Without a doubt, 2015 was a year that kicked my ass and I was not even remotely sorry to see it go. It brought record levels of work stress, and many plans foiled by circumstances beyond human control. I watched friends and family go through all manner of struggles, upheaval and less than positive change. Most painfully, it brought serious health challenges for two of my daughters (thankfully, both are now happily on the mend). It was such an infernally awful year that my family burned our calendars on New Year’s Eve, hoping to banish the bad luck/darkness/evil spirits or what have you and keep them from following us into 2016.
With the old year behind us, something occurred to me. As rough as things got, as mentally and emotionally exhausted as I was, I didn’t crash and burn as I have in the past. I cried a lot, yes. I got angry. But I didn’t fall apart completely, didn’t retreat into depression and isolation. I didn’t explode, or implode. I actually refilled my anxiety medication less often than I had in past years. How was this possible?
Looking back on 2015, there was one solid, consistent bright spot: blogging. This was my escape, my distraction, my therapy. It provided a sense of accomplishment and progress when absolutely nothing else was going my way. It reminded me to take time for pleasure and self-care. Getting a review item in the mail could make a hard day feel a little bit like Christmas. And blogging was the one subject I could discuss with friends that would never leave me frustrated or in tears. It was the one area in my life where I had complete control, something I very desperately needed. While so many other things were messy, complicated, prone to descending into chaos without warning, the blog slowly but steadily grew and prospered.
Besides the blog itself, I am eternally grateful to my blog “family” for helping to pull me through. When anxiety kept me awake long after everyone else in the house was asleep, I could always find friends online to reassure me and remind me that things would be OK. 2015 also brought me closer to my fellow bloggers, thanks to our amazing bonding experience at Woodhull. I felt more like part of the community after spending time together, putting voices and faces with names. In the midst of a tumultuous year, I suddenly found myself with a new support network, a unique group of sensitive, understanding and wonderful people. There were new inside jokes, new reasons to smile, new plans to be made, like rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds.
To all of you who were with me through the madness of 2015, I can’t thank you enough. I’m pleased to report that the early days of 2016 have been excellent so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what this blog can become with a little more time and energy to invest, and a lot less emotional baggage… and I hope you’ll stick around to enjoy it with me.