The Newest Of New Years
To my disappointment, in a matter of a day or so, our lives will go back to our normal schedules and our normal everyday lives. This would be a great thing for me if I had a “normal” to go back to. With everything that’s happened over the last few years, normal flew out the window at the beginning of high school. And as hard as I try to make a new normal for myself, something usually gets in the way. As you may have noticed in my other posts, I have been more optimistic about how the future of the world and my own future will turn out. It’ll be interesting to see how long that optimism will last.
Upon the arrival of the new year, the future of everything is even more of a mystery to me than ever before. If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of choices, opportunities and decisions coming your way. In my life, the upcoming year of 2016 brings a new opportunity to go back to college, a new chance to make new friends, a new shot at staying at home for an entire year. The key word in all of that is “new”, because a new year is typically paired with a new you. There’s a few ways I could look at this opportunity. I haven’t been home for an entire year since I was a little bit into my 15th year. I used to think of each new year as a clean slate to start over again. In technicality, it is another shot at trying to think of life in a new light and finding a different way to handle the stressors of everyday life.
After going through what has happened to me in the past few years, now I look at each new year in a different way. I just float along at this point while trying to stop keeping track of time frames and just wake up to a new day and get through it until the night approaches and it becomes time to rinse and repeat. It could be viewed as an unusual way of living life, but at this point I’m used to getting through just one day at a time. That was one of the messages a group leader taught us at least once a week during my most recent hospitalization. He would say that looking beyond today isn’t a good way of motivating yourself while recovering anything, specifically from a mental illness.
If you expect yourself to never self harm again or to never have another suicidal thought again, it adds pressure on you which then leads to an increased risk of relapsing. But as long as I get myself through one day free of self harm and other negative thoughts and behaviors, that is one more day at home than it is at a hospital. And after 30 days, abstaining from all things self injurious, it becomes a habit. And by making a habit of a lifestyle without self harming, it eventually equals a lifestyle of staying at home.
If I set a high expectation for myself to stay at home for the rest of my life, it would be even more disappointing if I was rehospitalized, a small fraction of the reasoning behind being re-admitted would correlate to the pressure I put on myself in the process of trying to stay at home for good. After this most recent discharge, I’ve decided to not count the amount of days I’ve been home for. Shockingly, I believe that by using a mindset without a sense of time, it has helped me to stay home longer now than in the past. I had to count the number of days I’ve been home since October 2015 for my mental health record and I am proud to say that it has been about 72 days.
I’m not saying that I won’t be rehospitalized ever again and I’m not saying that I will, but I’ve learned that taking things a day at a time is the way to go.
I guess in short you could describe all of the upcoming year as the year of the unexpected turns of events. I’ve learned in my 18 years of living to have high hopes and no expectations. I don’t expect anything to happen, good or bad, because in my experience, expectations usually bring you down whenever the situation doesn’t turn out the way you thought. So as it stands right now, I’m counting the moments from when I wake up to when I go to sleep and keeping myself away from excessive negativity for just one day at a time. I’m not setting any New Year’s resolutions or long term goals this year; I will be setting up small goals in the morning that will hopefully be accomplished by the end of each night. I would rather be successful and safe for one day because of the short term goals I have set for myself while letting the days add up of being at home instead of setting bigger and grander goals for an entire year, becoming overwhelmed by all of it and ending up back in a hospital. As I know that everyone has a different perspective on New Year’s resolutions, this post just describes my humble opinion. However my advice to you would be to set and maintain motivation in regards to both short term and long term goals for yourself while putting minimal pressure on yourself in the process.
Here’s to 2016.