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It's been 18 months since my last published blog post and so much as changed for the better from an internal perspective.

I've actually written 7 other blog posts within this time which haven't been published. I think that's the thing to remember about personal blogging... it doesn't always have to be shared.

I've moved from strength to strength in so many ways but I've also has what could have been really big step backs, and some would argue have been. But I guess how you respond to adversity is what really matters.

I'm being really vague aren't I.

In a nutshell... 2022 was a very busy year... following my exposure and response prevention therapy for my OCD symptoms I went from having gone near no-one in 3 years to having lots of fun with lots of different people (if you know what I mean 😂). I also left my job of 5 years to start a senior position elsewhere and after 6 years of having not flown anywhere I went to New York, Ibiza and Las Vegas to celebrate delays birthday celebrations with my mum and to watch my friend get married. I spent a week in Ibiza on my own and had the time of my life. Little did I know at the time how much this feeling was a turning point for what was to come...

I can't continue without taking some time to recognise how much progress there has been from a germs point of view more than anything else. The preparation for flying to New York in May 2022 was necessarily anxiety inducing but only for the fact that you had to have a negative covid test to enter the country... which was to be completed virtually the day before to get your flight ticket. Like most people I was actually desperate to get away and so I put myself into a 14 day isolation before leaving, as I had heard that people were still testing positive on day 13 of contacting Covid. This was not good for my mental health, particularly after I can recognised my need (want) to be around other people, from living on my own.

It's actually counter productive isn't it? You booked a holiday to enjoy yourself and escape reality. And there I was putting myself into an isolation in fear of opening the door to the mail man all over again. Crazy. I said at the time that had the testing requirements not have been a thing then I wouldn't have even batted an eyelid at the whole thing. Luckily, the testing wasn't a requirement for Ibiza (September) and Vegas (December).

The irony is that after all this... 33 months of not catching Covid... I got it in Vegas.

What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas after all. And I gave it to my mum (we assume) as her symptoms started after mine. That said, we had a great time on holiday. I don't think I caught it until towards the end of the holiday. I really couldn't differentiate between the effects of breathing in dust from the dirty buggies in the desert and Covid symptoms at first. 😂

In 2023, having realised I hated my job (but by no means regretted leaving the last!) I decided to get myself another one. I then (finally) finished my master's degree after asking for 3 extensions on my dissertation, but it was well worth it for the grade and feedback I got. It's helped to give me a whole new outlook on my personal and professional ambition and it deserves a whole new blog post of it's own.

I spent about 16 days (if that) in my new new job before I asked myself what I had done (or rather 'what the f**k is this?' (but again not regretting leaving the last two). Can you see a theme here? Am I the common denominator I (briefly) questioned?. The answer is no. Thanks for therapy - that's all I can say.

I lasted 66 working days in this organisation before I knocked it on the head with 4 other colleagues who all resigned in the same week. Speaks volumes right? Sounds like there's an interesting story doesn't it? But it's nothing I'll be explaining anytime soon. It was the worst employment experience I have ever had... but it's helped to redirect me into what will be my next chapter, which I'll share in the next few months. I'm so looking forward this.

I write this as I sit on the train on my morning commute to my new new new job (😂). This is the 3 new job I have started in 14 months. Isn't it so crazy to think I had been in one place for 5 years until last year?

An additional silver lining to my job woes? I met a new friend and all of her friends. They are South African and living in London. They are the nicest bunch of people and I've had a good few days out and stay overs at theirs. I guess life is about holding onto the positive that do come out of every situation (even if you can't see it at the time).

I titled this post 'progress' and now you can understand why. If we reflect on how I had been feeling prior to 2022 around my issues with obsessive compulsive disorder (and it's wider impact) it's clear that there's a massive pat on the back I need to give myself.

The way I articulate this may sound like I have had it all together - don't believe that - far from it!

It's been a series of real emotions highs and lows but actually I think that's what's been need to reframe my new direction. And this time I really am doing this for me.

Stephen x

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