The responses were inspiring and honest, and included stories of overcoming mental illness, finding a place in the world, and expressing hope for the future amid an uncertain present.
Here they are.
1. Coming out as a comedian — and bisexual
I started doing stand-up comedy.
This in itself wouldn't have been a huge deal beyond the usual getting over a fear of public speaking, but a big part of what I wanted to do with my stand-up set was to include a lot of material on being bisexual. ... And this meant coming out to my family.
I ended up telling them on a whim over dinner after a few glasses of wine because I knew if I didn't say it then, it wouldn't happen. It ended up not being a big deal at all and it brought us closer together, but I honestly don't think I would have done it without that push to be able to make jokes about it onstage in front of an audience that includes my family. —Alexandra
2. Exercise and unexpected benefits
I went into 2018 saying this was my year, and I made it happen. My depression, which I thought I'd beat, was returning, and I knew I needed to make a change. I started trying to walk daily in January. In March I started bodyweight strength training three to five times a week. In July I started doing HIIT between walking and running.
I’ve never thought I’d be the kind of person who enjoyed exercise. But, it seems to keep my depression far away so that’s very motivating to continue. For the first time ever I didn’t focus on losing weight. I instead focused on living a healthier daily lifestyle for my mental health.
A side effect of this is I’ve shrunk from a size 20 to a size 12 in 2018 and have more muscle mass than ever before. I love challenging myself to go faster, push harder, and see what I’m capable of. I amaze myself every day that this is my life now, bc between 2011–2013 I barely left my bed except for doctors appointments and was a size 24 bc my depression was so bad.
So in January when I felt like the old days were returning I knew I needed to change one thing in my daily routine to move away from it. Exercise is the thing I chose, and I’ve never been happier. —Trina
3. The Kavanaugh hearing and speaking out
It brought out past events I thought I had dealt with and pushed me to be more vocal about #MeToo and how the men (and some women) in my world need to understand how to treat victims of sexual assault and harassment and how they can be part of the solution, not the problem. —Anna
4. Marriage and letting go
Getting married. Totally. And also trying to learn that life is easier and happier if one lets go of the need to vindicate oneself. —Rosie
5. Changing states for a new start
We made the decision to move from Myrtle Beach to Indianapolis. In the 10 months that we have been here, we went from being poor newlyweds still living with roommates to having our own apartment, two well-paying full-time jobs, a new car, and a dog. We have pulled ourselves out of the pits of poverty, are paying off our credit cards, and are looking to buy a house in 2019.
Sometimes I still have nightmares when I think about where we were this time last year. I’m both amazed, grateful, and thankful this year. Sometimes one tiny decision really can change everything. —Becca
6. Getting past family to discover yourself
My sister moved out of state. Didn’t realize how codependent I was. Truly changed my whole outlook on life and how my family has held me back from living my life for me. I honestly don’t even know who I am, what I want, what my passions are, or if I’m capable of moving and making my own life choices bc my family has always been my identity. I’m 32 ... a difficult boundaries discussion with my mom and grandma is gonna happen soon. I’m looking forward to figuring this out. —Hannah
7. Finding a path to a career
I got a job. I graduated last year (the ceremony was on 9/11) and I was pretty much doubting myself and all the efforts I put through college, especially because my nana passed away two days after my graduation. It’s not a job in my area (I graduated in journalism and I’m working as an English teacher in a language school), but it’s a job and keeps my mind busy and helps me keep focus on my goals of getting back to a newsroom. —Carol
8. Facing an uncertain future
Found out my 70-year-old dad has spine cancer yesterday and that it's metastasized from somewhere else. Definitely going to change our 2019. Have no idea what we're looking at yet. —Christine
9. Fighting to find medication that works
For me, 2018 was the year of the Great Medication Change. I've had anxiety and depression since high school, and in 2018 alone, I've switched medications four times. SSRIs (the family of medication I've been switching between) take weeks to build up in your system before they become noticeable, so there have been some rough patches of being severely undermedicated.
It's been hellish, but I'm still kicking. I've pushed through suicide ideation, panic attacks, and side effects ranging from mildly annoying to completely debilitating.
It isn't over yet; I still have a little ways to go before I'm at the correct dosage, but I'm hopeful that 2019 will be a year of subtle tweaks rather than total upheavals. —Alana
10. Hoping for a happier 2019
I’d like to think that 2019 will bring a little more respect for ourselves and others. We need to stop letting politics define us. If I were granted one wish, and boy would I love a million dollars, I would wish happiness for my fellow man. —Jo
11. Embracing being single
I've been single for the past 6 years ... and though I still want to enter into a relationship, 2018 was the year I truly embraced singledom and invested more time into enjoying life as opposed to "waiting for my life to begin when."
I traveled solo to London and Paris, visiting friends in each city, I spent more time with friends, family, and discovering activities I enjoy — I tried many new things, read more books, went to the beach with girlfriends, soaked up time with my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews — it has been a beautiful experience and I'm grateful for the time and energy I'm put into myself! :-)
I look to continue the trend into 2019 and also keep myself open to dating and meeting someone, whilst living a full life! —Ann
12. Getting a new job and a new sense of self
I got out of a job that provided me with sadness.
Long story short, I was in the job for a little over a year and wasn’t treated as if I mattered in the position and went through many, many deep periods of severe depression. Applied to over 50 jobs, wasted 800 miles of driving for jobs that couldn’t even give me a standard “rejected” letter, and finally got this job in my direct career path that has not only allowed me to be happy, but to be able to afford stuff in my life right now and be in an environment that promotes growth and well-being. I’ve been able to learn about myself more in this position and be able to develop and grow — not only as a journalist but also as a person, and I love it. It’s had me meet so many people who I wouldn’t have thought of meeting and allowed for me to explore life through a different lens. I still have my issues w my mental health, but this has lifted a massive weight off my shoulder.
I still talk to a few people from my previous job, but that’s because a friendship was created, and now I see it as a high point in my 2018, despite it happening halfway through the year 😂 —Krystal
13. Joining Outside Your Bubble
I wished I would have found this group sooner. The stories and insights I read on here are truly inspirational.
I have depression and mood disorders. At times I feel on top of the world and everything is going my way. At other times darkness rears its ugly head usually caused by triggers that happen in my relationships or events I can't control. I have been through therapy, I'm under doctor's care through medications, was hospitalized once for 7 days (which opened my eyes tremendously how other people have depression) and I'm just starting to feel comfortable in my own skin.
Every day is a new day for me. I start every morning on a clean slate and deal with whatever comes my way the best way I know how. Somedays are great, some days truly suck. But I rely on my faith to pull me up each time because I feel other people's lives may have it worse than me. I look forward to a prosperous 2019. I love myself and who I am. This gives me hope that the next day will be better than the last. I am blessed with good health and a good job so it's onward and upward. Thank you for reading. —Arnie