I am exceedingly tired, physically and emotionally, and it’s hard to force myself to focus on the positive from this year. There are positives. Lots of them, but there were also many many negatives. For instance, I started the year with a gall bladder.
Things have been tough. I was on very very little money for first half of the year, thanks to the stupid government. I spent three weeks in hospital and had my gall bladder removed. I finally lost touch completely with one of my best friends – although she is doing well and I’m very pleased for her. My other best friend moved several hundred miles away. I got dragged deep into a depressive funk. I turned fricking thirty! I had massive arguments with a housemate. My cat had an accident and a subsequent operation and racked up a few hundred quid in vet bills I’ll be paying off til Easter. My sister went missing for 2 days and was found in a situation that has led to her being taken into care and an upcomingg trial in February. I spent most of November and December in another depressive funk. My benefits were stopped (AGAIN) and I didn’t get my Christmas spirit until just one or two days before Christmas.
So yeah.. It hasn’t been great. But when I stop to think about it, and I’m trying very hard to do this, there have been some pretty wonderful things this year too.
Yes, I was in hospital, but I managed to have my gall bladder removed while I was there. I met a lot of people in there who also had gall stones who have been waiting months and months, agonising ones, for their operation. I was lucky to get mine so quickly. And I was lucky to have it done laparoscopically too, because of my size it was highly likely I’d have had to have open surgery, which would have taken me a lot longer to recover from.
I won my benefits tribunal and got to laugh in the face of the government – well, not literally, but you know what I mean.
I got my first job in twelve years! It’s part time, permitted by my benefits, working from home doing admin and moderating for game apps. I love it! I’m helping two of my best friends, and they’re helping me. I have more money coming in, and it’s been an unmeasurable boost to my confidence.
My friend may have moved, but I followed him! Sort of. In July I moved back to Basingstoke to live with my mother. For many many reasons, one of which being that I’m now only twenty miles away from my friend 🙂
Moving back to Basingstoke has been a pretty good thing too. Within weeks I was already doing so much better emotionally. Down here I have much more support from family and friends, and mum makes sure I go to the doctor when I need to and take my meds and get to appointments. I have a better routine now that I can’t sleep all day. I’m fitter. For a few months I was getting out several times a week, going out just riding buses occasionally, and. Was meeting new people and making new friends. Even when I don’t go out, I’m more active at home. November and December kinda stilted my progress but I’m getting back to it in 2013.
My ankle doesn’t hurt! Well, it does. It aches at the moment because of the cold weather. But a year ago I was on strong daily painkillers because it ached all the time. Just having a life down here has helped to exercise it and it is soooo much better. I haven’t needed those strong daily painkillers in two or three months. When I went on holiday for my birthday I didn’t need to take any painkillers til about the third day, which is pretty impressive for me.
Ah yes, my birthday. I’ve had a history of disappointing birthdays and I was determined that my thirtieth was going to be epic. And it was! It was absolutely brilliant. On the actual day my family and a couple of my close friends went out for dinner and presents. Two days later I went to Manchester to see Michael McIntyre live, in brilliant seats. The next day I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days. Amsterdam is amazing, and I do plan on going back with more money sometime soon. Then my birthday celebrations were topped off with five days in West Sussex in a caravan with mum and Michaela. My birthday was brilliant, and epic, and amazing, and one I’m not going to forget any time soon.
Smudge (my cat) may have been in an accident – she degloved her chin – but that’s all she did. I was woken up that day with a phone call saying shed been hit by a car, and although she hadn’t, she could have been. Her injuries could have been a lot worse. I might not have had someone to take us to the vet. Nashe might not have been okay. But she is, and that’s definitely a positive for the year. Under her chin was always her favourite place to be stroked and I was really worried she’d lose feeling there, or just not like to be touched there. But she’s back to how she was. Purring away as soon as you touch her.
The other big good thing this year was education. When I moved down here I looked into courses at the local college and in September I started a dressmaking course and a creative writing course. Both have been spectacular. I brought a sewing machine from a friend, and have been whizzing away making beautiful skirts and all sorts. And my creative writing class has helped me break through my writers block. I’m writing again. My teacher cannot praise me enough. She says my work is “sophisticated” and she uses it for examples in class. She arranged for me to have the fee waiver so I could go back in the spring. I’m continuing both my classes til the end of summer now, which is very cool.
And I have a plan! My writing teacher says I should do a degree in writing. I explained my financial situation and problem with student loans, and she reckons I could get sponsorship. So for the next year or two I’m going to an,it lots of writing for publication and to competitions, to build up a writing CV. Then I’m going to write to sponsorship and grant companies to see if I can get some help. In the meantime I’ll be saving and then in (hopefully) five or six years I’ll be going back to university.
So, despite the bad, there’s lots of good I can focus on. I’d like to end this post with a few public thank yous.
To my mum – you have been there for me so much this year. With hospital and the tribunal and coming to get me to live with you. I know we haven’t always had the best relationship but you are loyal and understanding and much more open minded than a lot of parents I know about, and there’s not a single person in this town you haven’t helped in some way or other. You are a brilliant woman and I love you.
To my friend Cayden – thank you for everything. I don’t know if I’d have made it through some patches without you. And thank you specifically for coming to see me so much while I was in hospital. You were there nearly every day, despite the massive amounts of pain you were in and knowing that visiting would increase that pain. I love you buddy!!
To my bosses Kat and Chris – you were brilliant friends anyway, and then you did something fantastic. You gave me this job that has done so much for my confidence and my routine and just my life generally. I hope I can work for you forever, but even if I can’t, it’s been incredible. I love both of you to bits. A, I allowed to love my boss?
To Michael – your help is usually a little more behind the scenes, but there’s so much that happened this year (and every year) that couldn’t have happened without you. You’ve bailed me out of so many messes that I’ve lost count. I hope I’ll be able to help you back as much whenever I can. I love you too, dude.
To everyone – I’ve pinpointed those people specifically but there is a list of dozens of people who have helped me and supported me. If you don’t already know how much I love and appreciate you all, then I’m a terrible person and you can feel free to smack me round the gob with a wet kipper. I love all of you. Thank you for keeping me going.