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How I’m Approaching My New Year’s Resolutions for Living With a Mental Illness in 2020

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A lengthy list of resolutions for 2020 has dwindled down to one main theme for me: honesty.

This is because I think I need a reality check. I am approaching 30 years of age and nearing 10 conditions. Sometimes, I feel like, in order to grieve what I have missed out on in the past, I need to try to regain those experiences now. This just isn’t possible anymore.

Instead, what would be more helpful is to look to the future. Even though I have had enough mid-life crisis episodes for about seven people, and looking ahead is scary, it is time to stop living in the past. Our experiences help shape us, sure, but dwelling on them does not prepare us for what is to come.

I have a bad habit of feeling mighty guilty if I need a sick day or cancel plans. This isn’t helpful to anyone because when I am doing it, I have a rightful reason. I am listening to what my body needs at that time. I need to do more of that instead of feeling pressured to perform. The pressure is real, my friends, as I am sure you know. Every time I need to duck out early from an event, I immediately get inwardly angry. “You’re such a baby,” “You should have sucked it up” and the almighty FOMO, “Think of what you could be missing out on.”

I often try to live like I am in my younger years, where a hangover was minor and a good night’s sleep could cure all ails. What I need to realize is that I’m not 18, and I am sick. Coming to that realization — that I am not a “well” person — is tough. It’s not what I want, but it’s what I’ve got, so I’ve got to start living accordingly.

Hope. What do you think of when you hear that word? For me, it is almost debilitating. It is a rarity in my life. I would like to change that. Understanding that it is difficult might be the first step to changing my reaction to it. I have lived with low self-esteem since I can remember having a sense of self. I never knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” Now, there is a crack of light in that door where I know I want to focus on writing, and talking to people like those who are reading this today. It is an amazing feeling to have something to give you hope.

I dream that this newfound goal creates a snowball effect on my self-worth. External validation is great, but it cannot be without the internal side as well. With support from readers and my own self boosting me up, perhaps I will be unstoppable.

It’s not easy to have hope and dream big when you are faced with challenges like mental illness. If you have similar life experiences to me, I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone in 2020 and begin the new decade with a new perspective. If that sentence nauseates you, don’t worry; I am here for you too. We’re all on individual journeys. 

Wishing you a best-as-it-can be New Year,


Photo by Zoe Ra on Unsplash

Originally published: December 28, 2019
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