My 2016 In a Nutshell

Good Evening Munchkins!

Today I will be reviewing and chatting you through My 2016 In a Nutshell. I’ve basically taken inspiration from Sprinkle of Glitter with a video she did last year about her 2015, going through month by month about what happened in her personal and professional life and I thought I would do the same, but with just my personal life. I’m not doing this for any sympathy or for any kind of unnecessary attention, I’m simply doing it to pinpoint different stages in my life and for me to look back on when I’m a little bit older and think ‘oh, that was nice’ or ‘well at least I know I can get through that’.

I’m going to put it out there now, 2016 was not kind to me. It followed 2015 hand-in-hand and, as I keep saying to my counsellor, if I had known what life would be like if I was sat here typing now, I would’ve quite easily commit suicide when I was simply thinking about it. I guess last year, luckily, I was in a better frame of mind and have been able to grow and develop as a young woman in order to help combat these challenges even more, when in the winter of 2015 I just didn’t have the willpower or want to do that. Some of these things had to happen and others didn’t, but everything does happen for a reason and I do genuinely believe that if I hadn’t gone through these things, I wouldn’t have the amount of mental strength and ability as I do now (I sound like such a wise old owl!). I do kind of feel over the past 2 years, everything that could’ve possibly happened has so I can only look forward to the future as mentally/emotionally/physically drained I am. I will just be going month by month and speaking about the highlights with the notes I’ve written during the year.


I have, quite vaguely, written this as an ‘okay’ month. I was able to form a friendship with my ex-boyfriend (which I needed for my then situation) and was on top of my school work, so no stress was there to mentally destroy my life! The only thing really bringing the month down was me beginning to become reliant on alcohol. This is something I would like to go into more detail on and, of course, I don’t endorse excessive or underage drinking, I just think at the time it was something that was literally handed to me and I used as a relaxant (though there are other ways of doing this, of course).


This month, as much as I didn’t want it to be, was a pretty terrible month. Despite turning 15 and being so excited for this, I relapsed with my depression and self-harm which I thought I had begun to recover from just before Christmas 2015. This was stimulated by becoming involved with a particular male who basically told me what I wanted to hear and then dropped me as soon as he found someone else. He wasn’t a boyfriend and it lasted no longer than a week, but then news got out about it around school and most people got the wrong end of the stick and so the wrong/fabricated perception of me was passed around. Luckily, I was surrounded by a group of very close friends who supported me wholeheartedly and really stood up for me, something I really needed at the time. I don’t think I appreciated it that much back then but looking back, I feel so grateful. This also caused me to rely on alcohol a little bit more to cheer me up and I began to struggle with my school work because my head was just constantly worrying about the next thing that could potentially happen.


This month was a bit of a mixture but in my notes I’ve written quite a detailed account of one particular day that I do remember loving and treasuring very much. For my Mum’s then-girlfriend’s son’s birthday (you got me?!), we went to Paulton’s Park and my ex-boyfriend came with us as we had a spare ticket. That was a day where we spent the whole day together continuously and really did become friends, something which would be a stretch to say whilst we were in a relationship. On the way back, I fell asleep on his shoulder because we were sat in the back 3 seats of the car and he fell asleep with his head resting on my head. There was then a moment where he just grabbed my hand and I distinctly remember texting my best friend that night saying ‘it’s as if he’s mine again!’. It really threw me off because he didn’t message me after that (something I’ve found very common with boys my age since!) but it did make me fall for him again – a story which will be continued later on! I also became much closer to my best friend and her girlfriend, which has been resumed to this day and I am so happy about due to all the happy memories we have been able to make together since. This was also the month of the Brussels attacks, another terrorist attack which will never cease to disgust me at the brutality of how far a human will go just to prove a point or get his/her way. I could go on about that for hours but I think it would be wise if I didn’t! I also started writing down little couplets which would turn into song lyrics in the month of March.


By the looks of my notes, this was another emotional month. April marked the 10 year anniversary of my Granddad’s (Dad’s Dad) death. Normally I can quite easily talk about my Granddad and the limited knowledge I have on him but for some reason this just really effected me. I think because it was such a landmark anniversary it just made him and my one memory of him appear much more faint and almost as if he was never real. 10 years is just a really long time to be without someone, particularly someone you hardly knew. I’ve always had a general thinking of ‘what was he like?’, ‘what would he think of me?’ or even simple things like ‘what does his voice sound like?’. I think it was just particularly exacerbated at this time. This did, in turn, really make me appreciate the grandparents I had left, however, particularly my Mum’s parents. Since my parents split, they were always there for me and my brother and we had arranged a trip to Paris for the three of us and later in the month we went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at a theatre near-ish to where I live. I really did enjoy my time with them. This was also a month I specifically remember being quite tough within my home and the people I lived with; I began feeling ‘bullied’ by my Mum and her then-girlfriend and this strained all the relationships in the household. It was only the beginning but it was very tough and I would spend a lot of my time going out just because I didn’t want to be with the people in my home. This bullying would later turn into emotional abuse that has, so far, effected my mental health quite significantly and will be something I can only be thankful for being over.


At the very beginning of May I went to a festival. I’ve previously spoken about this before but it was a huge step-up in my anxiety and depression; 6 months before this I didn’t ever want to leave my house again let alone go to this huge event with thousands of people and only a couple of friends to ‘take care’ of me. I felt so happy once I’d done this and I don’t remember feeling too anxious during the actual concerts, it was mainly just beforehand where I got a little bit nervous. I felt quite grown up, if I’m going to be honest! This was also a month where I found out about the severity of my ex-boyfriend’s depression, through his Mum (who I was quite close to). As his friend, I was genuinely upset and worried for him, and so decided to just take a bit more care towards him as opposed to being the sour ex-girlfriend I could’ve quite easily been. At the end of the month I was able to watch a quail hatch in my own home, which was so exciting for all of us. I love animals in all shapes and sizes so a little baby quail was more than welcome in my home! I also completed my first drama exam of three (a lot of fun, by the way!) and began writing on Wattpad.


Again, a very mixed-emotion month (such good English!)! Something happened at the beginning of the month which really dictated the rest of it and I don’t really know how to say it because it’s a long story and not exactly something you can just drop into conversation. I actually told one of my friends last night and got quite a negative reaction so now I’m just really unsure of what to say! I have written an entire blog post on it which explains it in so much more detail for those who want to know. Mentally and emotionally, it really did screw me up and, as if my trust issues weren’t bad enough, they were damaged so much more because of this! You will find it out, it’s just difficult to say. That blog post will be up on the 3rd of March. Something which is sort of to do with the ‘big thing’ is my Mum’s then-girlfriend’s behaviour started becoming much more tense, with me in particular. We are both very similar people so we just clashed all the time; two Aquarius’ who are very stubborn and have very strong opinions is a bad mix! For the first time in forever *cue Frozen* I actually began to like my body, though that soon changed and I went back to normal! I think it was because I’d started toning my legs, but I then got out of the habit of it. I think I will start it back up again soon, though. The EU referendum also took place during June. I’m underage so couldn’t vote but I don’t think I could have decided anyway as I am so indecisive! I don’t really understand politics but I would be quite interested to look into what is supposedly going to happen now!


I only have two notes for this month, one of them being meeting someone who I nicknamed Donkey. He is my Mum’s ex-girlfriend’s uncle and I hated him the moment I met him. I first met him at a party and, being the stubborn person I am, thought I was set in my tracks about my opinions of him. At this time, he was addicted to drugs and gave some to the people within the family I actually liked. Don’t worry, he soon knew my opinions on him and just as quickly became clean!


One of the most significant things about this month was that I didn’t go to Paris. I had planned and booked to go to Paris with my grandparents, as I mentioned earlier, but this didn’t happen. I tend to get quite anxious before going somewhere new and it would’ve been my first time leaving the country without my parents but it was something I was genuinely excited for. This was because my Granny was beginning to suffer from symptoms of the cancer she would later be diagnosed with at the mid-section of the month. I tried to remain positive whilst she was having these tests because it could’ve been anything, but it was in fact pancreatic cancer, with secondary in the liver. She started chemotherapy but it was inoperable, so they could only shrink/control it. Unfortunately, she reacted really badly to it and by the beginning of September she did begin to look more and more ill as she very quickly lost weight. I did stay with them for 3/4 days the week I was supposed to go to Paris and I have the fondest memories of that time. I think the speed of which the cancer and it’s symptoms took over was the most horrifying thing; within a month we could go shopping together to her only being able to go from room to room due to the pain she was in. Sadly, she was diagnosed the week after her brother died from a different form of cancer. At the end of the month, however, I went on holiday with my Mum, brother, the ex-girlfriend and her kids, my ex-boyfriend and Donkey. It was the best holiday I’d ever been on and it really did prove to me how much I loved my ex-boyfriend. There are loads of different stories from that holiday which I’m sure you will gradually hear about, some funny and some not so. Donkey and I managed to form a friendship during the holiday, so I guess that was a bonus.


In September I started Year 11 and, in turn, my stress levels began to rise significantly. I’m now at the point in my education where I’m counting how many months I have left and just trying to do as much as I can in that time. My Mum and her ex-girlfriend broke up at the beginning of this month but they remained friends, so in a way it was better but not 100% good again. I was initially quite angry as this girlfriend had promised me she would be there for the ‘long haul’ then, after only 18 months, left us all to pick up the pieces. By the end of my month, my Mum found a new girlfriend (she doesn’t slow down!) who is much nicer and I prefer so much more than the old one! She is lovely and I couldn’t have wished for someone better. Also, all three of my grandparents were in hospital at the same time over one weekend but, of course, all in different hospitals. That was a really weird weekend of just travelling between hospital to hospital. My Nan was out quite soon but my other two grandparents weren’t doing that well.


At the beginning of the month, I lost my Granddad (who I called Pops). It wasn’t a necessarily sudden death, he had been in hospital for about a month but there is loads of legal stuff surrounding it which is still being continued to this day. Basically, he went in at the beginning of September as he had become breathless and he had previously had pneumonia so it set alarm bells off and he was sent in. Whilst in there, his leg swelled up as they took him off his beta blockers for his blood and they only released him when he could walk supported by a walking frame after around 4 weeks. I know to some that may sound amazing because at least he could move, but even the week before he went into hospital he went to the gym 4/5 days a week, he was always active and doing, and when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, he did everything in his power that he could to support her. Anyway, he was sent home on the Friday and by the Sunday he was back in with septicemia in the High Dependency Unit. He died the following Saturday. So there is now loads of stuff happening with who said he was ‘okay’ to go home and the day/night carers who didn’t send him back to the hospital, because we did. Losing him was a massive shock and I guess in a way I’m still in denial as he did die in hospital. I loved and do still love him wholeheartedly; I was always closer with my Granny but in the last few years we became closer and one of my proudest achievements was teaching him about the importance of highlighter! One day it’ll hit me and will do so hard. His cremation was tough and he then had a memorial a few days later as he was a really successful creative director in advertising so it allowed those people to come along and pay their respects. Due to his success, there was actually a newspaper article written about him, and I just found the headline really insensitive. It basically said his name then ‘dies’, as if those three words should just suffice. I know I’m going on but that wasn’t even a patch on everything I could possibly say. My Granny’s illness also progressed and she lost even more weight, hence looking even more ill. When she went back home a few days after Pops died, she started having a live-in carer who was amazing and I know became a really close friend to her. I also had a huge argument with my Mum’s ex-girlfriend in October which was probably my stress coming out sideways but she is now 100% out of my life, something I’ve wanted for nearly 2 years, so that was a success! I also began applying for colleges.


Not much happened this month in comparison to everything else! Donald Trump became president which I don’t really want to get into because I don’t know everything and I’d much rather have an ‘educated response’, though I have the same feeling that the rest of the world generally do! From what I know, he, as a human, goes against everything I have ever believed in and I’m just glad my Granddad didn’t have to see it! I had my first college interview and was accepted to do A Levels which is so exciting, though nerve-wracking at the same time! On the same day as my interview, I was also told that my Granny’s cancer had become terminal as she was suffering from the chemo so much and didn’t see the point in continuing the treatment. She was given 6-12 months, I think. At the very end of the month, my Mum bought my brother and I a little treat as we had all suffered so much last year and so she got us a little Shih Tzu puppy who we named Dexter. He is going to be 12 weeks on Thursday and has grown so much! I did write a blog post on him during Blogmas but there isn’t much to report other than I love him so much!


To be honest with you, I was really excited for Christmas last year so when December rolled round, I was so happy! We were going to celebrate my Granny’s last Christmas in style with her carer and have a day of Christmas jumpers and games! Unfortunately, a week before my Granny died at home in the arms of her carer. We knew it was going downhill that week, but not to that extreme. On the Thursday we were told she had a month left but by the Sunday she was gone. It is for the best in her case because she was in so much pain, had little to no quality of life left and kept saying how much she wanted to be with my Granddad. Losing one or both of your grandparents is hard, but losing them within 3 months of each other is more than enough to keep me going for a lifetime! Luckily, my Nan’s still going so I have one left! I still had a fairly decent Christmas, but it was dedicated to all those who were there in spirit. Her funeral will be next week so, in theory, I just have to get this out the way then I can begin my New Year as happily as possible.

Going into the New Year, I am understandably pessimistic. It is also going to be a massive year as I will have to sit my exams, go to prom and start college, all of which I am terrified for! Yesterday also marked the 3 year anniversary of my blog which is absolutely crazy, so at least I still have you guys to talk to and take my mind off things! As I said earlier, everything that could possibly be thrown my way has so, hopefully, things can only go up from here! I’m trying, and I will try to be more optimistic…but no promises!

And there we have it! I hope you have enjoyed this blog post – I’m sorry for it’s length, I just let myself run riot with this one! Let me know what your 2016 was like or what you have to look forward to this year! Anything I’ve mentioned in this blog post I’m quite happy to talk about to an extent, so if you do have any questions I will try to answer as sufficiently as possible.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you Thursday,

Rachel xx


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