I am just going to come out and say it.
I, Nanieve, am relieved that I can finally rip down the gaudy Christmas baubles, fold up the tree, and wipe the stupid but, expected cheerful grin off my face.
To me, the festive season feels unbearably stressful. Everything feels contrived.
Every "ho ho ho", every elf in plastic pointed ears and laddered tights, a reminder that I am on the outside looking in at a world flushed with a happiness and contentment I don't always share. How unnatural I would appear if they only knew how very lonely, depressed and excluded I felt. After all "It is the season to be jolly, tralalala etc.”
I look upon the past year at small triumphs, the meeting of some wonderfully kind people who helped me carry on when I thought I was losing my brother and close friend. The almost unbearable stress I felt and the small sense of pride I take in having survived it despite my mental challenges. Again, and most importantly this would not have happened without the intervention of God and his earth angels.
I have lost my much loved and trusted psychiatrist and I am scared to death. We also lost a dear, kind friend to suicide. I know he is with God.
I look towards the new year armed with Faith, Hope and Love (admittedly a bit of trepidation too).
I have all I could wish for. A blank sheet of paper, a clean slate, tabula rasa.
I can write my own life story. A chance to make things right, to show those I love how much I care, to help people in trouble, to make a positive contribution however small.
I am tired of merely surviving. I want to live! To give it my best shot. To actually like myself again.
I replanted some new seedlings in the garden. I was looking at the vulnerable green at the base of a young sprout. Hungrily it pushes out, up towards the wide blue skies. Greedily it sniffs at the butter-yellow sun, eager for life, a rocket timed for lift-off.
It does not know yet, whether it's destined to be a formidable oak, or a dandelion, doomed to be extinguished on the breath of a wish. And it does not matter.
We both choose life!