YEPITSPAT / Pat Byrnes

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On Life Going into 2018 (aka sorry to get so serious so soon into the new year)

It has taken me far too long to understand or accept that life's not a play on a stage or even a journey to an end, it's a conglomeration of every moment and decision you've ever made.  Every aspect of everything you've ever done or didn't do are the genetic make up of where you currently are and anything you do or don't do from this point will determine where you will be. All of these little moments, regardless of how big or small they are or appear to be, are what make up your life.  

With that said, this last year was a weird one. It started strong as I tried to rocket myself of the shit show that was 2016 only to plummet back down into the even bigger shit show that was 2017. I am however happy to announce that despite this I kept one of my only real resolutions for 2017, I had to or I wouldn’t be here to type this. My biggest and main resolution/goal of 2017 was to stay alive, to survive, to try and live better than I did in 2016. Part of this, and I’m sorry because this is going to get real, meant not killing myself. Prior to this very moment I’ve only discussed this with a few medical professionals and a single friend, but in 2016 I almost killed myself. 2016 was a really crappy year and my entire life felt like it was collapsing, there was no foreseeable end to the pain or struggle.  I lost a few friends in 2016, some very loved family, I was always alone, and had been forced out of my job (that I had spent years in and had always gone above and beyond with my work) into a dead end job where I couldn’t even see sun.  My hopes never got higher than my feet as I dragged them to this dead end job every day, truly I was down, and despite being a person who had consistently been anti-suicide and pro-PMA I thought that was the only way out. Towards the end of 2016 I entered a therapist’s office for the first time since I was a kid, interesting enough, the same therapist from when I was a kid.  I felt as if he was the only doctor I could talk to that would understand as he knew where I was coming from. This is about the time I started this website and started trying to move myself away from negative thoughts and get out and make memories even if by myself.

This, roughly, is how I started 2017, obviously I wasn’t in the best state of mind. I had been fooling myself into believing things would miraculously skyrocket for me, I believed this because I needed to. I had to believe this almost every single day throughout 2017, even through all the awesome adventures, photo shoots, hangouts, coffee breaks, long drives, late night Korean karaoke songs, panic attacks, and manic episodes; I had forced myself into thinking that things would get better, and even with how shitty 2017 had been, I must say; damn am I glad I’m still here! Sure I still have manic days and depressive episodes, sure it’s only January 1st and I’ve already had a panic attack this year (didn’t even make it 24 hours into 2018) but between telling myself regularly that things would get better, actively making plans for a better future for myself, and more therapy sessions than my therapist could even bill my insurance; things have gotten better. I’m more outspoken about several things that are important to me (with mental health being one of them), I try not to double guess myself, I sometimes still find myself overthinking every sing thing, but I’ve gotten better. I am also more honest with myself about things I want and things I want to do and have acted on my impulses to do these things rather than procrastinating (말만하지 말고) <- I’ve gotten more serious with my desire to be proficient in a second language and have been focusing on Korean (obviously) rather than trying to know a little of several languages. I’ve been trying to spend less on empty physical objects and more on experiences.  I’ve started doing freelance work, which has been working out pretty well. And I’ve gained an overwhelming amount of support from a ton of people across the world and internet, many of who have (without knowing all of what I had gone through in 2016) repeatedly been a support network of sorts. Who have reached out to me when it was clear I needed it, who would check up on me if I hadn’t tweeted or posted on Instagram for a few days just to make sure I was doing alright or to help me through some stressful situations. I can’t truly express how important this network, which I like to think of as friends (even if they don’t necessarily think of this relationship the same way), has been to helping me through my day to day.  Some days I needed them more than others, again I found myself mourning family and friends, in fact I had heard word that a friend of mine was in a coma from an apparent suicide attempt while on my way home from an aunt’s funeral. That day was really rough, that day several friends, acquaintances, and my therapist received several text messages, and I had been reminded that being mournful is different than being depressed. We as humans are allowed to be sad, it’s natural in these situations. The way we react moving forward makes all the difference.

Everything that I had lived through and learned from, every single moment in life, every single decision led to how I was able to respond to all of the hardships throughout 2017 differently than how I would’ve in 2016. All of this has led me to where I am now, and where I am now is drastically better than where I was this time last year (even if at times it doesn’t feel like it); and in 2018 I plan on and hope to live and respond to life even better than I did in 2017.

 

PS this is why things like access to mental health professionals and people willing to talk about mental health are far more important than many believe. Had I not reached out to a therapist, or had no one reached out to me, who knows where I’d be or what I would’ve done. With that said, if you feel like you are in a bad place and can’t see a way out, life isn’t as dark as we let our anxiety, depression, and panic let us think. There are people to talk to, there are options for help. It gets better. 계속 가, 다잘될거야 

...I've Been Running on Empty

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