To say that 2018 was a challenging year for me would be one hell of an understatement. At many times it felt like the worst of my 24 years, that being said, I also experienced some of the best parts of my life. So here it is, the good, the bad and everything in between.
The year got off to a pretty good start – we booked our holiday to Mexico on January 1st, to a resort I’ve been wanting to go to for years, and we didn’t have to wait long till we were going! But the day ended on a much sadder note after being told that my cousins dog (who I’d lived with for many years, and loved like he was my own) passed away.
I managed to complete dry January (and February, and part of March), but even without alcohol I was feeling increasingly anxious and low, to the point where it was starting to affect my relationships because I just wanted to shut myself away.
I finally addressed how I was feeling with my mental health and visited my GP, I was sent for counselling and prescribed anti-depressants. I really struggled with the nausea side effects, but once that passed I found them to be very beneficial. I also opened up to a small number of friends about my diagnoses of anxiety and depression (something that terrified me!). Towards the end of the month, I received the news that my cousin had unexpectedly died.
The Beast from the East hit, and it was really bloody cold. My commutes became a nightmare – TFL definitely wasn’t built with snow in mind! We were also lucky enough to watch some of the 6 nations matches at Twickenham!
Endometriosis awareness month. This was the first time I posted about endometriosis on any of my personal social media accounts, and it was a really daunting thing to do. No one wants to be that person complaining about their health on social media. I was so relieved by the lovely comments and support I received from my friends and family (and by the number of people who contacted me separately to say that they were also struggling).
March was the month that we went on our holiday to Mexico! I was definitely in need of some sun and relaxation, it was absolute bliss and I would definitely go back given the opportunity! Finally, we went axe throwing, which became my favourite sport – and I wasn’t too bad at it, coming top of the group of 12 we were in! One of the best ways to spend an afternoon.
I decided to get back into the gym (spoiler alert – it was very short lived), and massively overdid it on my first session, working so hard I ended up fainting when I got back to the flat. Luckily the gym is below my flat, so I don’t have to travel far!
It was a fairly quiet month, as I had so many endo flares and I was struggling to get control of my anxiety and depression – lots of self isolation. Towards the end of the month, I was told that one of my Great Aunt’s had passed away.
This month started in the worst way – with the devastating news that another of my Great Aunts (who had been like a Grandma to me, since mine passed away) had passed away, just weeks after learning of her terminal cancer diagnosis. I really tried to distract myself this month from everything I was struggling with, I saw friends for afternoon tea and signed up for the Race for Life Pretty Muddy with my sister.
May was my birthday month, and I really dragged out the celebrations (all the way to September!). My sister took me to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I went for an amazing afternoon tea with my partner at Fortum and Masons. We also went to Paris for the bank holiday weekend – it was the first time either of us had been and it was just incredible!
I completed the Race for Life Pretty Muddy 5k with my sister this month, and we managed to raise £825 for Cancer Research. I was absolutely blown away by people’s generosity, and I honestly thought we would struggle to reach our original target of £200!
We went to see The Rolling Stones in Cardiff, they were just incredible! One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen, but it was slightly tarred by a horrific flare up. Major progress was made in my endo diagnosis journey – I finally got a date for my pre app appointment (I’d been on the list since November 2017!). The heat wave really stepped up a notch in June, which I loved – I’m a big fan of a warm climate and topped my tan up every lunch break I could.
An early start to July 1st, with sunrise yoga at the sky garden. I love doing this yoga once a year when it returns, I just love the view you get and the experience of being amongst the plants and in a different environment. The rest of the time, I just do youtube yoga at home! We bought a piece of art at Spitalfiends market (6 weeks later this turned out to be a scam, as the art never showed, but more on that later), and I got my operation date!
We had one of my most favourite date nights at City Social in Tower 42, with an amazing view of the London skyline. Another highlight was watching Shitfaced Shakespeare with my sister (arguably, the best way to watch Shakespeare!) and going to the pre-release screening of Mamma Mia 2! The month was brought to an end with a trip to London Zoo lates, a spectacular wedding and mini golf with a friend who was over from Barcelona for the weekend! Finally, July was my first month of 2018 with no deaths or funerals.
The month of my operation. I was terrified. Mainly that they wouldn’t find anything, and that all the doors who dismissed me were right and there was nothing wrong with me. A very real part of me was scared that I wouldn’t wake up or that I would experience anaesthesia awareness. I even went so far as to write a basic will, just in case. You can read more about my surgery experiences here.
I was signed off work for 2 weeks (I only expected to need 1 day off) so a lot of this month was spent on the sofa, but I did manage to make it to the wedding of two of my friends from high school! I also restarted my blog this month, more determined than ever to raise awareness for endometriosis.
I found myself getting more and more frustrated this month with fatigue, a lot of the time it really doesn’t feel like I’m in the body of a 24 year old. There were more afternoon teas and girly days this month, and we went for an amazing long weekend in Sicily! We quad biked up Mount Etna, went wine tasting and marked my 1 month operation anniversary. Here’s the full blog I did on Sicily! I attended my first (and currently only) Endometriosis UK support group, I’d definitely go back, I just haven’t been free on the dates they’ve run, and I also started buying Christmas presents. I went to see Jurassic Park (my favourite film) in concert at the Royal Albert Hall, the finally of my birthday presents!
2018 dealt me another blow this month, with the devastating news that my dog has terminal cancer and had an emergency operation. Thankfully, when you spend any time with him you can’t tell there’s anything wrong with him or that he’s in any pain. Everytime I leave my parents house and say bye to him, I’m so terrified that it will be the last time I see him, but thankfully he’s currently doing ok (and being spoilt absolutely rotten!)
I had my follow up appointment from my operation, and was given not so great odds in regards to fertility. This was my biggest fear with endometriosis, and being completely honest, it’s not something that I’ve managed to get my head fully around yet.
I finished my Christmas shopping and wrapping with over a month to go, I get so busy around Christmas and love Christmas time and giving presents, so it really works in my favour to be super organised at this time of year.
My mental health really struggled this month, and I took a few days off just to provide myself with a bit of a break. I also celebrated our 5 year anniversary with my partner at the amazing Clos Maggiore restaurant (definitely worth a visit – just make sure you book months in advance!)
The festive celebrations started on the 1st, we had friends visit and we took them to Harrods Christmas Grotto to visit Santa with their daughter. Other Christmassy activities this weekend included gingerbread house decorating, ice skating at Somerset House, and putting up the Christmas decorations. I also celebrated my Grandad’s 85th birthday, met my cousin’s gorgeous baby, celebrated early Christmas in Wales with my in-laws and Christmas in Cheshire with my parents.
We finally got the money back from the con artist in Spitalfield’s Market for the art we never received, and we visited Oslo over the New Years weekend. It was one of the most amazing weekends I’ve had, and Oslo is such a beautiful place.
This year had some very high highs, and some extremely low lows, and definitely goes down in history as my hardest. But, I improved my cake decorating techniques (and made loads of cakes), spent a lot of time with friends, family and my gorgeous dog, was fortunate enough to go on some lovely trips and view some incredible live performances. It taught me, in a weird way, to appreciate the bad times, because they make you so much more grateful for the good times. 2018 has taught me that if I can get through this year, I can get through anything.