Photography credit: John Mark Arnold
Photography credit: John Mark Arnold

Although I say it every year, it’s hard to believe the year is almost over. Like I did last year I want to take some time out to write about all of my achievements from the past year. As our health often takes up so much of our focus, it can be easy to get lost in wishing for the things we want to be able to do, instead of focussing on all of the things that we actually did achieve. 2015 continued to be a challenging year for me health-wise, with me experiencing a big flare up in February. I have spent most of the year recovering from that. However, things are definitely improving again and I’ve certainly learned to appreciate all of the smaller things in life. I don’t want to focus on my health in this post though, as I feel I covered that already here. Instead, I am going to write about all that I achieved despite my health. A lot of these are small achievements and many of you might view them as insignificant. However– for me– these are the small things that made my year. Here is my year in review:

January

In January I got to grips with sewing after receiving a sewing machine for Christmas. It felt great to be able to get crafty again and I made myself some new head scarves, a bandanna for my dog and I also managed to make a new pair of pyjama bottoms.

I also started getting out and about a bit more and took a walk up the coast. It felt so good to get back out with my camera and, though it was tiring, this was the first walk that didn’t feel like a complete struggle for me. I think this photograph– taken on that day– sums up how I was feeling at this time.
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February

Due to all the enjoyment I was having with crafting, my husband transformed the corner of our spare room to create a proper crafting area for me. We took a trip out to Ikea to get some supplies and I have to say he did a damn good job!

One of the best nights I had in February was when my friends came over to watch the Superbowl. I managed to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to watch all of the game and it was a really enjoyable night. Also Katy Perry’s half-time show was fab!

It was in February that I also wrote my first viral blog post- 10 struggles people with chronic illness will understand. It was so exciting knowing that so many people from all over the world were viewing my post and I loved all of your comments. It made me happy knowing that I helped to brighten your day with some laughter.

I also enjoyed a wonderful spa day with my mum as an early birthday present to celebrate her 60th. I took her to an amazing spa, where we enjoyed hot stone massages and time in the hydrotherapy pool and hot tub. It was bliss.

March

hillarys-crafternoon-05
In March I met some fellow bloggers at my first ever blogging event, the Hillarys’ Crafternoon. Although it was hard-going for me, it was a really fun event and it felt great to be out and doing something after the terrible flare up I had in February.

Speaking of blogging I also had my first ever article published on ProHealth in March, which was a big achievement for me and made me feel really proud of myself.

We also celebrated my husband’s birthday in March with our friends coming to our house for a mini-party. The funniest moment of the night was undoubtedly when my husband was opening his gifts. Literally everyone gave him a pair of socks because he happened to have previously joked about socks being a birthday gift you get when you are old… maybe it’s one of those times where you had to be there though?!

April

April was a pretty quiet month, filled with an abundance of duvet days! However, the highlight for me was being able to go to the shops and do around 20 minutes of shopping with my mum. I can’t even remember what I bought but when you aren’t getting out and about much, just doing normal things like this is a huge achievement.

May

flowers
Although I gave my mum her present early in February, her birthday was in May. We celebrated on the day by going out for dinner and again, it was so nice to be able to go out for a meal and do something normal!

I also purchased my Fuji mirrorless camera so that I could get back into photography (I was struggling with my DLSR). One of the first things I did with it was photograph a family member’s business– a plant nursery. It was so refreshing to get back out with my camera again.

Talking of photography, I got lost for a month in a Creative Live course on wedding photography run by Jasmine Star. Although I may never actually become a wedding photographer, you’ve got to keep dreaming right? In any case, it was fab having something to look forward to each day and to be learning something new.

June

June was the month for parties. My brother turned 30 and I made it to Edinburgh for his birthday party, which was such a huge achievement for me. It was a surprise party and he was greeted with everyone wearing a mask with his face on it, which was hilarious.

My husband and his friends had also finished university and we threw them a surprise party, where we played silly games and even held our own little award ceremony. I was hit with all the feels when my friends voted me “best overall person”.

My uncle also turned 60 in June and we had a little family get together. We don’t all get together very often so it was nice to see everyone.

July

staycation
In July I went away to the west coast of Scotland for a little staycation with my husband and two friends, which was a wonderful weekend away. We visited a castle and a jail while we were away and spent a lot of time chilling out in a hot tub.

It was also my husband’s graduation in July and I was so happy to be able to attend his graduation ceremony. It was a proud day, which ended with a family get together to celebrate.

August

August started with a circus-themed murder mystery, where we transformed our living room into a make-shift big top. This was a really fun night and I would recommend this as a great night in for any spoonie.

This was followed by my friend’s wedding, which was a great day. I have to admit to being worried about attending but my health held up and I enjoyed the day.

I also had two of my work friends come to visit me with their babies. It was so nice to catch up with them and meet their little ones.

We ended the month with our fantasy football (NFL) draft party. I was happy with the team I drafted and we had a fun night.

September

The absolute highlight of September was going to see the Foo Fighters. You can probably guess by the name of this blog that I am a huge fan. It was amazing! We also went out for tea to celebrate my mum and dad’s anniversary this month. NFL Sundays also began, which meant the start of friends coming round to my house each Sunday.

October

October saw my dad turn 60 and we went out to dinner to celebrate. I also managed to go and get my hair cut this month for the first time in well over a year. Being able to sit for such a long time and not be completely exhausted was a huge achievement for me.

I also managed to go out with my camera this month and photograph an abandoned building. This was all kinds of creepy and totally up my street!

Another great night I had was going to see Kevin Bridges at the Edinburgh Playhouse, it was a hilarious night spent with my family.

November

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The absolute highlight of November was spending a week in Barbados. It was fantastic spending a week in the sun with good friends. I coped with the trip well and I honestly feel like this was a big turning point for me. Things definitely started looking up after this!

December

Although I felt like I was being a little insane for going, my trip to Amsterdam was brilliant. I enjoyed visiting Anne Frank’s house, spending a night out with friends and generally exploring the city as much as I was able to.

Christmas was a good one this year too. There were 9 of us at my house celebrating. I undoubtedly felt better than I did this time last year and we absolutely stuffed our faces with delicious food. Good food and great company, what more could you want?

And what better way to end the year than to go to the cinema to see the new Star Wars movie! No spoilers other than to say it is EPIC!

break

I feel like I achieved more than I thought would be possible this year. Not only that but I am thankful that my health has steadily improved, especially over the past three months. I feel really hopeful and positive about 2016 and though I have no idea what I will be doing, I am excited to find out.

I hope you all enjoy yourselves tonight, whether you aren’t doing much at all (like me) or you are out celebrating. Let’s hope for a good 2016 for us all– may it be filled with happiness, love and positivity.

Author

Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.

12 Comments

  1. Hi Donna, really enjoyed this post, I like the way you wrote about each month as well, it was lovely to hear about all the things that you have done over the year. How lovely to go to a craft event, and Amsterdam, wonderful! Flare ups are never pleasant are they, I had one this summer that seemed to go on for about 2 months which was horrible.
    I hope you had a great NYE and I wish you a wonderful year to come 🙂 Dani

    • Thank you so much Dani, you’re so sweet 🙂 Flare ups are always tough, sorry to hear you had such a bad one. I hope you are feeling better now. Happy New Year and I wish you all the best for 2016 x

  2. You are such a strong person, I’m glad that despite your flare up you still made sure you had an awesome year as that’s definitely what you deserve!

    Also, love the sound of the circus themed murder mystery party!

    Hazel xx

    • That’s so kind of you to say Hazel, thank you so much 🙂 The murder mystery night was a lot of fun, I would definitely recommend it x

  3. Wow your year sounds like it was full of laughter (despite the pantsness) and that you have some great friends in your life. I hadn’t realised your trip to Barbados was recent, for some reason I thought it was a past trip. How did you find it? Especially flying long haul. There’s the potential of a long haul trip this year but the flight part and how that will effect me is a worry.

    Hope you can find as much happiness and laughter in 2016. Xx

    • Thanks so much Sian 🙂 I actually managed the flights alright. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty anxious about them and when I said yes to going I hadn’t realised just how long the flights were! I thought I was actually a bit mental for going all that way for a week but it turned out alright. My main concern was that for a long time I found sitting up really hard so I decided I needed to do something about that before going.

      I started preparing for the flight out around 6 weeks before. I took the advice of Dr. Sarah Myhill & decided to go back to basics and work on feeling well at rest and basically stopped pushing myself to do stuff. It worked out good for me and I felt pretty well in the run up to going. Sitting up was no longer such an issue. I remember landing in Barbados thinking “how on earth am I still okay?” It caught up with me a couple of days later but I got over it pretty quick. Coming home was fine too and I was just very careful about what I did for the week after. I just got myself into the mindset of thinking about the flights as restful and I was mindful of my breathing and keeping relaxed through the flight. I listened to an audiobook so I didn’t tire myself out reading/watching films.

      I would say that it’s something you need to weigh up. I always think that our mental health is just as important and doing these things are obviously good for that. However, if you think the flight would knock you for 6 it’s a difficult one. Sometimes our bodies can surprise is though. I never expected to manage it as well as I did. Where are you thinking of going?

  4. “As our health often takes up so much of our focus, it can be easy to get lost in wishing for the things we want to be able to do, instead of focussing on all of the things that we actually did achieve.”

    I can relate to this SO much Donna. I am so glad you took time to reflect on all of the wonderful things you actually did in 2015. My prayer is that 2016 is a happier, healthier year for the both of us, and all who struggle with chronic pain. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration. XX

    • Thank you so much Lauren, it’s definitely a good exercise to do. Here’s hoping! I wish you a wonderful year 🙂 x

  5. What a great idea to review the year! I can’t remember all the way back to January but might consider doing a post like this at the end of this year.

    • Thanks Megan. It’s really great looking back over the year so I would definitely encourage you to do it. The first year I did it I was keeping a gratitude journal. This year I simply had a note in my phone where I would jot stuff down 🙂

  6. Donna, thank you for inspiring spoonies with your annual review. It’s great to know we can accomplish things and enjoy life despite our illness!

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment Kim. It’s amazing what us spoonies can do sometimes given our circumstances! We just have to be realistic and make the absolute best of what we are given 🙂

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