Before I start, I want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for sticking around and reading my content. Thank you for following my ever-growing Instagram account. Thank you for supporting my brand, Collectively Kaitlyn. I work so hard to produce the type of content you guys like reading and seeing and the type of content I am proud to display. Now, this blog post is going to be completely different. I won’t be talking about fashion, lifestyle tips, or crazy deals you need to snag. Instead, I’ll be talking about my year in review. What happened, where I went, what I did, and how I changed. So, keep reading if you’re interested and I hope by the end of this post you feel inspired to be your best self in 2018.
It’s hard to open up about your personal life on the internet, like, you have thousands of eyes judging you all at once, but, when you have a platform and a voice that you can use to help someone else, you need to use it. 2017 was amazing… in some aspects. I was promoted within my company, I traveled out of the country to the beautiful city of Toronto, I traveled to so many wonderful cities in the USA, a handful of my favorite friends got married, another handful got engaged, I had the opportunity to work with SO many absolutely awesome brands, I got to celebrate the many successes of friends and family, etc…
I felt alone. I felt numb. I felt nothing.
Rewind to give you a very short, very quick, little background story. My entire life I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression to an extent I just never knew it. It was always manageable or I always had so much going on in my life that I could push the anxiety away and completely forget about the emotions I felt. In 2016, I graduated college, after 6 years. I left a job I had loved for over 5 years. I became an alumni of my sorority. I went from working 9-5 in an office to working from home. I moved into a new house. Everything in my life was changing. I began to feel extremely withdrawn, sad … constantly sad, I stopped going to the gym which was always a positive outlet for me, I would cry for hours on end in my dark bedroom by myself completely unable to move. In late 2016, my depression and anxiety reached an all time high. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even breathe most days. I wrote several letters to loved ones explaining why I simply couldn’t live my life anymore. I wanted to leave, leave all of the positive things I had surrounding me. I wanted nothing more than to crawl into a shell and never come out. The end of 2016 came and I felt like I had nothing to show for it. The anxiety was overpowering everything I tried to do all while taking everything I did have away from me. The depression was so severe I couldn’t be trusted to be alone. I felt like my life was completely unwrapping before my eyes and I had no control over it.
Fast forward to February 2017 – I was finally referred to a therapist who was willing to help me through all I had been dealing with on my own without prescribing medication to me. After months of talk therapy, I “graduated” from mark to severe to extreme in all categories (anxiety, depression, and panic disorder). My therapist told me she could no longer help me alone and that I needed to see a psychiatrist in tandem to meeting with her.
My heart sank into the ground.
I never wanted to be medicated. I had heard the horror stories of people gaining weight, becoming addicted, etc … and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of that. However, I went along with her recommendation. In August 2017, shortly after my 25th birthday, I met with a psychiatrist and was prescribed a medication to help me work through my feelings and to feel grounded. Against my will, I knew I needed this type of help. I knew I had let things go on for so long untreated that I needed to correct the imbalance happening within me. I’ve never been more thankful. I’m not “cured” and I may never be, but I can function like a normal human. I’m myself, actually, I’m better than I have been in a long time. The road is still rough and I’m not negligent to that but I can say that the view from where I am compared to where I was is magnificent.
2017 was a year of growth. I became dedicated to Collectively Kaitlyn and my passion for blogging was found once again. I found myself and I found something that makes me happy, creating content. I grew within my role at my company, even received another promotion! I nurtured true friendships and let go of friendships that no longer served me. I took time to be selfish and put myself first. I traveled, I experienced new things, and I tried to pick up new hobbies. I became friends with unexpected individuals both in person and via Instagram. I had my life touched by so many of you through kind words and encouraging comments. I’ve made connections with some of my favorite brands and public figures through my brand and I cannot express how eternally grateful I am for those opportunities.
2017 might have been hard but it most certainly wasn’t the worst year ever. In 2018, my goal is to continue to become the best version of myself that I possibly can be. I want to continue growing my brand, working hard to produce quality content, work with more brands I admire, excel in my career, put my mental health as a priority, and use my platform to help others who may also be struggling.
Wishing you the absolute best end to 2017 and the most amazing start in 2018! I have a blog post launching this weekend about “realistic resolutions” to have in the new year so be on the look out for that one.
Cheers to you and yours!