Crikey, the first half of 2017 has been a real rollercoaster. Moving house, falsely accused and then absolved, extreme sports, getting accepted to college, finally getting some help with my mental health, and a failed relationship, and that’s just my personal life.
Brexit was finally triggered in February, Trump pulls the US out of climate negotiations, housing benefit was cut in the UK for people under 22, there’s been plenty of things in the news that have made a lot of people sad, so here are some positive things I’ve learned:
- Whilst not everyone agrees with you, you can still have amazing friends who may not be on the same page.
Despite my Asperger’s Syndrome meaning that my brain works by logic mainly, I’m throwing my political weight behind the Labour Party for the June 8th General Election. This isn’t exactly what one of my best friends thinks is a smart move. His name is Joey, and although he’s from Ulverston in the Lake District (basically all of Cumbria and a bit of Lancashire), he’s voting for the Conservatives. Whilst I may not approve, we’ve had plenty of fun times playing and fixing old video games consoles.
- The biggest enemy of happiness and ultimately, recovery, is worry.
When I worry, the niggles in the back of my mind, ranging from when I next get paid to the downright ridiculous, such as heavy rain in Lancaster making me charge everything electronic and portable. These niggles over the last few months have made me rather ill and caused a few big changes in my life. I’m back to not touching Alcohol, and I’m quite happy about that. The one thing I’ve learned is that worrying leads me to stupidity.
- Sharing resources, such as food or wealth when possible, is better than being selfish.
Anyone who knew me before 2017 will quite happily tell you that I share nearly everything, except food or my first cigarette. In 2017, I’ve cut my smoking habit down to the point where it is now very nearly non-existent. I also get to know my housemates and new friends using the medium of food, which is often cooked and funded by me.
- Don’t stick in unhappy relationships.
Another close friend, who wishes not to have her name used, recently escaped a relationship that was to be frank, toxic. I’m going to use a pseudonym for her to help explain. Sally was constantly being the perfect housewife, cooking and cleaning for her girlfriend, and being manipulated whilst doing it, as her missus was nearly always under the influence. She’s left the girlfriend now, moved away, and is living a much better life somewhere else. She’s much happier, and personally, it’s like Sally has finally come back to life. She was missed.
- Being impulsive is not a bad thing, what you do with it is what matters.
I have Asperger’s, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. One of the things that this does is make me far more likely to be impulsive. To help combat my addictions, I’ve changed the way I respond. When an impulsive gnat in my brain starts to bite, I’ve decided to change the way I do things. I’ve swapped pints of beer with blogging, cleaning and running. Whatever I can to get the same adrenaline buzz, but without setting off the runaway train that tells me to drink.
- Don’t fight fire with fire.
I’ve been accused by the police of doing something horrific and put on bail, but last month, was released without charge, as there was empirically not a shred of evidence. I had to move as a result of this, my mental health took a swan dive, and I’m attending weekly counselling sessions. What I learned was that despite my fury at this move, there was nothing I could have done during my time answering police bail apart from just wait. There was no point in being angry, as you can’t exactly go and pick a fight with the police for doing their job. There was no point in letting my anger control me.
- You don’t need antidepressants alone to fight depression.
I’ve not had the best of mental health recently, as I explain in point six, but because of this, the doctors have had me on antidepressants to stop me doing something daft. However, they can dose you up enough to make you as dopey as a Labrador, but without your own effort, it’s useless taking them, no matter the dosages or strength of the pills. I used exercise and making conscious efforts to see things I found beautiful in order to beat my depression. Admittedly, isn’t worked all the time, but in the immortal words of Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.
- Life is about learning and doing, as opposed to where you end up.
In December 2016, I was looking at doing a social work related degree to get back to university and fulfil a promise I made to one of the biggest role models in my life on his deathbed. Now in June 2017, I’m looking at getting more Level 3 qualifications before going back to university, and doing a film production course at Kendal College in the UK in September. I’m really looking forwards to it, too. What this has taught me is that whilst getting the endgame is still the same, what matters more in life is how I do it. There’s no point in going back to my studies if I’m just going to flunk everything again.
- You are going to make mistakes, learn from them.
I’ve made a few mistakes in my life- from pushing those closest to me away, to fudging up everything in my life and ending up homeless. Even now, although I live somewhere better, and am quite happily in a loving relationship, I make mistakes. Be it financial miscalculations or silly nights out that have proved unnecessary, I have made the mistakes. I’ve also learned to try to budget better, and avoid getting into conversations that lead to nights out. The only nights that are late for me these days involves musicals, movies or popcorn.
- Make time for yourself
We’re all guilty of ignoring ourselves for a while, but what matters mostly is taking time to stop and think. Rash decisions often lead to bad consequences, and I’ve learned to be far more careful. Whether that’s shopping around for cheaper food or making sure certain people get higher priority than others (they know who they are), taking time out to make sure I’m doing the right thing is having a much better impact on my life.
What have you learned this year? Comment on my Facebook post, or just on here, as I’d love to hear from you.