The year is coming to an end and it’s time to take inventory. Over the last twelve months, I have time and again observed anniversaries and compared my life to what it used to be, but it’s because of New Year’s Eve that I feel like I’ve truly come full circle.
A year ago, I was just experiencing the very first days together with my boyfriend, I had just started therapy (but was still in the anamnesis phase, not yet learning coping / healing techniques), was still in the last throes of quitting citalopram. I had an incredibly bad year behind me, full of anxiety and panic attacks, physical and emotional pain, cognitive deficits and side-effects. 2010 was left behind tired and exhausted, but with a tiny spark of hope.
There’s so much I have to be grateful for in 2011:
– My boyfriend. We only lived together until the end of March and certainly didn’t think we’d still be on different continents on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but even if most of the year was spent geographically apart, we’ve remained emotionally closer than ever. If anything, this forced separation has galvanized our desire for being together, and the bureaucratic process – which took far longer and was far more costly than anticipated – proved that we are serious about our commitment to each other.
He’s made me laugh (despite myself, sometimes), held me when I cried (both literally and figuratively), endured my endless therapy talk without complaining or becoming jealous of my therapist once, cared for me when I was bedridden with influenza for weeks on end. Through him, I learned to enjoy life again, learned to want something more out of life again than just the mere absence of pain. Through him, I lost the fear of giving myself to another person.
– My friends. All of them have been incredibly supportive, encouraging and generous with their feedback as well as very patient listeners. I owe lots of laughter to them and many a good idea. After having been largely unable to maintain social contacts, I am grateful that nobody held this against me and that I actually did have a social life again this year.
– My therapist and the team behind him. Everybody at the hospital I ever had contact to has been nothing but friendly and highly professional. A special mention must go to the psychologist who was my very first contact person ever there; who did the phone interviews and various formal clinical interviews with me as well as the two MRi scans, and who coordinated most of the appointments with other specialists for me. Her kindness ensured that I even made it past the initial phone interview stage without getting scared away.
Towards my therapist I have to be thankful not only because of his skilfulness and expertise, but also for his constant support beyond the requirements. In addition to the therapy sessions, we must have exchanged about a hundred emails over the course of the year. He’s helped me getting a sabbatical at uni and wrote to my health insurance. In crisis situations, his response was quick and most helpful. Most importantly, he treated me humanly when I felt most inhumanly.
– My family. That might come as a surprise, but despite all our problems and dysfunctional ways, I want to be grateful for the good times we shared.
– The progress I made. I learned to verbalize my problems, ask for help, selectively trust people, maintaining social contacts better, take care of my needs, find solutions for my problems. I can read books again and am attending university again. I found out what “normal” feels like and was euthymic for the first time since childhood. Over the course of the last year, I gave my life a completely new direction. I learned to have hope. Last but not least, I started a blog which I’ve managed to maintain for seven months already and which brought me much joy.
To my readers, all the best wishes for the new year – may it bring you much happiness and joy!