It never was going to be easy…

I think one of the biggest traps you can fall into when you make a big change in your life, is expecting it to be ‘good’ all the time. People ask me, as I ask them, how life is going, how’s the new job, how’s the relationship, how’s this and that and the other. It’s good that people care. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking all they want to hear is ‘good’.

I love my new job, it’s going well I think, but I’ve started answering that question with ‘it’s really hard’. The new job is really hard. Most new jobs are. Aside from the ‘what the hell did you do to end up working in THAT job’ looks…it’s just a tiring job.

Just because you decided to make a big change, and even if you love it, doesn’t make it easy.

I think that’s something that’s really easy to forget.

Support though, is the second biggest. It’s easy for people to say ‘don’t over do it’ or ‘you’re too tired take a break’. It’s well meaning, it always is. But with everything comes work, hard work. And like with the many lessons I’ve learnt so far in life, I know how far I can push myself before I need a break.

Coffee, coffee is good right now.

It’s coming to the end of 2016 and just like each year for the past few years there have been massive highs and massive lows. Life just throws those at you sometimes, but I also think when you put yourself out there, when you make adjustments, when you push yourself, you’re going to come up against some friction. And like anyone who has ridden a bike with sweaty thighs knows, friction is not your friend.

Next year is going to be just as, if not more so challenging than this year. I threw a little tantrum about that the other day because, well, I really just want a break. But while running down the beach, my lungs screaming at my that running is a silly thing to do, the salt air stinging my eyes, I took a moment to say to myself: ‘well of course it’s going to be damn hard’.

I get told on the regular to ‘stop being negative’. I respond ‘honestly, I’m just realistic’. I stopped kidding myself it would be rainbows and lollipops a little while back. Why? Because it’s not. And if you’re prepared for rainbows and lollipops and instead get kale juice and salad, you’re not going to last very long. If you expect the kale juice and salad, and accept you just need those to grown and be a healthy human, well it’s not going to be a disappointment, it’s going to be a growing experience.

I want to achieve a lot. And doing that means hard work, which means times of pain, sacrifice and tears. It means I won’t always get the fairytale, but I will get the action film.

When I made the decision to live life with 100 per cent of what I can give, and with 100 per cent faith I’m doing the right thing, I knew it would be hard.

It will be hard.

It will be uncomfortable.

I will throw tantrums.

And sometimes I will want to give up.

But I am looking at next year as many mountains to climb, with many views from the top.

And yes my butt will hate me for climbing them all, but I will do it. Because I can do it. Because I’ve never said no to a challenge yet.

It is easy to look at other people and wish for simplicity or for things to go ‘right’. But they don’t, not for anyone. Everyone struggles. You see simply a slice of the pie…not the whole thing.

So with that I shall continue to work myself into the ground to save a lot of money to get the things I want and to get better at the career I’ve decided I’ll give my best shot at.

They boys at work told me today I was too nice. They’re yet to see the crazy…just wait…I have the determination and stubbornness of my horse when it doesn’t want to walk through a puddle. Not all methods of gaining respect come in the form of swearing, anger and muscles.

And they’ll see that…

In saying that I intend to keep going to the gym to kick their butts in the weights room…again…so maybe it has a little bit to do with muscles.

But that’s beside the point.

And for the ironic moment of the day… if you’re having a bad day, just remember I crashed my car on the way to my police exam and it cost me $400 to fix it. Because, why wouldn’t you crash your car on the way to a police exam?!

 

The accidental new beginning

It’s been a while since I’ve had the inspiration to write. Not for any particular reason, sometimes life just takes a little while to sink in before you realise there’s more to the story. I’m a youth/care worker now, my little sister is married, I passed my initial police tests and I’m starting some cool volunteer stuff! I did some travel, I came back from that travel…still in a relationship (yay!).

So where are we at? I started my new job today. I work at a youth justice residence…which in short is a place where teens are sent when they’ve committed a crime but they’re not quite bad enough to be sent to prison…or they’re on their way there it’s just that the way the legal system works they come to us for a period of their time.

Why?

It’s a good question. How did I go from being a journalist to marketing to youth work? Honestly…I don’t know.

I could tell you it’s because I ran out of challenges in my life. Or I could tell you it’s the only job I could get. Or perhaps it’s because I want to get the best experience possible for my youth work career. But to be entirely honest, while those are all absolutely 100 per cent true, it’s not THE reason.

I could have found myself a well paying office job processing invoices or answering a phone. I could have worked at a supermarket or at a cafe. I could have gone overseas to work. I could have moved cities.

But I made myself a promise while I was travelling the first time. I’ve been home just over a year now and I haven’t forgotten it.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you have little right to complain about the problem. Don’t ever sit and wait for someone else to do what you can do and don’t ever doubt your ability to go one step further than you thought you could. Oh, and don’t run away because you’re scared you can’t do it.”

So I decided, while I was crying and yelling at my laptop in my hotel room in Zimbabwe, that life wasn’t about me. All I could think while I was travelling is how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country…and how much I wanted to work to keep it that way. We honestly have no true comprehension of how lucky we are. And I’m sure people have heard that all before, but that for me was the first time I believed it.

And so yes, while my career moves and life changes have been somewhat socking, unexpected, and certainly taken me by surprise, I know I’m where I’m meant to be.

I want to improve people’s lives, I want to work with people everyone else has given up on, I want to be part of the solution. And while my life has certainly been a stark contrast to some of these kids, I do get that when you hit rock bottom you learn a hell of a lot about yourself…and it’s actually where you make some of the most important decisions of your life. It’s not where you are, it’s what you do in those moments that define your life.

In this past 18 months my life has been an exceptional roller coaster. I’ve gone from a promising journalism career to a rather odd looking youth work one. I’ve walked away from an unhealthy relationship into what has been the most unexpected blessing of a person. I have had sky high ‘my life is the best’ moments to rock bottom ‘what the hell am I meant to do?’ moments.

I was told I could never have a writing career because I couldn’t spell…so I went and had one. And got the degree to prove it. I never thought I could learn another language, but I passed journalism shorthand in 8 months. I have never been able to run…but I just passed a 2.4km run in 11mins and 43seconds.

At 23 I’ve not only achieved everything I wanted to by the end of my life, I’m onto the next thing(s). And the exciting part about that, is I have no clue where this will take me! I’ve already achieved that…so it’s all about making the most out of it. I was going to say enjoyment, but not everything that is good is enjoyable.

I can tell you right now, I never in a million years thought I could actually work with youth. But here I am, in one of the most challenging positions I could have imagined, and I’m ready for it.

I’m a firm believer in ‘if you’re not being challenged, you’re not growing’. Challenges come in all forms. For the past three months it’s been my greatest challenge to accept redundancy, and just wait for a job. I applied for about 30. I had three interviews, the first I didn’t get the job, the second I never heard back, and the third is the job I’m in now. Each week I’d get two-three “we’re sorry to inform you…” emails from failed job applications. I’m just as broke as I was when I came back from travel a year ago. I felt in many ways I’d made zero progress. What I realise now, is how much that humbled me. Sometimes you have to be at rock bottom to accept what your picture of life is, is only a tiny little piece of the picture, or actually someone else’s entirely.

This job is bloody hard. And there will never be a day of work where I forget that. I also spend 95 per cent of my shift wondering what the hell I am doing.

But I’m here. This is the door that opened and I won’t cheat myself out of life by wondering what that nice well paid office job might feel like. Because some people love that and are meant for that. I’m not…and I’m coming to terms with what that means for my life.

You owe it to yourself to give life everything you’ve got. Leave nothing on the table at the end of it because you have one. People tell me to slow down. I think the problem is too many people go so fast they do not stop to take it all in, to realise the journey they’re on. It’s a whole other ball game to simply do many things. You can do many things and still take it all in; still appreciate each moment for what it is. Don’t deny yourself the chance and freedom to just do it…to live it. And give it your whole heart. It might be hard. Life doesn’t always feel good, or easy, nor kind to you. But that doesn’t or shouldn’t change your perspective on it.

People often seem surprised by my life choices…but I can tell your right now no one is more surprised than I am.

Tonight I sat listening to one of the other staff members tell me fascinating stories about his life. For a brief moment I took in everything around me and thought ‘yep, that’s right, you really are working in a youth justice residence’. I laughed, because while I’m an anxious person who likes to plan, I also kind of love the ‘surprise!’ this is my life.

The unknown can be fun when you realise everything is uncertain…and that’s ok.

Oh yeah…and I bought a beehive! I’m a bee keeper too…just for fun (with Sam. We bought two…).

Till next time (hopefully I’ll write again before I make another random career move).

Another bump in the road

This past week has really not been my week. In the long run I may very well look back and think ‘man, I’m glad that went that way’…but I can tell you right now, it does not feel the slightest bit pleasant.

I wrote a blog a little while ago about living outside your comfort zone, because that’s where you grow. Things happen there.

Well I’m pleased to report: I no longer have a comfort zone.

On Friday I was told I am going to be made redundant.

I’m sure it’ll all be fine. And very well meaning and kind people tell me that. But I can assure you, facing being jobless really freaking sucks.

If anything these last few weeks (and years) have taught me: it does not matter how well you play your cards in life, it does not matter how ‘well’ you do things…at any given moment it can really just all go wrong…and keep going wrong.

And you have zero control over that.

But I’m lucky. I live at home. I have very few big costs each month at the moment and I work more than one job so I still have some money coming in!

The thing though about so many things just not really going to plan is you learn to live well outside your comfort zone.

I’ve applied for jobs I was too afraid to apply for before. I’ll be calling a few people tomorrow I’d never have even thought to call…I have nothing to lose again. Sometimes, that’s a space of mind that tends to work in ones favour.

I’ve learnt to appreciate the little moments in life now; the smiles at a coffee shop from a barista, a stranger holding a door, a message from a friend, a long hug, or a beautiful day on the mountain.

I took today (Monday) off. I’d planned about two weeks ago to take it off…but the timing worked rather perfectly. Sometimes time outside, doing something you love doing for no other reason than because you want to do it, is great therapy.

People do not spend nearly enough time doing the things that make them truly happy.

I know it will be ok.

I have always been able to pick myself up and carry on. But I’ve learnt to allow myself moments to just be not so okay with it all.

It’s been a rough few weeks. And that’s ok.

It is truly okay to not be okay at the end of that. It is okay to want to scream and cry and hide from the world at times.

What matters is that you get back up eventually. That you don’t let other people’s decisions keep you from making your life what you want it to be.

Right now, in this moment, I can honestly tell you I’m at a pretty big loss as to how I’m moving forward from here. My confidence is pretty knocked around and my endurance is definitely feeling a little lacking. Because that’s a normal reaction to a consistent series of crappy things.

 

Crappy things happen…and this is just another one.

I will be just fine. I will move forward. I’ve enjoyed red wine all weekend and hot chocolate tonight. Tomorrow I’ll hit the gym and send out more CV’s.

One step at a time…even if they’re only small, it still means I’m moving.

 

Even one step is still movement

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” – Bell Hooks, All About Love

It’s been a struggle street as anyone who’s read my blog lately will know. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. You all come here for a laugh or a bit of information and I’ve been shoving pity parties in your face for months.

Never the less, I am back.

While I’m still wallowing in moments of ‘I CAN’T DO THIS’…I’ve decided it’s time to get the big girl pants on and be brave.

That might sound a little sarcastic. It’s not meant to.

Here’s the thing about not only changing my complete life direction, but also wanting a job that I can throw every ounce of spare energy into; it’s daunting. I’m living in a space of constant pushing; constant needing to be more, do more, achieve more, learn more.

To make big moves you have to take big steps.

And sometimes, that’s damn terrifying.

Ok, ok, here’s what that looks like for me right now. Jobs. There are jobs every three or so weeks that come up which I think ‘YES, THAT IS WHAT I WANT!’

But, there is always a list of necessary requirements. Most jobs I feel as though I could fit that, I could do that and/or I have the skills and have previously achieved it.

But with every job that makes me think ‘YES’, is a little voice that goes ‘oh but you can’t do that!’

Sush little voice, it’s not your turn right now.

Here’s what being brave looks like: I’ve written copious cover letters. I have edited, rewritten and I have attempted to perfect my CV. Now, I need to send that. I need to click apply and just do it.

It sounds easy.

But it’s the first step toward ‘YES, I’m doing life a different way now’.

I don’t actually have a ‘plan’. I couldn’t give you my ideal job description without changing it about five times and adding in almost every skill I have into a job description I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist.

What I do know: I want to make a change in people’s lives and I have the skills, and at the very least the determination and energy, to do that.

And that voice is the one that needs to be heard.

If I don’t get an interview, so what? If I don’t get the job? So what. I’m still taking the first step toward the possibility. And that’s something I constantly remind myself of…it’s not a failure if it’s not successful, it’s just not the right time and the right thing.

There will be another thing and a right time. Patience.

Making big life changes is terrifying and anyone who has ever just up and said ‘enough is enough I’m making something of myself’ knows what that feels like. It’s not that I didn’t have a great job in the past, it’s not that I don’t have a good one now. It’s that I’m searching for the job I want to stay up till midnight working on.

I know, I’m mad right?

But when someone asked the other day what my 10 year vision was I said (among other things) to have a job I enjoyed so much, I wanted to work over 50 hours a week doing it.

I have energy and I’m incredibly ambitious. Not for myself, but because I have a vision for what I want this country to look like…so I’m pretty determined to go after that and make it happen.

But with that comes drive and energy I didn’t realise I actually had in me…unless we’re talking about running. I never have enough energy or drive for that.

However, it’s easy to be ‘busy’ doing things that don’t actually get you any further. I used to hate being bored because I hated having the time for thoughts to take over and self doubt to creep in. I often avoided being alone with silence because silence can be a very terrifying thing.

You might be wondering why I began this blog with the quote I did…

Because learning to be alone for me, was the first step toward making changes that I always wanted to make, but was far to afraid to make them. People were a little perplexed as to why I wanted to go hiking in Austria alone. It’s a country people from New Zealand don’t venture to much. Hiking in Autumn is an odd thing to do. And it’s pretty remote and few people speak English.

I knew it’s what I needed.

I needed to be alone to learn to support myself, love myself, and process thoughts in a positive way. I needed to lean on myself first so when I lent on other people it wasn’t because I needed to avoid myself, it would be because I need them as the person they are with the skills they have. And a mountain in the middle of Austria is a pretty great way to do that.

What do I want to do? I’m not 100 per cent sure. What do I want to achieve? Now that I am very sure of. And being alone gave me time to realise the honest truth of that: what I was doing, wasn’t even close to achieving what I wanted to achieve.

And that might have lead to the end of a relationship, landing on my parents door and bunking down back at home for a year and being jobless periodically…but you know what…it was still worth it.

Now instead of being busy doing things for the sake of being busy…I’m doing things that have a purpose and a point and will hopefully point me in the right direction.

Even one step is still movement.

I’m an ideas person and I’ve started allowing myself to follow ideas. I need to get a diary for jotting them all down. But in the past it’s been pretty easy to say ‘well actually nah, that’s not worth doing.’

I mean I still probably have at least five ideas a day that really aren’t useful. However, I’ve stopped being annoyed at myself for that. Ideas good or bad are great. It means I’m thinking in such a way that can create change.

So that’s my positive vibes for Friday. I hope you’re all as pumped as I am for the weekend! I’m taking Monday off to spend it at the mountain because sometimes it’s good to make time for having fun for the sake of it.

Till next time x

#bringiton

Right! Time to get back to the positive happy go lucky vibes usually floating around this blog. Today started in the same way a deflated balloon eventually pops weeks after the party. It just kind of gets tired and gives up.

Work has been…interesting to say the least lately. I spend 95 per cent of my time back tracking because ideas have been ditched, plans changed… and I’m kind of just treading water. I’m achieving plenty if you go by my spreadsheets! But I fear if I see another ‘business development’ idea that involves me calling through lists and lists of people, I may just curl up under my desk with Spotify and hide.

Just kidding… I love business development! I would just love it more if I could actually make some progress!

My office has this incredible view of the harbour, which is wonderful for increases of prolonged sanity in the office. I’ve also discovered Spotify after Apple Music drove me insane enough I quit my subscription. So I now have a bunch of bubbly, inspirational songs on repeat and instead of getting mad about road blocks, I just do a little boggy in my chair.

Though, you’d be surprised about how many strange song are out there at the moment!

So I’m planning a trip at the end of the year…this time PHILIPPINES!  Why?

Google it.

It looks like a place I could spend forever.

Maybe I will? Maybe, that is the solution to my life; just avoid it!

People do do that.

I wonder what it would take to bring a horse to the Philippines? And a cat…can’t forget about Charlie.

Hmmm…if anyone wins lotto, just keep me in mind please.

I have started to research and am attempting to get my head around trading. Stocks, currency, it all looks rather intriguing. I mean, I’m not really making much headway where I’m heading at the moment, so why not?

Not sure if anyone has realised…but we have this amazing thing called the internet which while useful for looking at pictures of cats and stupid Buzzfeed articles…you can also use it to become smarter and find new ways of getting ahead! Who knew?

Because I have more plans than I do money, I’m doing a few other jobs like teaching and showhome hostessing. I love hostessing. You essentially hang out in a lovely home and chat to people all day about what their goals and dreams are for their future properties. I’m also super pumped to start teaching horse riding again. It is definitely one of the things I regret not doing more of.

I’ve also decided to expand on my volunteer stuff. Currently I hang out with a bunch of kids at church every second Sunday, which is super fun.

I did not think I would enjoy it…but man it’s so much fun! I don’t know if I have more fun than the kids. I even had them teach me how to make a paper plane.

I’ve discovered I do not spend enough time doing child like things.

And that’s a problem.

Anyway, my new volunteer stuff is developing at the moment but it has to do with my passion: rehabilitation and crime reduction. I’m also trying to figure out how to write my book! I have a book! Well, I will have a book.

So that’s the good stuff.

I also have good coffee, good wine, and plenty of good music! One can’t really complain about that can they?

I’m on the hunt for a full filling job where I can grow. I’m making headway with volunteer work. And I’m finally getting back into doing the things I love to do outside of work…while making money.

I might be moving slowly, but I think I might be moving!

I’ve gone from treading water to a slow breast stroke style of swimming!

#bringiton

 

A walk up struggle street

It think it’s hard to be out of control of your life. There are decision, and then there are things that just sort of happen. And I do believe a lot of that is just the straw you drew. You know when you’re a kid and you had to pick the longest straw in order to get to make the decision? It didn’t matter how much you thought about it or even really your guess…it was simply down to luck. The rest of it, was just making the most of the straw you drew.

Right now my straw is the middle one.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed. I’m not stressed about how much I have on. I’m a busy person, I love that. I had a whole afternoon to myself and I spent it deciding on tattoos and flights to another country…and that’s why I should only have a limited amount of free time!

I’m stressed because of the things out of my control.

My thyroid results were good. I should be very happy with them. But they want to run extra tests. That’s fine, that’s normal. But I think there is never a point in which ‘we want to run extra tests to rule out cancer’ becomes an easy thing to digest. Not at 22. Not ever. Not when you know what that looks like in the long run. Not when you have for the past few years realised the same thing has been said to people who it has become a reality for. And it’s almost impossible to understand the uncontrollable concern that comes with living with a condition that can change so much of your life so quickly…and with very little warning.

I am completely at the mercy of what my body decided to do…

And that at times is incredibly difficult.

I think personally, I’ve come to terms with things like the idea that if it all goes wrong, I might not have a family. I’ve come to terms with many, many things to do with this condition. I’ve thought about quantity verse quality if it becomes a cancerous node. I’ve educated myself best I can and I’ve considered all options from best case to worst case scenario.

And you could say don’t worry until you need to…

But I think preparing yourself for every outcome is wise, because you never really do know.

For me it’s never about myself anymore. It’s about who I’m with, it’s about a future family, it’s about the other persons hopes and dreams for life. And the weight of that, when I have little control over the outcome, is terrifying.

 

In three months I will have no job.

I have absolutely no idea where I am headed next. I have so many ideas and dreams for life and zero idea how to make those happen in a short time frame.

I am terrified on so many different levels of life and the weight of that this week has definitely sunk well into my soul.

Perhaps I’m just a little bit worn down from several years of repetitive bad news. But it’s certainly made me appreciate the moments of sunshine.

There are these little moments, like when the day is sunny and I walk out of the office and it just fills my whole body with warmth. Or days when the sun is setting and I race down to the beach to catch the perfect photo and I feel my toes in the sand and the waves crashing and it just feels like home. Or the times on the mountain snowboarding when it’s just a beautiful day and I look down at how tiny it all seems from so high up. Or moments when I taste a really good coffee or a waiter is super helpful with food I can eat. Or times I just snuggle into my horse and breathe in that musty smell and I feel this little moment of utter peace. There are these moments in life I think I used to miss a lot of the time.

Before the dodgy teachers, before the broken relationships, before the health problems, before cancer got to people I love, before people died, before I missed out on sporting dreams…I don’t think I really understood how beautiful those moments were.

Sometimes I just sit somewhere in town and watch people walk past. Or I buy myself something as simple as a nice face wash. Those things remind me of the good parts, of the really nice parts.

It’s not all bad. And often the big scary things in life seem so big and so scary they take over those little moment of joy.

Jobless and cancer are two pretty scary concepts. And it’s about the only time I ever feel young and ill equipped…because I don’t know how to cope with those.

I’m sure it will work out. I’ll find a good job and the tests will come back as we expect; clear and providing certainty and hope.

But there is always, always in the back of my mind that little ‘well what if they don’t?’

And the worst part about is it is it’s not even just the product of an overactive mind coming up with things to worry about. They are real concerns and real possibilities.

That’s the scary part.

I want so much for life. I want to change so many things in other peoples lives. And I find standstill the most frustrating setting.

But like everything, it’s just a season. And seasons change. Each has it’s own negatives and its positives. I think, after awhile, you just kind of learn to accept that.

Even just learning to accept that sadness and hold on for the ride…that’s a pretty big lesson in itself.

But lately I’ve been taking a walk or two up struggle street.

And you know what, that’s actually ok too.

 

 

Let’s talk about the hard stuff

It’s been a tough week. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, the wheels just started to wobble early on and it just seemed to be a steady downhill ride and they fell off. Considering I think I coped pretty well. I got back up and carried on putting out fire after fire at work, attempting to justify myself without getting on the defensive. I haven’t had a chance to see my pony, so that’s probably added to my lack of energy. I’m fighting a chest thing. I don’t know what it is, all I know is I can’t run…and it’s driving me nuts not being able to train properly. I received less than ideal news about my thyroid from my recent scan.

There have been some great positives to this week with volunteer work opportunities and a teaching opportunity with a pony club. So I’m excited and clinging dearly onto those little highs.

Last week I wrote a blog, which I then deleted from Facebook. It covered a pretty sensitive topic: suicide. I decided I wasn’t in the right mind frame really to talk about it and I was pretty concerned about how people close to me might read it and take it in a way I didn’t mean.

But I’m back. And since suicide has been in the news almost every single day since I deleted it, I decided to buck up and get back on here and talk. That’s what I started this blog for right?

From the beginning: I’ve struggled with depression since I was young. I was probably about 14 when I first realised I wasn’t coping like most people cope and I described the feeling to a close friend as ‘the dark bubble’. It was only way I could describe it at the time. I’m not even sure if the idea of depression crossed my mind then. But I did know something wasn’t right.

Depression and a bunch of other stuff that tends to go hand in hand with it runs in my family. I’ve never been diagnosed by a doctor. I think I’ve probably only ever actually identified it openly with words as depression twice in my life, once with my friend with whom I called it ‘the dark bubble’ and once in casual conversation with my mother. Otherwise, it can just sit in the back of my mind.

Why I’ve been subject to a fairly shitty thing could be down to a number of reasons: over active thyroid (I have a toxic thyroid nodule) issues almost always go hand in hand with mental health and depression, it’s in my family, or I have a personality which is partial to it.

Pick a reason.

To be honest it actually doesn’t matter for what I want to talk about.

Suicidal thoughts.

That word is one that’s not particularly easy to type and I’ve only ever once said it in conversation about myself…and that was last week to my partner.

I post regularly on a FB pg called YouthNet and every article just about has something to do with people needing to open up and talk about these issues, “People need to talk about mental health issues and suicide; it needs to be something we are not afraid to deal with.” That’s what most of the articles say. And I get right in there and say “YES!”

Yet I never speak about it personally.

Why? Because I’m afraid. What if my family starts to worry about me? I’ve survived 100 per cent of my days so far, I know I will be fine. What if a future employer comes across this and thinks I won’t be able to work properly? What if something thinks I have a ‘mental health disorder’ and they don’t want me to be part of their organisation? What if Sam’s friends and family don’t like me anymore? What if people think there is something wrong with me?

And that right there, is exactly the reason we have a massive issue with suicide and depression in our country.

Isolation and fear mean people do not want to talk about it. Not when it’s to do with them.

When I was 14 I remember very clearly plotting out all the different ways to die, narrowing them down into my top two. And whenever I hear someone has died that way it hits a nerve…every single time. Back then it gave me a sense of control over myself and my life. I felt like if I had the option to escape, then it was always my choice to continue. And that took a massive weight off my shoulders.

I often would stop eating. Never enough to be of a major concern and it had absolutely nothing to do with my weight. I probably didn’t realise what I was doing until this year when shit hit the fan when I came back from overseas and I found myself skipping meal after meal.

I saw it this way: I couldn’t control how I felt, but I could sure as hell control a) whether I had to live through it and b) I could punish my body by with holding food. I punished it because it wouldn’t work like other peoples. It was anxious, it was too skinny, it was struggling with things most people found easy.

One day mum knew someone who committed suicide. She told me about it. I saw the pain on her face, the sadness, the hurt, the ‘why?!’

I think it was probably the reason I understood death was in fact final. It was not just an escape, it was over for good. And while it’s easy to say ‘well, yeah? Duh.’ It’s actually a concept that’s hard to grasp when you’ve never seen the effects of death or the reality of it. That is why we need to talk to our children about it.

By about 15 I started to feel ok and by 16 I can’t remember any suicidal thoughts. I never said anything when I was younger and I’m not entirely sure why. I think because, while I knew most people don’t think that way, I was really fine. I didn’t want to die. At the end of the day it was about control.

Life has had many, many up and downs since then but while I’ve suffered moments of depression, I haven’t had any overwhelming thoughts about death. So I never really worried about it. It became a moment in time that could easily be forgotten. I was young, hormones were changing.

I’ve put a lot of it down to things like my thyroid, my diet etc. And it was the reason for a lot of the issues. But it’s not the reason for all of it. I don’t know the reason.

So it took me by surprise when last week, out of nowhere, in the midst of life feeling pretty darn good, I found myself back in those moments when I was 14. “What’s the best way out?”

And it was then that I had to actually accept this is something bigger than me. People don’t just ‘get over it’ and moments of depression, of wanting out, strike out of nowhere and there is very little one can do about it.

Someone came up to me on Sunday and asked, “Are you ok? You seem a little off.”

I replied with “Yeah, I’m fine.” I mean, I don’t really know how to just sort of lay “Oh yeah, nah, I’m struggling with suicidal thoughts out of nowhere that I can’t explain and I’m really fine, but also feeling like complete shit.”

Laying that on someone makes it real.

No I don’t want out. I love my life. I love being alive. I love the people I am with and my friends, my family are some of the best around.

But that doesn’t stop those thoughts creeping in.

And that is my message. You have absolutely no idea what is going on in someone’s life. There have been moments in mine where it really was all turning to shit and I was feeling like  I was living in some joke that went wrong, yet it looks fine. It looks good.

Doesn’t mean it is.

And just because someone may have an amazing life with what seems to be no reason to be upset. They can be struggling. They can be fighting their biggest internal battle and you do not know that.

Some of my friends have had no idea the extent of my thoughts last week. But they are the reason I’m feeling resilient and pretty good this week, even though it’s been a crappy one. I know they’re there for me, they want to support me, they want to make sure I’m ok without having to make me feel like I’m ‘different’ or ‘weak’. I’m not different and I’m far from weak. This is not a struggle only I struggle with and I think the news this past week has made that pretty clear to New Zealand.

Let’s stop making people feel like they need to ‘toughen up’. Let’s stop ignoring teenagers when they aren’t coping and telling them ‘you’re only young, what do you have to worry about?’

We need to stop treating people like they’re less of a person because they struggle with something they cannot control.

Knowing people care, a smile in a coffee shop, a hug from an acquaintance at church, a wine with the girls. I didn’t want to get out of bed so Sam brought me breakfast in bed. And then gave me no choice to get up. Having my friend and her husband send me some absolutely amazing encouragement…that’s what gets me motivated in those moments. No one needed to take on my burden – that doesn’t help anyone, but just knowing someone had taken a moment of their time to care about me, that’s what I needed.

For me, when I’m struggling often I seem really bubbly, I seem happy. But there a moments I’ll stare off into nowhere. I’m not sure why that is. It’s just me. When I’m not struggling, I can have a bad day and I’ll look sad, I’ll feel sad. But that’s sadness.

Moments of depression feel as if you are in sinking sand, it’s the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s the dread of the day, it’s the not seeing a way out from the moment of darkness you’re in.

One of the most powerful quotes I have read came from a site called The Broken Borderline (follow her on FB).

If the photo hasn’t loaded on your screen it says this: “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any other abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from a window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘don’t and ‘hang on’ can really understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to be personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

For me personally, those flames have never been close enough for me to do anything other than weigh up the options. And that has been my mission for a long time; make sure those flames never do get close enough.

I have surrounded myself with amazing, caring people who complement me. I have quit things in life that drag me down and make me feel like I’m worthless. I have taken on volunteer projects and have found ways to make sure every single day I know, without a doubt, that I am valued, I am loved, I am wanted, and I belong.

Most importantly, I belong.

And that is why I came back from my travels with an absolute certain drive that I wanted to be in a position to help. To make sure people do not EVER feel like they do not belong in their own lives. That they are WANTED, LOVED, VALUED. And most importantly, that there are people who do GET what it feels like to feel the flames and want desperately to escape the terrible thoughts that surround your mind. The darkness that wraps itself around you and makes its home in your tears, anger and frustration.

It does get better. I can promise that. But I will admit it is still at times a struggle, but every single moment I wake up in the morning and I am glad to be here. That is a victory. And I know that. The struggle is worth it.

I’m studying psychology because I want to fix it. I started, to be honest, because I actually wanted to understand how to fix myself. But now I feel like it’s bigger than me. And because of that I try to find at least one thing in my day that went either well, or that I am thankful for. It can even be the lady at the supermarket who helped me with a smile.

I cling onto just about anything good. Because I do understand what it’s like not to feel anything good. And because of that, I really do appreciate what good feels like.

So to end I just want to say be kind, be loving, be the kind of person you’d want to meet on a bad day. Buy someone a drink or a coffee, make the time to send a text to someone on your mind. Don’t ever stop caring about other humans; create an environment around you where people can be open. People should not be afraid to be open in whatever forum they want to be.

Just writing a post like this is a massive step for me. Talking, even with a very guarded mindset to my partner about it was also massive.

But as everything in my life…it’s one step at a time. One step toward loving it, toward coping with it, toward just being a bloody good person.

Be a community. Love as a community. Because you have no idea who may very well need you.

You are valued, you are amazing, you are one of a kind, and please stay around because the world needs people like you.

If you know someone struggling, what this video from the other night on TVNZ. It really is worth a watch for everyone…

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/the-hard-stuff-with-nigel-latta/09-08-2016/series-2-episode-8

Also, have a scroll through these pretty real and wonderful quotes from The Broken Borderline pg.

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Much love x

 

The rocky roads

Life’s been a bit up and down lately, literally. Ivy decided a few weeks ago that I hadn’t swum enough this year and ran straight into the ocean during a beach ride. After several rodeo moments she landed me head/hands first into a great big wave. She then left me for dead and took off up the beach, through the sandjunes and around the neighbourhood. I then emerged from the water, soaking wet head to toe in my full riding gear and chased her down the beach. When that failed, I gave up and proceeded to walk around the area asking people if they’d seen a horse, most people were a little shocked by a stranger dripping wet wearing a helmet, horseless, asking if they’d seen said horse. Others commented on her beauty as she galloped riderless up the beach. Yes, yes that’s exactly the thoughts going through my mind in those moments…her beauty. We found her on someone’s back lawn, tied to a gate by the next door neighbours where were rather perplexed as to how a horse had turned up on their lawn, fully tacked up, in suburbia. Thankfully neither was too badly hurt, my pride mainly, and a little later I discovered my wrist was sprained but a trip to A&E established I was not in fact dying, despite the pain, and it wasn’t even fractured.

I thought I’d begin this blog with a funny story because if you keep reading, you’re going to need that humour. I think I’ve been holding onto as much humour as I can lately. I think that just makes life a bit easier to cope with. And watching your horse leave you in the water while providing people with a good dose of entertainment is certainly a good dose of humour, there’s not much else you can do but laugh!

Today in kids church one of the leaders came up to me and asked me if I was ok. I said “Yeah? Do I not seem ok?” He said I seemed a little off. I hadn’t really stopped to think about it to be honest. When you’re struggling with stuff I think it’s just easier not to think about it.

I mean how do you turn to someone and say “Well not really, I’ve been having suicidial thoughts for the past week because I don’t feel like I can cope.”

Like how do you just lay that on someone? Actually I don’t think I’ve ever openly said that to anyone.

For years I’ve been fine. Depression is a moment every now and then that knocks on my door but this last week it’s smacked that damn door right in my face and left me reeling a little wondering what the hell happened. I have nothing in my life that’s bad. There is no reason to feel particularly down. I just do. And that is one of the toughest things to explain to people. So I don’t.

It is easier to stay quiet and be ‘ok’. And I am ok. I really am. I know how to get through the down moments and tonight when people asked “how are you?” tonight I said “I’m good!” Because I am. I feel really good today and I know I will be just fine. I felt alive and like I wanted to be that way all damn day. That is pretty exciting. And I don’t write this at all to make people worry and I do not want people to suddenly say anything different to me, I have so many attentive friends and family. I am incredibly blessed and lucky. Because of them, their amazing way of just being, I always know I will be ok and I will get through it. No one needs to be anything other than what they’re being

I will always keep going, and I know even in the worst moments, I am going to be ok and I have a reason to live. Always.

I write it because I feel like there are people out there who need to read it…and know it’s ok. Because I want people to know they can open up and be honest, and that culture starts with me.

I run a Facebook pg called ‘YouthNet’. It’s an organisation that deals with mental health stuff. Anyway, I regularly post stories on there about family members who have written letters after their mum, son, daughter has killed themselves and they say ‘I want to raise awareness because not enough people talk about’. And I post them over and over…yet I’ve never once said anything to anyone…ever…about my own struggles.

Little bit hypocritical?

I was standing in church tonight and I started crying. And I never cry in church, but it just sort of hit me. It’s really hard some days to truly believe my life has a meaning and point. It pisses me off so damn much because I have absolutely nothing to be upset about. There are people living in cars and there are people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

And here I am living a beautiful life and I feel like I can’t hack it?

So many times I want to just tell myself to get over it and deal with it. But some days I just can’t. And that’s just the shitty thing about things like this, they hit at the strangest moments.

But what I have also learnt is those moments where it just seems like it’s far too much, those are the moments just before it gets good. And you can go years and years and years and be so fine and so great and so happy…then for no reason out of the blue you can’t do it.

Usually right when things should be good.

Anyway I’m pretty nervous about posting this, actually I’m terrified. This is honest even for me. I worry about people worrying about me, I am fine. This is not my first rodeo. But I do want to tell people how important it is to be kind, to be loving, to be open about struggles. To just be there for your friends. The people you love, the ones you don’t. Every single person you come across in your day be kind to them and listen. Be a beautiful person who makes someone’s day. Would you want to meet you if you were having a bad day?

For me, I focus on the little things. I focus on giving. On the days I simply cannot do it, I do something for someone else. I’m not sure when I began that, but it gives me a kind of purpose beyond myself and my own life. And it is so, so hard. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. Actually if I hadn’t been with Sam I probably wouldn’t have. But we saw some people and I was excited and I chatted because I got out of bed. I did that. I didn’t cry all day and I didn’t think one single awful thing about myself.

I’ve started focusing on loving myself and my abilities and trying to shut down those little thoughts of ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you’re not going to make it’ that become big over powering thoughts that shout. I’ve set a goal: if I can go an entire week without thinking one bad thing about myself I will treat myself to a massage.

It’s a massive goal, even sane and happy people would struggle. But it gives me something to focus on.

So that’s that. Take a deep breath.

I’ve found blogging hard lately; it’s super hard to be as open and honest as I want to be and as I need to be so I’ve just shut down and said nothing.

Keep your chin up guys, life is good regardless of the situation, it gets better and most importantly of all; YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING. You are worth so, so much. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are everything you need to be and more.

The best is yet to come.

Peace out.

 

 

One of those moments

It’s 5.09pm and I got home from work over half an hour ago. I spent most of the time since I drove in the driveway sitting in my car and lying on my bed with my cat. That might not seem like anything particularly special, but for those who know Charlie the cat it’s a pretty big deal.

Charlie doesn’t sleep on beds. Ever. And he freaks out when I put him on them. But today, a day where I don’t particularly want to face the world, Charlie cat let me not only put him on the bed, but lie down and have a nap beside him. He’s currently still curled up in a bun like formation while I type away at my desk.

Some days are hard. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. But this week my new life has begun to really sink in. The kind of sink where you slowly slip into a lukewarm pool and can’t quite tell if you’re 100 per cent happy about it, but you’re still glad to be there.

I’ve gone from a very body confident, reliable decision maker to a constantly uncertain, emotionally reserved and body conscious individual. I’m not sure how I got from there to here. There’s plenty of good changes too. I think. I can’t list them right now, but they are there. I know how to stand my ground and to be confident in what I do for work. That’s something.

This might sound weird, but a year ago I was a ‘go to person’ one of those people you have in your life for when it gets tough. The person you turn to to talk about anything. The person you need at the end of a rough day…someone who just sort of fixes things.

Somewhere along the road I became allergic to drama, to emotions, to anything that even remotely resembles someone needing me.

And I have no idea why.

At some point I just kind of stopped giving a shit.

And people stopped needing, they stopped talking, and they too stopped caring.

I think when big changes occur in someones life and when they go through challenging times, it’s easy to forget healing takes a long time. A really, really long time.

And people who weren’t there through it don’t realise how patient they need to be. But the people who were there through it often aren’t there any longer.

Someone can look fine but in reality they’re still struggling, they’re still broken, and they’re still healing.

I think the number one relationship killer ,whether it be friendship or romantic, is complacency and lack of respect.

I don’t mean respect in the term you might be picturing it in. I mean it in the way of listening to ideas and advice, listening to that persons way of viewing the world…and caring about it. By complacency I mean people stop caring about the answer to ‘how was your day’ they stop wanting that person to be happy, they stop wanting that person to smile. People just start to go about their own lives forgetting to ask and care: “how are you really doing?”

It’s amazing how easily and how quickly it happens.

And I’m terrified of it.

I’m also exhausted.

Maybe because for me part of my healing process means it takes a lot of energy to be open, to love, to care, to let people in. I don’t know if that ever gets easier, but I keep on trying hoping it eventually will.

This week I’ve started to appreciate my city and the morning drive to work. I’ve tried hard to walk around town more at lunch time, to come up with new places to take my horse; to genuinely live here.

But man, it is not easy. I still miss Hamilton. I miss the people. But I am starting to live here and in all honesty, I’ve made some incredible friends here so far I’d be sad to leave if I ever moved back. This is home. And it’s starting to feel like that.

But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard. I think after any period, long or short, of hardship it takes years to adjust again. This is probably the most time I’ve spent alone or even wanted to spend alone in nearly a year.

I’ve spent a year hiding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve slowly addressed things as I felt I was capable. I’ve tried my best to counsel and work my way through the hurt bits and the crappy bits and ‘fix’ myself. But up until this point I’ve needed people. I’ve needed to see and be around people to remind myself it’s ok.

And now, I think I’m slowly learning how to be ok alone again and how to cope with myself.

I have a thyroid scan in a weeks time. I’m both nervous and excited. I want to know where it’s at. Has the nodule grown? Will I have to have a life changing operation? Will I not? I play it down but it plays on my mind almost constantly. And that’s just the reality of it.

I think somedays, I just want to feel unconditionally loved, and I want to unconditionally love myself too. I want that love for myself. I want to be in that space again where I don’t question if I’m a hard person to love, where I don’t feel like I’m still a bit broken, where I just feel like a whole human. A few weeks back I wrote a post about how I finally felt like I was no longer recovering. And I feel like that most of the time now.

But with any recovery there are set backs.

And this is just one of those moments.

This blog got a lot more real than I was anticipating. I think Sam ought to bring my red wine to me and I will lie on my bed with Charlie cat and watch crappy soaps.

Till next time x

 

All was well with the world

Right. I need to get blogging again. I have no idea what’s happened to my creative flow, or perhaps life just isn’t going AWOL enough for me to want to throw it all out there! I’ve been asked to be a contributor to a pretty cool blogsite, so I’ll soon be spamming you with  that asking you to love me. So that’s super exciting news!

It’s winter. It’s cold. My body is protesting and my lungs hurt from my run yesterday. Turns out you need to exercise your lungs too…like it isn’t enough having to exercise the rest of my body! I’m sulking because I’ve now put on 5kg since I STARTED going to the gym. Like, what the hell?! That’s not at all fair. I’m going with it’s muscle. But I mean, that’s a lot of muscle?!

My horse had a tooth pulled out the other day. Poor thing was incredibly good about it, until I put her back in the paddock where she lashed out in anger at her best friend then stood and sulked in the corner. I don’t blame her. I did the same thing when I had my wisdom teeth pulled!

I’m moving home again soon! For the past five weeks I’ve been crashing at Sam’s place while mum and dad renovate the house. It was a weird feeling moving home in the first place after five years out of home…but after five weeks back in a flat I’ve come to realize why I made that decision. Come to me my beautiful renovated en-suite bathroom and spacious kitchen! I’m honestly quite perplexed as to how Sam’s flat gets so dirty so quickly. I’ve just come to the acceptance it’s just one of those houses that’s never quite clean. I will definitely miss doing my own grocery shopping though; it’s just a nice part of the week…I don’t actually like paying for food.

Work has been an interesting combination of a lot of downtime and insanely busy days coupled by dealing with instances that have lead my to run away to the mountain for the weekend with WINE before I pull my hair out.

I love my job.

I love my joy.

No I actually really go, and honestly, those challenges make me feel like I’m actually doing something purposeful with my life.

I think that is definitely my challenge this year: to accept a slower pace and less ‘crazy’. I know I’ve still got a bit on my plate with study…I need to actually get onto my assignment, but over all things are probably the least stressful and most consistent they’ve been in a very long time.

I’m super happy in my relationship. Work isn’t stressful but there’s a decent amount of work to be done. I’m enjoying my study and not finding it nearly as difficult now I only have one paper. And my pony is so much fun on the odd occasion I get to ride. Even the gym has become somewhat enjoyable. So life is good but it is an incredibly weird feeling to just be ‘well’.

I’m off to the mountain this weekend! The weather is meant to be awful but I’m just looking forward to not being in the flat and instead cuddled up by a fireplace with a beautiful bottle of red wine I stole from mum…well kind of, I slowly took it while she stared at me.

So that’s me for now! I shall soon be back in my own room in my lovely parents house with my cute cat called Charlie and the world will be well.

Till next time!