As 2017 rolls to a close, what better way to end the year then a reflection on what was.

In October 2016 I wrote an article on ‘Living with Dysthymia’. It’s now over 12 months since I wrote this article. Given the overwhelming response I received when I posted it, I wanted to share some of the highs and lows that I’ve experienced and where I’m at today.

Through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) I’ve been able to seek more professional help. It’s taken a while to find a Psychologist that I’m comfortable with and one that will systematically work through all my issues. Having this support has been critical to where I am today. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be able to talk to someone. When the black dog comes nipping at your heels, you need to be able to reach out to someone…anyone.

This sounds easier than it is….and I get that. If you have someone that can just listen without comment, judgment or criticism – talk to them.

Through my amazing Psychologist, I’ve been given tools to manage and understand what it is that I needed to do to function and work through the dark thoughts. These are not easy, the dark days – but you can get through them. Each time you do, congratulate yourself, you did it! You made it out the other end of a situation you NEVER thought you’d have control over.

Since October 2016 a lot has happened in my life, both good and bad – challenging and easy, all of which have contributed to where I am today.

I was made redundant in November 2016, making me unemployed for 2 months, the longest I’d ever been unemployed. This was a tough pill to swallow and knew that over Christmas it would be hard to find a job. After applying for some 12 jobs and getting multiple knock backs or nothing at all, my confidence had been pretty shattered. I was doubting myself and heading back down the road where the black dog was waiting.

I eventually landed a contract job with Boeing Defence Australia that later turned into a permanent role. The job suits me to a tee. Working back in Defence and writing, developing eLearning and innovating change on large projects. I’ve an awesome team that I work with and all love a drink and a laugh at the end of the week.

In March 2017 I broke up with my partner of 3 1/2 years. This was not easy, not easy at all. She had been my rock and supported me. Seen me at my darkest and at my brightest.

It was me whom initiated it, and I needed to do it. It was not a good time. I still loved her, but I wasn’t IN love with her anymore. I needed to find me. I needed my own space. I moved in with an old mate from the Navy, and as financially good as this was, it wasn’t my own space. I moved out on my own in July 2017.

With the continuing support of my Psychologist and the thankfully, the ongoing friendship I’ve got with my former partner, I was able to make a sound transition into my own space.

This has allowed me to do an incredible amount of thinking and soul searching. I’ve become amazingly calm. My stress levels have never been so low. One of my biggest problems is I was hanging on to the past, and this was simply eating me up. I had to let go, but needed all these things to understand that in order to start to achieve it.

I come back to talking to someone. Bottling things up only build momentum of an already inflamed memory or thought pattern. GET IT OUT!

My relationship with my boys has improved beyond what I could’ve imagined. The people in their lives who caused me endless grief over the years are still there, however, they have little effect on me these days.

I’m learning who I am and to not worry about what other people think. I’ve learnt to be tolerant and patient. I’m getting back into riding my motorcycle and doing things that make ME feel good.

I also have someone new in my life. I never planned on anything, it just happened. I’m open and honest about everything and she understands me. She listens to whatever goes on in my head, throws me a comforting smile and hands me another wine 😊

I’ll never be without the shadow of Dysthymia in my life. However, I’m learning to live again and enjoy what life’s adventures are coming my way. Although at times it will feel like the end of the world and there’s no silver bullet, there is light at the end of the tunnel – and it’s pretty amazing!

I’m in a good place right now…

I hope that this short snippet into MY life can help YOU seek any help you may need.

Please, reach out to a friend, check if they’re ok. Don’t regret it later, do it now… please 🙂

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