So often, I go AWOL from the blog because I’m uninspired or busy with school. I’m quite disappointed in myself when I am so uninspired because, as a writer, that kind of block is the absolute worst. But this time, I had to disappear for a while because my mental health was down the drain. I’ve been pretty active on Twitter, but I need to give the blog some more attention. I just didn’t have anything conducive or not depressing to say.
Since my mental breakdown a few weeks ago, I have been feeling so much better. I have always seen writing as therapy for me, but my last post was probably the most therapeutic of them all. I’ve been more social and happy and free. It has been quite the last few weeks of the quarter. I’m finally feeling good enough to share a few updates.
It is finals week again. I am stressed out, but I am not in the anxiety pit. That’s a win, for sure! I’m feeling pretty good about my finals this quarter, and I’ve done well in my classes so far. Who knew that my worst quarter mentally and emotionally would be my best academically? What a rush.
Ending the term means that the holidays are upon us! Yes, Thanksgiving has already passed, and I missed out on my chance to blog about the struggles an eating disorder past has on that holiday in particular. Chipmunk version? We hosted a Friendsgiving, I went to my grandparents’ house the first weekend of our (whole week!!) of break, and then I had actual Thanksgiving with Matthew’s family. I didn’t feel bad about myself for having three celebrations. Not one bit! ((Also, Roseville, California is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It brought back Amsterdam vibes with colorful trees and cotton candy skies.))
But as many who have a mental illness know, the holidays are a trying time. Family can be overwhelming, everyone is full of this cheer and happiness that you’re unsure you know how to match. All the questions people are going to ask about your love life or your future (the latter of which is really stressing me out). It is all very…much. And it’s difficult to navigate. I’ve been in recovery for a while now, and I still have a hard time.
I’ve always really liked Christmastime, though. The lights, the trees, the smells…pink noses and heavy coats (which are pretty nonexistent in LA, but that’s not the point). Last year, I was in London for this time of the year.
~~Wait, Ashley, you were in London last year??? We had no idea!!!~~
I know, I know, but I have a point! Nobody celebrates Christmas like Londoners. You haven’t lived until you’ve walked down Oxford Street under hundreds of lights or wandered through Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park drinking mulled wine. It is a feeling like no other, and you can’t help but drown in the Christmas cheer. It’s involuntary!! Ever since I got to experience that absolute joyous time, I have a better appreciation for it. I mean, yes, I am one of those don’t-skip-from-Halloween-straight-to-Christmas people, but I do love Christmas! I love the cheer and the colors and the warmth in people.
I used to only see the worst in people, especially myself, but now I see otherwise. Yes, the holidays are still hard because it is an overwhelming time not meant for introverts. I still want to sit alone in my room and have me time. Often. But people mean well this time of year. They want you to feel happy. It is that well-meaning that makes me excited this year. I can’t wait to shower my friends and family with love–though, I try to do that more often anyway. I bought the girl I nanny a cute present, and I cannot wait to give it to her! Matthew’s presents just arrived in the mail, and wow, I am so excited for him to open them!! I’m still searching for the perfect things for my roommates and family, but I’m giddy just thinking about them.
Over the weekend, when I wasn’t studying, I sat in and watched various Christmas movies–Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the live-action one) and it was a rather enjoyable night. After seeing the live, musical version of Elf a few nights ago with Amy, I was even more in the mood for Christmas cheer! I closed down the weekend by watching two of the cheesy holiday Hallmark and Freeform movies with my roommates. We laughed, we cried (from laughing so hard), and we drank and were merry. Seeing the houses around SLO start to put up lights and decor is only adding to the merriment.
Basically, I’m happy. I’m cheerful. I’m not out of the darkness, but I’m finding the light. It’s in the form of colorful string lights, but that’s beside the point. I’m not completely dreading the holidays as I usually am, and that is a huge step in the right recovery direction.
To all those struggling with this time of year, I believe in you. You don’t have to enjoy it or anything, but I believe that you will make it through. I believe that you will overcome all of this hardship, darkness, depression, mental illness. I know it’s hard, but I know how strong you are, even if you don’t see it.
That’s all I have for you right now. Must get back to studying (cue the arduous groan).
I can do this. You can do this. We can do this.