Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday, dear Sweetie Pie;
Happy birthday to me!
This day 25 years ago, I came into existence in All Saint's Hospital in Chatham, Kent, England. It was the beginning of a journey so far filled with its share of delight and sadness.
In fairness, the first year or two after coming home to Ireland at five years old were great; since then, however, things have been turbulent. The last few years have been very challenging: dealing on and off with depression for over a decade takes its toll, and at times it has been near impossible to deal with. For every up, there has been a disproportionately opposing down, and often even trying to scrape myself off the floor has seemed an insurmountable task.
2015 was one of the first years since getting ill that I was not in receipt of therapy or medicines, but 2016 started off with one of the deepest canyons of misery I've had to deal with in quite some time. Isolation in the workplace and at home have been the biggest barriers between me and contentment, and having to peel away a newly acknowledged level of trauma every few years or so throws me back about three-hundred steps.
Of course, I can't ever see myself getting as bad as that time I needed interventional psychotherapy that lasted 18 months, or that other time that I ended up in A&E from a mental breakdown. I have a better understanding of my triggers, and of how to cope with bouts of depression, which sometimes involves strict and forceful imposition of discipline and routine, which Hopeless Me hates with a passion, but Hopeful Me understands is a hundred-percent necessary.
I'm fortunate to have a small handful of people who understand my difficulties. It saddens me that it only includes one person from my immediate family (at a stretch), but it does however include people from my taekwondo family, my choir family, and my closest friends (you know who you are).
Hitting quarter of a century fills one with interesting emotions: although I am still at the beginning of my life, the final remnants of childhood are now to be cast off, and decisions are to be made about what I will do to fill the next few decades of my life. Obviously, it's one step at a time: thinking too far ahead fills me with enough crippling dread to throw myself off the nearest bridge. So I won't be doing that.
Hopefully in September (if I'm accepted), a new chapter of my life will start, studying in NUIG. I'll finally be able to study film, the way I wanted to when I was making decisions about third level education for the first time 8 years ago, but was thwarted.
Exciting times are ahead; comfort zones will be abandoned. I will try my best at every opportunity to choose life over death, and love over fear. Thank you to all my readers and supporters, who have put up with sporadic posting times and unannounced disappearances: sometimes I hate everything so much that I even hate baking. I used to feel bad about it, but now I have just accepted it as part of life.
This Saturday is my party, and about 20 people who I love and care about will be there, bouncing on the bouncy castle (yes: I managed to get one) and eating pizza and cake in a house decked out for a five year old's pirate themed party. It will be awesome, and I will definitely write up about it with lots of pictures.