New Year; Same Existential Dread
Posted on January 1, 2018
Well hello everyone!
It is officially 2018! Ew.
A new year for many symbolises a fresh start; new opportunities, new experiences, new plans, new goals. And, yeah, I guess it has the potential for these ‘new’s’ for me too but living with mental illness is hard. The past year has been hard. I don’t want to simply exist and get through another year.
I want to feel. I want to smile. I want happy and healthy and humour and how the hell am I going to manage that when I live with crippling anxiety and depression?
I’ve been trying to create a new start for myself, trying to come up with new goals, new projects, new plans but then the anxiety sets in (it’s all too much and it’s all at once) and then the depression sets in (what’s the point, it’s not like I’ll actually achieve anything) and it becomes too hard to cope with so I hide and pretend I don’t have anything worth living for.
I don’t know what I’m meant to do with myself. I got hit with Norovirus over the Christmas period and I’m still suffering the tail end of that fun. As a result, the dishes have piled up, rubbish has gotten out of control, debris from the dog’s toys are getting ready to launch an attack. And it all feels too much.
In the new year we need to find new jobs, tackle university, figure out what we want from life. And it all feels so much.
I guess I am being a bit melodramatic, and I know that. Even though there is a new year with a fresh start, I still feel the same mental illness and the same existential dread and the same futile pointlessness of everything. It’s hard to cope with. And don’t get me wrong, I do everything I can to make myself feel content, organised and calm, it just feels like all I’m doing is existing and not living.
The majority of people on this planet, though, are we all not just existing? How many of us can actually truly say we feel like we are living?
Anyway, despite depression and Norovirus and existential dread I have devised a plan to live in 2018. Would you like to hear it? No? Well, tough, I’ll tell you anyway.
First, I need to wipe the slate clean, as it were. I need to clean and tidy my house, my mind and my goals. I need my immediate physical environment to be clean and minimal to make me feel calm and content. This in turn will help me to clean my mind; a tidy house is a tidy mind after all. Also, to clean my mind, I need to first draw a mindmap/brainstorm/brainshower of everything inside my head; every thought, feeling, idea, inspiration, goal and task must be written down. Adding to this, I will walk outside in fresh air at least once a day (good for me; good for the dog), I will meditate everyday and I will eat proper home-cooked meals. I’ve also made a doctors appointment to reassess my medication because Sertraline is fucking me over something chronic.
Second, I need to set up my bullet journal for the new year. I have found them insanely helpful for keeping my mind stable and organised. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it yet, you should. In my bullet journal I will fine-tune the goals from my mindmap into my 2018 plan. I need to create consistency and routine to survive mentally.
Third, is where I turn from simply existing to living. This is where I focus on what I love doing; art, poetry, reading, learning, hiking, camping, exploring. I think that by focusing on these I will be able to not only survive 2018 but thrive in 2018!
I hope, and have learnt from past experience, that by building up in layers, similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the elements of my life that I need and want I will be able to get through and thoroughly live in 2018.
I know that there will be good days and bad days but I also know the incredible strength and resilience that I have within my own person.
2018, depression, life; I’m coming for you!
Lots of love,