Forever the serial procrastinator, I’ve been writing this post in my head for literally a month but decided to wait until the very last day of the year – the decade – before I actually put it all down. I needed time to reflect. To go over everything that’s happened in the last ten years and figure out what was really important.
I’m gonna go through, year by year. Share my ups, and my downs. And the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
If I take a look at my FB memories, I rang in the new decade listening to Michael Bublé’s Haven’t Met You Yet. I listened to that song a lot in ’09 and ’10. It was one of my favorite songs. In retrospect, I think it was a way to cope with the fact that all my friends had boyfriends and nobody liked me.
Although, I was optimistic about the future:
My life changed drastically in 2010. Two things happened that set the tone for literally my entire decade.
First, my mental health tanked.
I spend the first six months of the year developing crippling anxiety and depression. There were a lot of factors that contributed to this. Essentially, in a short time I experienced a lot of loss, a lot of hurt, and a lot of stress which broke something in me. I stopped being able to sleep – nightly panic attacks were my new normal. I never felt safe; I was sure that at any point something terrible was going to happen. I was always shaky and anxious and lost.
By the time my junior year of high school rolled around I stopped caring entirely. I was alone – one of my friends had moved, another transferred schools – and disillusioned with everything. My grades dropped and I didn’t care – I hated school. I wanted to drop out. I kind of wanted to die. The constant panic attacks and lack of sleep had wrecked me.
Then, I met the love of my life.
September 24, 2010. I was auditioning for the school musical because a really popular guy heard me sing, thought I had a good voice, and pushed me to. I don’t know that I wanted to audition but it’s not like I had anything better to do. And I did enjoy singing.
I’m standing there around a piano singing something – scales maybe. It was plaid day at the school and I went all out. Plaid dress. Plaid converse. Plaid bow in my hair. And in walks this guy and… I don’t want to say it was love at first sight, but it was a knowing.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this guy was important. That my life was going to be better with him in it.
Two weeks after we met, we were sitting on a bench and he told me he was never going to go anywhere. And I’ll be damned if he hasn’t kept his word.
Haven’t Met You Yet hasn’t meant much to me since.
I spend most of 2011 hanging out with Seth, watching Doctor Who and playing Skyrim. In fact, Skyrim was the most notable thing about the entire year.
2012 was a weird year. I got in fights with teachers. Dyed my hair red. Listened to a lot of fun. I felt really lost.
I did graduate high school, but I didn’t really have any plans. While my mental health was “better”, I basically gave up on school in 2010 and only pushed to graduate because Seth told me I should.
I couldn’t drive, and Seth worked overnights. I was basically stuck at home all day with no plans. So I started freelancing, working with a few agencies on their website projects. We didn’t make much, but we didn’t have a lot of bills.
I dunno, it was weird.
I spent a lot of this year very sad and feeling very alone. I didn’t have any contact with any of my friends. Seth was always at work or asleep. I would stay up long into the night – 3 AM, 4 AM, etc. and just… sit. Alone.
Sometimes I’d play COD.
We adopted a cat. I thought it would be nice to have something to snuggle with since I was alone all night. We were really into Doctor Who at the time so he ended up being named Rory.
A lot of things happened in 2013. I officially started working 1-on-1 with businesses for their websites. Seth and I took our first trip together – a Jonas Brothers concert in Boston. We ended up in Boston again a few months later for WordCamp.
It should have been a good year, but looking back I just remember being sad a lot.
This was one of the hardest years of my life. We were still basically living with my parents, and my Dad lost his job. Then Seth got hurt at work and ended up losing his job. For a while the only income anyone had was my very very meager freelance income.
There was a lot of fighting and a lot of stress. I had a lot of anxiety and fear, trying my damndest to take care of everything while at the same time having no fucking idea how.
My mental health was a wreck, and I struggled a lot with depression and suicidal thoughts this year. But things did eventually get better, and everybody got back on their feet.
Unlike the years before it, 2015 was a really good year.
I bought my first car! She was a 2000 VW Beetle, and I loved her with all my heart.
Seth and I got our first ~real~ apartment. My career took off in ways I never expected. We adopted another kitten, Maddy. I dyed my hair blue, then purple, then pink! Work was good, money was good.
And, after 5 years, Seth and I got engaged!
If 2014 was one of the worst years of my life, I think 2015 was one of the best. For the first time it really felt like I had things figured out. I was happy. Really happy.
The good streak continued into 2016. Work kept getting better, and with the Bug we enjoyed a lot of freedom. Life was simple, but I was so fucking happy. I don’t think my mental health has ever been better.
Also, we adopted a puppy, Harrison. Harry, for short. A lot of people thought it was after Harrison Ford or Harry Potter but we actually named him after Harrison Wells from the Flash.
There were some low points in the year – the loss of the family dog, Pepper, and my rabbit, Charlie, were particular rough. But there were so many highs, too! I got a tattoo! Saw Kesha in concert! Spent the summer doing whatever I wanted to!
And then November happened. The election devastated me. For the first time in a while, I was terrified. Not just for myself but for people I care about. My anxiety came back and my mental health took a small dip. Which would have been fine except that a few weeks later my Beetle decided to die.
I cried over the death of that car like it was a family member. We figured it out, but I feel like I lost a part of me when she blew up.
Without a doubt, 2017 was the best year of the decade. It was win after win after win, non-stop, through the entire year.
In 2017, I
- Saw Panic! at the Disco in concert
- Bought a house
- Went to Boston Comic Con and met Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and John Barrowman
- Spent like a week on MDI
- Adopted a second puppy
- Married my best friend
- Saw Fall Out Boy in concert
Going into 2018, I felt unstoppable.
2018 – 2019
I’m lumping these two years together because that’s how I experienced them.
2018 started out well. It was supposed to be the year I took my business to the next level and everything was amazing.
But I made a mistake. I got the Nexplanon implant in 2018 and it, combined with a few other bad decisions, resulted in severe depression. Where before, I’d have anxious moments or low days, but was okay generally, I was now low all the time. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t work. I struggled daily with everything – going to the store, cleaning the house, even putting myself together.
2018 kind of bled into 2019. I lost whole months. And I tried so hard to be better. Took business courses. Tried eliminating things that drained me. Nothing worked.
I struggled almost every day with thoughts of self-harm. I genuinely wanted to end my life. I wasn’t so sure I’d be here for 2020.
My doctor recommended I stop any/all hormonal birth control, and things have gotten better. Not perfect, but better. I don’t know when – if ever- I’ll feel 100% again. After spending a year in the dark it’s been hard to adjust to the light.
Of course, even when I was depressed there were high moments. In 2018, we took a trip to South Carolina, and I loved it. I saw the Jonas Brothers again, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to!! I got to go to the beach in 2019 (I didn’t in 2018.) Also, we got a new car!
The last few months of 2019 have been good. I had a good Thanksgiving, and this Christmas was great. I’m looking forward to 2020.
There have been two constants in my life for the last decade.
The first is Seth. I am so lucky and blessed to have found him, and he’s been with me through every single high, and helped me through every single low for the last 10 years. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 hold for us.
The second is my mental health. It’s been good, it’s been bad. Even on the good days, there were struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. And on the bad days, there were small moments of joy. But the last few years have been a struggle.
I’m hoping that 2020 is better. But I’m going to allow myself to go with the flow a bit, and be more gentle with myself this year. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that how you start the decade plays a huge role in how you finish it. And I’m not willing to start off on the wrong foot again.