Quite frankly, I'm a mess and there's no way of fixing me. Thanks to my anxiety, my world has continued to shrink all year until I'm capable of doing very little beyond sitting in this chair. That makes a celebration of 2015 a little redundant and it certainly doesn't bode well for 2016.
So, yes, I finally completed my PhD in 2015 but so what? It's not like I can do anything with it. I can't apply for the jobs I want or volunteer for teaching experience so, essentially, I've wasted my time.
People in my life like to point to the PhD as a sign of success in the same way they talk about the short stories victories I've had this year and the fact that I twice stood for local election. What they don't seem to understand is that it's all pretty irrelevant when you can't build on it. After all, the intention wasn't to get a new certificate to brighten up these four walls.
And what about the writing? Well, back in July I wrote this: But so I can write - so what? That makes no difference to anything, it changes nothing. The things I can't do are weighing down the scales on the other side and I'm not making enough headway with my writing to keep me afloat. So...what? Well, I don't know. It still stands. Writing is one of the only things I've got left but I can barely bring myself to focus any more. The sad thing is, there are all these stories I've written or partly written and I'm the only one who can work out how they should ultimately look but I can't do it. I've been writing primarily for myself for a while now but maybe there just comes a point where happy endings don't come easy. And my characters... Well, they deserve happy endings.
Ultimately, I don't think this is my fault. I tried this year and I pushed myself hard. People who suggest otherwise don't know a thing about it. The things I can't do are the things other people do without thinking and it isn't just vague anxiety stopping me - it's acute and it's debilitating. Faced with that, what do you do?
There won't be a traditional companion piece looking forward to 2016 because I can't write one. However, I do have some positive memories of 2015 before things got quite this bad. Viva day was enjoyable, as were London and York, plus all the afternoons spent with my nieces watching Disney films on repeat. Election night was great and I met some wonderful people this year, both politically and otherwise. Thanks to them, primarily for putting up with a hell of a lot of rubbish when other people wouldn't have bothered. Have a little Carol Burnett from me...