the issues that come with being not only a sister, but also a carer, for my sisters and my brother, I turn to the internet in hopes that i’ll find some support. I seek to surround myself with people who can empathise and understand. The truth is, my friends do not and will never understand why I can’t have them over to my house, why I don’t currently live with my boyfriend, why I can’t just get up and leave whenever I want to. They’ll never understand my point of view (just as I can’t understand theirs all the time) and I don’t blame them for that, but that can be really hard at times.

I’ve noticed that when I do turn to the internet, it’s quite hard to find anything that makes you feel like you’re not alone as the sister of people suffering under their various health conditions. I’ve decided that I want to be open about my experiences and my point of view.

To be able to do this, I have to keep my identity largely anonymous. I’m sorry for this, but if putting my experiences out on the public domain means that even one person gets to feel a little bit less alone, then I have to do it.

A Dreamer or a Do-er?

I’m a dreamer and not much of a doer. I dream daily, I think constantly and I’m always solving problems in my head. Do I do anything about any of my thoughts? Do I fulfil my dreams? .. Not nearly often enough….

My new dream? It sounds lame and it’s probably been done before, but I want to create a kind of wildlife sanctuary, one where the sick and injured can find refuge and make a home. I’d like to spend my days rehabilitating those animals. There has not been a time in my life where I haven’t  wanted to do this, though… What’s new about this idea? .

Well, this time, I’d like to combine it somehow to create a service for people as well. I’ve noticed a lot of people who suffer from isolating loneliness. I’ve seen people suffer because they were born with disabilities that they never had a choice in having. I’ve seen people suffer purely because nobody in this world wants to give them a shot. I figure that my animals will need carers. I will need help to run a sanctuary for wildlife. Why not help those animals and help people’s quality of life as well?

My new dream is to run a wildlife sanctuary that combines to create a human sanctuary. I’d like the animals to benefit from the care of people and I’d like the people to benefit from caring for the animals. I want the workers and helpers in my little sanctuary to be those that society has rejected. The people that everybody ignores and turns their back on. This is my new goal. This is my passion. This is the one dream that I desperately want to achieve.

To my Sister’s Mental Illness.

Dear Anorexia,

You have destroyed everything. You have taken my sister away from me. You have stolen my parents away from me. You have forever changed my family. You are the most evil thing that has ever come to be and I wish you would just leave.

Two years ago, you graced my sister with your presence. A few times there, you hid yourself and it seemed like we had her back… You disappeared for a few short months. It felt good.

Today, is a very different story. She is not my sister anymore. She’s cruel and unkind. She doesn’t care who she hurts, and boy does she hurt people. You have driven her to be this. You have taken all the light out of her and  replaced it will coldness. She is not the sister that I adore. She’d rather tell my mum to kill herself than say thank you. That is who you have driven her to be. I miss her. I miss her at her best, I even miss her at her worst. Now, I don’t even get to speak to her. Now… Well, now she hates me. She sees me as evil.

Today, it’s my fault that her life is bad. Today, it’s my fault that she has no money. I don’t know how it is my fault. I’ll never understand how you could drive her to be so cruel to the people she once loved. For two years, it’s been my entire family’s fault. My family has taken this blame because it’s not her fault that she thinks these things. We’ve understood. We stood by her… We knew that for all this time and through all this stress, it was anorexia, you, that was doing it all. Everybody was patient. We were hopeful that one day, you’d leave us all to be a family again.

Today, I realised that I can’t take it anymore. I can’t handle the pain anymore. I can’t be there while she tears everyone down with her. I can’t see my entire world crash down and suffer under the thumb of anorexia anymore. She’ll always have me. She just needs to ask, but right now, while you are around, my happiness and my life is starting to suffer. My anxiety has spiked and you have started to destroy me as well as her. Anorexia, you are the destroyer of souls and I can’t wait for the day when someone destroys you! Anorexia, you took my sister away.

A Challenge to Myself.

 

journals

In my last post, I spoke briefly about the lack of happiness that a 350 day happiness day brought me. I was quite disappointed by this because I actually enjoy challenging myself. So here is a challenge that I came up with for myself.

I’ve challenged myself to start journalling. I didn’t want to do just any journaling, however. I decided to start two field journals. I love the outdoors, I enjoy drawing, I love learning and I love nature. I’m combining all of my hobbies and passions together in this challenge. So, I’ve started one journal for animals and one journal for plants and flowers.

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