I said to the sun . . .

I’m going to begin with one of my all time, absolute favourite quotes – “I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.'” (Andrea Gibson).

And my oh my, that quote just fills me with so much power and so much strength; strength that it not my own but something that I feel as though I can be apart of.

These past two months have been a whirlwind. Everything has just been going and going, and these days have been all about hard work and consistency, and just getting stuff done. It’s exhausting, but a good sort of exhausting. It’s a normal kind of being to busy to breathe kind of exhaustion, rather than my mind is going crashing through the ground. It’s a refreshing change.

Some solid, concrete steps for the future are fitting into place. This morning I was offered a new job, and it has made our future far more secure and stable. It hasn’t sunken in yet really. It will change a lot of things, in a good way.

Lately my head has been doing so good. I feel burnt out, but not because of what’s going on within, but because I am able to do so many things beyond now. I have felt so confident and content. I don’t know what has changed. Maybe it’s all the therapy work. Maybe it’s all the pushing to change. Maybe it’s just a new season. But what I do know is that I feel more me than I can ever remember.

For years I was stuck within illnesses that took over my entire world. Every decision, perspective, and moment was controlled and dulled by their graces. I was never me. I was just trying to survive, and knew only how to exist just beneath the surface.

However today, I feel more authentic to who I am supposed to be than ever. It sounds cheesy but I don’t know how to describe it. I have been trying to stand up for myself and for what I believe is important. I am talking to people I would normally be afraid of, because I can think “what’s the worst that can happen?” and actually go ahead and do it. I’m trying to stay true to my values in all situations. Anxiety, where are you at? It’s weird but enchanting. It’s amazing how much life expands when anxiety lets you push it. I truly don’t know how all these things have changed, but for now, things are wonderful. Thinking to how things used to be – to hell and back – I don’t know how I am still in today. But heck, I am so thankful for it.

Right now I am living in these days where I don’t constantly think about and dwell on bad things that have happened, and it’s such a strange, yet absolutely amazing feeling. To have my mind not imprisoned with a reel that replays the worst on repeat – it’s crazy. I still think about these things, a lot, but they are not my every thought anymore. I’m trying to build new moments and thoughts to outgrow the old. Bad, triggering songs are being replaced with songs to make new, good memories with. My psychologist and I are working on my safety behaviors, and it’s horribly difficult but good too.

The sun has told me that I can cope, that I can survive and keep living, and today I am beginning to believe her.

A small hello.

Hello lovely blogging friends!

It’s really nice to be back, even if it’s only for a little while.

I took around a month off from blogging – a month away from writing lots and lots, and sharing difficult things, and connecting to wonderful souls all across the globe. You see, several things happened which prompted me to step away from this world for a little bit. I missed everyone here a lot, but it was good in ways too.

University began and was hectic from the get-go. I’m trying to juggle classes, my research project, co-leading a club, volunteering, working two part-time jobs, married life, house hunting, recovery, and just general life too! I really admire people that can keep their blog up despite living crazy busy lives – go you! I am learning an awful lot, and am loving what I get to study more and more each day. Alongside this there are always so many meetings to attend to, emails to reply to, and plans to make. But I’m happy. And I’m good. It’s a stressful, yet beautiful whirlwind.

In terms on mental health, things are okay. It’s kind of weird though, because apparently I’m not very good at telling when I’m not doing okay. Despite being the busiest that I have ever been, and from my perspective coping better than ever, I have been referred to a specialist centre for a higher level of treatment. It made me laugh a little bit, because I feel that I’m doing better than ever, which may be true, but I guess it shows that we can always keep going upwards. That we can always keep pushing forwards. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m unwell, or that I’m not making progress, as I am, but my therapist said that she would be doing a great disservice to me to not hand my treatment over to people she think could help even more. Have I mentioned that she is one of my favourite people? I am so grateful to her.

Another reason why I had to step away from the blog for a while was due to fear. I was afraid that a couple of people who are very dear to me would find this space, and that my writing would either upset them, or change our relationship in some way. It’s a tricky one. So, I took a few weeks to try and decide what to do with this blog, and where it is going. I don’t want to get rid of it entirely, because the connections it has allowed me to make are too precious, and writing 60 pieces over summer was a great learning experience. However, I have decided to just leave it as it is, where it is. Whatever happens, will happen. And all that has happened so far is amazing conversations with special people. This tool is such a blessing.

Someday soon I would like to write more in depth about what I’m up to this year, because it makes me so happy, and it would be nice to have a living record of it. But for now, I am just going to stick with writing on here irregularly, and with reading blogs irregularly and such. I don’t want to place more pressure and deadlines on myself than necessary, and turn this space into “work”, when it is supposed to be natural, organic and flowing. So we will see what happens.

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone, and I hope that your todays all around the world are beautiful and peaceful.

Sending lots of love and hugs,
Kaitlyn.

 

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.

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.

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.

Recovery & joy.

Hello everyone! I’ve not been able to write as frequently on here for the past few weeks, which makes me a bit sad. I love the WordPress community I’ve found here, and following along on everybody’s journeys and adventures. Currently I’m working on catching up on all the blogs I have missed reading, so I’ll get through them all eventually!

The past couple of weeks have been hectic and so, so busy, which is why blogging has taken a backseat, and become a little bit neglected. Hopefully in a week or two, things will settle down, and I can get back to rambling on here more often. I’ve been working all the time, as well as spending a lot of time with family and friends, and while both of which has been anxiety provoking, they have brought me so much joy. I am so thankful for the past few weeks, and all the wonderful people in these moments.

A massive highlight has been celebrating our first wedding anniversary!

We spent a weekend driving up and exploring the very tip-top of our group of islands here in New Zealand, a place called Te Rerenga Wairua, or Cape Reinga. It’s over 100km away from the nearest small town, a distance which makes the final destination even more special. Neither of us had been up that far before, and so it was magical to see it all for the first time together.

Right at the very top, the view is magnificent, surreal. There is a cute, little lighthouse, and you can see the waves coming in different directions, crashing against each other, marking where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. It looks like something out of a movie – too spectacular to exist in this life. The deepest, rich blues of the oceans, and the sheer, stark quiet of the place, was incredible.

We camped at a beach about 45 minutes away, at Spirit’s Bay, an isolated, gorgeous coast with a wild swash. About 10m from where we pitched our tent, there was a herd of around 20 horses, all carefree playing and grazing. We drank moscato, got a bit giggly, and reveled in our surroundings. It really was the most special place.

The next day, we explored the Te Paki giant sand dunes. It was nothing like I ever expected, or even could have imagined. It was like stepping into a whole, new land; a sand desert so different from all other landscapes here. The sand dunes are dynamic – ever-changing and shifting. We climbed up so many sand dunes, people were boogie-boarding down them and everything, and I can’t even explain how vast and brilliant the world felt from up there. It made us feel so small, in the best of ways.

This beautiful celebration that we were so blessed to have made me think about a lot of things.

About joy, about luck.

About the little things, which can be as meaningful as the big things too.

It made me think about recovery, and how thankful I am for it.

Without recovery, I doubt I would have been able to get married. I wouldn’t have been able to give all the time and energy that marriage deserves, because I would have been to preoccupied being trapped in the eating disorder. I wouldn’t have been able to wake up and eat cookies for breakfast outside our tent. I wouldn’t have been able to go swimming, and I definitely wouldn’t have made it up those crazy huge sand dunes. I wouldn’t have been able to have fun.

I wouldn’t have been able to live the journey, of our first year of marriage, let alone find joy within it.

Without recovery, from many other things as well as the eating disorder too, I doubt that I would still be here today.

Recovery is the hardest thing. But it is so, so worth it. I promise.

Keep fighting, my sweet friends.

P.S. Hope you like the photos! I’ve decided to try be brave, and start using our own photos instead of CC0 images. It might help to put a face to all these ramblings too.

A morning routine for a bundle of nerves.

As you have probably gathered from this little corner of the internet if you aren’t a stranger – I am a little bundle of nerves, all squishy and squeaky, and sometimes even am an entire, complete, mess. The mess part usually happens when I’m Wednesday-deep in a week-long bender of panic attacks, whereas the wild bundle of nerves part is my general, day-to-day state of being.

Mornings with anxiety are not often pretty. Instead of rolling out of bed and dancing around with some small, singing animals like in a Disney movie, you might kind of topple out of bed, with a mountain of panic about the day ahead rising in your chest. Sometimes I wake up with my heart pounding, my hands and feet numb and with pins and needles, feeling dizzy. It’s weird; like being awoken mid panic attack.

Having a good morning routine has helped me to manage my anxiety immensely in the past, however I also know that I can do better. A set plan of action, or plan of attack, depending on how you look at it, for the morning, has about an 80% chance of making your day just that little bit better and more bearable. This isn’t a scientific statistic, in any way, but I have found that my immediate actions when I wake up have a definite influence on how my day progresses.

Day 3 – Create a new morning routine.

early, morning, mountain range

Here are some ideas that help bundle of nerves me, to cope with mornings, and what helps to ease our good friend anxiety even just a little bit.

Eat breakfast. This sounds like your mum, teacher, and a Wheatbix advertisement all rolled into one, but it’s true. Your body needs fuel to give the day all it needs, and your brain needs fuel to keep recovering. It’s tough work! We cannot expect our bodies to live a good, whole life, when they have nothing to sustain them. Eat some food with lots of nutrients, or eat some food that makes you soul happy. Either way, simply eating something will help, an awful lot.

Get up. Get out. It seems as though every time I want nothing more than to stay in bed, hiding in our room all day, that this is quite possibly the worst thing I could do. Shock horror! Listening to your head telling you to isolate yourself, that everyone hates you, that you don’t deserve anything good, and all that palava, all day long, isn’t going to help you to feel better. It’s rubbish, and it’s just going to make you feel like so. Hop out of bed, and drag yourself out to the mailbox or into the garden, literally anywhere, aside staying in bed. Written from past experience of many miserable days, I promise it will help.

Shower and get dressed. Showering and putting on clothes for the day makes it feel as though the day is official. That it’s here, and that I can’t hide from it! Because I got dressed already! I feel more able to tackle the day when I’m not in pyjamas, and I’m also less likely to hide away from the world too (bonus points).

Do something for you. Having something to look forward to and be excited about, regardless of how small or trivial it seems, is so important for when the going gets tough. Your morning could include planning something fun for later in the week, talking to somebody you care about, having a delicious breakfast (yes, breakfast is definitely something you can get excited about), or even just reading a chapter of a good book. The mindfulness that may accompany this part will also do very nice, very sweet, massaging to those pesky little claws of anxiety.

Mornings can be wonderful opportunities and bright nightmares, all rolled into one. Yet they are also incredibly powerful, because they set the foundation for the rest of the day. What do you do in the morning, which helps you?

What helps me to feel alive.

A big part of my mental illnesses (I’m looking at you in particular self-harm, don’t think you can escape my knowing stare) is the need to feel something, literally anything at all. The overwhelming sense of blankness, or a void of all feelings, would become unbearable, that I would want to do just anything to break out of it. I craved to cry, to be angry, to experience elated joy. Anything, but the sense of blank indifference. This would normally manifest into impulse behaviour, where usually I would self-harm or starve myself, and very rarely would take prescription drugs in a way that wasn’t prescribed.

It became clear with recovery that I would need to learn some new, healthier ways of feeling something, especially when the need to be impulsive was such a big part of the emptiness I was feeling. The ways that I write about below all help by engaging my senses, which is something that depression and anxiety tend to make me hide and isolate away from. Maybe the best way to feel something, when nothingness is all there is, is to physically feel. Talking, seeing, hearing, touching. After being able to physical feel, or interact with something. mentally feeling something becomes a bit easier. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, so I’m just going to head straight into what helps me to feel alive, in the hope that it may reach somebody else who needs it.

art, concept, dark

Swimming. Being underwater is something I have written about before, and I’m sorry if it’s getting a bit old now, but I cannot stress how much the ocean helps me. Submerging my full body, brimming with doubts and fears and everything I don’t like about myself, hushes it all down. The muted sound of the water swaying around you, feeling how the tide moves you; it is so beautiful. Peace melts into my brain, and I slowly feel more content. For an added bonus, I recommend cold water. Feel how the water grips you; the sharpness and temporary pain of the temperature while your body adjusts.

Talking honestly. This is something that is widely proclaimed, but can be so difficult to do. The weight being lifted off once you have spoken is immensely wonderful, even if the your words were hard to say. Talk about how you are feeling, or get something that you have been avoiding off your chest. Sometimes it’s only afterwards that we can truly feel how encompassing and stifling holding back how we feel, really is.

Going up a mountain. My husband and I are lucky to live in a region with heaps of dormant and extinct volcanoes, and walking up them, especially at night, truly is something else. The view of the ocean, night sky and city lights from the top is really good for making me feel how insignificant I am, but in a good way. I feel small, surrounded by ethereal beauty. It reminds me that everything is going to be okay.

Playing on a playground. This one can be a bit tricky, because you have to find a time where you will be free from the stares of confused children, and not be seen as hogging the swings. But playgrounds, yes, why on earth are playgrounds not be for adults too? They can be so much fun! Go down the slide and feel the wind rush past you, or make a little course and race someone to the finish. Let yourself be silly, and go with the flow for a bit.

This is my little, but still growing, list of what helps me to feel something; to feel alive. What works for you? I would love to hear your stories.

 

Sometimes recovery looks like misshaped pancakes.

When most people cook pancakes, they end up looking like the masterpiece baby of Betty Crocker and the sun. All golden brown, perfectly circular, stacked like a spring.

Are those pancakes even real?

This morning, I took it upon myself to get out of this little funk hanging above my head. A fiesty, fun-sized personal raincloud thumping along over the past few days. There’s nothing in particular wrong per say, I just feel flat like a pancake. It is also important to note that I don’t feel like a pretty pancake, but more like one that didn’t make the first cut, let alone the final cut, for being frumpy, pale and misshaped.


This wee storm brewing in my brain only happens occasionally nowadays. Thanks to therapy and medication, I’m only graced with the boring and dull, relentless hold of depression rather irregularly now.

“Let’s not sleep at night, but during the day instead!”

“There is literally no point in doing, well, anything.”

“Hmm, I’ve been thinking, and it would probably be wise if you just killed yourself already.”

Depression is a very polite, weirdly formal creature to me. Anxiety is the more aggressive, rowdy type. Depression is the guy who sits in the corner of the nightclub and refuses to dance, while anxiety is the guy who loses his s*#t in the middle of the dancefloor, and gets dragged out by the bouncer.

Yeah, I can assure you, I’m totally all together right now. 

Anyway, by the time we got to the nicely put, suicidal requests, I was So Very Over feeling depressed. Not that anyone is really into it, I’d imagine, but depression truly bores me. So today, was going to be a day. Not just the word “day” but a day of doing, of being.

I decided to make pancakes.

Before you get a lovely image in your head, let me break it to you. They were from a bottle, and ended up kind of a spongey, pastey yellow. Nevertheless, they were pancakes, and although they weren’t picture perfect, they were alright, and that was good enough for us.

So we ate our lumpy pancakes, and I told depression to shut up, and we cleaned the house and got on with our day.

And today, today was just a day. And sometimes in recovery you have days where you just have to keep going. It’s not sunshine and rainbows, but rather blobby pancakes and scrubbing the kitchen floor. These days, they are good, because despite the nasty, groaning bellows of being useless, and suicide, and everything else that I’m completely and utterly over with, I can keep on going. 

These days always do pass.

These are the days where recovery is made.

Clearing the cobwebs.

Last weekend, my husband and I set out to do something I had been avoiding for a long time. And I mean quite a while. Ever since I moved out of home about two years, I have procrastinated this task with cunning stealth. It makes me feel ashamed.

It has just occurred to me that many of these little pieces of my life that I share on this blog are about me avoiding something. Maybe this realisation is the universe giving me a little hint – “stop running.”

And so last weekend, I tried to stop running away from things that have to be dealt with. Running away from things that are painful. Perhaps the very fleeing, and the avoidance, are more painful that just facing it all head on.

But I don’t know. All I know is that it hurt, but at least it’s done. It’s not hanging over me in the same way anymore.

My parents, very kindly, were storing some boxes of things from my adolescence in their garage, while we sorted our housing out. They are incredible people. I have felt so guiltly for taking up some of their space, with useless things that I was avoiding going through.

I also do need to put it out there, that my procrastination of this task is not solely because of what it all meant. It’s also because the mere idea of sorting through things is something that I just generally, can’t stand. You know how everyone has that one household task they just cannot deal with? I’m happy to do dishes, vacuuming and laundry, but give me a box to sort through, and suddenly there are a billion other mundane tasks I will be doing instead.

So, we tackled the handful of boxes, and all that was inside. Most of the things we got rid of or donated, and all of those were easy to go through. We could laugh and reminisce over what was inside. 

Then we got to the stuff that was heavy. It was all tied to the illnesses that grew out of the past. I threw away my old, hidden set of scales. We got to the beautiful notes and art my friends made me during my dark time at school. We eventually reached around ten of my journals, documenting a period of about six years.


Writing upon these hundreds of pages, at the time, was nothing special. I realise now that I tended to write very matter of factly about what I was experiencing. Each page was littered with self-harm, weights, calories, exercise, suicidal thoughts, anxiety. Darkness seeped from journal to journal. At the time, it felt like it was no big deal, because this was my everyday. Life was used to being this way.

I couldn’t read most of them. I flipped through a couple, quickly, before realising that my parent’s garage on a beautiful summer’s day, probably wasn’t the right place or time. My husband suggested we put them in the recycle box. That seemed healthy; forgiving. But I couldn’t.

So now, they rest in a much smaller box, at the top of our wardrobe, along with a few other things we are bringing into adulthood with us. I don’t know why I am keeping them. They will not help me in my recovery. They only serve as triggering reminds, taunting me to read them and rejoin.

Recently, I have gotten rid of all my clothes that only fit a sick body. Photos that do not serve me are now out of reach. These small reminders are no longer part of my life. But my journals? I don’t know why, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I have to find a way to keep on going onwards and upwards, despite what they hold.