Across every single social media platform, I have friends saying they are done with 2016 – It’s just been that kinda year. This year has been quite a ride for so many of us and we are almost at the end of it. And the end of things bring times of reflection. And the end of 2016 is no different.
Thinking about my roller coaster ride that was 2016, I am reminded of something my mom says, “you learn the most when you are challenged the most by life.” Since life decided to challenge me a good deal in 2016, there’s got to be some good lessons in there. I sat down looked back at my year and found 3 really good things that 2016 taught me.
Lesson #1: Taking time for myself isn’t selfish and it’s not something to feel guilty about.
I recently took a break from my writing and it was a guilt free experience because of this lesson. I’m not only a spoonie but I’m a caretaker for another spoonie- my mom.
As a caretaker and a spoonie, it takes a toll on me to not only try to take care of the things my mom needs when she isn’t able to handle things and household stuff but also my own health, writing and personal tasks so I needed to learn how to take time out to recharge my batteries to persevere my sanity without guilt or I wasn’t gonna be any use to my mom or myself.
I finally realized this when my mom was hospitalized earlier this year and I was at the hospital trying to coordinate with her doctor, the nurses and trying to advocate for her while in one of the worst endometriosis flares I had this year. I was pushing myself beyond my limits and I was ignoring people telling me to go home and rest.
I collapsed later that night and ended up in the emergency room with an IV and people crowded around me.
It reminded me of that tumblr and Instagram quote you see a lot: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.
Lesson #2: Sometimes you need to ask for help.
My dislike for mental health treatment is a well known thing. I carry the scars from the psychiatrists and nurses who didn’t believe me or didn’t listen and who prescribed treatments that hurt more than they helped. So it was incredibly difficult for me to have to actively seek out psychiatric treatment this year.
I started loosing control this spring and I could see my life slipping out of my grasp and I knew I had to do something. Taking that first step and saying that I needed to get help was that hardest thing. It was a long process to get a psychiatrist because in my town there isn’t a lot of available doctors for my insurance.
But in November I started seeing a psychiatrist and therapist and I’m on medication again. Now I’m happy to say I’m improving. I’m gaining control of my mental illness again and that feels so good.
Lesson #3: Choosing sobriety was the greatest gift I could’ve ever given myself.
I recently celebrated 4 months clean and sober. I didn’t start talking about my sobriety until the 4 month anniversary. A lot of people didn’t even know that I had a problem with alcohol. I was what some people call a “functioning alcoholic” but I wasn’t functional at all.
I was predisposed for addiction problems and I saw how much I was drinking and when I couldn’t function without alcohol, I knew I had a problem.
Getting sober was a step towards taking my life back. It was one of the hardest things and one of the best things I’ve done.
I never thought I would wake up and not reach for a drink but I still have those days where I want to. But I know I will have times like that and i remember to take it one day at a time.
2016 taught me a lot but I’m ready for it to be over with and for 2017 to start. I’ve got a lot of exciting things going on in the new year that I’m looking forward to sharing with y’all!
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