MY 2017: LOVE, LOSS, AND A NEWFOUND LUST FOR LIFE

Friday, 5 January 2018



"I had to shatter to pieces, it made me reveal myself." - Jessie Ware

To say 2017 was a tough year for me would be a grand understatement. 2017 was undoubtedly the toughest year of my life so far. The year I lost my beloved Grandad. The year I lost my way. The year I lost myself. So much loss. But also a lot of self-reflection and ultimately, growth. I think, looking back, 2017 was the year I truly understood the expression "You have to experience the lows, to truly appreciate the highs of life". This year has been the biggest rollercoaster ride, but I've come out a completely different person, and I realise now, with that beautiful thing called hindsight, that I'm better for it.

See, we started off the year with my Grandad gravely sick. It had all happened so suddenly at the end of 2016, and by January, it was becoming clear that he wasn't going to pull through. Losing my Grandad was the first time I had properly experienced loss before. I'd previously experienced death of a loved one, but had been too young to properly understand or process it. This time around, I knew exactly what I was losing. My Grandad had been a constant fixture throughout my life, my grandparents have always been a wonderful support, and to see him go from his very commanding, strong character and frame, to such a frail, sick man, was absolutely heartbreaking. It's coming up to the 1st year anniversary without my Grandad now, and my Nanna seems to be coping well, we all do. Of course, we all miss him, but we're moving forward. As all families do, we got used to life after death. And it's fine, different, but fine.

Simultaneously, to my Grandad passing, in January, my battle with my mental health, which has been no secret on this blog, reached rock bottom. I was in my second term of uni and was barely coping. I was barely functioning; never leaving my room, hardly eating, or even get out of bed. I was simply crippled with depression. I had never felt so down, so tired, and so empty. It all came to a head when I left my room at uni only once in 2 weeks, completely ignored all my emails and essay commitments, and literally just lay in bed for all those days, hardly even watching tv, but constantly crying. I couldn't concentrate on anything, small daily tasks such as showering or making a bowl of cereal seemed so incredibly difficult, everything seemed difficult. In the end, it became clear that I had to take time out of university to properly recover. I remember how deflated, how worthless and how much of a failure I felt the day my parents came to collect me, and I left for the journey home. But also how relieved. I knew the next few months of recovery were going to be tough, and I was incredibly worried that I wouldn't make any progress. But deep down I could feel that I was doing the right thing. 

And now, a year later and after having completed my first term back at university, I've come to realise how valuable that time out was, and how much can change in just 12 months. Over that year out, I was able to focus on my own self-development. The first few months were incredibly tough, as I felt even more down and worthless, as though I'd been left behind. But things started to pick up. I started taking anti-depressants, I started counselling, and slowly, things got better. My mood improved. I would be more active in the day. I started to consider the idea of the future. I threw myself into my blogging, and rediscovered my creative side. I realised how much I had missed creating, I'd missed art, and sketching and painting, and I channeled that energy through my blog instead. I started to work with brands, and felt like I had some purpose. The blog gave me purpose. I began to discover myself and who I am, as cringeworthy as it sounds. But when you have that time, you have time to do things purely for you, and that's what I tried to start doing. Before long I realised that I wanted to change courses and university, and study something that I felt passionate about, that felt more me. In the end I took the big decision to change to Politics and International Relations, a course I'd always wanted to study, but I'd simply been too scared to make the change. I ignored my fear and I did it, and now, one term in, I realise how positive that decision was. It's set my further behind time wise, but I've realised how important it is to stop caring about that too. My counsellor always tells me "You need to walk your own journey, and ignore everyone else", and I've come to see how true that is. Comparison really is the thief of joy. As soon as I started to care less about what other people may or may not think, I felt so much freer. 

I've learnt a lot about love too. Not romantic love, nope, of course not, maybe 2018 will be my year? (But lol, I won't be holding my breath on that one!) But I realised just how important having a strong support system is. Having such a close knit, loving, supportive family and friend network around me was invaluable to me. It was so important in making me realise that I was not alone. Sometimes, when you don't have the strength in yourself to push forward, you need the strength of others to hold you up. It's not easy living with someone with depression, I know that, and I've always felt guilty about it. It's painful for those around you, because they see your pain, but can't do anything to help you. I always feel guilty for what I put my family through with my health, and that's a huge part of depression, isn't it, the guilt. Sometimes you can't even articulate it, you feel guilty purely for the fact that you feel sad and you don't even know why. And that's hard. But it's the guilt you feel when you just want to be better so that your family don't have to worry. I was lucky that my family always kept strong for me, I never felt like a burden, they would move heaven and earth for me to get better. I don't think I'll ever forget how incredible they've been for me this past year, and I'm eternally grateful. 

I've also begun to understand the importance of self-love, something that I'd always dismissed and rolled my eyes at. Because I've never had it, never tried to, and have never really even considered it. And now I feel like I'm open to the concept. I've started my own journey to self-acceptance and self-worth, and I think this is what I want to work on most. Self-love will be a lifelong journey, I think for everyone, sometimes you'll feel like less, sometimes you'll feel perfectly content, and it's a journey I'm looking forward to embarking on. 

At the beginning of the year, I think I had given up on life. I was just so tired. That's how depression can be, it can be all consuming. And finishing up the year, I feel different, I feel lighter, freer. I don't feel locked in the prison of my mind anymore. Of course, there are days where the depression wins, and where it feels as though I've made no progress, and once again I'm that broken girl that I was last January. But on the whole, I've come to realise that I am ok. For once, I'm entering a new year feeling optimistic, feeling open. I have a newfound lust of life. Life isn't such a chore anymore.

You see, I always say that 2017 was the worst year of my life. And in a sense it was. It was filled with so much pain and a lot of challenges. But now, looking back, I realise why I had to go through it, why this year needed to happen. I'm a big believer in the idea that everything happens of a reason. Sometimes a lot of bad things happen at once to make you aware of how much you can handle. Ultimately, 2017 was the year I realised just how strong a person can be. It hurts so much when we suffer, but still, we endure, because we have to. In the end we learn what's really important. I don't take for granted for one minute the success of my recovery. With mental health, if you're lucky, you re-discover, or sometimes discover for the first time, as I have, why life is beautiful. 

I guess, approaching 2018, I haven't even really set myself resolutions. I know the only goals I have in mind are to look after myself. 2018 is the year of me, if you will. 2017 was my year of recovery, 2018 will be my year of flourishing, I can feel it, and I'm looking forward to it. 

I'd like to that every single one of you for supporting me with this little blog. Every follow, every like, every comment, every one of you that sets aside time to read my words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't even stress how much it means to me. This blog was one of the only things that got me through those long months at home. It made me feel connected to the outside world, like I wasn't so alone. I never thought my blog would ever be so personal, but beginning to write about my mental health was one of the best decisions I ever made. I finally got to hear experiences of people going through the same. Your words of comfort and support gave me hope and happiness. I hope you guys continue to stick around this coming year, I have no idea where it'll take me!

I guess I'd like to finish by saying, a lot can happen in a year. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that much time at all, but sometimes you can feel like a completely different person by the end of it. So, if you're currently in a painful place, if right now is your equivalent of my January 2017, I send you love and well wishes, and I say, keep marching on, because there is nothing truer than the phrase "This too shall pass". Sometimes, we have to learn that the long way. But once we get to the other side, there's nothing better, and just like that, you'll come to realise that life really is worth living. 


Until next time, 
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx


"Just like moons and like suns, 
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise."
- Maya Angelou

My 1 year blogging anniversary and 5 things I learnt!
Full Post Here

My first mental health post, 'Why there is no shame in needing to take time out'
Such a significant post for me, full read here

Going gaga for Gingham!

Getting Political!
Read Here

Chatting about the fun aspects of fashion in this post


A note on the difficult road to mental health recovery.

The cathartic power of writing.
Read full post here

Working with Boohoo!
Post here

Getting political once more - let's talk injustice, here.

Why I LOVE a good ol' trench coat!

Mental health setbacks, and letting the light in,
Full post here

Getting all dressed up, fancyyyy!

The joy of reconnecting with old friends. 

My first makeup look post!

Getting moan-ey about my relationship with instagram here!

Chatting Fenty Here! (Also my first steps into the world of youtube, I hung my video making shoes up real quick lol!)

My fresher mistakes!

The controversial one! 'An Ode the the Unrequited Crush' - Here!

A post very close to my <3 
Get Free

My first post with Charlotte Tilbury! A highlight for sure!

A step out of my comfort zone with this fun tie dye tee!
The HOH x Cadbury collection Here!

My thoughts on trying to find that ever important work/life balance.
Full post here!

My first post with the wonderful Henry London, working with them has been such a highlight in my blogging year!
Read here!


Another tongue in cheek post, all about being the only single gal in your girl gang!

A 70s inspired makeup look, using CT products once more - absolutely loved this one!

That time I shot with Ted Baker = Surreal!
See all the pics here!

My second Henry London collaboration post, talking about giving the gift of time.
Managed to rope my sister into doing this one with me, so it's pretty special!
See the full post here!

Finally, my NYE makeup and outfit, wearing my absolute fave dress of the year!
See the full post here!

I hope you enjoyed all my posts! Please let me know what your favourite was, and what you'd like to see more of in 2018! x

P.s. stay tuned for Sunday's post - all the outtakes from 2017! It's a good'un, trust me!

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