I'm under constant observation when the clock strikes midnight and a new year begins. Somewhere in the distance fireworks awaken the night with light, but I am wrapped up tightly in blankets and the darkness of a med-induced sleep, while a nurse watches closely over my hospital bed.
I spent the last moments of 2016 weeping in the arms of a stranger; mourning another year lost to my failings and flaws; grieving over 365 days of falling down and fighting - exhausted - to get back up.
Save one week when I tried to go home and manage myself, I've been in this hospital for the last four months.
More than half my year disappeared within the walls of this ward - the sadness and the chaos consuming six whole months.
I haven't felt much like blogging these last few months. I haven't felt like doing much of anything, tell the truth. It's felt pointless and unnecessary - a waste of energy when just surviving is difficult enough - and in many ways it still does.
It's been a battle to do anything of late - to fight the "What's the points?" and the "Not good enoughs" - and I'm not sure it's a war I've overcome.
This post might become a lone anomaly on what feels like a meaningless blog, and writing even this once feels tough.
Then again, everything feels tough. The reality of mental health is that it's really bloomin' tough.
This admission, in particular, has been tough. Any glimmer of hope I once had has been buried deep beneath the sludge of my low mood; trampled upon by slow and heavy footsteps, trudging through the same old swamp. I wade repeatedly through the same thick mud, stirring up the same damp thoughts, hoping that a road might appear before me, magically, if I drag myself through this often enough.
The people who try to help me (and, believe me, they really do try to help) are running out of paths. It seems we've tried every route through the muddy labyrinth of my life, failing to come upon a usable exit point, and we're wandering blindly round in circles now. I'm weary and frustrated - frustrating the professionals too as we all find ourselves a bit lost.
At the start of 2017, it's a dark and difficult place I find myself in.
I know we're supposed to smile hopefully as a new year begins, welcoming it in with open arms and a head full of dreams and positive thoughts. But sometimes the dawning of a new day is not enough. Sometimes the fireworks don't illuminate a better path. Sometimes life doesn't explode with momentum like the popping of a cork - it doesn't ring with the fullness of a freshly poured glass or clink with the possibilities of a joyful toast.
Sometimes life feels empty. Sometimes, in spite of time's onward march, we humans get stuck. Sometimes, regardless of the date, things are just tough.
That's life. That's reality. That's mental health. And that's okay to admit.
Wishing everyone the best for the year ahead, whatever highs and lows it may bring