2017 – A year of ups and downs.

So if you’ve read my most recent posts, you’ll know that life has been a bit mental this year. I was made redundant from a job, someone I respected passed away, my gran became really ill. More recently I found out I was being made redundant again and my gran passed away this weekend. All in all this year has been a bit of a shitter.

However many downs there have been I think it’s also important to remember the ups too. Good things have happened this year and whether they’re big or small, I think they’re worth mentioning. So after four days away seeing some amazing people in Newcastle, I’m trying to refocus and re-evaluate life. Before I start spilling my brain all over this blog though, here are some of the big and little things that I’m grateful for.

The Big Stuff:

My Friends

The fact that I know I could go to Newcastle and stay with two amazing people any time I need to is amazing. The fact that so many of my friends have been checking in with me and have been kind enough to offer me beer, food, a comforting ear, a day of singing and music or a conversation to take my mind off life is massively appreciated. One of my friends is even spending Christmas with me this year and will be flying over from Australia. Most importantly though, none of my friends have made me feel bad about skipping out on social things to take time for my brain and my family.

My Family

No one likes their family 100% of the time but I really think most people genuinely love their families. I really do love my family. I don’t always show it and I definitely could do more for my family. But if this year has shown me anything, it’s that my family is great (not that I didn’t know it before). Whether it’s the family a few doors down or family from across the world this year has made my family even tighter than before. I appreciate my family a lot.

My Job

Okay so I’m being made redundant but one thing I’m really grateful for is how flexible they’ve been with me. I’ve been allowed to work from home whenever I need it and leave at 5pm and finish the day at home. My colleagues have been amazingly understanding and I’m really grateful that I ended up in such a good team.

The Little Things:

Video Games

So the little things might seem trivial but I’m going to start with video games. I love video games. I play with people I’ve never met online and I play games that friends have recommended me and I talk to them about the game constantly. It might seem silly for a lot of people but for me, especially this year, videogames have been a fantastic escape for me into a fantasy world or twelve.


Okay so I’m not talking about social media or YouTube or anything. I’m talking about broadband and WiFi. I was paying a silly amount of money for internet that was barely working. But I changed WiFi provider and I now have super fast super reliable internet. So yeah it allows me to enjoy things like Netflix and YouTube which is another great escape.

My Camera

I’m not the most active on YouTube any more and I’m not the greatest film maker or photographer in the world but fuck me, taking the camera out for a day of shooting video or doing a photography tour is absolutely amazing fun.

Sidenote: If you’d like to come along on a photography tour of London with me for the amazing Project Parent come along to the event page here:


So as I mentioned at the start, 2017 has been a bit of a shitter, but it’s not all been bad. Thanks to everyone who’s made my 2017 slightly more bearable and occasionally a whole lot of fun. Still though, fuck 2017.

Once a year.

Once a year Christmas day happens (it also feels like I only post once a year). Despite not being a Christian, not being religious at all in fact,my family gets together and plays stupid games and eats a butt load of food and usually end up playing mah jong. It’s a time of year that freaks me out a huge amount.

It’s the time of year where I’m reminded how little my family understand how strange my mind is and how complicated my mental illnesses are. Okay, so I’m writing this after having a midnight argument with my brother which has set off my anxiety a huge amount but I’m going to try my hardest not to let that affect how I write (he was trying to do something nice for my mum but it’s another thing that makes me ridiculously anxious which I now feel really bad about resisting!).

I’m extremely different from my family and have always felt like a black sheep. I’m the only one who’s working in my particular sector. I’m the only one who travels up and down the country to visit people. I’m the only one that’s into performing and music. The only one interested in technology. The only one that’s into comic books. I’m a nerd. And I feel very very English.

My family are very unaware and resistant to the idea that mental illness exists and because of that don’t quite understand mental health and how it can affect people. They don’t understand that almost everything to do with Christmas makes me anxious. I’m going to list a few things that I love and loathe about Christmas. It’s not all bad but it’s certainly not simple either.

Things I love about Christmas:

Christmas music. (I flipping love Christmas music)
People seem happy.
Writing cards for people.
Giving gifts.
Cheesy Christmas TV and films.

Things that make me anxious at Christmas:

Having a full day with a huge group of my family with no escape. (lots of people that come I only know as a passing acquaintance).
Not being able to have my own personal space.
Not being able to be musical at home.
Finances being drained by gifts.
Shopping for gifts.
The strange expectation that I have to celebrate Christmas despite not being religious.
New years eve.
Having to stay happy throughout the day even once anxiety kicks in so as not to ruin everyone else’s day.
Immeasurable guilt that I’ve not sent Christmas cards and gifts to everyone I know.
Irrational fear that I’m already running Christmas some way.
Feeling extremely alone even though I’m surrounded by people.

Anyway. This list could go on pretty much forever. This year, due to various factors and my mind not being the healthiest, everything feels amplified. But as always, I’ll knuckle under and get through it. I’m very fortunate to even have a family to feel awkward around.

All I ask is that today, this week, this season, where suicides rates are high, is for you all to look after your brains. Look out for other people’s brains too. Be understanding and compassionate. Be a little bit selfish too. Give yourself ten minutes to yourself if you need it. God knows that I’ll be doing that a lot.

Christmas can be a very stressful, lonely time for a lot of people. Lots of us think about all the things we’ve not achieved this year. We think about how we could have been better. Let’s try to help each other see all the good stuff we’ve achieved this year. As individuals, communities, society and the planet as a whole.