Every year guarantees a post in reflection of the last twelve months. Every single post is incredibly different. The amount of change that can take place in a year is unfathomable. It's absolutely insane. The difference that 365 days can make is mind-blowing. If you know me, you know that typically I hone in on the positive and that with the negative, I still manage to find a way to make a positive spin on it. In 2017, I lost myself in more ways than one. 2k17 was a year of contradiction. For every instance where I felt defeated, I can recall a moment of triumph. For every sad feeling I can match a happy one. To say that this year was challenging is quite possibly the biggest understatement I can think of. I started out 2017 in a broken relationship with a man that I had convinced was the right choice, so I was trying to stick it out, unhappily. My heart knew it wasn't the right thing, but my head was in great conflict. Just because on paper a human being looks like the perfect match doesn't mean that they are. The anticipation of leaving was worse than the act. The amount of relief and weight off of my shoulders is unexplainable. I moved out and then moved back home in 2017. I felt love in its most intense form and then lost it in a sad, pathetic manner. But I loved and lost. I'd take that over never feeling the magic of love at all. This year I was presented with many opportunities. I joined the Michigan committee for St. Jude's research hospital. Together, we raised over $100k. I volunteered with the River Centre Clinic and Foundation both raising money and awareness for eating disorders. I attended Take Back the Night for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. I took advantage of being able to both be a voice and to educate myself and others on taboo and seldom addressed issues. I'm both humbled and proud to be a part of all the pieces of activism I engage in. This year was full of changes. So many changes that I cannot even speak of them all. This year I left a job that was sucking the life out of me. It was hard, it hurt, and it was not the way I wanted to end my time there. I left a great group of people, but it was my time and our mental wellbeing is more important than anything else. I stood up for myself and for what was right and then walked away. To struggle with mental illness is to most often struggle with change, even if it's a good thing. This year I began a new job. A job that I love and has introduced me to some true angels here on earth. It has presented me with separate challenges along the way. Being the new person is never fun. I've been tested, my confidence has been taken down more than a few notches, and then other days I fight to prove my competence. However, I know I made the right choice. It'll just take some time. To 2017, I thank you for the strength to both walk away and to begin again. My heart has been through the ringer in these last three hundred and sixty five days. I said goodbye in the most painful ways, and I've bravely opened my heart to the possibility of love ten times over. Then I opened my eyes to see what was right in front of me the entire time. My best friend and someone I have always cared about so dearly then turned into even more than that if it was even possible. My heart is being cared for, tended to, and guarded by the best. And I could genuinely not be more grateful for that. My seemingly rock solid foundation has been shaken time and time again this past year. From inner struggles to things out of my control, I lost my footing. My strength is immeasurable, but I just feel so exhausted and defeated for countless reasons. I know that I am looked to as positive and inspiring person, especially in the blog and recovery realm. But the truth is that the last few months have been more exhausting in every possible way imaginable. To be on the top of the highest mountain I've climbed yet, to be knocked down the entirety without any indication of the possibility of it happening has been difficult to say the least. After dusting myself off and tending to the wounds I acquired, I've been fighting my way though the trenches of one of the lowest valleys of depression to make my way back to the next mountain. It's a slow and painful climb, but I know I'll make it in time. I just need to convince myself that stopping is no option. Thankfully, my will to give up on it's strongest days has still been drown out by even the quietest bit of hope that I have instilled within me. I'd love to say that despite it all, I am ending 2017 and beginning the new year happier than ever, but it'd be a lie. The truth is, most days I am on the verge of a breakdown or an angry rampage. I can, however, say that I am ending this year with an entirely grateful heart. To be real and honest is what is important for me presently. To own my feelings, no matter how much I do not want to feel some of them is important. It is also important to feel them and then set them free and continue onward. Another year has come and gone. Another year to add to my victories, no matter whether they always feel like one or not. Another lesson or two to add to my arsenal, and more memories to both smile and cry in reflection of. I vowed to be honest with myself, to let the words continue to bleed onto the pieces that I write, and this one contains some blood that runs thick. Blood shed in these last 365 days; I am filled with a map of new battle wounds. I have been broken this year, completely shattered. With blood on my hands I am picking up the pieces. But here's the thing: I survived. I will continue to. Then I will regain focus and get back to thriving. Right now surviving is about all I can do, and it's okay. It's a process.