Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
I hated New Years Eve for a long time. The celebration of the year just passed and the hopefulness for the one ahead seemed to mock me and my reluctance to live. The year just gone was nothing. A continual slog of helplessness, sorrow and a desperation to escape life. The year ahead forecast to be the same. It was the hardest time of the year for me; such a sharp, serrated reminder of the time perishing and me wasting, wasting, wasting it all.
Family & friends would go elsewhere, surround themselves with loved ones, ready to ring in the new year (me, refusing to go anywhere.) I would turn my phone off, turn the TV up loud. I would ensure I was asleep by midnight, distancing myself from the occasion as much as I could. Thinking, please, please, do not wish me a Happy New Year. You don’t understand how much that feels like a mockery. Please don’t mention happiness when I’m still working on existing.
For the first time in a while, I celebrated last year. I ate lobster with my boyfriend, drank too much wine with family, lost a board game, and watched Big Ben count in 2017. It wasn’t a bad night. So why do I still get a twinge of anxiety if I think about New Years Eve? It’s still tainted for me; no song makes me tear up like Auld Lang Syne does.
It’s hard for me to understand, because I am ridiculously, weepily, happy about how much life I’m living now. As I’ve explained before, depression has given me a heightened sense of gratitude for any good things that happen to me. New Years seems like a logical time to celebrate my good fortune, but the day is blemished by melancholy. I think I am scarred.
Maybe, after all my days of newfound happiness, I need a day of reflection on what used to be, and what could have been. A gnawing reminder to acknowledge the depths of the slippery, slippery slope. It’s humbling to count our blessings, but even more humbling to remember our battles and recognise our scars.
I think, for now I’ll sacrifice this day and cede to the somberness. It seems a small price to pay. But please wish me a Happy New Year, because I’ve mastered existing, and I’m working so hard on living.