2017 has been a huge year for me in terms of personal growth.
It has been the year in which I finally spoke out about my mental health conditions after living with them silently for a decade.
It has been the year that I finally started thriving after taking huge steps in 2016 to learn to manage my anxiety & depression.
It has been the year in which I have found my purpose, accepted myself, grown immeasurably in confidence and started to chase what makes me happy.
2017 has been a great one but it hasn’t always been easy.
There have been setbacks, there has been self-doubt and there has been the difficulty of adjusting my life to my new-found ambitions and passions.
Moving forwards brings change and it is never simple. I now want to put myself outside of my comfort zone to challenge myself every day.
This inevitably means that things aren’t always straightforward but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The spark which has always existed inside me has finally been ignited.
These are just some of my key moments in 2017…
- Started fundraising for Mind and shared my personal experiences of mental health conditions with everyone I know for the very first time – This was such a monumental step for me and really started the momentum that I’ve continued throughout 2017. I had no idea at this point that my involvement in raising awareness about mental health could go beyond just this one fundraiser.
- Created my blog & published my first post ‘Panic Attacks and How I Overcame Them‘
- Began volunteering as part of the STOP Suicide campaign – Who’d have thought just 6 months later I’d be leading it!
- Was overlooked for a promotion at work (University of Cambridge) and only just missed out on another job opportunity which I really wanted at the time – If ever there is a definition for a blessing in disguise then not getting these jobs is it! On reflection neither of these opportunities would have fulfilled me or made me happy in the way that the job I got at CPSL Mind 5 months later does.
- #TalkMH Meet – It was incredible to meet so many inspiring people. I’d only been a part of the online mental health community for a couple of months at this point but everyone was so welcoming.
- Started a YouTube channel – Rob Talks Mental Health – This was a big step for me as writing has always been a lot easier to me than appearing on camera. I haven’t developed my channel anywhere near as much as I envisaged originally. This could be something I return to in 2018 though!
- Completed the Vitality London 10k and raised over £600 for Mind – This was another milestone moment for me which I wrote about in my blog post ‘From Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and Anxiety to Running for Mind in London: My Mental Health Story‘
- Celebrated my 6 year anniversary with Stace.
- Adopted my gorgeous pair of kittens – Merry (right) & Pippin (left) – They light up my world every day (when they aren’t destroying the house!)
- Delivered mental health events in my workplace at the University of Cambridge – It was another big step for me to talk so openly about mental health at work and encourage others to do so.
- Visted Edinburgh.
- Had an article shared by Time to Change – ‘My Manager’s Support Through Depression and Anxiety Helped Me Succeed‘
- Handed in my resignation at the University of Cambridge after receiving a job offer from CPSL Mind!
- Attended Time to Change StoryCamp – Including meeting Rosie and creating the brilliant #TotallyVlogging
- Started my job as Campaigns and Communications Lead at CPSL Mind!
- Featured in a film about mental health shown at the Cambridge Corn Exchange.
- Visted Rome – you can read more about my travels here.
- Relaunched my blog – Having a full-time job in mental health led to me relaunching my blog in November. I needed to start posting about other topics to give me variety and provide healthy breaks from my mental health work.
- Reflected on my first three months working for CPSL Mind – it has been amazing but so busy – you can read more about it here.
Looking Ahead to 2018
I feel like I’ve achieved a lot this year but at the same time I feel like I’m only just scratching the surface.
I don’t feel limitations on what I can do anymore like I have in the past. I just want to go and live life. I’m still finding out who I am and there is so much for me to experience in the world.
I’m excited for 2018 and I just want to continue pushing my boundaries further & further because I really don’t know how far I can go!