Ah, 2018. The year my boyfriend left me, I drifted from my best friend of 6 years, we had a bangin’ summer and England nearly brought football home. It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least. I’m writing this post fully aware that most people will be writing about how 2019 will be their year or simply reflecting on the past year and how they’ve grown as a person. I haven’t updated my blog in a while and to be honest, I have barely even thought about it because I’ve been out a lot, living my life and actually having fun! The first four months of 2018 were probably the worst time of my life so far, if you read my posts regularly, you’ll understand that I went through a break up but the three months prior to the relationship actually ending were hell for me and my anxiety was at its worst.
Since April, I have become a new person and so many people have told me how proud they are of me and how far I’ve come in such a small space of time and do you know what? I’m proud of myself. I’ve achieved a lot this year and my head is in the best space it’s been in about five years. I’ve spent so much quality time with my friends and family and I see growth in myself every single day.
Towards the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, I wasn’t myself. I was unhappy, stressed and anxious and I didn’t enjoy doing things I usually would love to do. However, 2018 was the year I thought “fuck it.” And did many things that I never even would have considered this time last year!
1. I started with a Personal Trainer
2018 was the year I was introduced to the lovely Chantelle! Without sounding too cheesy, she has completely changed my life. I enjoyed going to the gym when I was at uni but naturally, when you get into a new relationship – you want to spend any spare time with them and I stopped exercising. I didn’t do anything for around two years so I was incredibly unfit and granted, I’m still not rocking a bikini body but I’m HAPPY. I come out of each session and my head feels completely clear. I truly believe that dedicating myself to working out with Chantelle has contributed massively towards improving my anxiety.
2. I got help for my anxiety
I finally reached out to my GP after four years of struggling with anxiety in silence. I started taking medication which I’m now only taking when I feel a panic attack brewing and I started seeing a therapist. I haven’t been signed off from CBT yet but I’m definitely getting there. It’s been amazing to talk to someone and learn different methods to help control the anxiety and panic. A very important model I’ve learnt about is the self-esteem model and I would urge anyone who struggles with anxiety or panic to self-teach yourself this model if you’re not prepared to reach out for professional help yet.
3. Went to SO many gigs!
I love music and I always have. I’ve always tried to go to gigs to see my favourite bands but my anxiety was certainly stopping me from enjoying this as much as I should have. However, this year… I have been to so many and not even taken my beta blockers to stop me from feeling anxious there! Last year, I would be frantically looking for every exit in case anything happened. This year, I’ve grabbed a beer, danced and sang my heart out. I would like to say thanks to my friend Jack for this, I’ve been to a number of gigs with him this year and had the best time so thanks for making me feel so at ease and making me laugh because I haven’t even felt slightly anxious at any gigs this year!
I’ve been to…
- Ed Sheeran @ The Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
- Neighbourhood Weekender @ Warrington.
- Arctic Monkeys @ Sheffield Arena.
- Courteeners @ Leeds First Direct Arena.
- Isaac Gracie @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
- Reverend & The Makers @ O2 Academy, Leeds.
- Mumford & Sons @ Leeds First Direct Arena.
- DMA’s @ O2 Academy, Leeds.
- Blossoms @ Victoria Warehouse, Manchester.
- Lots of Sofar Sounds gigs in Leeds and one in York!
- And booked LOADS more for 2019!
4. Went to Berlin and didn’t feel anxious!
I had the absolute best time in Berlin! There was one evening where I felt a bit panicky about going out but I didn’t have an attack and it soon went away! We travelled a lot via the underground which usually would terrify me and make me feel sick but I was absolutely fine and would go back again in a heartbeat. I definitely feel confident about visiting more places next year and I would love to take it a step further and travel somewhere alone. (Even though I would definitely get lost.)
5. I got a tattoo!
I’ve always loved the idea of having a tattoo and I’ve known for a long time what I’d get if I was to get one but I’m absolutely terrible with pain so I’ve never bitten the bullet and done it… Until now! I was listening to my embarrassing break-up playlist a couple of weeks after my relationship ended and I remember a song came on by Little Mix and one of the lyrics said “guess I should say thank you, for the hate yous and the tattoos.” And I just thought “fuck it.” And booked in with an amazing artist I’ve been following on Instagram for years! I could not be happier with my tattoo, I stare at it all the time! It’s also sentimental. My Grandma loved the sun and sunflowers, she passed away in a hospice and the sunflower is the symbol for the National Hospice Movement. Also, my favourite song is Sunflower by Courteeners!
6. I went out… A lot
Ok, granted, I DID go out in 2017 too but I didn’t enjoy it half as much as I do now. I felt like I’d become “boring” and that’s not me! I’ve been going out so much and I’ve been having an absolute blast! My bank account isn’t too impressed with me but I’ve spent less time worried about spending money and more time having a good time! Last year, in a busy bar, I’d feel on edge and worried to drink too much in case I get in too much of a state but this year, I’ve not had a care in the world and had some of the best night’s out since I turned 18!
7. I drove on the motorway… More than once!
This might seem like nothing to anyone else but for me, this is a HUGE achievement! I’m quite a nervous driver, it took me four times to pass and it’s been over a year since I started driving now. I’d been on the motorway once from Leeds to Sheffield and back but I had my boyfriend at the time in the car in front and on bluetooth to me speaking me through everything and I was terrified. I’ve ended up on it a couple of times in Leeds by accident and had a horrible panic attack but before Christmas, I was feeling sad and lonely and my best friend lives in Manchester City Centre so she told me to come and go out with her. I didn’t even hesitate! I got ready, jumped in my car and drove down the M62 and I was just FINE! I did it again on Christmas Day to spend it with my extended family and I’m so proud of myself!
Other things that happened in 2018… I’ve started working in the pub I used to work at part-time which is doing wonders for my confidence! I went to London a couple of times and actually enjoyed myself rather than feeling stressed, I also got a speeding ticket and two parking fines in the space of a week which wasn’t really a highlight…
On reflection, I’ve actually had an extremely positive year. Despite a couple of life-changing things happening to me which last year, I thought would have ruined my life – they did not and I am happy. I’ll be 24 this time next year, hopefully I’ll have grown even more. I wonder what colour my hair will be…
Happy New Year,