I’m always a little hesitant writing new year’s posts because I know you’re probably all snowed under with resolutions in blog posts, so I tried to do something a bit different… This is going to be a real random mix of things that are both about the year that’s just gone and for the year to come!
1. Thanks to Richmond Fellowship
I’ve collaborated with a number of different organizations through 2019, but I really wanted to pick one that has completely stood out for me as providing me with some incredible experiences and trusting me with a lot of responsibilities. The number of events and meetings I’ve attended this past year with Richmond Fellowship has been huge and the number of roles I’ve played at them is overwhelming and has taught me a lot about myself. Richmond Fellowship have also been so instrumental in my personal mental health recovery and it means so much to me that they trust me with opportunities.
2. Goodbye CMHT!
The plan this year is that I’ll be discharged from the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in February! I’ve had various Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) from the CMHT and been under their care for the best part of ten years now so it’s about time that discharge was discussed never mind actually planned! The idea of discharge came when my newest CPN devised a care plan as she took over my care following my mental health relapse about six months ago. Having my psychiatric medication increased really stabilized my mental health and has greatly contributed to my safety (it’s been about six months since I last self-harmed!).
3. Blogging aims
According to my blog’s current statistics, I should reach one million readers in just over a year, so I don’t really have a goal for the amount of readers I’d like to reach in 2020… I guess to at least maintain the amount I’m getting at the moment? A definite goal though, is to have some more collaborations with different organizations, companies, and charities; I’d love to work with a few more, bigger fashion retailers to try to further publicize the connection between your appearance, your confidence, your self-esteem and your mental health in general.
4. Hello Trauma Therapy!
So, this is why I’ll be being discharged from the CMHT in February; because the Trauma Therapy team like a Service User to have been out of services for at least six months before they begin Trauma Therapy. It’s to ensure – as though you can ensure anything in mental health! - that a person has the mental stamina required to properly engage in the therapeutic work that could potentially become overwhelming and triggering. It might sound strange but I’m actually looking forward to beginning therapy because I’m so convinced that it’s going to be the catalyst to finally cementing my recovery.
2019 was the first full year without my four-year-old cat; Dolly after I had to make the decision to have her put to sleep in October 2018. A lot of people talk about putting their pets to sleep as being one of the hardest decisions of their life but for me; it was probably the easiest because I knew it was the right thing to do. It was such a certainty that she would end up in pain that euthanasia was blatantly the best thing to do. To be honest, my home will never be the same without her; she’s honestly left a massive hole behind. But I’m learning to move forward with my other pets and use Dolly’s memory as a reason to stay safe and live life to the fullest.
6. Thanks to the besties
This past year has been a real confirmation of the strength of my relationships with my best-friends; Becky, Georgie, Marty, Lauren, and Ellie. With some of them, our relationship has been built on to have reached best-friend status(!), and with the others, the year has only reassured us both that our friendship can stand the test of time and distance.
7. Favourite times with the pets
Watching Emmy (my cat) and Pixie (my bunny) bond gives me the cutest feeling EVER! I love when Emmy jumps onto Pixie and starts trying to lick her ears and then she’ll jump off and Pixie will just chase her down the corridor! They’re literally hilarious together but my favourite moments with them in 2019 has been collaborating with Bandana Bowtique and the photos with the Santa hat from Pets at Home!
8. Why I have no relationship goals
Since splitting up with my long-term Fiancé in 2018, last year was my first full year without him and it’s taught me a lot about what I’d like and what I expect for my future love-life! I mean, a lot of people – after a break-up – say that they thought they were in love but I’ve always said that I think it’d be an insult to a ten-year-long relationship to say maybe it hadn’t been love after all! It was love; it just wasn’t meant to be forever. But it’s shown me that I don’t need that kind of love to enjoy my life. In fact, now I’m without it at a time when I’ve never felt so happy!
9. Thoughts on body image for 2020
I’m sure that a lot of Blogger’s resolutions will be about losing weight or changing their fashion tastes etc. and - in the past - that would have been me too but not now. The safety that my medication has brought to me, and my willpower to maintain it, has given me more priorities than being a certain weight or looking a certain way. I can now look forward to a proper future and not just a temporary one where I’m sure I’ll be ending it soon. I might struggle to believe it sometimes but for the most part, body image isn’t important to me anymore.
10. Feeling settled with my medication
Last year, there was a big disagreement between myself and basically the entire CMHT over the necessity for medication in my life! The majority of the mental health professionals believed that I was no better or worse when taking psychiatric medication and they overruled those professionals who actually knew me and believed that medication was beneficial to my safety. For a little while, when they were reducing my medication, I felt ok and then all of a sudden, things definitely weren’t ok, and I came very close to succeeding in taking my own life. Of course, it’s hard to look back and not be mad at myself for stopping what seems like such a simple act as taking some pills; but I’ve definitely learnt from it. Sometimes it’s hard to face, but ultimately; I now know that – at the moment – I need medication to keep myself safe. Whilst it can be difficult to ‘admit’ that this is the case, I do feel that I’m very lucky that medication is a large help to my mental health.
11. Biggest achievement in 2019
This definitely has to be reaching half a million readers on I’m NOT Disordered! I’ve talked a few times about why the numbers mean something to me after I was once asked about it a long time ago. I hated the thought of people thinking I’m ‘shallow’ or that I’m blogging for the ‘wrong’ reasons and just generally misjudging me. So, it’s important to me that people know the reason the number of readers I have is so important is for two reasons: 1. It gives me an idea of just how many people my words are reaching and 2. The more readers you have, the more chance of opportunities being available to you.
12. A shout-out to my Mum
Just like all the other years, my Mum has been by my side the entirety of 2019! Having been sectioned and in a psychiatric hospital over one hundred miles away for over two and a half years, I can assure you that being able to now see my Mum so easily isn’t being taken for granted! It’s actually really helped me to appreciate just how poorly my mental health was when I was hospitalized because initially, being away from my Mum didn’t have a huge impact on me – I didn’t cry at night or constantly call her. I guess that I was so caught up in the hallucinations, memories of the abuse, and thoughts to self-harm that I didn’t have any room in my head to think about anything – or anyone – else.
13. Educating Aimee
2020 is definitely going to be the year of more education for me! I very strongly believe that a lot of mental health stigma, assumptions, judgments, and misconceptions, stem from a lack of education on the subject. So many professionals who become involved in mental health related situations have little to no training in the field and yet they’re expected to cope with – and even support others through – it. So, the more I can learn about everything I’m interested in and care about, the better! This year, I’ll be starting with two courses through the Centre of Excellence; the first is a Diploma in Feline Behaviour and Psychology, and the second is a Diploma in Freelance Journalism.
14. Having no regrets about Blogmas and Vlogmas 2019
I’ve had numerous people now tell me that I was crazy to have done Blogmas (a blog post every day for the entirety of December) and Vlogmas (a video blog every day for the entirety of December) for 2019. My reply? I’m a very committed person and once I dedicate myself to something then that’s it – I’m in it ‘til the end! So, inevitably, when my Twitter followers voted in my poll for me to do both Blogmas and Vlogmas; I accepted the challenge! I really look up to Victoria from InTheFrow because she’s such a hard worker and I think that means that if she gets gifted things or goes on holidays then it’ll feel as though she’s really deserved it; and I wanted that feeling. And I knew I could get it if I were to do Vlogmas and Blogmas, that it would make Christmas even more special and deserved.
15. The thing my 29th Birthday is making me think about
I can’t believe I’m twenty-nine this year; I mean, that’s almost thirty!! It’s made me think a lot about children, to be honest. I think that everyone who wants children has an age in their mind of when they’d like them by and in my previous relationship, I could see it being this year, but now…? Well, I now don’t care about being in a relationship, but I do care about having children. I think that after going through the abuse, even if I’d been in a relationship, I’d have wanted to adopt so I guess it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t have a man by my side!
16. Five favourite photos from 2019
Initially, I was going to just select one, but I had a very hard time narrowing it down to even five so one seemed a little bit impossible!
My collaborations with Cats Protection
Collaborating with Bandana Bowtique
Collaborating with LNER
Working with Richmond Fellowship
17. A future with St Oswald’s
A few months ago, I spotted an advert for a Digital Volunteer role with St Oswald’s Hospice and after seeing that the job description basically matched everything I’d like to do; I applied! My Mum always says that getting the interview for a job is the hardest part so getting the email asking when I was free for an ‘informal chat’ with two of the Marketing staff, was a proud moment. I thought that the interview had gone well so when – at the end – they asked if I’d have my photo taken for my staff badge, I guess I was proven right! I’m so excited to get my training done and start there – the role just sounds so perfect for me and it’s such a rewarding and inspirational organization to work for!
18. Top lesson learnt in 2019
I guess that after the whole medication reduction drama in Summer-ish time, the biggest lesson I learnt was that I need my psychiatric medication and that I really need them at the dosages they are at now. To have seen the dramatic change in my safety/risk between being off the medication or even just on a lower dose, I don’t think anyone can debate their necessity to my mental health. When I was off them altogether, I received a risk assessment from the Crisis Team, and in it, it said that my risk of death by suicide was ‘imminent’ and when I read that I just gave up all hope of anything ever changing. I thought ‘well it looks like they think it’s inevitable so, what’s the point in trying to stay safe?!’ Now though, I feel so far away from that place and it’s largely because my medication has allowed me to be safe which has then given me the chance to learn new coping skills.
19. Thoughts on my home for 2020
For a little while now, I’ve been sure that as soon as I’m well enough to work and then as soon as I can afford it, I’ll be getting a mortgage and buying a house! At first, it was really strange to think about it because for so long, this home was referred to as my ‘Forever Home’ so to think that I might not even be in it for the rest of the year feels like a huge deviation from the plan! The thing is though, when I first moved in, I was well enough to think ahead a few months; but now? Well, now I can think years ahead and if I think about wanting children then I know that I need more bedrooms and until I actually had children, I’d not be entitled to more bedrooms. I also love the idea of actually (sort of) owning my home and for me to have so much more space than my one-bedroom bungalow (as big as it is for a bungalow!). It’d be lovely for Emmy and Pixie to have more space to run around in and it’d be great to actually have my own little Office space!
20. Travelling in 2020
I think that my ultimate, favourite trip away this past year was the visit to London for the Cats Protection Advanced Screening of their Christmas Animation with one of my best-friends and we travelled in first class on the train thanks to a collaboration with LNER! Hopefully, this year there’ll be some more collaborations but my health makes it hard to feel safe when I do travel so it’s something I’ll be more mindful about this year.
I hope this post has given you guys some insight into how 2019 went for me, and my thoughts on 2020; and I hope you all have a fantastic New Years and that 2020 is everything you hope it is!