Goodbye 2017, you shall not be missed

It’s been a little while since I posted on my blog and this is for a number of reasons. This year has been the most turbulent year I have ever experienced with a lot of hard times and in all honesty, I am very much looking forward to saying goodbye to 2017 and starting a new year. From dealing with some of my darkest moments of my mental illness, to struggling with where I am going with my career and mostly… such beautiful people have left us…this year has been challenging to say the least.

A lot of my previous blogs have been a generalised outlook on mental health, from coping mechanisms of people suffering, to insights of mental health for loved ones to understand. However, I feel that I should also try and give an insight into the day to day struggles that I face too, not only for people to resonate with but for my own personal recovery.

Since my last blog post there has been so much change that has happened in my life…some for the greater good, yet also some heartbreak. In September, I was signed off sick with depression by my psychiatrist again after feeling that everything had begun to take it’s toll. I was struggling to carry on in my current job due to job dissatisfaction – something that has been an ongoing issue since I moved to HK three years ago and my BDD had hit an all-time high. With visas a struggle to come by for a legal PA with no Chinese language skills, I had started to give up hope of ever finding a new job that would give me the career progression and fulfilment I needed.

I started questioning so much – being stuck in a dead end job that you effectively spend so much of your time in and also feeling insecure about your looks constantly feeds back into every part of your life.

As I have said before, when I am quiet at my desk it creates a spiral of anxiety and depression and eventually I decided that I needed to get out and take action. Whilst being signed off, I decided to have a real think about what I would like to do with my life. I decided that I needed something goal orientated, incentives to work hard and push myself, something busy, communicative and exciting…Scott suggested recruitment. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Luckily, Hong Kong is a huge hub for recruiters and I have a number of friends in the industry that I was able gather advice from and I decided to take a leap of faith and try out something new. After all, there’s no harm in trying, right?

Long story short, after a few chats with some very close friends and a trial week to see if it was for me (or if I was even good at it!!!), I managed to secure a place in an amazing recruitment firm, of which I am completely ecstatic about. I am nearly two months into my new role and I am pleased to say that I have never been happier in terms of my career. The prospects that it will bring I finally feel like I have found something I can really progress in. FINALLY SOMETHING GOOD TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR!!
But, as life does,  things happen when you least expect it to…

A few weeks back, I sadly lost my amazing Nan. Of all the good things that come with living away, you never really think of all the cons (at least not much anyway!). The cons do not get more real than losing someone you love and losing someone whilst you are 6,000 miles away is more difficult than anything I have ever experienced. Grieving usually consists of being around your loved ones and coming to terms together of whom you’ve lost. Yet when you’re miles apart from your family it can sometimes make you feel guilty for not being there and make you feel isolated from all that is going on.

Grieving is hard enough as it is, let alone the bouts of guilt and sadness you get from being so far away from home and feeling like you are thousands of miles away from where you should be. I guess that saying goodbye to someone is never easy, whether your in the same room as them or the other side of the world and we are lucky today to live in a world where technology makes the latter far easier.

My last contact with my Nan was a few days before she died through FaceTime whilst she was in hospital and it upset me so much I couldn’t even hold the phone, speak or look at the screen. From that day, I knew that was the last contact that I would have with her and it was all just a cruel waiting game to receive that dreaded phone call with the news that she had passed. I contemplated flying home to say my goodbyes and have one last cuddle.. but as so many people told me, there was nothing I could do to change what was happening and my last memories with her would always be happy ones.

Luckily, I was able to fly back to the UK to attend her funeral service and say a real goodbye along with the rest of my family. I am so proud of how everyone in my family was so strong that day and I am sure that Nan is looking now proud too of the amazing send off (party!) that she would have wanted.

So this is a tribute and message to my beautiful queen and I hope somehow you can read this blog post and see just how much you were loved by so many.
A heart of gold stopped beating, two shining eyes at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best. God knows you had to leave us but you didn’t go alone, for part of us went with you, the day he took you home. To some you may be forgotten, to others just a part of the past but to us who loved and lost you, your beautiful memory will always last.
My lovely Nan, you were truly a queen and lit up the lives of everyone you met with your infectious personality, beaming smile and love for partying! You will be forever missed by so, so many and I am completely heartbroken you couldn’t stay with us longer. I will love you forever and always and am so thankful that I got to be your granddaughter xxxxxx

2017, you have truly tried and tested the very best of us all but you have taught me (amongst others)…that we need to stop planning for tomorrow, worrying about what happens next and living in hope that things will get better if we just wait. You have taught me to stop right now… make those changes I want today and enjoy every single moment that’s given to me because we never know a moment until it’s gone. You have taught me to never second guess myself and that I can do anything (even surprise myself!) if I put my mind to it. Two amazing people who lived by this motto to the very fullest have instilled this into the hearts of everyone they touched and I promise I will try my hardest to think how you both would when times get difficult.

2017, you have taken two very beautiful souls this year. Molly & Nan, I truly hope you are both in peace yet causing trouble with your partying antics up there! The incredible legacies you have both left behind will forever live on in the people who loved you most. You will both be forever missed.

2018, I am ready for you! I have a lovely new apartment, a brand new career with amazing opportunities, new countries planned to visit and more exciting memories that await – I am stronger than I ever was before this year and I am ready to take on anything 2018 throws at me. Although, please be a little nice this year!!

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.”

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