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Thursday, 27 December 2012

True Story: 2012 Rude Awakenings & Takeaways

Hello my lovelies! Today I present to you a guest post by Mags from The Smart Girl's Fashion Guide. Mags is a truly brave girl, who's had a tough time in 2012. I hope 2013 offers her so much more!

Don't forget to give her a virtual hug at the end! I know how hard it is to bare your soul online.
As I read the sentence “I was broke and living on benefits” in Lyn’s story of survival, I realised that I was already hooked. I had to read on. This lady had been through the mill and from the deliberate air of suspense, I knew that there was more to come. This incredible story inspired me. 

And if any year is the year to share my tale to the world then 2012 has to be the one. 

January: Panic Attacks
Never been homeless. Never been on the dole. Never even struggled to pay the rent. Unlike Lyn, I found a job almost straight away after I graduated from uni. I worked hard and played hard and lived in constant excitement for the weekend. I guess I was always a bit of a party girl. But nothing prepared me for the biggest comedown of my life after a girl’s holiday in 2011. In 2011, my return from Ibiza left me feeling anxious, panicky and crazy to say the least.
I was determined to start afresh in 2012. But this simply didn’t happen.
I began the year afraid of being on my own, afraid of the dark, afraid of being in enclosed spaces, afraid to get in my own shower and even afraid of the shadows on my wall at night. I didn’t sleep. This was the reality of Panic Disorder. I panicked about everything.
I used to be a fearless, rational girl; why was I being so crazy? Was I losing my mind?
Living with Panic Disorder changed my life completely.
My lowest point in 2012 was asking a colleague to come into a toilet cubicle with me because I was afraid of…..I don’t even know what. Soon, this became everyday life. My housemate sat on the floor in the bathroom as I showered, my friends had to accompany me everywhere and my boyfriend had to rearrange his schedule to make sure I was never alone at any one time.

August: A New Me
My Panic Disorder may have rocked my life and turned it upside down. But it didn’t stop me. I never stopped partying, going out with friends, having fun and just living. I refused to let it beat me. I was never going to let something like this overpower my right to the best life possible, one I would remember and think: I lived my life to the max and never missed a moment. Besides, the only time I didn’t have panic attacks was when I was surrounded by people. 
In 2012, I started to realise how much I valued friendship and the people around me.
With my renewed gratitude towards friends, I started to see things differently. Life was not for wasting or spending in the office. Because anything could happen just like Panic & Anxiety happened to me….

Life’s Too Short
I landed a dream job in fashion at the beginning of the year.  I was always quite a focused girl as well as a sociable one. I worked hard, I was proactive in grabbing opportunities and  promotions and I always aimed to work to the best of my abilities. It wasn’t until August 2012 that I finally managed to overcome my Anxiety and by then, I’d spent almost a whole year being scared. Finally, I was in the driving seat. And I realised that life was simply too short. And definitely too short to work all the time.
Life was made for pleasure. So I started to live more like a hedonist. Instead of following in the footsteps of the Directors in my company and working until 8 or 9pm at night, I started to leave work early. I didn’t work long, unnecessary hours to perfect every fashion campaign or to tweak every last word of PR. The truth is, I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care about selling meaningless clothes to make millions of pounds for someone I didn’t even know. I just wanted to get my pay cheque and get out of there so I could go to music festivals and spend time with my friends, the people who mattered.   
Now I say “friends” but it wasn’t until later on in the year that I had a rude awakening.

The Importance of Family
I remember driving home from work, feeling excited yet stressed that I didn’t have any free weekends until 2013. I knew November and December were going to be busy months. But this would all become so trivial once I spoke to my parents that night. Mum had cancer.
Since November, I’ve decided to drop everything – my mum is now my number one priority. I’ve stopped spending money like I’m living for the moment. Instead, I am working extra hours to start a savings account just in case my parents struggle. I’ve committed to spending my weekends back in the family home for when mum is having chemo. There’s nothing more important in my life right now.
And since November, some of these friends whom I valued so much have been amazing. Their love and generosity has really shone through. Others haven’t even asked how I am.
I guess you only find out who really cares about you at times like these. 
Looking back at 2012, the panic attacks, the unexplainable anxiety, the career struggles and the friendships, I now see that there’s nothing more important to me than my family. The friends who have been there for me and my mum will always have my support and those who haven’t even bothered to ask after me, just consider your true colours revealed.
What a year it’s been. I’ve learnt a lot. And for that I’m really glad.

Written by: Mags @ The Smart Girl’s Fashion Guide, who blogs about art, fashion, and inspiration.


P.S. Excuse me while I get a tissue... and I'd love to hear everybody's story really. Contact me! ;)