If 2007 was the year of breakdowns and abuse; 2008 the year of false-hope; 2010 the year of forgotten memories and 2012 the year of found-hope, then 2013 was the year of achievement. Even my negative obsessed mind has had a hard time dissing the monumental leaps I’ve taken in both mental-health and personal development over the last twelve months.
So as 2013 draws to a speedy close, what better way to celebrate than bask in my glorious achievements and relay several of the most wonderful things that have happened to me over the last twelve months! :)
7. Building stronger (and healthier) relationships with my people…
This time last year I was at odds with all of my voices. When they spoke to me it was always abusive, derogatory content that made me despise myself on a level almost impossible to relate via words alone.
Twelve months on, courtesy of some ruddy hard work, we’ve managed to change this. Although Vanessa and Shay are as abusive and misogynistic as ever, Audrey has become a guiding voice of intelligence and reason; sporadically dressing up as Harley Quinn to entertain me and keeping me grounded with lengthy conversations about all things literary and artistic. Meanwhile, Meadhbh has returned to the playful, protective spirit that kept me safe during my angst-laden teenage years; eager to play with me whenever possible and never too shy to throw in her two-cents about what I should be doing with my life.
Of all the things that have happened throughout the last twelve months, creating this change in my voices is something I am eternally proud of, and proof that if you work hard enough, anything is possible!
6. Creating and co-facilitating my own peer-led social group…
In mid-2013, after weeks of solo-preparation, I began co-facilitating my own group through the psychosocial rehabilitation service I participate in. Creative Therapy was essentially my blog in the real-world, with each week focusing on a particular creative prompt designed to get people thinking about their life, strengths and values. Although I was immensely hard on myself for delivering a lackluster program, when the feedback came in it was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that it was difficult to believe.
5. Obtaining a Nintendo Wii…
To help me survive one of my bad-day anniversaries (26th February) I spontaneously purchased a second-hand Nintendo Wii that came with half a dozen games. Usually such a spontaneous purchase would turn out to be detrimental to my life, but over the last ten months my Wii has become one of my primary coping mechanisms. In fact, of my few big purchases this year, this is the one I am most thankful for, as there is nothing like using Lego Batman, Mario Kart or Zelda to beat the demons back to bay.
4. Performing my first ever public speech…
However much I’m amazed to admit it, in retrospect I thoroughly enjoyed performing my first ever public talk, so much so that I hope I have the opportunity to repeat the experience in the year ahead.
3. Re-empowering an emotional trigger…
Alongside creating better relationships with my voices, the other defining mental health related achievement of 2013 was the re-empowerment of a powerful trigger. When I realised one of the workers at the mental health organisation I use was triggering me I was tempted to quit the organisation and return to my homeless existence. However, my support worker encouraged me to face the trigger head on and, after a distressing conversation in which I admitted to the person that they triggered me, I set about the long road to re-empowerment. I attended groups that they facilitated, I had the occasional coffee with them, I learnt more about them as a person and…nine months on…they no longer trigger me. Victory!
2. Attending the World Hearing Voices Congress…
Although it was three days punctuated with severe anxiety, I am both proud of myself and ecstatic that I was able to attend this year’s World Hearing Voices Congress. Being around so many people who have had similar experiences to me was an eye-opening and revelatory experience; even though it feels impossible sometimes, recovery is not only possible but absolutely achievable!
1. Returning to Melbourne
It took nearly twelve months of planning, twelve months of psyching myself up and twelve months of wondering if it was actually going to happen, but in November I finally returned to the city that I once lived on the streets of; and had an absolute blast! Midnight Zelda openings, art gallery meanderings, Sexpo shenanigans and Melbourne Zoo explorations defined a kick-ass week of chillaxing in the State’s capitol and helped create the most wonderful thing that happened to me in 2013.
Previous installments of the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge:
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