Expanding the narrative of mental illnesses.

Today I’m writing about why your voice is important, and about why it deserves to be heard.

The stereotypes of mental illnesses portray a narrative; a story of what it means to be mentally ill. These stories are often limiting, damaging and aren’t the full story. They often don’t capture the experience of having a mental illness, and being a person beyond that.

The stereotypical story tells of what it should look like to be mentally ill, of what it should feel like to be mentally ill, and of who you should be if you are mentally ill.

A young, thin white woman who has a feeding tube and suddenly is miraculously recovered but is still very thin and doesn’t eat carbs, is the story of an eating disorders.

Self-harm is a lost, slightly confused teenager, who just needs to be requited with their crush and then they will be cured

Depression is a short stint with feeling a bit glum, but once you smile more and think positive, everything is sunshine and rainbows.

Need I go on?

These stereotypes aren’t just false, but they are also harmful. They spread the message that to be sick and to get treatment, your experiences have to mirror these stories.


That’s not to say that actual, lived experiences of mental illnesses do not contain some of these elements, as they certainly might. However they are so much more than these simplistic, one-dimensional viewpoints.

Eating disorders are messy. They can involve screaming, sobbing, your hair falling out, gaining weight, losing weight, eating, or not eating, isolation, obsession, disgusting ways of hiding and getting rid of food, pushing away those closest to you. They are definitely not a diet gone too far, or a supreme example of self-control.

Eating disorders can affect any person, of any weight, gender, race, socio-economic status, geographic location, sexual orientation, religion and age.

They involve food, yes, but they are also involve so much more. They are an accumulation of a lifetime of chemicals, experiences and circumstances. 

They are so much broader, and deeper, than a false impression of Anorexia.

And this is just with eating disorders.

There is a plethora of damaging stereotypes surrounding the lesser spoken about mental illnesses – schizophrenia, psychosis and dissociative identity disorder just to name a few. Stereotypes consisting of violence and fear, casting cowardly shadows on an already deeply discriminated community.

These false impressions do no good, and they do not serve a purpose in healing, in well-being, or in a society fighting the stigma against mental illnesses.

So this is what we must do, despite being afraid and despite not fitting in with what mental illnesses are deemed to look and be like. Share our stories, the messy, horrible and happy parts. The spectrum of emotion that goes with being a human with a mental illness, rather than a mental illness itself.

Share the good parts, the bad parts, the confusing parts. Share the parts that don’t fit in with the stereotypes, and those that may do too, to show that we are more than a singular, flat existance.

Share that there are many roads and paths to recovery, and that recovery does not look the same for everyone. For some, recovery is about eliminating symptoms, and for others, it’s about learning how to live alongside them. Some paths are short and others are long. Some are well-supported while others are not. 

All of these voices can, and should contribute to what being a person with a mental illness means. A myraid of perspectives, a full sky of meaning, a vast and brilliant constellation of being human, and of one that experiences hard things.

Try not to be afraid to share your voices my sweet friends.

Expanding.

Lately I have been sharing my writing with organisations and blogs beyond this little space here! 

It has been truly wonderful to have the opportunity to share my words and experiences with a wider audience, and I am so thankful that I get to be part of such incredible and supportive mental health communities.

Firstly, a couple of my pieces are part of Beating Eating Disorders, an organisation which aims to share lived experiences and support by talking about all forms of eating disorders. You can check out one here

Secondly, I have had the pleasure of contributing to Off Your Chest blog, an amazing place of discussions and reflections on mental health, run by the wonderful Fred! You can read my piece Go out there and be, here!

It has been such an honour to find and be part of such wonderful mental health communities.

What are your favourite places to share your writing with?

The last first day back.

At the moment, I’m sitting in the beautiful sunshine rays on the bus, on my way to my first day back at university. It’s also my final year, making it my last first day, in a way!

The first day jitters are all too real, but I’m excited too. I love learning, seeing friends all the time, and the environment at university too. However, I’m also looking forward to this year being over, and for being able to move on in a way, and begin a career.

These past couple of days have been blissful, and I wanted to write about some small joys that I have found in them. 

We have been visiting family who live down on the other end of the island, and where we are planning to move to in the near future.

The anticipation of visiting them, which we do at least a couple of times a year, fills me with anxiety each and every time. But the strange thing is that upon every return back to our home city, I feel a sense of peace, confidence and contentment that I don’t get elsewhere. It makes me never want to leave, and all the more excited to move there.

I didn’t have data on my phone meaning no internet or social media, which is such a good thing to do every now and then! It really helped me be more engaged in the moment, and to compare myself to others less.

We met and played with a bunch of beautiful, gorgeous dogs, one of them being the biggest I have ever seen. Her paws were huge, and she was definitely a gentle giant! There is something about dogs that fills me with hope. They see the best in people, and are so light-hearted. I reckon we could all learn a thing or two from them.


We also sorted out a lot of big decisions regarding our house for when we move down. It has taken a big chunk of pressure off us, which can only be a good thing right? I love all the planning and inspiration involved, and the feel you can get from each place about whether it’s right for you or not. And the prospect of having a veggie garden in the near future! So exciting!

We spent a lot of time with our family, which was beautiful. We are so thankful to have such supportive, encouraging and kind people surrounding us. They make us laugh so much too, which is a great bonus!

And all the little things add up too. Seeing the rushing blue rivers, the purple alpine flowers, all the alpacas, horses, bumblebees. Drinking fresh orange juice, singing along in the car, burgers, seeing friends unexpectedly.

All these little things make life so beautifully rich and sweet.

They make life worth living.

More than an illness.

Sometimes mental illnesses can become so overwhelming, so all-encompassing and bold, that it can feel as though we have lost our entire selves to their entity.

During the deepest, most destructive stages of an illness, everything can feel subdued, isolated, and lacking in richness; colour. What would usually mean the world to us could become meaningless, or be a source of pain and guilt. Feelings of unworthiness and of not being good enough, to be worthy of good things in our lives, show their sneering faces.

It’s not as though any part of who we are is necessarily taken away, but rather that there is a heavy filter over ourselves and all we experience. A thick raincloud that buckets down abuse, regardless of if we are walking beneath the sun. 

Through learning how to live a full, rich life alongside whatever is going on in our brains, whether this be recovery, healing, or any word you wish to use to describe your journey, these filters can fade. They may always have a presence in our lives, but they will not always dictate our experiences, and who we become.

Something that both the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and being deeply unwell with one, have in common, is that we can be told, whether it’s by ourselves or from others, that this is who we are. That we are depression, anxiety, self-harm, the whole shebang! That our experiences from a particular time, while being unwell, defines who we are. That our potential is tethered and capped by the arms of the mental illness. That mental illness is who we are, and who we will be.

The day that I asked my closest friends if they would like to be my bridesmaids was during my recovery. We went out to a cute little cafe, and it was the first time I had eaten out with them in about four years, and one of the first handful of times I had eaten with them at all. After we were done, I got a message from my best friend, saying that in all honesty, she didn’t think she would ever see that day come. She also said how proud she was of me, and how far I had come.

This is a person who had seen me at my worst, for years. Who saw me refusing to get help again and again, and saw how it tried to destroy everything in it’s path. Who saw me make up lie after lie after excuse as to why I couldn’t go to to certain events, and who saw my anxiety bubble over countless times when food was present. Her message meant so much to me, and to be honest, I didn’t think that day would ever come either. Of being able to do something as normal as going out to eat brunch with your best friends. 

That day gave me so much hope. And it still does, thinking back. Because when you are utterly consumed by a mental illness, it can feel as though you are the embodiment of it. That your entire past, present and future will be tormented. There is no light, there is no hope. Your horrors are all that you are.

Well I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true.

You are so much more than an illness.

Remember that the illness resides in your life, rather than you within it.

Here I am.


My name is Kaitlyn, and I experience depression, an anxiety disorder, and dermatillomania. I have largely recovered from an eating disorder and self-harm too.

This things are part of me, but they aren’t all that I am.

And that’s the same for you too.

There was a time in my life where they felt as if they made up so much of me. But it’s important to note that they weren’t everything.

I am so much more than some of the stuff that goes on in my head.

And you are too.

Think of all those little moments where you feel wonder to be alive, of all the songs you sing along to, of all the people that bring you joy.

Think of the flower that catches your eye, of what you gravitate towards, of what makes you laugh.

Think of all the times you have helped others, of when you have accomplished hard things, of when you have been honest.

This all helps to build up you too.

You can be everything beyond what mental illnesses say you can be.

You are so much more than a label.

Let the words flow.

Art is something that I approach (or quite possibly run away from), with a solid, 10 foot pole.

Looking and admiring it is something that I truly enjoy. It brings me mindfulness and peace. Art galleries are one of my favourite places, and I have such fond memories of spending hours exploring them with friends and my husband. Visiting MoMA is a big goal for the future.

However, when it comes to the very doing of art – nope, nada, no. Not going there. The mere thought of having to pick up a pencil or paintbrush, and create something that my perfectionist mind will never be happy with, is enough to make my skin crawl. It’s annoying. I’ve got to work on that. Because art can be fun and creative and exciting. It can bring joy, and the process can be one of mindfulness. It sounds like a very healthy and therapeutic way of releasing what is bombarding within.

Day 6 – do something creative.

So, I compromised. Writing is safe for me; it’s what I’m comfortable in. I feel as though I have far more control to sculpt what I create with words, rather than with other mediums. The backspace key is well overused.

However, it is also important to keep learning, to keep trying new things; to practice using other mediums for creativity and expression. This way we can keep challenging what we already know, and keep growing through that.

I don’t really know what to call this. A mish-mash of words, and as ankle-deep into art that I’m willing to go at the moment. It is every thought and random word that was going through my head in the moment, written down in my bullet journal. I was hesitant and uncomfortable with beginning this, in case I made a mistake (spoiler – I made plenty), and in case the whole bullet journal was “ruined” by this one page. However, by the end I was kind of happy with the end result. Doing this kept my hands busy, which is always a good thing. The mindfulness that was involved was also a good bonus too!


Here is a text version if that’s easier to read:

The beans grew big and strong
They bloomed; nothing to stars.
Is this brain a safe place?
Is it really a flooding torrent,
Or can I plant my feet firmly in the soil and thrive?
How can there be silver linings and horrors all beneath the same sky;
All flowing through the same vein?
Soldier on and soldier on again,
And just keep putting one foot ahead of the other.
Somehow.
Leave your skin alone.
Be small and big
(Don’t overthink “big”, don’t),
All at once –
Anything and everything.
Cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas.
To be unapologetic and unashamed,
To be vulnerable,
To be free.
Go out there and do.
Go out there and be.
Become.
Become.

There you have it, a weird attempt at creativity which was surprisingly enjoyable, and a good way to release some thoughts that are flying around your brain! It is also good practice for accepting this how they are a.k.a getting over the ridiculous, destructive perfectionism, and seeing something for what it truly is – a snapshot of the now, a work in progress.

Pain echoes.

Something that can be hard about blogging is making sure that you are only sharing your own experiences and story, when as humans, our journeys all become intricately intertwined with each other. Since beginning this blog, I have tried to be very conscious about not writing about other people and their experiences, as those are their stories alone to share how they wish. This can be a double-edged sword. In one instance, it can seem as though our mental health journeys are not affected by other people and theirs too, which is false because we all impact each other. No person is an island after all. Back in November and December, there was a person in my life whose behaviour had a really big effect on my mental health, however I didn’t want to write about what was happening because I would have felt too guilty. Secondly, there does come a point where the impact of others is immense, and thus it becomes your experience too, but obviously from a different perspective. In these cases, I’m trying to believe that it is okay to write about it, as long as privacy is maintained, and that where possible, permission is asked. However, I also get scared that it will appear like I’m making situations all about me, when that really isn’t the case (or at least I hope not! What if I’m blind to that? Shut up brain.).

Please take note that from here on out, this piece discusses suicide. Please put yourself first, and head to a different page if this is unhelpful for your present state. It’s okay to take care of yourself, and that’s what I want you to do.

Lately, there has been a lot going on, especially for my lovely husband. It would feel wrong not to address it. I have talked to him about sharing this on the blog, and he was more than okay with it. He is much better than I am at tackling stigma by talking about difficult things.

A lot of what has happened is pain. And how that pain echoes throughout the lives of everyone who is around.

Very recently, one of his colleagues died by suicide. It came as a shock to my husband, and for the rest of his workplace too. He wasn’t super close with the person, but they would see each other and chat daily. They would joke around with each other, and he liked her collection of figurines which spread across her desk.

For him and his colleagues, there is a gaping emptiness in their community now. The unbearable pain which she must have felt echoes.

What do you do now?

There is no manual for the people who continue living after suicide.

How can somebody be there one day, and gone the next?

There is no singular right way to cope with suicide, I don’t think. Both for the person involved, and those around them.

It’s just a really, really immensely horrible situation.

autumn, daylight, environment

And then, two days later, I heard about what happened to one of our WordPress mental health bloggers and advocates. Reading much later on what she wrote broke my heart. The desperation and pain she must have been feeling is indescribable. Thankfully because of a few very proactive bloggers, she was reached in time. I am hoping with my entire being that she will receive the help she deserves now, and both her and her family are in my thoughts.

In my little 22 years, more friends than I like to count have expressed their suicidal thoughts to me. A handful have attempted, and I am so thankful that they are alive today.

It is the most heartbreaking thing.

At 19, a friend attempted suicide at the New Year’s Eve party which I was hosting at my parent’s house.

The police had to kick down a door to get to her.

The pain of that night and day is insurmountable. I cannot describe how much it impacted everybody who attended, and also how much it must have impacted her too.

She hasn’t spoken to me since that day. But that’s okay. That’s not important in the big scheme of things. The main thing is that she is okay.

I don’t even know how, or what else to say. It kind of all speaks for itself.

Where to from here?

People care.

God, people care and love so incredibly much.

If one good thing is to come out of all of this horror, it’s finding out that people care and love, so immensely, so deeply. They care so much that their heart breaks as yours does too.

Secondly, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please, please tell someone.

Share your struggles. Talk and cry and scream and talk more. Just tell somebody.

You will feel better than you do in the moment. It is possible for the pain to evolve into something good.

I don’t know what else to say. It’s all too hard.

So, I’ll just end with the honest truth – you all are cared about.

You all matter.

What is dermatillomania?

From writing a couple of little ancedotes about my experiences with dermatillomania on here, quite a few people have said that they hadn’t heard of it before, and didn’t know what it was. And understandably so! It’s a big, long funny sounding word, and it definitely isn’t talked about as much as other mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression. So I thought it would probably be helpful to make a factual sort of post, explaining what dermatillomania is, and how it is generally expressed in different people. I hope this doesn’t come across as lecturing or condescending, or like I’m demanding that you learn everything about dermatillomania, but merely if you are interested, here you go! 

So first things first, dermatillomania is also known as skin-picking disorder or excoriation (another complicated sounding word) disorder too. It’s classified as a BFRB, which stands for Body Focused Repitive Behaviour, and that’s actually quite an informative acronomyn. There is also a big debate about whether dermatillomania is more closely linked with obsessive compulsive disorder, impulse control disorders, or body dysmorphia disorder.

From a technical perspective, dermatillomania is defined as the “repetitive and compulsive picking of the skin which results in tissue damage.”. It’s estimated that about 2% to 3% of people experience dermatillomania. This can present itself in many different ways across the population of people who experience it. For some, it’s all about removing anything that is percieved or deemed as a blemish or irregularity, regardless of how small, while for others it has a more obsessive nature. However, across all, the urge to engage in picking feels uncontrollable, and there is always physical harm as a result.

Most people pick with their hands, however tools after often used too. This happens can happen primarily during times of stress, tension and anxiety, and can also occur absent-mindedly, without the person even realising what is going on. The focus is generally on the areas of the body with the most percieved impefections, however once the skin becomes too damaged, other areas can be targeted too. The most commonly affected areas are the face, scalp, limbs, shoulders and chest.

It’s also important to note that most people do pick their skin from time to time, that it’s just something that lots of humans do. However it’s the significance of the effects of the picking, including physical, mental and social, and all the chaos going on in the brain surrounding the skin picking, which sets it apart as a mental illness – dermatillomania.


The physical consequences of dermatillomania aren’t too fun, and many provoke the continuation of the disorder. Picking, squeezing and scratching the skin, for what can be hours each day, has significant, long term effects. Scarring, both temporary and permanent, is really common, as is pain and skin discolouration. Infection and tissue damage is also prevalent, which can be a nasty surprise when you are convinced that your skin picking is nothing to worry about. A blog post over at Fkin Realistic, BFRB Put Me In Hospital, describes really wonderfully the severity of dermatillomania. It’s a great read.

From a mental perspective, dermatillomania rampages here too. The embarassment, guilt and feelings of shame that arise from skin picking are apparent, and it also really doesn’t help with self-confidence, self-esteem, or resilience either. It can also result in social issues, such as interfering with work and social lives, and having to hide the condition away.

Treatment for dermatillomania is a bit of a tough topic, as not a lot of research has been done. Also, it’s estimated that less than half of people with dermatillomania seek treatment. The embarrassment and shame can be huge. The physical consequences on the skin of dermatillomania can also mirror drug abuse in some instances, and the stigma surrounding both is harmful to accessing treatment in both cases. However, success has been found in the use of anti-depressants for reducing skin-picking severity and intensity. Behavioural therapies have also proved useful in many cases. It’s all about trying out as many options as possible, until the individual finds out what works for them.

Anyway, that concludes this little introduction to dermatillomania. I hope it didn’t come across as too boring, or like I’m some sort of expert, because that is definitely not how it is! I’m just an ordinary person who recently got diagnosed, and who is trying to learn more. If you got this far, thank-you so much for sticking through, and I hope that this has helped in some ways whether you are just interested in learning more, or if this is something that you identify with. It’s really important that if you see your skin-picking and thoughts around it as a problem, or if others have expressed concern, that you do get in touch with a doctor or mental health professional. They truly can help, and you don’t deserve to live all alone with no tools to use against dermatillomania. 

This article by SkinPick, Everything You Need To Know About Dermatillimania, does a superb, detailed job at explaing it all much better than I can. 

If you would like to read more of my posts about dermatillomania, you can check out finding some good in dermatillomania, dermatillomania, bees, and buttercup, and dermatillomania and self harm – twins or neighbours? All involve big old rambles and yarns, if that’s more your jam.

Finding some good in dermatillomania.

A couple of months ago when my therapist began talking about dermatillomania with me, everything clicked into place.

It all made so much sense. Why I find it near impossible to just leave my skin alone, and why I’m constantly running my hands down my limbs, face and scalp, searching for any imperfections to remove, regardless of if they are real or not.

Dermatillomania causes arguments in my relationship with my husband, because for him it’s painful to see somebody he loves and cares for, hurting themselves. And for me, what it really comes down to is that it’s an impulse control disorder, so it can be really tricky to mitigate and explain.

It makes me self-conscious. Right now, my face is a mess, not from acne, but because I remove anything I classify as “blemishes”. My legs also look rather bad, because I got a couple of mosquito bites while in the forest at the weekend. They would be fine, however dermatillomania mixed with insect bites does not go well. So what began as a few small bites have now turned into a nasty red, painful jungle, spreading over my legs and feet. I had to put plasters over all of them to try and preventing them being touched and to be given a chance to heal. But then all the plasters looked silly with the dress I wanted to wear, and I wanted to avoid questions from people I knew, so I had to wear jeans in this 27°C, 95% humidity weather. A weird little reminder to the many summers of having to hide self-harm scars. But different. Better, much, but still a bit of weird nostalgia.

I don’t know how to explain dermatillomania, other than all I feel is that I have to do it. Sometimes I’m aware of it, and sometimes I’m not. It can kind of be like a trance?

Anyway, all of this feels super whingy and complain-y, which doesn’t help anyone. I’m also not very good at explaining what dermatillomania is, why people with BFRBs do what we do, and what it all feels like.

So, I turned to tumblr for some help, and found some absolute gems which made me laugh, a lot!

I like laughing at how illogical and silly my brain can be. It helps me, and these follwing images describe perfectly what goes on inside my head.

I get worried that people will be offended that I can laugh about my mental illnesses or whatever, but I’m trying to push that aside. Mental illnesses aren’t funny and they aren’t meant to be the brunt of every joke, but it’s okay to find good, warm things in your own experiences. If laughing about your own mental illnesses helps, then by all means, go for it! Perhaps we could all use a little bit more silliness and light-heartedness sometimes. These following jokes help me cope with my experiences, and hopefully they will help somebody else out there too!

Therefore, instead of wallowing about in the I Don’t Know What To Do About Dermatillomania phase, I thought why not share what I found, because not only are they insightful (each one is literally how my brain works), but humorous too!


And I truly haven’t seen anything more apt than below (my favourite)!

The next ones are fabulous too!

And these are like my brain speaking into an internet microphone –

And to end with, here is a sweet, little bundle of hope.


I hope you got some light-heartedness out of this too! Let’s work on spreading flowers, on spreading hope, on spreading kindness. It begins with ourselves.

Losing all control.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just lost all control.

If my mind completely spun into a whirlpool, and it just kept going around and around, and I went along for the ride too.

Sometimes I’m scared that’s going to happen.

Tonight while walking across the foyer at work, I suddenly thought “what would happen if I just lost it all, right here?”

Sometimes I just want to scream and self-harm and not use coping techniques, and just spiral and spiral and float away. Just to run and run and keep on going.

Sometimes I get so caught up in what I believe other people think of me, or in all the things I believe I have done wrong, and it’s hard to escape.

When I was a little kid, I used to see animals that weren’t really there.

Seals would curl around my bed, cheetahs would mark bedroom walls, and rabbits would hop across the footpath.

They wouldn’t harm me, and I wasn’t scared of them. They were just there, and I liked their company.

Tonight I wondered what would happen if I just went along with everything my mind would say to do.

To do all sorts of ridiculous things which I’m guessing would not end well.

It always gets better at some point, I know that, it’s just the very being in it which is hard.

What does all of this mean?

Am I going crazy? Am I losing my mind?

I know some people don’t like those phrases and words, and I can understand why. But this is how I feel right now.

I think I am.

Or maybe I am already there.


Some days are good days, and some days are tough. This was written a couple of days ago during one of anxiety’s rages, and I don’t usually write in the moment when things aren’t good. What matters now is that things are okay. There is rain, my husband’s arms, kind friends, a beaming sun. So many wonderful things. Life has many ebbs and flows, and we just have to find a way to keep on going.

Stretching towards good things.

For my fellow anxiety warriors out there, we all know of the havoc and the chaos that anxiety can cause within the brain. Anxiety upturns tables, throws chairs across the room, splatters of badly-tinted paint on the walls. All during events like talking to a friend, brushing your teeth, or laying in bed. Chaos! Everywhere! Anxiety is a messy creature, who tries to ruin a heck of a lot.

Although the mind is hit awfully hard during bouts (or continuous stretches of desert) of anxiety, our bodies also unfortunately take a whallopping too. The physical symptoms of anxiety are also too real; just as much so as those that are invisible to everyone else. The dizziness, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and heart pounding, just to name a few – are all down to anxiety walking on in without knocking, rudely exclaiming “I’m here! Are you ready for me?”


Day 5 – Stretch all your muscles.

The tension that stems from anxiety is one of the most prominent, physical factors of having Generalised Anxiety Disorder, for me personally. And this tension definitely does not help to get the anxiety to go away, in any way, shape or form. In fact, it kind of feels like it helps anxiety to hold onto the railing aboard, snuggling it in tight and close.
Whenever I’m anxious, regardless of the situation, my shoulders rise up. It’s like an automatic button, my brain explaining “You know what would definitely help in this situation? Shoulders up! Now!” A lot of the time I don’t realise I’m doing it, until I find my shoulders aching a few hours later, and I realise they have been unnaturally around my ears for way too long. There’s a reason that our shoulders aren’t attached to our ears, brain.

The hours and day after a panic attack are also prone to tension. Painful, achy tension that runs through my whole body. During panic attacks, the rigidness, shaking and tension leaves my muscles feeling not very happy at all, and the footprint of the tension continues long after the panic attack is over.
All the tension that anxiety so kindly provides, and the pain that goes along with it, means that we have a tough job to stop tension in the first place, before subsiding it’s consequences. What better thing to do that to literally force our bodies out of their tension poses, and stretch it all out?

One of my favourite things to do as a kid would be to get all stretchy and flexible and see what sort of weird shapes I could muster myself into. Backbends (or the wheel pose), shoulderstands and plough poses where my favourites. Of course I had no idea what they were called at the time, and had to Google some weird phrases to try find out their names. Writing about how I would lay on my shoulders with my hands on the ground, and stick my legs up in the air, would be a bit confusing otherwise!

I would love playing around on the lounge floor, seeing how far I could stretch and trying out different poses with my friends. It was such a fun thing to do, and playing around and being silly are things I think we all need more of as adults.

Stretching can not only be good for reducing tension in the body, but also in the mind. Focusing on how your body feels at each step, how your legs may feel light in one way, and your arms relaxed in another, all contribute to a sense of mindfulness. It all is helping us to be in the present, acknowledging what’s going on right now and how it feels, rather than thinking about something 239 days ago, or in two years.

With all this in mind, and feeling like some sort of stretching pro just waiting to turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly, I took on this task of self-care.

And it was so much fun!

I tried my hand at more shoulderstands and backbends, and basically flailed my limbs in crazy directions, doing kicks and twirls. It seemed to turn into a cross between dance and yoga?

In reflection I’ll start off by saying that the whole caterpillar into a butterfly thing definitely didn’t work out. But that’s okay, because I’m not the biggest fan of butterflies anyway (they are nice in photos or farawary, just not anywhere near me), so I’ll stick with my caterpillar status. 

Me being a caterpillar had a great time flailing along the ground, limbs in all directions, cursing at the people in the pictures who make stretching look so easy. It was a great time, regardless of how much good streching did or didn’t get done, because it was a time which allowed for movement, freedom, creativity and expression. All things which are definitely important parts of self-care.

If you’re feeling a bit wound up today, or if tension is breathing too close to home, definitely give stretching about a try! I’m no expert and don’t know much about it, but one thing for sure is that it is fun, and how can you possibly take yourself too seriously while pretending to be a caterpillar?