2018 has been one helluva year for me, full of lows, highs and some kind of weird plateau in the middle. I want to acknowledge it because it’s been the year that’s really forced me to look at myself, who I am, what I stand for and what I want in life.
The year started with Al and I riding the honeymoon wave (or cyclone) to Mauritius. We climbed Snowdon, I booked us a surprise trip to Sardinia where I started eating gluten again, and took a weekend break with my mum to Mudeford.
I went to hen dos and weddings. Welcomed new babies. Said some goodbyes.
We spent the latter half of the year getting round to redecorating our hallway, bedroom and study and now feel proud of the home we’ve created together. Or should I say tropical jungle.
We spent a lot of time snuggled on the sofa consuming series at a rapid pace. This Is Us. Suits. Killing Eve.
I spoke about my IBS in front of a crowd, on a panel, at an IBS event run by The Gut Stuff. I made new connections and friends as a result of that.
I gave a seminar on social video at my old uni. Watched The Rolling Stones kill it at Twickenham Stadium. And cried at seeing Florence and the Machine play at the Royal Festival Hall.
I bought myself flowers. Cuddled the bunny. Went for lunchtime walks exploring parts of Victoria I didn’t know existed. Watched the pelicans in St. James’s Park. Finally got round to visiting Churchill’s War Rooms.
I found out I was being made redundant in May but that I had to work a transition period until December. That wasn’t easy, it gave me all of the emotions but I proudly navigated my way through.
The best thing I did for myself in 2018 was start CBT for my anxiety. I had 10 sessions where we explored my past and my present, looked at how my worries manifest themselves before challenging my brain. It was tough. It made me cry. It made me question a lot of things but ultimately it saved me from myself. I was my own worst enemy. I ended my final session by hugging my therapist and promising to keep in touch. I couldn’t have done it without her. I now recognise my triggers. I know how to be kind to myself. I’ve figured out who I am and why I am the way I am. And I’ve accepted myself.
My CBT helped push my IBS to the back of my mind. It no longer controls me. It isn’t the boss of me.
I understood my need for being outdoors on long walks, the fresh air nipping at my neck and the sun warming my face. If it’s near water, even better.
I did a photo shoot that’s all about embracing your scars. And I got to do it with my husband.
I appreciate the work friends I’ve made in my 9 years at Scripps and how I can message some of them daily about anything. How they know what to say when I need a boost or to remind each other of the exciting opportunities we can make for ourselves next.
I got to have three Christmases. All of them wonderful in their own ways. All of them chaotic.
The last 6 months have been rocky but I’m taking control of my own happiness. I recognise the importance of self-care and what that looks like for me. I know who to lean on and who to open up to.
I’m sharing more. Opening myself up. Admitting to the feelings I carry.
I’m being my own beautiful self.
I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened to me this year because it’s helped shape me, it’s challenged me and it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone, ready to start a new chapter as a freelancer in 2019. This excites and terrifies me in equal amounts but I couldn’t be more ready for it.
Thanks for the ride, 2018. You’ve been wild.