Posted by: Jack Hope | Thursday December 27, 2012

The 100th Post: 2012 in Review and Onward to 2013

I can’t believe that I have made it this far, but this post marks my 100th post since I started writing this blog.

This seems worthy of at least a little celebration, hence the balloon banner attached to this post. I know it’s just an arbitrary number, an artifact of our base 10 numeric system (sigh, I can be so nerdy….), but it still feels significant.

Accomplishments matter.

Especially when you’re fighting Depression, every accomplishment matters.

It seems appropriate that I’m reaching my one hundredth post just as the year wraps up, although if I hadn’t experienced my recent ‘dropout’ I’d be a lot further a long.

But life gets in the way sometimes. Whether it’s from my Depression acting up or a car breaking down or a letter from an old friend, stuff happens.

Rule 1 for living: expect the unexpected.

As we are wrapping up 2012 and reaching my 100th post, it seems that this is a good opportunity to both review and to look forward.

Looking Back on 2012

Reaching the end of 2012, I am undeniably on a very significant upswing, coming off of Effexor and with the end of the pronounced social withdrawal I experienced. Actually, in a lot of ways I feel like I did at the end of 2011, which was when I was having a considerable upswing, one that unfortunately I was not able to maintain and which eventually ran down resulting in my current situation.

It would be easy for me to look back over 2012 and conclude that I spend the entire year getting back to the same place that I was at the beginning of the year. That would be one possible, but entirely negative, way of looking on 2012.

It would also be inaccurate way of looking at the year past. Yes, I’ve experienced setbacks and struggles, but the overall trajectory of my recovery is forward.

2012 has been an amazingly better year than 2011 was.

At the beginning of 2011, I was hovering on the brink of total breakdown, suicidal and withdrawn. I barely left my apartment, barely did anything.

I was a complete recluse and suffering. But over the course of the year I got better, I got treatment and my mental health slowly returned. By the end of the year I was feeling how I think I should feel normally.

Since then, none of my dips have ever been anywhere as serious as the downs I had in 2011. I have been depressed and had bad times but none of them could compare to the horrible times I went through. I have never felt as powerless as I did then, even during my most recent withdrawal.

Lessons Learned

So while 2012 may not have been the year that I wanted in terms of recovering from my illness, there is no denying that it has been a year of progress. Sometimes slow, uneven, and often difficult progress, but progress nonetheless.

I’ve learned that relapses can happen at the most unexpected times, that sometimes the things that bring us happiness can also, in their own way, bring down your mood over the long run.

I have learned that writing and maintaining this blog is a form of therapy, a vital and meaningful therapy that has brought me understanding of myself.

I’ve learned that time spent recovering is time well spent.

I’ve learned that Alberta’s healthcare bureaucracy is something that I will be well rid of when I finally am able to move home.

I’ve  learned to remember that small changes have the potential to lead to big outcomes. The little things matter, the little things have the ability to snowball into the biggest things of all. $10 in a jar turned into a trip to Germany.

I’ve learned to never think that I am alone, because even when I’m by myself, I am not alone.

Building Blocks

Standing here at a very familiar point and looking ahead to 2013 I am now starting to see the shape of my route ahead and what I want to achieve on this continuing road to recovery.

These items blocks are things that either need to be addressed or things that I feel I need to do as part of my plan.

They are the foundational building blocks of my plan for 2013.

One of the biggest things I think I need to do is re-engage with the broader community. I have rebuilt my friendship network and patched up family ties but I’m still struggling to deal with people outside my bubble. This needs to change.

One of the things that I think will help address this first block is doing something that gives back to the community in some way.

It’s time for serious questions about bipolar and how it may relate to me.

I should review what parts of my educational goals may be easily attainable in the near future and put together a plan to pursue them while I continue to recover.

It’s time for me to explore alternative Depression management strategies.

I need to re-commit to my Running Against Depression program and continue training for the Vancouver Sun Run. I also need to expand my exercise routine.

I need to find a way to embrace and maintain this momentum.

These are only the first of many building blocks that will be used to build this coming year’s recovery plan, with the goal of transitioning me back to independent living and into what I hope will be a post-depression life.

Onwards!

2012 is ending in a very similar manner to 2011, with an undeniable sense of momentum and progress and the hope that the next year will be better than the last.

2012 was an indisputably better year for me personally than 2011 was.

And for whatever tribulations and challenges I may have faced over the course of 2012, there can be no denying that I have still been inching towards recovery.

Perhaps 2013 will be that year when I can finally move into a post-depression life.

But whether or not it’s this year, or next or some further point in the future, I know I am going to keep moving forward, keep moving beyond depression.

100th Post Banner Credit: © Mickeyd600 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Responses

  1. Congratulations sweetie! A hundred posts is a great milestone!

    I really resonate with feeling like 2012 has simply been a process of getting back to where I was at the end of 2011, but like you I feel stronger and wiser at the end of this chunk of the recovery.

    Relapse is so hard to take, but I’m trying to use it as a lesson to prevent future relapse, and move to a place where I can really thrive, not just get by.

    I really admire your commitment to progressing and wanting to give back. I hope it helps you move forward, and 2013 is an amazing year for all of us Tweeters x

    • Thanks so much and I’m really happy to hear from you! Here’s hoping that for both of 2013 is the year of thriving and not just surviving.

      Hugs,

      Jack


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