I saw in this year standing on the bar , looking down on the faces of my friends, glass of Barley Wine in hand. I was then lifted down by the man I loved.
After a quick 5 minutes of celebrating, I hopped back behind the bar. Once we closed, I cashed up, while the rest of the team cleaned up streamers off the floor.
When we were done, we all went upstairs to my friend’s flat to join the party. I rolled in about 5AM, and spent New Year’s Day hungover, ordering Deliveroos to my freezing cold studio flat to eat in my bed with my boyfriend.
How things change.
I am currently sitting in my car, one town over from my hometown, drinking tea, face mask in my pocket, waiting for my dog to be groomed.
Tonight, I will probably have a nice dinner with my parents, watch Celebrity Sewing Bee, read a bit of The Hobbit, and go to bed before the bells, stone cold sober.
What the fuck happened?
Well for starters, my mental health massively deteriorated.
It had been on a downward spiral for a while, but I’d just ploughed on through. Work became less fun and more stress. The house I’d lived in with my husband finally sold.
Once things got really bad, and I was off work, my boyfriend couldn’t cope. Everyone told me to go home to my parents. So I did. And I never went back.
My full on mental health crisis saw me spend about 6 weeks on a psych ward, before I was discharged because Coronavirus had spread so widely around the world that the UK had to lock down and tell everyone to stay at home.
Hospital was rock bottom.
So how did I get back up?
I started doing things that I used to love – ballet, music, walking…
I developed a new relationship with my phone.
I deactivated my Facebook account, stopped using Instagram, and had my phone on airplane mode for days at a time, so all I used it for was the camera. Eventually, when I was ready, I turned it on again full-time, and set up a new Instagram account.
I started playing an online game, and made new friends.
I discovered spirituality. Specifically Wicca and witchcraft.
I built myself an altar, read book after book, and reconnected with nature.
As part of my craft, I incorporated mindfulness and meditation in to my daily life.
This is something I was taught in hospital, and then continued in my group therapy out in the community.
I went to a mental health Peer Support Group, and trained to be a volunteer worker.
I decided to get a dog, and was fortunate enough to be offered a puppy of my new favourite breed really quickly.
I trained him, walked him, and tried to give him as many rich experiences as I could in a global pandemic.
I made the decision to pull out of buying a flat in the city, give up the lease on my studio flat, and move back in with my parents for a bit.
I also decided to leave my job of 6 years. A job that had once been my absolute life.
I bought a car so that I could be more independent.
I wanted to become better at writing, and maybe even turn it in to a career. When I looked at what online courses were available, I realised I was qualified enough to do an MA. I applied, and I got in!
It means even more to me that I used a piece of writing about my discharge from the psych ward as my ‘3000 word creative piece’ on my application.
I stopped drinking.
I finally faced up to the fact that I had been abusing it for nearly 20 years. I have now been sober 59 days, and that has improved my mental health and my productivity no end.
I ate a lot of chocolate, and gained A LOT of weight.
So now I stand in good stead for 2021.
Pretty much every single facet of my life has changed.
But now I’m living in my hometown with my parents (for now).
I have a gorgeous dog.
I am sober.
I am enrolled on a Creative Writing MA.
I have a Peer Support Group that I can attend, and am trained to be a volunteer worker at said group.
I have a roof over my head, a car to drive, and the house deposit is still in my bank.
And I think that’s all pretty cool.
Happy new year everyone x