Whilst I am not an avid fan of New Year resolutions, I am interested by opportunity provided by this boundary to reflect on the year behind and the year ahead.
I started off last year feeling deeply unsatisfied and unhappy with myself, despite the fact I was finally starting to break through the fog of depression. This was the kind of unhappiness which sat underneath the surface, rarely at the forefront of my thoughts but always present, niggling.
This sounds silly as I "type it out loud" to myself - but I honestly felt like I was losing my identity, my depressive identity which had consumed my life for almost three years. An identity which I had felt miserably certain would be part of my life for evermore.
My experience of depression is one of a state which consumes and claims every bit of your emotional landscape, sliding its tendrils around every thought, every experience, scouring away everything else. This resulted in an almost complete rewrite of my internal hard drive.
Despite the fact depression's branches had started to wither, nothing came to fill its absence. It wasn't there anymore, but nothing else was either. My mind fell fallow and I no longer recognised the landscape. I didn't know myself.
So what do you do when you "lose" your identity. I spent 2016 trying to find out who I could be, looking for the destination of the self. The box which I could fit my personality in and say "oh hey, you Bethan, you exist within there. You are knowable, you are finite."
Over the past year I tried to construct the box through a series of tests - did I like a. or b., did I enjoy one thing over another. As if I could find myself by understanding my metrics.
An interesting thing happened though - the more information I collected about my responses to external things - the more I realised my inconsistencies. My reactions to stimuli changed. Sometimes I was stressed at events whose doppelgänger the week before had filled me with excitement. This was understandably confusing after years of mostly monotone nothingness.
I couldn't make the box of myself fit these changing states. I was unpredictable, I was constantly changing and this was OK, normal in fact.
The great shift came at the end of the year, a realisation aided by several drunk conversations with close friends and lots of reading. My superior partner in Nihilism, Albert Camus, expresses it best:
"We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die."