Birthday Girl

Tomorrow evening, I turn twenty-three. This time last year, and in fact every year since I was about eighteen, I have been terrified of my birthday. The thought of being another year older with not much to show for it has always made me feel so pessimistic, the outcome of which was me making my friends pretend I was turning eighteen for the past few years. This year however, something unusual has happened. I’m turning twenty-three and I don’t mind. I’m still not in a great place mental health-wise, but I’m okay, and I’m not remotely scared of my birthday tomorrow

It’s safe to say that the first half of this year has been relatively negative, but I’d rather not dwell. It’s the past week alone that has well and truly been the pinnacle. A pretty atrocious week all-round really. A week in which, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I have been lied to, pressured into feeling guilty, back-stabbed, and heartbroken. However, it’s all resulted in some valuable life lessons

Lesson one – I’m an understanding person, and I’ll always try my utmost best to attempt to understand how someone is feeling and thinking. If someone needs compassion or help, I’ll try my hardest. But I won’t let it slide if my understanding and tolerance is thrown back in my face. What seems to have happened is ultimately I’ve realised that I’m not a carpet, and I refuse to be walked over as such. I don’t like confrontation but I seem to have learnt that sometimes it’s necessary. I’m not saying that in the space of a week I’ve developed a backbone, but I feel like I’m on my way

Lesson two – I’ve got to open up more. I’ve known for years that I shouldn’t be keeping certain things to myself, but I didn’t realise quite how dangerous and damaging it could be. This week I have witnessed first-hand what keeping something to yourself can result in, and it’s not pretty. I also watched a documentary, All in the Mind by Tim Rhys-Evans, who suffered a mental breakdown a couple of years ago. I deeply connected with some of the things he was saying about how he felt at that time, and it really hit home how real it all is. It’s vital for us to unburden ourselves sometimes, and we don’t need to feel guilty about that

Lesson three – I no longer want to be eighteen. Things have changed in five years, being eighteen now is not the same as it was when I was eighteen

These past few days, I have been surrounded by the most important people in my life, my mum, my sister, my family, and my friends. I’ve made mental and social breakthroughs, and though I may not be anywhere near where I want to be in terms of happiness and health, I’m on the right track and for once I’m proud of myself

Thanks for reading, Hils

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