Good riddance to 2013! I don’t know about you but I didn’t have a particularly good year in 2013. There have been many ups and downs over the last 12 months and as I headed towards the end of the year I realised the downs far surpassed the ups. I thought I was the only one who’d had a particularly rough year but it turns out I was wrong. I’ve chatted to various people who all feel the same way and couldn’t wait for a new start in 2014. So as I sip on my mint green tea I’ll give you a run down of what I went through and what I’ve decided for my future.
2013 started off well with all the excitement about my op I had been saving up for. About 2 years ago while eating sushi with a friend and chatting about her boob job she’d had I decided there and then that that was exactly what I wanted to do for myself. I saved up, booked an appointment with the surgeon and knew as soon as I met him that he was the doctor for me. I wanted to do the op for my 30th birthday and that was my present to myself – new boobs. I had the op and endured the pain and today am thrilled with the results. I don’t regret doing it and am so glad I did this for myself.
Before the op things at work had been chaotic and I was exhausted by the time I went on leave for the op. I couldn’t wait to sleep as much as possible! As I could travel after the op my mom and I went to Dikhololo Game Reserve for a week to clutch out in the bush. We arrived there unpacked and relaxed immediately. We spent the week reading, watching TV, chatting and doing cross stitch. I realised then that I was finally feeling like my old self again. I hadn’t seen that side of me in months! I found myself laughing, relaxing, less moody and irritable and a nicer person to be around again. It was also great spending quality time with my mom. We went for game drives in the afternoons and saw some animals up close. In the evenings we were treated to visits by zebra and kudu while we were sitting outside quietly next to the braai. When the week was up and we had to pack up and leave I was really sad that the holiday was over and that I had to get back to reality again.
On the way back to Pretoria I didn’t have time to be depressed. My brother’s big day had arrived that day and he was graduating from his bachelor degree. We were all very excited and rushed non-stop to get a whole bunch of things organised (one of which was to fetch his surprise cake) before we went to the ceremony. We were all extremely proud of him and took him out to dinner afterwards to celebrate.
In June my 30th birthday finally arrived. We had a great day out at the Neighbourgoods Market and I loved spending time with friends and family who mean a lot to me. The highlight of the day out was that Drew Barrymore arrived at the market with her bodyguard. The crowds were surprisingly calm and no one harassed her. I know a few people who have been really depressed around their 30th birthday and I am happy to say that turning 30 didn’t upset me. What did feel strange was that every year my brother and I fly to Bali to meet our folks there (they live in Papua Indonesia) and that was the first year that we didn’t do that. We had delayed our trip to the end of the year because I needed more leave and my brother was busy completing his honours and thesis. We were both a little depressed as there wasn’t any excitement to get packed up and escape the SA winter for 2 weeks. We were both tired from work and studies and just wanted to escape a little.
In the beginning of June I was booked off with exhaustion and anxiety again. I’d been booked off at the end of 2012 and thought things were under control with my stress and anxiety levels at work but unfortunately not. The doctor advised me to start taking anti-depressants to cope and I refused. I told her I didn’t want them and would try deal with the depression on my own. I was suffering from situational depression and it was not a great place to be emotionally. Gym has always helped me with that and I knew I needed to get back there and get fit again. I made sure I got back to the gym, started classes again and already started feeling better thanks to the endorphins at the end of a tough gym session. I met a new friend at the gym in Katabox and we started motivating each other which was great! We also realised we had lots in common and were happy chatting for hours over coffees and dinner.
A few months later, after numerous break-ins at the complex in Pretoria where my parents’ house was, we decided to sell and buy in Joburg rather. We put the house on the market and in 24 hours our house was sold. Great excitement! And then a bit of panic because we needed to buy somewhere in Joburg and fast! I have always wanted to live in one particular suburb and we were very lucky to find the perfect house there. We thought it would take weeks to find a house and luckily everything just fell into place! My mom had to fly back to SA 3 weeks after she had left to help sign all the papers etc. The the huge job of packing up began. We were all glad when the removal company had moved everything into the new house and we could slowly start unpacking and getting settled. My mom couldn’t stay for long and had to leave so my brother and I continued. While unpacking we also had builders here to renovate Shaun’s cottage which as you can guess meant the renovations took much longer than they had assured us, which caused added stress around the house as Shaun needed somewhere to stay while he was trying to finish his thesis and honours.
During the year I had gone to a few events with my friend Vanessa. I always enjoy these as we have a lot in common and both enjoy getting dressed up and spending the evening out. As soon as she sees an ad for an event or I do we immediately message the other one and make sure we get a booking. It’s become quite a tradition for us and one I’m glad we started. Vanessa and I met through twitter and I’m really glad we did! She convinced me to start my blog, something I had been talking about for ages, and I finally sat down and started it. I loved putting posts together! However, as things got busier with the move and at work, and I felt increasingly more down in the dumps, I ended up neglecting my blog.
Once we had moved in and settled down I realised that the depression and anxiety were getting worse again. I’d reached a point where I was miserable at work and it started having a very negative effect on my daily life. I would come home from work and be increasingly irritable, aggressive, negative, tired and in general I was not a pleasant person to be around. My poor brother had to deal with me which was not fair on him. I lost all interest in getting to the gym at all – the one anti-depressant that works wonders for me. I would come home and lie on the couch and not want to talk to anyone. I rarely replied to whatsapp messages and became terrible with emails – never replying to them. I often sat down with the intention to reply to them and then just couldn’t write so I just kept adding them to my list of things to do. And as my friends know I rarely got to mailing them back. My hair started falling out, my skin had really bad breakouts again, my nails wouldn’t grow and kept peeling and ulcers were forming in my mouth. All very clear signs that my body was not happy and my mind was not in a good place. The scariest place my mind has been over the last few months is where the suicidal thoughts started surfacing and the tears and unhappiness.
The week before I went on leave again (to see our parents in Indonesia) was an incredibly trying one for me. I was exhausted and my patience was being tested daily. I think deep down I knew I had to make changes in my life. At the end of that week I came home on the Friday and had been pushed to my final limit. I just wanted to run far away and not come back! Shaun and I rushed around to get the house sorted, packed early the next morning and then the taxi came to fetch us. We were both ready for the upcoming holiday and time out from life here. He had finally finished his grueling honours and was ready for a well-deserved break. By the time we got on the plane I was ready to put my head back and sleep. I slept for most of the flight and couldn’t wait to get to Bali, or second stop over before we got to Papua. As soon as we got to the hotel Shaun and I had a beer and took a long walk down Kuta beach which helped us both unwind and find our happy place. Bali has always felt like a second home to me and I am my calmest when I am there. We got to our folks the next day and both spent the first few days sleeping and recovering. I’m going to do a blog post on our trip so I won’t go into the details now of our adventure in Papua and Vietnam.
One thing I did realise while I was away was that I finally felt like myself again. Again I found the old me when I was no longer in that toxic environment. I was relaxed, happy, excited about life, laughing, interested in what people had to tell me and a pleasant person to be around. I think on that Friday before we flew out I had decided that I would come back from holiday, give it a week or two at work and then I would decide what my next step was. Our holiday was amazing and I walked back into the office on the Tuesday morning. Instantly all of the irritation, frustration, anger, anxiety, depression and stress that I had felt before the trip came back. After 3 days I handed in my resignation. I needed to break away from the toxic environment that was killing me and start over somewhere else. As soon as I handed in that letter it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders!
I can happily say that one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was resigning. I decided to put me first. My happiness has to come first. My mental and physical well-being has to come first. After handing in that letter the old Plum is back again! I have crossed off a whole bunch of things on my to do list that have been there for months! I gardened and planted seedlings in the veggie patch, sorted through my craft things and unpacked the last few boxes from the move. I have started taking an interest in my appearance again and am blowdrying my hair instead of just crawling out of bed, washing it and tying it up in a top knot. I now make time to paint my nails and have fun with colour. I finished reading a book and immediately started the next one which I can’t put down at the moment. I am back in the gym and seeing some results! My friend Lexie and I have decided to do gym club and focus on getting fit. I’m really looking forward to this in 2014! I am making an effort to see old friends and keep in touch and have even met new ones and spent time with them which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
I am out of that dark place I was in and finally enjoying life again. Life is too short and I refuse to stay in that unhappy place. I am looking forward to following a career that interests me and learning new skills. Over the last 2 years I’ve definitely grown and now have a very clear idea of the type of writing I would like to do and am going to pursue that. I’m looking forward to spending time with friends, old and new, and sharing their company. I believe 2014 is going to be an exciting year for me and I am looking forward to everything it has in store for me! I’m grateful for everything I have and the people who are in my life.
I ended 2013 off at the Jolly Roger pub with my brother toasting to a new year where we both have much to look forward to! My brother is my best friend and was my no. 1 choice to spend toasting the new year with. I don’t know what I would do without him.
I hope you all have an amazing 2014 and are happy! Do what makes you happy and put yourself first. Life is too short. Take that giant leap and have faith. Everything happens for a reason and that which does not kill you will make you stronger. And remember, don’t let someone or something take your happiness from you.