After The Dark.

So last week I spoke about how last year I was in the deepest and darkest places my mind could take me. They weren’t fun places, they aren’t places I wish to revisit, but they are places that exist and I acknowledge that. I wrote the piece knowing that maybe somewhere, someone would try to invalidate my experience with it, and you know, someone might just do that, but mental health isn’t particularly a game of one-upmanship , we all experience these things differently.

My last post was called “Before The Light”, because it was before my life changed itself around, and whilst it’s been 52 weeks since it all happened, we are definitely in the “After The Dark” stages of things.

Perhaps my early coping mechanisms weren’t great, but they are what I needed to shape the months to come. From the end of October, I began to drink fairly heavily. I would never drink before going to work, but the moment I was home, I’d drink until I went to bed. I started acting out, sleeping around, and becoming the person I chose to be in that moment. I spent more time with friends and family, and generally made sure I was having fun, and that I was the central person to have fun with.

I made plans, big and small, as to how I would spend my time, where I’d go and what I’d do. I celebrated my birthday better than any other time in my life, I planned my trip to Liverpool and Manchester, I booked my holiday to see my dad – I did everything in my power to be who I wanted to be.

The following months I still had some contact with the person who started it all, and some part of me wanted him to take me back, but as time passed, I realised how dangerous that outcome could possibly be, and the contact drew to a natural close – or rather, I forced it to stop because I was fed up of being that person on the side he was texting when the person he left me for wasn’t around.

I grew to accept every flaw I have, and everything good that makes me the person I am. I have forged stronger friendships and stronger connections in the time that has passed then I ever have, and these connections are that string of fairy lights I use to illuminate my dark places.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my decision not to go through with my darkest thoughts was based upon the affect it would have on others, but also the fact that I wanted to live for me. My heavy drinking stopped around February, as I had grown tired of it myself, and I had to be responsible in order to buy my house, but the memories are still fairly pleasant.

Between seeing friends for numerous social occasions, to the nights spent drinking and smoking weed, naked on my sofa with various male friends, it all fitted into the world I wanted to create. It was a transition world, where I had to get things out of my system, act a little recklessly, and just find the next path. I was celebrating being me, and being free of those dark chains.

It was this celebration that perhaps granted me true liberation from everything that had happened, and here we are now, in a world that I have created, and that I have shared, and that I am proud of. I get to do things I want, get to experience things I actually want to experience, and I get to celebrate having such a wonderful network of people to support me.

Whilst I don’t particularly pay into a way of thinking that gives me a sense of an afterlife, this has definitely been a rebirth. It has given me the opportunities to work out triggers and move away from the depression, and whilst I still have the lovely noose of anxiety wrapped loosely around my neck, there is still much to be grateful for.

Following what happened, I managed to get a new car, which was helpful as it freed up some money for me to continue on with my plans. I spent a week with friends at the start of the year, just living life for me, and then I helped celebrate my father’s 60th birthday, and have family really close around. Following that, I got the opportunity to buy my house, which wasn’t too stressful and it has been a major step in the right direction to align my life onto a path where, building a future is definitely possible. I went on holiday for the first time on my own, or rather, I flew for the first time on my own. Then I got to celebrate Pride with my best group of friends, get a selfie with Ana Matronic. I had to cancel my plans for Manchester Pride, but I’ve managed to afford doing more things to my house, and I’ve also just come back from Disneyland Paris for Magical Pride 2017.

I accepted that I have probably benefitted from certain privileges, but I’m not going to apologise for it. I know that not everyone gets the chances I have been given, but you also have to be able to create those chances for yourself. You get out of this life, what you put into it, and putting in the effort to forge a new path, like a roaring river through a canyon, means you can reap such rewards. There’s still so much to enjoy of this year, and I intend to do so. This is also the last time I will write about what happened a year ago, as I feel that is the preface to the new story, and we don’t need to explore it much more.

Don’t worry, I am no going to advocate for silence on mental health, I will still talk about my own personal experiences and issues as and when it is appropriate, I have just chosen to put a full stop at the end of the paragraph that was October 2016.

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