"Why is contrast important?"

I'll be the first to admit that this year has been tough. I don't think I've ever cried so much in the space of a year. Now, a lot of that could be put down to the fact that when I first began suffering from anxiety and depression, I almost trained myself not to cry. If I'd let myself cry every time I felt like it back then, I would have been in a near-constant flood of tears. I think this year I finally broke through that barrier and began crying again.

However, I think the number of tears can be attributed to the fact that this year has been an overwhelming roller-coaster.

From memory, the first thing I did this year was to send my assaulter a message to wish them a happy new year. I was still a victim of gaslighting at the time, and my memory was still pretty foggy.

As for what the last thing I do will be, well, I've yet to figure that one out. However, I'm thinking I'll raise a glass and breathe a sigh of relief. I survived 2016.

So, back to the point of this post. This year, I had a breakdown at a concert. It happened for a lot of reasons, probably the most significant being that I'd experienced assault for the second time in my life less than 24 hours earlier. It was hell on earth.

I later went on to see one of my childhood heroes, Michael Morpurgo, reading his book, War Horse, alongside Joanna Lumley. I sat approximately 10 feet away from these two incredible humans, and I cried with gratitude. I wouldn't have been there had I turned back and gone home following the breakdown.

The following day I boarded a coach to Germany, and a few days after that I saw the same singer in concert that I'd been listening to when I broke down a week ago. That was one of the most incredible nights I've ever had, for several reasons.

In summary, those final few experiences would not have been as important and wonderful to me as they were if I hadn't broken down at the first concert. The bad only served to make the good that bit better.

That is why contrast is so important.