Happy New Year to all! As I start the new year I wanted to reflect on 2018. Firstly thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog. What started as a way of sharing my story has ended up touching people in ways I hadn’t imagined. Some people have connected with the thoughts and feelings I have expressed in relation to their own lives and others who were a part of my life during these tough times have maybe understood more about me. Whichever one it is, it has strengthened the bonds of those close to me and led me to empathise, understand and expand my own horizons of the struggles people face.

And then there are the new people who have touched my life. In particular, my husband-to-be whose unrelenting support, love, kindness and protection has enabled me to finally shake off the shackles I had put around me and follow my dreams and passions.

It has been hard for me at times to understand as I move forward in life how to isolate feelings and reactions. I often ask myself – am I facing these things because of what happened? Or is it a normal part of growing older, maturing and gaining life experience? I don’t want to see everything as a consequence of my accident, PTSD or the physical injuries but it’s hard to know whether it is something I will always be influenced by or if there will be a time where it doesn’t define my thought process. One of the things I have always been adamant about was the fact that I never wanted to be defined by my accident. But can significant moments in our life – death, trauma, illness – ever really just be a moment in time no matter how long that moment lasts? On the one hand, in trying to keep positive and work through negative setbacks I look at life as a chain reaction of events. One thing has a knock-on effect and sets off a reaction, which takes you to where you need to be. But if I always think this way in an effort to stay positive and make the best of every situation does that mean that the starting point is always the most traumatic event? But then what’s the alternative? Everything happens for a reason? It’s comforting to think that but is it a solid enough proposition?

In hospital the idea of “everything happens for a reason” got me through some dark days. I guess the same way religion or belief in God helps people to believe there is a higher power guiding their lives and keeping their faith when things are tough. I don’t think it is possible to know the answer. But the responses from people to my posts has shown me that in some form or another my experiences resonate. Which means that it must be a bit of both. Growing pains and life experience but also shaping our future based on our past. It sounds obvious but it’s nuanced and complex. They say the past shouldn’t define our future but can we learn if life doesn’t throw us a curveball every so often?

2019 is going to be an exciting year for me as I embark on a new phase of my life. My plan is to help others who struggle with mental health issues and raise awareness about the impact it can have. So watch this space to find out more! I am also keen to hear from anyone who suffers from stress, anxiety or PTSD related issues so please get in touch through my blog.

If there is one way in which I hope my experiences can mean something it will be through helping others.  And if I can change just one person’s suffering then I know it would have all been worth it.

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