Today as a Good Day

Today was really remarkable in the sense that it was just a really good, pure, wholesome day. I actively made choices that would reduce the risk of entering the overthinking -> bad thoughts -> unhealthy actions cycle, and it worked out wonderfully!

To do this I made sure to keep myself busy for most of the day, because this gives my brain less opportunities to conjure up anything and everything that will ultimately only serve for self destruction.

I started with going out to lunch with my lovely parents, and we sat outside where it was all sunshiney and beautiful. I got a roast vegetable sandwich which was so good!

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From there I went to my parent’s house, where we finalised wedding plans, and I played with the dogs. Being around animals is so therapeutic and calming. I gave Ruby a bath, and she was so well behaved; I was very proud!

Afterwards we drove out to a quiet beach where we spent the afternoon. It was magical to be outdoors and in all the fresh air, as living in the middle of the city in a studio apartment doesn’t allow for much freedom! The water was crystal clear and surprisingly warm.

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This evening I decided to get out of the house again, not only to keep myself safe, but also because I wanted to be within an atmosphere of freedom and space. I decided that it was time to write my wedding vows, and they are probably the most difficult words I have ever tried to write. There are so many indescribable feelings and emotions that my little human brain cannot find the words for. I walked to my favourite park and watched the sunset from the top of the hill. Just simply being outdoors and within nature, away from the four walls of my home, helped immensely to boost my mood and get the vows written.

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Something I love about being outside and watching the sky or the waves, is how small and insignificant it makes me feel. Although feeling insignificant is most likely not everyone’s cup of tea, it really helps me because it gives me so much hope. Hope that there is so much more out there in life beyond what is presently happening, and also hope that the darkness in my brain really isn’t all that much in the big scheme of things.

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A thought that has been prominent lately is that validation needs to come from within, and if it comes from other people too, then that is simply just a bonus. This is something I am going to try and work on. I have always been so focused and driven based on what others think, that for so long I never actually realised that I need to be doing all this for me. And as long as I am accepting and at peace with my actions and decisions, then this is what is important. What actually matters is that I focus on becoming the best I can be, and in turn I will become the best future wife, mother, daughter and friend for those around me, that I can be.

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Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

Small Things of January

Now that the end of January is drawing nearer, (it has gone so fast! How is this real!), I feel like I would like make a little list of updates of the small things of this month. It’s a bit in the shambles, so please excuse it, it very well reflects my messy life!

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  • Songs I have been listening to frequently this month are Right Then and There by Luke Ritchie (discovered from watching a lot of Fresh Meat this month), Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi (I just re-discovered this, and I swear it almost tastes like every party I have ever been too; nostalgia is strange in ways), Mr Brightside by The Killers, and a lot of Imagine Dragon.
  • Books I have been reading this month include How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan, Mosquitoland by David Arnold, and Richard Siken’s beautiful duo, Crush and War of the Foxes.
  • The big day is finally almost here! In six days, we will be getting married, and have never before been so excited. In some ways, we can’t wait for the day to be over, because then we will be free of the restraints of stress, and as severe financial difficulties, to enjoy our marriage.
  • Some news on the mental health front. In a few weeks, I am going back to therapy, but to somewhere different than last time. This decision was surprisingly easy to make this time around, and although I am anxious about it, in some ways I am also looking forward to it, because this is a year of growing, and I’m trying to believe that I deserve to grow.
  • I have been working almost every day this month, and am experiencing a love-hate relationship with customer service. Having customers that aren’t even particularly nice, but simply just not rude or hateful, can definitely make make my night. My training at work has been extended, and now many failed coffees later, I am almost fully trained to also work in the bar and cafe there! I’m excited, because this is something I have wanted to achieve for a while, and so it’s exciting to know that it will very soon be accomplished.
  • My papers for this university year have been finalised, and I am so pumped to go back to studying again. I will be taking a biogeography paper, three environmental law/planning papers, a research paper, two ecology papers, and a socio-ecological paper.
  • This month I have begun painting, and it’s safe to say that I love it. It’s so calming, it keeps my hands busy which is very important for me, and it makes me happy.
  • A few days ago, we were notified that our rent is being increased over the coming months, and as what we currently pay is already ridiculously overpriced and unaffordable, we have made the decision to move out. We are going to be going flatting again, with some good friends, and are actually very excited for this opportunity.
  • Something that I am looking forward to is learning to play the ukulele! I have been inspired by so many youtube videos, and can’t wait to start learning. Hopefully over the next month or so, I would have started!

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

Big Joy & Little Joy

The big joy you experience during things like graduating or having a magical vacation, and the little everyday joy you find driving in the car when your favourite song is on the radio or grocery shopping with the person you love – they are both the same joy. One doesn’t mean more, and one won’t satisfy you or make you happier than the other. Recognizing both and appreciating both is the key. You can’t just live for the big joy and think those moments will sustain you – it’s the little things that light you up in addition to the big magical moments that allow you to realize how full and beautiful life can be.

– Rachaeldee

Stumbling across this quote a few days ago has already brought me joy, simply because these words, they are understanding; they give me hope in little joy and big joy all the same.

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Lately I have experienced little joy, and these moments have made me so happy; they have been uplifting and given me so much hope. They are tiny in terms of the volumes of life itself, but their meaning is momentous.

  • Visits from friends! Last week, one of my closest friends popped around unexpectedly, and it honestly made my whole week. It was so wonderful to see her and to spend time with her, and even just the fact that she thought to come over was so sweet, and meant a lot to me. Then this morning, another friend came over to trial my wedding makeup, and this again made my whole week. I was a bit anxious prior to seeing her, probably because we haven’t hung out in a while, but it made me so happy. It also boosted my confidence a bit, not necessarily because of the makeup, but because I managed to do something and sit through the anxiety.
  • There is this one tree in particular that I walk beneath on the way to work, and the only way I can think to describe it is lush. I love to run my hands up through the leaves as I walk along, which probably looks strange to any passersby, but it’s worth it!
  • As the quote said, going grocery shopping with the one you love, definitely brings joy! As silly as it sounds, this is one of our favourite things to do together, and we always end up having so much fun.
  • I have been on the lookout for more uplifting music lately, as most of the music I generally listen to is more “moody”. So Imagine Dragons has been playing a lot, and alongside a lot of nostalgia, it has been uplifting too.
  • Receiving the sweetest messages, just to check in.
  • Painting! Trying out doing art has been helping to take my mind off things.
  • Small moments with my love. When we play, laugh, dance and sing together. It’s the best.
  • Reading Richard Siken’s Crush, full of heart and heartbreak, but bringing joy nevertheless.

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These are my small joys lately. I am so thankful for them.

Love & light,

Kaitlyn.

Mental Health in the Present

It’s 12:54am on 2nd January, and I already feel as though I have failed at 2017.

This blog post is going to be a bit of a mess. I don’t really know what I’m going to write about, I just know that I need to write.

Something I have been thinking about lately is how it is more widely accepted to talk about a past with mental health issues, as opposed to your present. It is more stigmatized to say “I’m not okay right now,” rather than “I wasn’t okay last year, but I am now.” Stories that have an ending, a final revolution against the mental illness, seem to be more broadly shared, and more positively received. Additionally, sharing about your current mental health, for me anyway, is more scary as I feel as though it requires greater vulnerability. Maybe it’s because of the uncomfortable, chronic nature of many mental illnesses. For some of us, there is no end date to work towards. And that isn’t a widely accepted truth. Maybe it’s because we are showing that we are never really a finalised piece. That we are ongoing and changing throughout our lives. Or perhaps, we are afraid to be viewed as attention seeking, because for some reason, an illness in your brain is seen as less real than an illness in your nose. Overall in our endlessly goal-oriented, always-bettering-yourself way of thinking; it’s seen as just wrong to be struggling.

(Image sourced from: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/wellness/files/2012/01/stigma.jpg).

At the moment, depression is really hitting hard. There, I’ve said it. I could write about how much better I have become at coping with it, how I didn’t break my self harm free streak even though I wanted to so badly. Those words would have been of a more hopeful tone, and perhaps more well received because they would indicate a journey of progression. Although it’s true, that is not my everyday experience with depression. Remembering how far I have come doesn’t remove the sting. Sometimes it just makes me feel even more guilty, for not succumbing to it’s full desires.

I just got dressed a few hours ago. I ate some fruit and cereal, and drank two glasses of water. I made the bed, pushed through doing the dishes, and then took my medication. And all of this was all really, really hard. These tasks required hours of mental preparation, hours of nothingness to convince my brain, that yes, today I was going to do things that humans need to do to take care of themselves, and that no, today was not the day I was going to choose to die.

And these thoughts are progress, but there won’t be an end to my progression. We cannot only share our stories once we reach the magical realm of “better”, because that’s not the full reality with a mental illness. We can share aloud the battle alongside the aftermath, with both being equally significant, and neither something to be stigmatised.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.