New Year Same Me, But Better

Monday, 8 January 2018

Happy new year!!

I for one am not sad to see the end of 2017. It was one of the worst years of my life and tested me in more ways then I knew possible. In the run up to new year I decided to read my past new years posts and in hindsight they seem so naive and surprisingly repetitive. I had the same issues year after year and so much was hidden between the lines that it almost felt like I was lying. So this year I want to say it how it is. Faults and all, ups and downs, no added sugar. This is my 2017 story...

I'm genuinely surprised that I made it through 2017. People think I'm joking when I say that but it was the hardest year of my life. We could sit here and go though everything that went down but to make it short I basically had a life changing event every single month. Highlights (highlights you know, what a word to choose) include my dog being put down without my knowledge, breakups, discovering my fake friends and being hit by a car running a red light. Imagine an event like those happening to you every single month, that was my 2017.

To top it off my year ended with it being the first time I didn't celebrate Christmas, which was one of the strangest and loneliest experiences ever. I'm also still making weekly hospital visits for physio therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depression. This is probably the lowest point of my life in all honesty, but events like these are the ones that show you who you really are and who I am surprised me more then any of these events could.

It turns out I'm the strongest person I know. I have the ability to pull myself out of any injury, whether it be physical or mental, and I have the ability to do it by myself. My work ethic when I put my mind to something is second to none and as I work through my PTSD and gain myself back I'm evolving into a better version of me that I never knew existed.

Am I blowing my own horn right now? Yes! But I don't care, I'm going to blow that horn all damn year because 2017 taught me the importance of celebrating yourself. I go to the hospital every single week and I do everything I need to do. Every extra task, every piece of homework, every single suggestion I will try it. I did that, nobody else. I've learnt that nobody can love you the way you can love yourself, so this year my first resolution is to celebrate everything, even if I celebrate by myself. I will blow that horn, throw that confetti and celebrate the fact that I'm still here every chance I get.

In April I'm pretty sure I cried every single day. I cried in the night so I wouldn't be heard and I cried in the bathroom locked away so no one would find me. I cried to the point where the skin on my face was always swollen and I broke out in spots like I was a preteen again. Since then I've come so far and in December I think I cried once or twice. That's my glowup. If I could turn that into a before and after photo and plaster it all over my instagram account with #glowup I would. I'm proud of that, I'm proud of my progress and I'm proud of the fact that I did that for myself by myself.

I didn't ask for the circumstances that took over my life 2017, most of us don't ask for or deserve the bad things that happen in our lives. OK sometimes admittedly we are at fault or to blame but did I ask to be run over? No. Did I ask to fall into depression? No. But the choice I do have is how I react to it and what I do now.

My therapist said something to me a few weeks ago that has stuck with me and will probably stick with me forever because I don't hear it often. She said the way I approached my therapy and diagnosis was really brave and I should be proud of myself. I never hear those words and I appreciate her acknowledgement of my hard work and perseverance more then she will ever know.

For reference, I approached my diagnosis like I had just signed up for a new boutique fitness class. I literally announced it so casually and shout out to my friends because they made this work. Here's how it went down:

Friends: Hows life?!

Me: Yeah its OK! Just trying to get on with things really. Still dealing with physio after the accident and I just started therapy for PTSD and depression. So it's a bit tough but you know, I've just got to keep on with it and trust the system.

Friend 1: Sad to hear that but yes you're going the right way about it. I went through something similar when *insert incident here*.

Friend 2: Oh *random friend* has just finished cognitive behavioural therapy! She said it really helped, I'm considering it myself because I still have issues with *insert incident here*.

Friend 3: What kind of therapy are you going for? Did they give you options? My doctor offered me medication when I went through *insert incident here* and it really helped me. I can't imagine how I would have been without the extra help.

Me: I have the option but I want to focus on talking therapies before I go down the medicated route. I think I can get myself through this without it so lets see how it goes first.

Friend 2: Where are you having treatment? Is it local?

Me: Yeah it's so close by, I actually walk over.

Friend 3: *random friend* is having a hard time right now, really struggling, I think she could benefit.

Me: OMG I had no idea! You'd never imagine she was! We're basically in the same boat. I'm going to reach out to her, no one should feel alone especially when we're feeling the same way. Wait why is nobody talking about this more often when it's so common?!

And just like that a completely normal conversation continued. Like we were discussing the benefits of the newest spinning class in town. It wasn't even an exciting gossipy chat, it was just casual and it turns out our feelings are so common and we could all relate. It really opened my eyes, why are we not talking about this more? We live in a world where so many people are struggling so why cant we make this casual conversation? It was probably the most casual conversation I've had all year and now the line 'Jay hows therapy going?' pops up as casually as 'OMG I'm so broke I spent so much money over new year' and I love that!

Its amazing being able to say 'Yeah therapies draining me a bit not gonna to lie. Nearly passed out in the road the other day during treatment, definitely thought I was dying. Baby steps ya know?' with no judgement. So my second resolution is to be the most open advocate for mental health and actively play my role in normalising the conversation. 

Its not a dirty secret, it's like having a broken arm. It's fixable if you put the work in and I'm not going to be ashamed of it or hide it. I didn't choose this, but I do choose how I react to this and my actions and reactions can help and inspire others so that's exactly what I'm going to do. Also I love that my normalcy around the subject has already inspired others to casually open up to me. I can see the look on their face after, like a little weight has been lifted and they too have just realised that they can help normalise this conversation as well. I did that, and now they are going to move forward in their lives and do that too, and the positive cycle continues.

Days before the accident I had just joined a new dance team. I was so excited to get back to something I loved but obviously I had to drop out. I'm still not actually signed off of physio therapy but I would say I'm at least 80% better and showing slow but good progress. Most of my physical injuries were heavy muscle damage and I am so lucky to not have broken any bones. After an initial week of being so off it on pain medication that I slept for 20 hours a day, my physical recovery was mostly about managing my pain and waiting to heal. Apart from an annoying ankle injury and a shoulder injury that was so painful it would wake me up in the night crying and still gets to me now.

This particular injury also came with options, injections or physio therapy, and once again I opted for the non medicated approach. I wanted to fix this myself, for myself by myself, and luckily had the option to do that. If you haven't realised yet that's the 2018 motto, for myself by myself. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right? So I chose to get stronger.

After months I was finally cleared to start exercising again alongside my physical therapy and by that point I'd basically lost all my muscle and strength. This is the first time in over a decade that I've completely stopped being active for so long. I don't know this body, I cant move it like I used to and it's currently not capable of what it once was. I ended up physically back at square one. In a place where what was once easy for me is now hard and I literally have to rebuild myself.

This realisation came at the end of the year. A time when I had lost so much of myself, my life, my friends and my physical capabilities. I expected to be at my weakest as this is the point where I usually break down and cry. The point where it feels like there's nothing I can do and I struggle to understand what I did to deserve this because I am huge believer in energy and karma. But this time was different.

I was just like, OK cool. I've got this. Let's just start from the beginning, work my way back up and enjoy the journey. It was such a calm and collected reaction and completely not me lol. I am dramatic, I am a crier, I am a negative nancy to say the least. I am the girl who will curl up in bed for days all woe is me and you would honestly think the whole world had fallen apart until I eventually get over it. But now I'm not.

Instead I booked 6 hours of dance classes in the first week of January to get started on my goals. I booked a 3 hour heels intensive class even though I currently don't even own suitable heels and probably cant walk let alone dance in them either. But that's fine because I'm going to buy heels tonight, get my butt in that class and even if I'm a hot mess I'm going to be the hottest hot mess of 2018 so far. I am going to own my journey, every damn set back, every damn hurdle, every damn day.

So my third and final resolution is to grow a little everyday. Baby steps, whether they be 1cm or 1 mile, the distance is irrelevant as long as I keep going. The strength I have gained from the set backs of 2017 has made me stronger then I've ever been before. Dare I say it, I seem to be more of an adult now! The days of looking around for an adultier adult to save me are over and now I just look in the mirror.

I really am so proud of myself, seriously I've never been this proud of myself before. As independent as I am as a person in terms of paying bills and being responsible, I don't think I've ever been fully independent when it comes to needing other people until now. I've always kind of needed someone to hold my hand a little and this is the first time I've held my own hand. Now I'm in a place where I don't feel dependent on anyone for my own happiness anymore as I know that's something I can provide for myself by myself.

There is freedom in self love and true self love is what I feel I've realised over the past year. Self love allows you to not depend on anyone else to fulfil you. It allows you to easily let go of any relationship or situation that drags you down or drains you. It eliminates that voice in your head that subconsciously keeps people around out of fear of being alone or finding no one else.

Good energy really does attract good energy. Self love really does attract others who also love themselves and all that love combined makes for friendships and relationships that are like literal light in your life. They grow you and nourish you and you in return nourish them and honestly it's just beautiful.

So my resolutions for 2018 are as follows...

- Celebrate all my successes no matter how large or small
- Do my part to normalise the conversation around mental health
- Grow a little everyday in the direction of my goals and dreams

Another reason I wanted to share my story this year is because I wanted to show people one of the faces of PTSD and depression. You would never know looking at me that I am currently suffering from a mental illness. People tend to have this image of what certain things look like and what type of person falls into the category of suffering from mental illness, or other things like disabilities and homelessness. But these are things that can genuinely happen to all of us, regardless of lifestyle, circumstances or physical appearance. These things could happen to anyone at anytime and I'd like to leave the following links to two of my favourite charities for anyone who would like to learn more, seek help or even donate if you can.

The first is Mind who provide advice and support to help people who are experiencing mental heath problems. They also campaign to help raise awareness and promote understanding of mental health issues. Their videos helped me come to terms with my own diagnosis and a particular video that was literally just four people talking about PTSD was the first thing that made me feel somewhat normal again.

Secondly I'd like to mention Crisis, a charity focused on ending homelessness and helping those who have currently found themselves homeless. They do more then just housing, they support people in finding work, help with their health and more. Each Christmas they organise a place for homeless people to go for Christmas dinner and also to socialise with various activities. Whilst this is going on they also have staff on hand to help with advice and support to help them out of their situation. This is just one of the many things they do throughout the year. They truly are an inspiring charity and one I've been happy to support for longer then I can remember.

It's crazy that this post has a happy ending after all I've been through and am still going through. There were times where I didn't think that was possible and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel or anywhere at all. Now, even though I still have work to do, I can see light in my present and in my future and I genuinely wake up in the morning happy to just be here. I am so grateful to be able to put the work in, to make progress and to grow from this.

I hope your 2017 was better then mine lol, and I hope your 2018 is everything you want and more. If you're feeling lost and don't know where to start, start by loving yourself. Love yourself enough to grow yourself, help yourself and evolve yourself. The rest will then fall into place. Trust me I know, I'm living it.

Until next time, J xx


  1. Hey jaydee, soo sorry to hear what you've been through but then again seeing your attitude towards everything from your post is so inspiring. Everything happens for a reason and maybe there is a bigger power at play here. Your so right about your reaction to things that happen us is what we should focus on not the event.
    I really like that you've opened up about your struggles and not tried to paint a perfect picture like a lot of online influencers. You've always been real and probably is the reason I stay subbed to you. From one Londonder to another, Stay strong and keep slaying life and especially 2018.

    1. Thanks Badrisa <3 I do believe everything happens for a reason. It may have been crap to go through but I wouldn't be the person I am now without the challenges I've faced, and I'm really liking who I am now so I'll take it. Yessss I love that you're a fellow londoner!! Hope you slay 2018 as well, we got this xxx


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