If my 2017 had a name, it would not be “The Year of Prolific Blogging.” In fact, I managed a grand total of 14 blog posts this year. Even after promising myself – and you – that I would try to blog at least once a week, I barely wrote once a month.
And yet, whenever I did post something, there you guys were, faithfully reading. Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am for this? I am SO grateful to each and every one of you who took the time to read my words in 2017. And to those of you who have been reading them for years, I feel like maybe I should send you a certificate of appreciation or something.
Looking back over those posts, a very clear pattern emerged. I wrote almost exclusively about depression. Without always identifying it as such at the time, that’s the clear truth that comes across now as I consider each post collectively. I had a bad mental health year. If you wade back through previous years, you will always find scattered posts about the ups and downs of my mental health journey but never before has depression dominated my writing so entirely. And that’s not just reflected in what I did write but in what I didn’t write. The absence of my words on this blog is more telling than anything else. Depression can stop you from doing the things you love. It can hamper creativity and stifle joy.
It’s so strange that I am only realising now how sad I have been. And it took reflecting on my blog posts to show me that. Writing is powerful.
In early December, I had planned to write a post called, “It’s beginning to look a Lot like Depression.” Catchy, right? While everyone else was frothing about the festive countdown, I was in a state of unshakeable dread. I was unprepared but worse than that, I felt no desire to get prepared. This is deeply unusual for me. Though I would describe myself as a largely disorganised and chaotic woman, I love Christmas so much that I am often inspired to get festive well ahead of December 25. I once sent Christmas cards out on November 18. But this year, I could barely summon the enthusiasm to spend too much money on the kids. It was WEIRD. I knew something was really wrong.
But now that I look back, my December depression was just the crisis point of a year-long, low-level struggle.
The fact that I ended up in the emergency department of the local hospital just four days out from Christmas was almost comical. Tummy pain that I had ignored until Brendon came home early from work to drag me to the ED revealed that my liver function was compromised. I had a couple of tests but being that no man’s land time between Christmas and New Year, I don’t have any definitive answers or a course of action to take yet. I’m looking forward to that. But in the meantime, it does help to explain the crushing fatigue and low mood I have experienced this year. The underperformance of a major vital organ can really fuck you up. It’s almost a relief to know that something is genuinely wrong with my physical body that is causing psychological distress. A liver can be fixed. A broken mind always seems so much harder.
Of course, the year was so much more than 14 bummed out blog posts. If you follow along on social media, you’ll know that there have been plenty of highlights – mainly involving dear friends and my cute kids. It was also the year that I began a genuine attempt to earn a living as a freelance writer. It was a huge learning curve for me and I’m proud of what I managed to achieve in spite of my mental state for much of the time.
My takeaway lessons are important ones. That I am vulnerable and sometimes less self-aware than I thought. That I am strong but sometimes to my detriment because I don’t ask for the help I need. That pushing through is not always the best way forward, but instead to pause, assess the problem and develop strategies to heal the damage – not mask it.
So let’s close this chapter and head into 2018 with new strengths and greater clarity.
This year, I would like to give The Little Mumma just a little more love. And I’m wondering if you could help me out with this? If you have a second to leave a comment either here or on Facebook, I would love to know what brought you to this blog in the first place and what made you stay. What do you really enjoy? Are there particular blog posts you really like or are the videos on Facebook more your thing? Would you like more of anything? Or less? Do you want more giveaways? Are you tired of waiting for me to share my wedding photos??? I want this space to be useful and fun for you guys and your thoughts can really help guide me for 2018.
Happy, Happy New Year, dear friends. Without you, my writing is just words on a screen. But with you, The Little Mumma has become a community. Every single comment and thought you leave fills me with joy. When I see names pop up that I haven’t seen for a while, it THRILLS me. Life is busy and there is more than enough content online so thank you for choosing to read mine.