Everywhere I look right now I see people cursing 2016. Apparently the year was not good to many. On one hand I agree somewhat, 2016 was pretty horrid at times. On the other hand, I see 2016 as having some pretty monumental occurrences, throughout the world and for myself personally.
When I only wrote about nails I always did a yearly wrap-up type of post with my favourite products from that year. I’ve certainly had some favourite polishes that I’ve purchased this year (I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise right?). But since I’m not focusing on nails, this wrap-up post is about other things.
Let’s take a look at my year…
2016 started out with lots of potential. I scaled back hugely with nail blogging and only intended to work with a couple of my favourite brands so I could focus more time on my family and my own self-improvement (lol).
I was offered an amazing job, within the nail polish arena, that was initially like a dream come true. It allowed me to work from home, be flexible in what hours I worked, enjoy the style of polishes I adored and flex my muscles in what I was skilled in, advertising and promotion. I was only working in this job for a very brief period of the year, around four or five months I think when the stresses of the job got to me and I quit. At this time, my self-esteem took a ravaging beating, not only from that job, but from being dropped by a couple of other companies I was ‘working’ with too, for no apparent reason. If there was a reason, I wasn’t made aware of it, but I now see that’s the way this industry works at times. My polish loving heart was broken, I was broken. I had so much bitterness and I let it take me over for a little while. I had to disappear. I left a tonne of Facebook groups I was in and completely retreated. I still blogging and swatched for some really great brands (for which I was so grateful), but I had no love left to give. This only fermented with time, culminating in my decision to completely quit nail blogging.
Towards the final time doing my job, around the end of May/June, I became ill. I didn’t know how ill I was at the time. I never experienced any pain. Nothing. Until one day I couldn’t drive anymore. I couldn’t sit in a chair without feeling like I was going to fall right off it. Eventually I was taken to the doctors and diagnosed with an inner ear infection. No biggie right? I was given some strong antibiotics, some tablets for the dizziness and ordered not to drive for six weeks. I was a passenger for the first time in my 38 years. I felt helpless for the first time in 38 years. With this came depression. I can’t explain why, but I cried a lot. I let myself be pitiful. I felt like I let myself become someone I never thought I’d be.
At the same time, through the whole year, I had waited on the edge of my seat to fight for my child, Sun. It was her first year at school. We attend a fairly rigid religious school and I had no idea how the whole transgender thing would go down. Every day, I waited, for negativity and judgement of what others might think of me as a parent. I constantly armed myself with a wealth of knowledge, legislation, laws and facts, ready to fight for my child. At one point through the year, I thought there would be a chance that we would have to change schools. Spending days, weeks, months, analysing everything, worrying about what others ‘might’ think of you, feeling partial alien, is exhausting. It was mentally exhausting. And you know what? It was all for nothing. Nothing bad happened, and I have loads of lessons I’ve learned from this time.
Let’s not forget I have two other children. One thing you don’t want to have happen when one child is going through some time where they might need a bit more work, is for your other children to feel left out or excluded in any way. I gave, and gave, and gave myself to them until I had nothing left to give. I had nothing left over for my husband. Nothing I did seemed right and I got angrier with myself, highly stressed, anxious, depressed and basically unable to cope with my life.
When the ear infection passed, I was better, or so it seemed. I could drive again, though not with as much confidence as I once had. I could go shopping for groceries again. I could go places. I was OK.
Then I quit blogging and within days I had my first real panic attack. I had horrible thoughts that took over my mind. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t be alone with myself. I couldn’t go out anywhere. Eventually I couldn’t drive. I was so unbelievably dizzy when I drove and I didn’t know why. If I had to stop at traffic lights I panicked. Bad. I tried all the techniques to distract oneself from the panic taking over my mind. Nothing worked.
Eventually, late 2016 left me a shell of who I used to be. I caved and visited my doctor. We went though all kinds of medical reasons for my anxiety with nothing showing up. I am not pre-disposed to mental illness. I have never really had any health issues worth mentioning. I have always been a confident, positive, glass-half-full person. What had happened to me? Eventually I was diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is basically where little crystal thingies inside my inner ear had come loose at some point and needed to be put back in place to restore balance. A side effect of this is sometimes anxiety. I was treated for the BPPV successfully, however it has come back on and off. I am learning to drive again. I am seeing a psychologist. I’ve, so far,avoided medication, but if it needs to happen in the future it’s not something I will discount. Before we left for our recent vacation I spent two days virtually unable to function, panicking, again unable to drive and extreme vertigo, but like I said in my previous post, it vanished once I was there. Stress seems to be a major factor with what goes on in my brain and with my physical side and it’s something I’m still learning, overcoming and living with.
Through all of this I had some golden threads. The threads that kept me tethered have been my family, some very dear friends, and my husband. Without him I don’t know what would have happened, and despite seemingly always coming last on my list of importance, he has not once wavered in his devotion to me.
For me 2016 was the year my ‘control’ was taken away from me. Control has always been a thing for me, and to have it taken away by many small events was something so foreign. My wishlist for 2017 is not one of material things. I want to be able to visit the shops without panicking again. I want to be able to drive my children to school without panicking again. I want to be more open to friendliness and support. I want to be happy with who I am, no matter what stage in my life I am in. I want to not worry about what others think of me. I want to feel ‘whole’ again. Most of all, I want to be friends with letting go of the small things, be at peace and learn to release myself to not controlling all areas of my life.
I’m happy to report that I feel it will happen. Bit by bit, piece by piece, I will put myself back together again. And that’s why I’m here. Writing is the food for my soul. No matter what I’m loving or what I’m writing about, as long as it comes out.
If you’ve had some crappy things happen this year, don’t discount them. Own the crappy times, accept them, and with me, let’s move on. Let’s learn what we can and grow. I wish great love for you all and if you’re reading this now, know that you are a piece of my healing process. Bring on 2017!!!
FYI- My favourite nails polishes this year are…. Drum roll please!