Give me a little less than three weeks and then I’ll officially be twenty-two – 9th of July, ahem. I’m just not sure if I can commit to writing at that time since July will be a bit hectic. I’ll be returning to LA on the 1st, celebrating the Fourth of July with my family, having dinner with my family for my birthday on the 9th, going out with my friends on the 11th, spending time with my sister for her birthday on the 12th, and then returning to Edinburgh on the 15th.
I started this blog just after I was twenty and on every birthday since then (which hasn’t been many), I would reflect on what’s happened for me the past year and think about where I currently am in life.
So, shall we?
Believe it or not, I was actually quite optimistic after I turned twenty-one last July because I was so excited to start a new chapter in my life – the Edinburgh chapter.
I’m sure I wrote about my first few months in Edinburgh… back when I actually had time. When I first got there I was undeniably terrified. At the same time, I was looking forward to starting with a blank slate. That’s the upside of moving halfway across the world – not a single person knows who you are. Although I was anxious about not knowing anyone, the prior thought seemed to ease my mind.
My first semester at the uni was… a bit rocky I guess I could say. I wanted go out of my comfort zone and actually attempt to converse with people who were around me in class, and I’m so happy I managed to do so. Some of my closest relationships now involve people I met that semester. Though that didn’t stop my moods from vacillating between depression and mania. I had a few bad weeks in November, spending my time cooped up in my room and refusing to go to class. However, I managed to seek help from a student counselor and eventually became a part of the disability services.
Now second semester… that’s a whole different story. There’s something about second semesters that just irritates my mood spectrum more than usual. It may be because the second semester for me has always been much more difficult than the first. Or maybe my bipolarity just likes to manifest in the first half of the year. I’m not quite sure.
I suffered a mixed episode – at least that’s what I characterized it to be – sometime in February and ended up going back to California for almost three weeks. What followed was a month-long depression that kept me from attending class. I was in a complete state of apathy at that time, and so nothing mattered; not my relationships, not school, and definitely not my own well-being.
Then suddenly, things started to look up for me. Maybe it was life finally giving me a break, but I managed to dig deep down inside and find some kind of hope. That’s what I hung on to for the rest of the year… well, mostly. I had a miniature mental breakdown a few weeks ago during a particularly stressful week, but overall I was quite content.
I guess my biggest accomplishment the past few months is finally being able to open up and trust someone. Other than finding it in me to let new people into my life, I managed to deepen the relationships I had taken years to cultivate.
Every so often I like to look back to 2013… to the year that changed my life, as dramatic as that sounds. I had gone through so much that year, most of it more painful than anything I had ever experienced thus far. It was all that pain and suffering that got me to where I am right now. Yes, I messed up and derailed from my original plans, but it was all for the best. Had I not had that manic episode that left me hospitalized for months, I never would have found my way to Edinburgh.
It’s the first chapter of my life that has more positive experiences than negative ones…
It’s where the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to be in the middle of the mood spectrum. I knew what a normal amount of sadness and happiness felt like and… it was amazing.
For the first time since my diagnosis, I wasn’t anxious that I was careening towards mania or depression.
So this year I deepened old friendships, cultivated new ones, fell in love, learned to trust, challenged my own intellect, went out of my comfort zone, and found some inner balance.
I guess I could say year 21 was a good year.