22.December 17, 2015
I like being 22.
Mostly because I made it to 22.
It’s a nice age. A settled age. We went to Bristol for my birthday, back in September. I’d never been before. We stayed in a cute B&B, had some fancy cocktails, ate some crackin’ food, saw the sights and took a ridiculous amount of photos. It was a good September.
Birthday in Bristol, September 2015
By the start of October, I was training to be a volunteer Relationship Advisor for YouthNet - a digital charity for 16-25 year olds. I still didn’t have a job - I was only half-heartedly looking because I wasn’t really ready - but I stumbled across the opportunity and thought… why not? The nice thing about feeling more in control of myself is that I don’t immediately reject things, people, and, well, everything. I went for it and they took me. I finally felt useful. I loved it.
By mid-October, I had a job interview with YouthNet. Like… a real life job. A paid one. An adult job. A proper job. I wanted to be their new Editorial Assistant. I wanted to write for young people, I wanted to work for a charity, I wanted to talk about mental health, and sex, and relationships, and all the shit that school doesn’t prepare you for.
I got it.
YouthNet, December 2015
By the start of November, I’d graduated, moved to Ryan’s in London, and started my new job. All in the space of a week. We bought a wardrobe, a throw for our bed, I was taught how to double lock the front door, and we were bickering about how to squeeze toothpaste and why I leave yoghurt pots on the side instead of putting them straight in the bin (because they can be washed up and recycled). I figured out my commute, I navigated the market on my lunch breaks, and then I put on a mortarboard that didn’t fit and graduated.
Graduation, Bournemouth, November 2015
And it all felt incredible. Every part. It FEELS incredible. I dealt with every stress and I pushed through it and I am so, unfathomably proud that I am sitting here, able to type this.
In December, my friend and I hosted a fundraising event for Mind, the mental health charity. We crafted, baked, held a raffle, played games, and wore stupid Christmas jumpers. We raised well over £1,000. One thousand!
Charity event for Mind, December 2015
I’m lucky. Things have just fallen into place, in ways, but it’s still ME who acted upon the things once they fell there. I still made them happen. I could easily put that down to medication but I won’t. It’s been a helping hand, but that’s it. It’s just an enabler.
I might even be coming off them soon. Not cold turkey, but slowly. Now things are settled, now I’m 22, we’re going to see how my brain does without them. ‘We’, because this isn’t just my battle. It’s my doctor’s, and my boyfriend’s, and my friends’, and my mum’s. We’re all in this together.
It’s only been four months. Four months since I spent my days crying, pushing everyone I loved away, and begging someone, anyone, to just take all the shit I felt away. Since it all felt pointless. Since I found no use in myself and no reason to even try and carry on. But it can only take four months for everything to change, and I find that quite wonderful.