25 Things I learned in 2016

Worth Living Ambassador Kay Ska

Kay Ska, 21, UK
There is so much of stigma attached to mental health that I tried to ignore my own mental health problems for as long as I possibly could. And let’s just say that wasn’t the best thing I did. Now, I’m extremely passionate about spreading the mental health awareness and getting rid of the stigma attached to it! As well as helping people in any way I possibly can, by sharing my story and things that have/are still helping me on my recovery journey.

This past year was full of growth and learning for me. As the year was unfolding it became clearer to me why things were happening. Everything that I thought was ‘bad’, wasn’t because I was able to learn so much from it.

I became more open to life, to new things and new people. Eventually, 2016 started to feel like my life was making some sort of sense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a super duper challenging year but I can see exactly why I needed to face so many challenges. Sometimes you have to hit your proper rock bottom to fully open your heart and mind. And that’s exactly what happened. I never thought I’d be able to say that, but I am grateful for all the shit that has happened (is still happening) Because of that, I am where I am today, and I am in such a better place right now than I was at the beginning of last year.

Here are some of the thing I have learned in 2016:

• I don’t have to keep toxic people in my life! Took me a bloody long time to realise that, but now I honestly can see when I’m able to let go of the toxic people in my life, I make space for the better people to enter my life.

• Life might keep giving me more challenges because there are still a lot of things I need to learn! Not because life is against me.

• In everything that’s ‘bad’, there’s always good in there too! Which I might’ve not been able to see straight away, but when I look back, I can see why things have happened the way they have. And something good has always come out of those tough times.

• Everything really does happen for a reason.

• I am worthy of having a kind, supportive and loving people around me! Just because I haven’t grown up surrounded by those kinds of people, doesn’t mean I’m less worthy of that.

• Relapse is a normal part of recovery.

• The moment when I wanted to quit, was the moment when I needed to keep pushing.I remember sharing this quote, around my birthday time in June. I was in a pretty bad place. There were so many times in the first half of 2016 that I honestly didn’t know how I could go on. Suicidal thoughts started to become the ‘normality’ again. Any expectations of getting any work or anything done was gone. I set my bar a lot lower for those times. I struggled, but I kept pushing. Something within me has got me through so many dark times before and once again it did this year, many times. I just kept pushing, a day at the time.

• Getting rid of the weighing scale was one of the best things I could’ve done! Due to completely changing my lifestyle and my diet I have lost a lot of weight, which sort of happened pretty fast and unexpectantly! I used to struggle with eating disorder and body dysmorphia and losing so much weight was actually a big trigger, just when I thought I had it all ‘under control’. I was so scared those past monsters would take over my life once again. I think because I was pretty aware of what was going on, I noticed when I started to struggle and I made a conscious effort to change that before it took over me. Numbers on the scale really do not define me! I am so much healthier now and I have no idea what I weight anymore, but I know that my body actually feels a lot healthier than it ever did before!

• My story matters. Just as I tell this to everyone who has/is sharing their story on this blog, I have realised that actually my story too matters!

• There are people out there who have helped me so much in the past year, but I also realised that I’m the only person who can help myself the most.

• Changing my lifestyle has extremely benefited my physical and mental health. Becoming a vegan, almost a year ago now, has really transformed my life, my physical health! I actually have so much more energy now than I ever used to! I Being sober for over a year, I don’t even care if that makes me sound ‘boring’. I can have fun without drinking. Doing yoga and meditating, sticking to yoga, from about August time, doing it every single day along with meditating. There have been so many benefits from all of these changes. First time in my life I feel like my nervous system isn’t alllll over the place. I actually don’t know what has had the best effect on me but they have all linked nicely with each other and been extremely beneficial to my wellbeing.

• Inner peace is within me. I realised that I can only find peace within me. Things might still be very much hectic in my life, but my reaction (or non-reaction;)) to them is different.

• I can ALWAYS cope with the present moment. Being so sensitive is a gift. Thanks to which I am able to relate and help so many people!

• Looking after myself is the most important thing I can do! Being sensitive can really suck too. I can feel things so deeply and it can be exhausting! This is why I’m still learning to look after myself a lot better. Making self-care my number 1 priority. When I’m able to do that, I have so much more energy, I’m actually able to do a lot more, and help a lot more people!

• This too shall pass. This is something I’ve repeated over, and over this year. Feeling, thoughts, emotions are temporary, they will pass.

• The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, was one of the most important books I have EVER read.

• For the first time in my life, I have some sort of idea what I actually want to do with it. Like it actually feel like I have actually a purpose here! I feel so much clearer about my life and the path that I’m on.

• I am SO much stronger than I give myself the credit for.

• I am actually more comfortable in my own body!!! WHAT a journey it’s been?! This has been the first year that I’ve actually been more okay with sharing photos of myself online. Some which probably weren’t the most ‘appropriate’, but those were the most important ones to me. Capturing those moments when I actually felt okay about my body, my appearance. The summer I challenged myself so much more, I tried to embrace my body rather than hide in my tights and long t-shirts. I was even able to leave the house in shorts, and not even wearing tights!!! And have actually started to wear vests, and short sleeves again. This might sound pathetic but actually, those were very big things for me. I feel the most comfortable in my own body than I ever have felt before.

• I am and will be okay, no matter what.

• Little steps matter. Recovery is a journey, it’s all a progress. Making little steps forwards made looking back on 2016 enjoyable as if I’ve achieved quite a bit! No matter how small the step is, as long as it’s towards recovery it’s always positive.

• My blog has/is helping thousands of people and that’s the BEST feeling! I might say this a lot, but all I want to do is help others. If I can use at least some of my shitty life experiences to help others, then they were worthwhile.

• I have the most supportive, kind and loving community!!!

I am so grateful for all of you who have been with me this year, or even if it was just in the past months. Your presence has made a difference in my life. I have so much love for youfor you all. Thank you for being my rocks throughout the last year.  THANK YOU all so much for sticking with me, supporting me and each other! 2016 has been a game changer! Let’s try to make 2017 even better :)!

Soooo much love,


Please follow my personal blog http://This is What a Person with Mental Illness Looks Like

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