This is an appreciation post as well as an honest insight into the last year of my life. 2015 was the hardest year of my life. There was nothing tragic other than the deep pit of depression I ended the year in. I might still be there if not for the people around me. I showed my depression to those I don’t live with in subtle, uncontrollable ways not wanting to burden them with my problems. I did not do this because I believed they didn’t or wouldn’t care if I told them all, I did it because they had their own worries and I had to work things out more before I spoke to them. I’d constantly let my parents know I was second-guessing my post-grad course at university in the hope of a reassuring pep talk, and while these did at first make me feel better it was the support alone that improved my mood because on a day to day basis I felt completely alone. Although I had to tell my family there were a few people I did not have to tell. My fiancé and my younger sisters, they are the reason this is as much an appreciation post as anything else. My sisters would come to our flat every Friday night and for a long time those Fridays allowed me to be a completely different person (and by that I mean I was almost the exact same person I was before not the person I had become) because there is nothing I cannot tell my sisters. They are without a doubt the greatest friends I will ever have and people I couldn’t keep anything from even if I wanted to. I truly feel for people who do not have those people they know they can trust and they know will not judge them no matter what. If you have been through similar experiences or are still currently in that pit, comment or message and I will reply. It may not help and I don’t know everything but if anything you will be listened to, you will be heard and you don’t have to hold anything back. There are no other opinions I regard as highly as these three people in my life. The other person, my fiancé and fellow blogger, he was always there. I felt like I existed when I was with him and didn’t have to put on an act to pretend to be happy. This might sound strange but I could be completely miserable around him and it helped me get through those long months.
The depression was a result of my post-grad course; it brought about the realisation that the career I had worked towards for four years, volunteering in a local school alongside undergrad and a language course at night and a part-time job, was not for me. My time volunteering whilst not a waste was now useless. It was my dream and it was not what I thought it would be. It wasn’t just my future it was to be ours and yet he did not think about that for a second, in his eyes it was never about him, it was only me. He wanted me to give it up and I thought he didn’t understand how big a deal that would be, how significant and circumstantial it would be to my life, but he knew much more than me. I told my parents I had decided to leave my course before the new year, doing otherwise felt like lying and although I wasn’t completely sure of the idea of dropping out I knew I would be happier in the long run. I wanted to start the New Year by starting to claw my way out the pit. I knew then as I still do, that hard times will not only belong in my past but I fully believe that my depression will. If I had different parents I would still be doing that course. They were not happy with my choice, as they knew how hard I had worked to get there and had blindly supported me along the way. Nevertheless when I explained to them how miserable I would be continuing down that road for another seven months they allowed it. I gave them a few days to take it all in as it had taken them by surprise. I had kept it from them, but there were those three people in my life who were not surprised. Of course I had asked them their thoughts, and they said they did not want to see me upset anymore. It takes bravery to take a part in the life-altering decisions of your loved ones. If I didn’t have these three people I would still be in the pit, I’d have to stay there for seven months in the hope it would get better. That is not the way for it to get better. If you need time to just be around the right people before you share anything then take that time and don’t feel guilty about it. Pressuring yourself to have all the answers will never help it will just drag you down deeper. Nobody has all the answers and intelligence is in knowing that. Tell people you can trust, whether it’s those already in your life or third party outsiders from support networks. There are ways I got through it that didn’t involve other people, read up on it, not diagnosis or symptoms just fiction that deals with relevant themes and quotes from your favourite literary greats and your idols. I turned to books as I’ve done my whole life, not for escape but for understanding. A wise man once said ‘we read to know that our longings are universal belongings, we read to know we belong.’ I also found solace in music and could often be found belting out Adele ballads with tears rolling down my face. Do what you love; my fiancé was the one who told me to pick up a book again. That side of me had been lost and he knew it would bring some part of me back and make me feel better, it made all the difference; it gave me back part of my identity.
We had got engaged in summer and I started my course in September, the first month went well. October followed and things changed. My course demanded all my time; it consisted of long days and longer nights. When things went badly I was inconsolable for days or weeks and when things went well and I should have been celebrating I was indifferent. The real reason I was so unhappy was because I never thought for a second that this course and career would be anything other than amazing. I had our future all planned out in my head and the thought of having it any other way was terrifying. The thought of starting from scratch and having no solid, reliable career pathway in mind was really scary. I felt pressured, alone and lived on the verge of tears and mental breakdown for a long time. When I left my professional course I was also leaving a career and with a wedding this summer I had never felt younger. The only other thing I have ever wanted to do is write. Everyone associates writing with difficult financial circumstances and it is common knowledge how difficult it is to become a successful writer. I had gone from a career that would start in September so leaving my course to tread unknown waters; I thought it was the biggest risk I could take. Although I know now that letting myself get pulled further into depression would have been much more of a risk. I will spend my life repaying the three individuals who were there when I changed my life and who helped bring me back to who I was before, although perhaps a wiser, more grateful version. And of course to my parents who decided to be disappointed with me rather than in me. I dedicate this post to my sisters Amy and Christie who prove to me each day that blood is thicker than water, who share my sorrows as much as my joys and who constantly make me proud not only of them but of myself. Last but not least to Danny who is not of my blood but my soul, thank you for being there through the good and the bad. Thank you for devoting all of your time trying to make me smile when I couldn’t possibly mean it. I hope you find happiness in the thought that although you did not always achieve this you ultimately won, and we both know how much you enjoy winning. I don’t know how I could ever make this up to you but know that I will spend my life trying. I’d also like to make an honourable mention to Sam, Danny’s sister, know that you are also my best friend and my sister. I only kept this from you as I didn’t want you to have to lie or keep things from your family. I know how hard that is and I didn’t want that for you. Nevertheless you played your part so thank you.
I am writing this from a happier place. I am living, breathing proof that things get better and one day you will look back on hard times and cry with happiness instead of sadness. Although that might just be me, I will forever be a crier. Thus I leave you on a happier note with a list Danny wrote of things that made me cry in an Internet tribute to the original ‘crying girlfriend list.’ I would like to explain these over-reactions by saying they all took place in those dark months but I don’t want to lie to you:
Things that made Sophie cry:
When I bought her paprika pringles that she didn’t ask for
When she watched Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Hilary Duff was made the godmother to Norah’s baby
The Strictly come Dancing final even though she doesn’t like it and hadn’t watched that season
A Harry Potter video, fan-made
American Idol- both when people get through and when they get sent home
P.S make time for the small things and the big people,