What flows flows / This Week

Hello!

I have been in a very reflective mood these past few weeks. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had enough time to write properly, so everything is accumulating? So I apologise in advance, because I think this will be a bit of a jumble.

To begin with, I am so happy. Like so, so happy. Happier than I ever thought would be possible. It’s all this painful healing, I think. I think I am finally coming out of the other side.

Yesterday, I came across pictures from a few years ago, and they shocked me. There were photos with my arms showing, which was a very rare occasion, because 99% of the time they had to be hidden under long sleeves. I couldn’t understand the severity at the time. In these photos, scars littered my forearms in ways that I don’t remember thinking much of. What makes me feel worse, is that this was only the tip of the iceberg. I know that later my torso and thighs met the same fate. Hundreds of scars. And I know it was only going to get worse, and more dangerous, in the years to come.

These days are so foreign to me now. I remember having to be physically restrained so that I couldn’t hurt myself. And this happened time and time again. I cannot comprehend the pain that those close to me must have been experiencing. There are a few parts about my experience with self harm that I can’t write about. It’s too painful. Thinking about it hurts in ways that I never knew possible. These blurry memories are so painful. Combined with all the other things going on during these times, I barely even recognise that person as me. I feel so full now. I feel so alive, and worthy to be so.

There are years
that I cannot speak of.
There are stories that ache
in a purgatory between
mine and ours. I am choking
on a cotton alphabet
soaked in gasoline,
and the only way to save
my bloodstream from the poison
drip is to swallow
the flaming matchstick, so
listen. Catch fire with me.
There are years
that must be spoken of.

(Adira Bennett).

A song that has been helping me lately is A Rush of Blood to the Head, by Coldplay. It’s comforting in a way I cannot describe.

1000drawings: “ sunset by Loish ”

(Image sourced from: Loish, 1000drawings.tumblr.com).

University has been so busy lately. Classes are over for this semester, and now there are just exams left until next semester! I have written so many reports, so many assignments, and done so many tests. Compared to how crazy the past few weeks have been, exams feel almost relaxing!

Some things that have been making me really happy and feeling at peace lately are:

  • This quote: “I no longer force things. What flows flows, what crashes, crashes. I only have space and energy for things that are meant for me.” (The Artidote). This has been so peace-giving lately.
  • Spending so much time with the dogs, my husband, and my family. Right now, the sun is streaming in, a dog is on my lap, and I’m writing my final report for this semester. It’s bliss.
  • Spending time with new friends and old. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my friends are each amazing. It blows my mind every day.
  • Dreaming about the future, while trying to enjoy the present moment. We have so many ideas for our house that we are saving toward, and for our future family. It’s all so exciting!

1000drawings:
“by Ryo Takemasa
”

(Image sourced from: Ryo Takemasa, 1000drawings.tumblr.com).

Have a beautiful day, friends!

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

There is always a reason for hope / This Week

Hello!

This past week/weekish has been so busy, it feels as though everything is happening all at once.

We moved out of our old flat, it was an unhealthy situation for us to be in, and very gratefully into my parent’s home for the timebeing. It’s so lovely to be warm here, and to have as many doggy cuddles as we please. 


However, we won’t be here for very long as we have a new group, of wonderful and lovely flatmates that we are currently finding a place with. We are all friends, and it will be so healthy, and heaps of fun to live with them. They are also huge Harry Potter fans, just like we are. We are so thankful for them; the right thing seems to pop up in life just when you need it!

We are so very excited at the moment, because we have offically started working towards our next goal; saving for our own home. We have it all planned out and put a certain amount of money aside each week. It’s really cool to watch what you work hard for grow.

Currently I’m feeling very swamped with university, it’s crunch time where classes end next week and it feels as though everything is due all at once. I have also been working almost every night after university, which helps keep me productive, but is also stressful because I just want to sleep. For a very long time. I think once I make it through tomorrow things will be a little easier, as one more assignment (and one that’s been stressing me out at that) will be all done and dusted.

Lately I have been feeling kind of powerful, or maybe determined is the right word, but in my own life to be the best I can be. After so many years living in self destruction it’s honestly such a strange thing to experience, but it’s so exciting too. With all this stress that’s been about lately, often my mind reverts back to it’s old ways, but I am learning now when it’s making silly, destructive suggestions. I’m now trying my best to rest when I need to, to take breaks, to eat what and when I need to, and to talk to people. It feels so good. Who would have guessed?


(Image sourced from: angel-flowers.tumblr.com).


I’m learning that my past no longer serves me, nor the person I want to become. I’m trying to learn how to break free from that. Rupi Kaur’s beautiful words have definitely been helping.

The other day it was a friend’s birthday, and all my friends were eating cupcakes to celebrate. They weren’t vegan, and my legs were shaking, but I joined in, and I’m proud of myself for doing so. It’s these small, silly parts from the past that keep looming up, but they are on the way out. It’s onwards and upwards to better things from here.

Love & light,

Kaitlyn.

Self Care beyond Bath Bombs.

Hello!

Self care is something that has become far more prominent lately. It’s all over social media, tumblr tells us to buy fancy bath bombs and instagram tells us to share it’s rainbow glitter to the world. But self care can be so much more than running a warm bath at the end of a long day. Sure, painting our nails and taking this quiet time for ourselves can definitely be part of self care, but I’m starting to see that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.


(Image sourced from: Gonzalo Martínez Moreno).

I stumbled upon this quote recently, and it’s wonderful. We are so encouraged and expected to work hard, in a way that is often unhealthy for ourselves. The concept of “working hard” or “doing your best” is often skewed to give the meaning of working until it hurts you. Of working beyond what is healthy for you. Of giving all of yourself to something, until you have nothing left.

“self care is not a reward for being responsible or for working hard. you don’t ‘deserve’ or ‘not deserve’ to be nice to yourself. you are an alive person and rather than thinking of self care as incentives or bonuses you can get by adhering to and succeeding at abled standards (at a detriment to your health), you can think of it as: making deposits of self esteem by caring for yourself and allowing yourself nice things and feelings. you don’t have to deplete yourself to EMPTY before filling yourself back up again. you can do nice things for yourself before you hit the bottom.” (elvendork).


(Image sourced from: carloshache.tumblr.com)

In “doing our best”, I’m starting to understand that we also need to do what’s best for our own well-being. There is the very black-and-white idea of all or nothing, which is perpetuated within so many rivers in society. It could be exercising too much. It could be devoting all your time to work or study, so much so that you don’t have any time for your mind to rest. It could be staying in toxic situations. We shouldn’t have to drain ourselves of all zest and life before we feel that we deserve to refuel.

And deserve, this little word pops up all throughout self care. It’s so hard to believe that by simply being a person, this allows us the right of being kind to ourselves. I find it helpful to try and think of yourself as you would a friend or a child. They deserve to be treated with kindness and care. And they are you too.

Somethings that can really help with this messier, soul related self care are small things that can make a big difference to your mindspace. 

  • Make sure you take your medication
  • Eat all your meals
  • Plan in time to work and therefore too time to rest
  • Talk to those close to you
  • Tell yourself, regardless of how you feel, that you are strong in being able to leave toxic people and situations
  • Open the windows
  • Tidy your room
  • Head outside, even if it’s just on your lunch break
  • Find what makes you excited, and run to it
  • Choose the people who choose you

And absolutely, work hard. Define your dreams and chase them, wildly and freely. But remember first and foremost that you are a person, and just because you are busy and striving, that does not mean you are excused from the basics, from kindness. You need to have enough care from you to you, so you can run towards those dreams.

Take that bath with the beautiful bath bombs and enjoy it. But try and nourish that soul of yours too. Remember that if doing your best involves harming yourself in the process, it really is not your best.

Love & light,

Kaitlyn.

One Year.

It’s hard to know where to begin.

When did everything stop becoming too much, and I not enough?

Is that when it changed?

Or maybe, it’s all still the same, but I am learning how to cope now.

Image result for self harm art hope

(Image sourced from: http://rebloggy.com/post/love-art-quote-life-happy-depression-sad-quotes-beautiful-motivation-words-pain/118689143386).

Today, it’s been one year since I last self harmed.

And, I am so, so happy.

A year ago, I finally asked for help. Seven years too late, but just in time.

I remember trying to talk my way out of having to go. I remember breaking down in the doctor’s office. I remember how much it stung. I remember reading what was happening off my phone, because I couldn’t trust myself to actually say the words instead of just running out of the room.

The first thing she did was make me write down the number for the mental health crisis team. Then we did the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. This became a regular feature over the next few months. I have lost count of the number of times that good old Kessler has calculated just how awful things were.

Then we talked about medication. She gave me drugs to help quieten the thoughts.

Every few days afterwards, my doctor would ring, just to chat. She would send me TED talks to watch. I was told to come back all the time. And I did. The medication was increased to the highest dose.

After my brain, and all the things whirling around inside, began to stabilise, I was referred to the local psychological services clinic. I spent a few months going there.

My psychologist taught me how to breathe again.

She also had some pretty interesting theories about how things got this way.

I’m still trying to work them out today.

I also did an online CBT course. It helped keep me accountable.

After eight months, my husband decided that I was ready for all of our sharp things to return. I remember we would chop up all our apples into little pieces, just because we now could.

I was so proud that day.

All the knives, scissors, keys, nail clippers, staplers, razors and pins were unearthed. They were removed from their secret hiding place. I still don’t know where that was.

And I could be trusted with them.

It was really, really hard at first, having so much temptation around me.

Sometimes it still is hard. But I can never go back to how things were.

I can never let myself cause that sort of pain to the people close to me again.

At least, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Because the thing is, some days I really can. But I won’t.

I won’t.

I am so thankful, thankful more than words can say, for everything my doctor, husband, family and friends did for me.

I am so thankful that they never gave up on me, especially when I did.

Today, I am free from the pain that self harm has caused.

Free for 365 days, after years of  not being able to go more than a week without. Free from having to self harm multiple times per day, just to get my mind what felt like under control.

Image result for recovery art

(Image sourced from: http://tobereal.org/whatyoufeel/karenjames).

The scars still litter my skin, but they don’t bother me. They probably won’t go anywhere for a while, but that’s okay.

They are neither good nor bad. They are simply etches from the past.

And today, I’m learning to live in the present.

It’s so hard to get through to people for who this is their present, that there is more than this. Something that sticks with me, is that each of us had every chance not to be us. In terms of probability, we shouldn’t be here.

But we are. And we all deserve so much more than a life of pain.

Sometimes, when it’s so painful that you want everything to end, it feels impossible to cope in any way other than old, destructive paths.

But when have these ways ever helped you? When would you ever tell your younger self, or a friend, to do what you do?

They don’t. You wouldn’t.

Because we deserve so much more.

Today, I’m still taking medication. I’m still trying to deal with the diagnoses. I’m still trying to cope with the past.

But today, I have hope. And this hope makes me feel free.

And that life is worth living.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

It’s not too late for new beginnings / This Week

Hello!

Yesterday this quote popped up on facebook:

“You are still breathing. Still growing. It’s not too late for new beginnings.” (Lightheartedsuggestion).

Sometimes I like to believe in little signs from the universe. It’s really comforting. Whether it be special words finding their way into your day, or special people, who are we to say that the universe is not breathing alongside us?

IMG_1766.JPG

Something I have been thinking about recently is how we all have seasons within our lives. People have seasons in our lives, places too. Jobs, music, ways of being. There is a season for everything, and some seasons last a really long time, while others are short. Maybe this is why people drift away, and why we change, and it’s not bad. It’s what we need to have space for new seasons in our lives.

These past few weeks have been really good. I have been lucky enough to see some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and to have some equally beautiful conversations. I have spent time with friends, and I didn’t realise how much I needed to do that until it happened. It’s really nice just to hang out with people, not having to be at university or working, but to just simply be. It’s been so much fun, and really reviving.

A few days ago, I had the privilege of meeting a friend’s new foster kitten. She is only eight weeks old, and weighs 800 grams. When you hold her, she snuggles into you and licks your hand. She is so tiny! And so beautiful and perfect! And heck, this is what we need more of in life. Baby animals, and just getting to be. This keeps popping up, because it’s true. This is where memories are made.

I got to watch the film A Dog’s Purpose this week, and heck, that movie was wonderful. To be fair, I sobbed for the majority of it. But it was that amazing, happy, beautiful, sad, you know? It made me want to run and hug all my four-legged pals for a very long time.

 

Image result for a dog's purpose

(Image sourced from: https://www.edmovieguide.com/movies/a-dogs-purpose/119284/)

Image result for a dog's purpose

(Image sourced from: http://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/a-dog-s-purpose-movie-review-no-tear-ducts-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-film/story-KtqVxai18kSg6KQ7xgdzON.html)

Image result for a dog's purpose

(Image sourced from: http://clawtv.com/video/a-dogs-purpose/).

I also got to watch Get Out this week too. I understand that I will never know how it feels to be black, but I am thankful for this film, because it helped me understand just a little bit more. This article helped too: http://www.upworthy.com/im-black-my-wife-is-white-we-saw-get-out-this-was-our-conversation-afterward

Over the next couple of weeks, university is winding down, and there are so many things to complete and hand it. I’m going to try and focus on keeping my mind healthy. This afternoon I had an interview for an ambassador program at university, and I honestly don’t mind what the outcome is. I’m just really, really happy that I am able to do things like that now.

Here’s to recovery! As awful as it can be.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.

 

There is more to you than yesterday // This Week

A lot has happened this week, and in particular the last couple of days, and I’m unsure of if meaningful is the right word to use here, but all of it definitely made me feel so many things.

We have moved into our new flat, and so far it’s been really good. It’s so lovely to have space, be able to go outdoors, and breathe fresh air. It’s also much closer to where my parents live, so we were able to pop around there the other night bringing a movie and snacks, and it was lovely (just everything about this move is lovely, really) to spend time with them. This also means that we are so much closer to my parent’s dogs too! We had a spare afternoon, so we “dog-napped” one of them and drove to a big park, which involved swimming, rolling in mud, and more swimming (on the dog’s part, not ours, for clarity).

We also had some very sad news however, that our close relative passed away over the weekend. So in the middle of the week we flew down to the other end of the island for two days. The funeral, although sad, was also beautiful. So many people attended and spoke, sharing stories and beautiful tributes. It was a very special occasion. I don’t really know why, but being there and around family, made me really look forward to and be excited for our future family.

During this time away, we also got the opportunity to see my brother-in-law’s new car. Saying that it was the most fun I have ever had in a car is not an exaggeration, and I’m certainly not a car person. It’s this tiny little sports car, so low to the ground that you are practically sitting on the ground, that he has just finished painting himself. It has just two seats, and also happens to have a convertible rooftop! We took it out at night, took the roof off, and blasted Sail by AWOLNATION probably annoying loudly. It was a clear night sky, and by raising my arms my fingers felt almost as if they were skimming across the stars. It gave me so much peace. It reminded me a little bit of this scene from The Perks of being a Wallflower.

(Image sourced from: https://68.media.tumblr.com/818e2d487204bf3c03dccf09b816a8fa/tumblr_o6nhn7t4Pb1v66xy4o1_500.jpg)

Yesterday felt so very busy too! In the morning I had my Terrestrial Ecology class and then lab. We learnt about the moose and wolves of Isle Royale, an island in the middle of a huge lake which, completely naturally, ended up being an Ecologist’s dream experiment. The National Park itself is beautiful, and coupled with the rich ecological history (it makes me so excited to just think about! Eeek! I love what I study!), it is now definitely a dream to travel there someday.

(Image sourced from: https://www.nps.gov//isro/planyourvisit/images/hill_islands_1.jpg

(Image sourced from: http://media.cntraveler.com/photos/54bfdc8ef026e0d339fb6dea/master/pass/isle-royale-national-park-michigan.jpg)

That evening I went to work and experienced my very first bar shift. I have been training for it for a while now, but my biggest problem is my anxiety around it. My hands get so weak that I can’t open bottles of wine! So when I arrived yesterday I was shaking and my stomach was doing flip flops, but despite this it was actually quite a nice change. I tried to use mindfulness techniques during quiet times, and they were soothing. In the past, this sort of experience would have involved far more debilitating symptoms, so much so that I probably would have been unable to work. It was like a friendly little reminder that things have changed, that they are better now. It also helped that I had this beautiful quote stuck in my head after copying it down into my planner, particularly the final line, “There is more to you than yesterday.”

(Image sourced from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/7c/30/a0/7c30a078c297b9f6ce3e8afba698df26.jpg)

By the end of the night I had served many drinks, made lots of food, and even made somebody a Cappuccino, which surprisingly turned out alright! This whole experience really helped with boosting my confidence, and I will even admit it was a little fun! Being trained and working bar shifts was one of my goals for this year, so I’m super happy with how it all went.

I then dove home, and this time was really important to me. I hadn’t driven home from work at night in so long, just because I normally take the bus. But last night I got to be reminded of how much I enjoy driving home at night, listening to the radio with all the streets quiet. It did though bring along a big bout of that “bad nostalgia” that I previously tried to write about, because this time used to be where so many of the awful thoughts would riot and scream, and all those drives home from work in the past are painful thinking back. But last night was different. Things are okay now. These memories just erupt when I least expect them.

What was supposed to be a quick, straightforward drive home ended up being very different. I was driving on an empty motorway, almost home, when suddenly I saw a person on the side of the motorway trying to wave me down. It was then that I noticed that something was wrong. I pulled over, along with another car who had also seen, and this was my first time helping out with a car accident. A car had swerved across several lanes on the motorway, and plummeted off the side into some trees. It was so lucky that it was night, and that there was hardly any traffic, otherwise it would have been a lot worse. We had to help the passengers, and one was injured and understandably very shaken. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt, although their car looked in bad shape. The police arrived, and later the ambulance too, and everyone is going to be okay. I felt bad though, because I didn’t really know what to do in this situation, so I just comforted the person who was upset and waited with them until help arrived. I don’t know if anybody really knows what to do in these times though. I naively never expect things like that to happen.

I’m going to end this here, as soon we are going to spend time with family, with my warmest wishes for your week! I hope it has been a good week for you, and that you have so much hope for the next one too.

Love and light,
Kaitlyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Things of February

February has been nothing short of magical so far!

The month began with many wedding preparations leading up to the big day, and then the day itself. All the moments were incredible, and full of pure joy. These days are definitely stories for another blog post however, one which will arrive soon.

However, aside from these beautiful, weddingish moments, February has still shown me so much beauty.

  • On our wedding day, my now husband (how exciting it feels to be writing that!) gave me a ukulele! It was such a fun surprise to receive, however I feel as though my constant want to practice is causing him some regret. So far, I have just been learning how exactly to place my fingers and rearrange them for different chords; it requires more precision than I first understood. To my utter excitement, it turns out that Riptide by Vance Joy is an easy song for beginners to learn how to play, and so I have been practising at every given moment, and I’m getting there slowly. If only I could sing!
  • We watched the movie Pork Pie about two weeks ago, and although I wasn’t sure if I would like it beforehand, I walked out with a brand new favourite. It’s so wonderfully Kiwi, involves veganism as a rather large part of the plot, and made me laugh embarrassingly loudly. It’s beautifully light-hearted, and made me fall even deeper in love with the country I’m lucky to call home.

(Image sourced from: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/entertainment/2016/10/pork-pie-first-trailer-for-kiwi-film-released.html)

  • I feel as though I have become a bit more confident this month. I am working on becoming more assertive, and am trying to find my inner duck (“like water on a duck’s back!”). Things, meaningless things, affect me so overly deeply and painfully, and I am now working very hard to believe that not everything that I over think influences my worth as a human. These are very trying times! However, I have found recently that I am not taking as many silly things as deeply to heart anymore, which is truly like a breath of fresh air.

Image result for water off a ducks back like

(Image sourced from: http://philbertk.deviantart.com/art/Like-water-off-a-ducks-back-599712388)

  • On our honeymoon, I got a necklace with the crystal Citrine on it. Crystals, and their meanings, bring me peace, and it also helps with keeping my hands busy. Citrine is a crystal of joy, of light, and of positive energy. It helps to reduce self-destruction, and is described as filling one with light.

image.jpeg

  • I have just finished reading the book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, and it was great! It’s good as a light read, for when you can’t concentrate very well, yet it’s still entertaining enough to keep you engaged.

Image result for big little lies book

(Image sourced from: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486412-big-little-lies).

  • Some things I am looking forward to are university beginning again in two weeks, continuing with painting, writing poetry and moving into our new home.

Love & light,
Kaitlyn.