Things don’t always start well

2012 was rubbish. It started badly. It ended even worse. Christmas was an absolute shambles, and many things fell apart right in front of me that month.

Heading in to the New Year I was, hmm, flaky?

I had a bit of a breakdown come March. Due to some distressing stuff that was going on. My issue-for-many-years anxiety descended in to pretty bad depression and I felt like I was at rockbottom. After a month of staying in bed, crying like a baby and hanging on to my pillow for dear life I decided to do something about it. It wasn’t without help from lots of people, including some very special help from @coding_bear and @xocs.

So then 2013’s good parts started to kick off.


Having had anxiety issues for many years, always there gnawing away at me, and the descent in to the depression in March I decided it was time to try and do something about it.

Rather than just stay trapped in this cycle of anxiety building up and up and then descending in to depression and then climbing the ladder back up to just anxiety I wanted to try and “fix” things.

So I saw my Doctor, got prescribed some medication and begun a course of CBT. A couple of months later I was discharged from the therapy. I certainly wasn’t, and still am not, “fixed”. You only get out of CBT what you put in. And I put in a lot, but I still struggle an awful lot of the time. But I have improved somewhat. I’m still anxious as hell, but it doesn’t quite build to the point it did before.

Made some new friends

Making friends is probably pretty normal for most. But it’s unusual for me. Around October of last year I met Stu, and it’s been an absolute pleasure becoming great friends with him over the year. This also meant meeting his friends, and becoming part of a proper friendship group again, something I’d not really had since moving to the North East. He’s helped me out an incredible amount over the year.

Did some public speaking

Never ever thought I’d be saying that but I did public speaking at three events this year - JS North East, SuperMondays and Refresh Teesside. All three were a blast, and the feedback I received was awesome. I felt incredibly proud of myself for doing this. Stu even made me a cake and a card, iced with an Owl no less! Refresh was a particular highlight for me, I think there was just something about the talk that resonated with everyone on some level, and people had commented that I’d genuinely inspired them - I was pretty overwhelmed.

Won Refresh Teesside’s ‘Talk of the Year’ award for 2013

This ties in with the above. But people voted for me as giving the best talk of 2013. This was a total honour. I’m so glad people enjoyed it.

Got invited to jQuery UK

This was so very awesome, and I’m still not entirely sure if it’s a mistake! On the back of a blog post I’d made and a particular plugin I’d been building I was invited to jQuery UK to take part in the new track giving a 90 minute workshop to around 30 other people.

Seeing myself on their homepage made me realise I’d come a long way in a year. I’d come out of my shell a lot, and it was really starting to pay off. Don’t get me wrong, imposter syndrome kicked in in overdrive when I saw my name alongside Yehuda Katz and co.

But as their website states, jQuery UK is the “biggest front-end developer conference in the UK” and I’ll get to be a part of it. This was (and this may sound stupid) validation that I’d “done good”.

Formed Bear & Owl

Bear & Owl is a company Stu and I have created. I’ve written a whole post about Bear & Owl so I’ll not repeat things here. It’s a big step for me; a scary and yet very exciting step.

Added some new members to the family

We saw a couple of our rats pass away this year, and it was as devastating as ever. Stripe, Lestat, Remy and Digit I will miss you always, sleep tight little ones. However, we did add two new very adorable members to the family - Jake and Cedric, two french-lop rabbits. They are a constant source of amusement and joy.

Jake and Cedric

Looking forward

That leaves me with resolutions for the year ahead. As always I hope to get back on the bandwagon and lose a bit of podge. Only 10lbs to shed, it’s not the worst amount in the world!

Just after Christmas I also bought an electric guitar. I’ve been saying I wanted to learn guitar for a while, so thought it was about time I bit the bullet and did it. I bought myself a Schecter Damien Elite.


It’s going…slowly. I can remember my D, A, E, G and Emin chords. Transitioning between them (smoothly) still remains a bit of a mystery. By the time I write this post next year I may be able to play a song ;) I hope to keep getting better with this through the year, though.

Have a good one

Have a good New Years whatever you’re up to. I wish you all the success and happiness in 2014.