Self-review can be difficult. Especially when it feels like the negatives from the previous year have become worse and the positives more rare.
However, there is nothing wrong with this difficulty. This year has been tough but there’s little value in either trying to show a false persona (whether the portrayal is happy or sad) nor would I benefit from ignoring it completely.
I’m turned 20 a week ago and here’s the review of my past year.
What’s happened in the past year?
My journal has continued and become an even more important part of my life. I started when I was 18 and it’s still going. I’m nearly at 500 days with over half a million words. Even if it just tends to be personal rambling, it shows the usefulness of consistency. In the early days, there were times when I just didn’t want to write anything. Either because I’m too tired or I’ve had a bad day. Now, I don’t do it based on how I feel. It’s just something I do. It’d be weird if I didn’t write every day. I’m pretty sure journalling is more regular for me than eating breakfast or sleeping for 8 hours.
It’s a wonderful habit which has slowly proved itself as a much needed anchor throughout my day.
On the other side of the coin, my blog has been inactive. I will explain why later. I did have a productive month in March but I can’t explain to you why that was the case! The same thing happened last year. Maybe March is just the best month of the year.
I study Philosophy for those who don’t know. I’m still at university and it’s not the worst thing in the world. I’ve kept and made new friends. I don’t actually know if I’m any better at philosophy at the moment but I have gained new interests in the field. The main one being about global justice and health.
The course is based on what can and whether anything should be done about healthcare in countries around the world. Currently, there is a great inequality of healthcare around the world and it’s something we all know. However, we are also much less likely to actively do anything about it and much less likely to claim responsibility for all the poverty-related diseases in the world. Questions such as ‘Does Aid Work?’ and ‘Are all humans moral equals?’ were central to the course. I feel the course has made me much more compassionate and at the same time, it’s made me feel like my arguments are actually increasing in relevancy instead of being dismissed as useless.
For anyone reading this who know me in real life, I’ve gone on and on about this course. I apologise for nothing.
Depression and Health
This is what I wrote last year:
“Being in pain every day for over five years has started to take its toll on my mental health. My various coping mechanisms are struggling to handle just how prominent all of these medical problems are in my life.”
Unfortunately, nothing positive has developed. My depression is much worse and my pain continues without change in intensity.
I could write for a long time about this depression but I won’t bore you with the rambling. Depression makes me feel alone in the company of my best friends and sad when I’m surrounded with happiness. It has sucked out any motivation I’ve had for the things I used to enjoy and made it difficult to just do normal things. For a while, even during my exam period, I would just lie in bed doing nothing of value. But it’s not like I would sleep either for I also have to deal with insomnia. I’m also still using a walking stick. Which clearly doesn’t help this whole situation.
As you can guess, this year has been filled with a lot of frustration which is often directed at myself. I still meditate but I’ve struggled to find any kind of peace. The days when I would walk outside and just appreciate the sounds and sights are far and few between.
Very recently, I was actually told I can’t have anti-depressants yet because I needed to test stronger painkillers! That seemed to just highlight some of the absurdity of the whole situation.
But that’s ok. Things like that happen to people all the time. I’m not alone with this depression but I don’t know how much comfort that brings to me any more.
So that helps explain why I haven’t written that much over the past year and my current difficulty with university.
I’ll get better. I haven’t lost all hope in the world. I need to get to a million words in my journal, after all.
To every psychologist I’ve spoken to, they’ve asked me: What are your goals for the end of our sessions?
I have to filter out the standard “I don’t want to be depressed” answers because it isn’t that useful.
To all of them, I have said in response “I want to be ok with how I’m feeling”. That doesn’t mean that I have to feel happy all the time. It is centred on finding peace with myself and mindful of who I am. And really just being involved in my own life rather than being a passive spectator of the days that come and go.
Aside from the standard goals of becoming a better writer and developing new skills, I’d say that is the most important. If that means that I’m not on a walking stick when I’m 21, all the better. If I still have to deal with chronic pain, hopefully I’ll still be able to find some peace in my day.
And that is it. Here’s to a better future.