A few weeks ago, during therapy, I casually mentioned that I felt like the only thing I accomplished this year was staying alive. The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought, and I began to beat myself up for not achieving “more”. I thought I’d have more, do more, and be more by now. I thought I’d be further along and basking in all my accomplishments by now. When 2023 started, I envisioned a whole different year for myself– hell, I imagined myself in a whole different body by the end of the year. Yet, here I am, realizing that my biggest accomplishment of 2023 was staying alive.

When I said this to my therapist, she told me that she wanted to ensure I wasn’t skipping over something as important as surviving as if it meant nothing. She said if I hadn’t stayed alive when I no longer wanted to, none of the other goals I set for the year would even be possible. This therapy session made me realize how huge it is that I fought suicidal ideation and won. 

2023 was a very trying year. I spent several months in a depressive episode that took me far too long to realize was taking a toll on my life. Most days, I could hardly work up the mental strength to get out of bed. It was a combination of my bipolar diagnosis, issues with toxic family members, and a few other things that left me feeling like the only way out was ending it all. I was a mess and on the verge of attempting suicide almost every day. The woman I started dating this year sat me down and told me I wasn’t happy. She mentioned how I cried every day and didn’t seem ok overall. This was a vast difference from the free-spirited and joyful girl she’d met a few months prior. I wasn’t ok, and it took for my lover to point it out for me to acknowledge this truth. 

Once I finally admitted that I was suffering, I received the help I needed. I don’t know how I spent all those months consumed by the darkness and survived. I was at war with my mind daily, boxing with demons that always seemed to have the upper hand. I’ve survived enough breaking points and moments of trying to give up, so although I was severely depressed, I knew that if I just found a way to hold on, I’d make it to see the light again. 

In my most recent blog post, I discussed how everything, including happiness, is temporary and that even when depression swallows me whole, and it feels like the end of the world, joy always returns.

I talk a lot about what it’s like living with co-occurring mental health conditions. It’s one of the most difficult and courageous things I’ve ever done. 

How brave it is to find even just one reason to live when you have 100 to die. I have a list of reasons to live for the hard days, and sometimes, that’s what keeps me going.

This year, I encountered a part of myself I worked so hard to heal from. But I survived. I may not have accomplished the many goals I set for 2023, but I’m still alive. And that to me, is the greatest accomplishment of all.

Know that if all you did this year was survive, that matters too. 

This year wasn’t completely bad. Here are a few pictures of highlights from 2023. I traveled, got to see Erykah Badu in Las Vegas on my birthday, found love with an amazing woman, cut my hair which led to a new sense of freedom and self-love, started a new internship, made more progress on my weight loss journey, found my happy place in nature, started studying herbalism, had a successful year in college, and cultivated meaningful friendships with like-minded women.

Thank you for being here. See you in 2024.

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