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.

The logical insignificance of self-doubt.

We are small.

We are only mere individuals with arms and legs and sometimes fire-making abilities, and many, many flaws capping our way.

Not much of what we do actually matters, to the world as a whole.

Our actions, our words and our values imprint on those around us. They matter. They are important.

But to the world? It’s unlikely.

This sounds all dark and grim, but really it’s not, I promise you.

Think of everything holding you back, everthing in your way, stopping you from being who you have the potential to be.

It is all only as big as ourselves, at a maximum, really.

Which could make it sound either very big, if you are thinking about your dislike for peanut butter, or very small, like anxiety which feels as heavy as the weight of the world.

I’m not talking about political, or geographical, or socio-economic boundaries, as those are not from ourselves yet they do play a part in how we are limited. Of course, they too can shift.

What I’m meaning is that every ounce of self-doubt, of not feeling good enough, of a lack of self-worth, is no higher power. It cannot truly govern or rule us. We allow it to, when in reality it exists within us, because us, of us, rather than for us.

This means that every one of these shrewd, destructive thoughts, is entirely insignificant. To ourselves, to the world around us, to each other.

This is not intending to invalidate these thoughts, by saying that they dont play a big part of our lives, or that they aren’t real, because they are significant to our own lives, and they do exist.


However, to everything and everyone outside of what they are, they are nothing.

They hold no power, have no weight, and are meaningless; weightless.

Being humans, as we hold onto them, they become stones. They sink us, and we drown beneath what we make them out to be.

And we become a person who is limited by something that doesn’t really exist.

This is all really comforting, in a way, because we are so small in the big scheme of things, but we can be so big in what truly matters; to one another.

In love, in joy, in hope.

And everything within us that is unbearable – the relentless,  degrading voice which demands that we aren’t good enough – is in fact, by all logic anyway, tiny and miniscule. 

Head outside tonight, and gaze upwards at the stars. The galaxies are infinite, vast, and by comparison, self-doubt is really isn’t very monstrouly huge at all. The universe is ethereal, and self-doubt really is an insignificant blip.

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.

My journey through veganism – and back.

I spent three years of my life as a vegan. And I loved it.

I loved learning about the positive impact that veganism has – on the environment, on the animals, on ourselves. 

I devoured all the information I could, from documentaries to studies, to speeches. It was Gary Yourofsky’s youtube video, The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear that gave me the final push to make the plunge.

I was passionate, educated, and just trying to do my very best.

Veganism resonated, and still does, with my very core. The idea of doing no harm, and of treating the precious beings around us and earth, our home, with peace and kindness, means everything to me.

Theoretically, and in an ideal world, I would still be vegan. I would do no harm, none at all, and everything would be perfect.

However, life has a funny way of knowing our plans and intentions, and throwing a spanner, or sometimes a handful, into the works.

Mental illnesses, and the recovery from them, have a knack of influencing everything you do. Whether that be behaving in a particular way, having to tell some thoughts to shut up on the daily, or perhaps making choices that you brain doesn’t agree with. When people are mentally ill, they don’t become their illness, as that isn’t who they are, but rather they are influenced by it to varying degrees.

The eating disorder likes to sabotage things that are important to me. As it turns out, veganism was just another avenue that the eating disorder could run it’s nasty, slimy little slither down.

Although I promised everyone that my intentions were pure, that this was a new opportunity for me to start afresh and eat well, nobody really believed me, and understandably so. 

I tried my best. I really did. And for three years too. 

However, when you have an eating disorder which is based upon restriction and secrecy, deception and lies, largely removing safe foods from an already small list, can be detrimental. 

I do want to make to clear that veganism did not cause, or set-off, or provoke the eating disorder. I was unwell for years before being vegan, and if it hadn’t been cutting out dairy and animal products, it would have been something else.

However, it’s important to repair what was broken in the past, and to do so, I had to learn how to eat again. From scratch. Everything I was afraid of.


Recovery from an eating disorder means challenging, hundreds of times each day, the voice in your head which tells you “no”, which holds you back, which restrains you. 

Recovery for me involved learning how to eat foods that others had prepared for me, not being able to analyse the ingredients or how it was prepared. It involved learning how to not have to read the labels and ingredients lists before I ate anything. It involved learning to eat a wide range of foods, and learning what I truly disliked, or what didn’t sit right with me, rather than what is founded in fear and anxiety.

Part of recovery means ensuring to myself that my intentions with veganism and vegetarianism are pure. Honesty is of upmost importance. This meant that I have to eat all the foods I was afraid of, such as dairy and eggs, so that my brain could heal and the eating disorder could slowly be smothered out.

The fear of judgement from other people when I first switched back from being vegan to vegetarian, was outstanding. Everyone knew that I was vegan, and had been for a long time; it was part of who I was. However, everybody also knew, though in a slightly different way, about my silent struggle with the eating disorder. Perhaps that’s why everyone was so kind and supportive as they eventually found out about the change. There were some questions, merely out of curiousity and good intent, and it was hard to answer. But I think my honesty about recovery was well recieved. I am so grateful for the lack of judgement, and the magnitude of support.

And what a weird coincidence! I just took a break from writing this piece, and a coworker asked “you used to be vegan right, but now you are vegetarian?” and then “why did you change?” And as per usual I got a bit nervous and my heart beat a little faster, but it was completely okay and accepted. He was just thrilled I could eat ice cream now!

I am so very close to being able to say I’ve done it, I’ve won; I’ve fought the impossible battle of an eating disorder and come out the other side. And in doing so, I’ve had to do some hard things. Things that I don’t like or agree with, but they are necessary and right for my personal situation. Good things come from doing what is tough, rather than what is easy, uncomplicated – unchanged. Inertia is a human experience too.

My experience with veganism taught me that we cannot be perfect. That being the “perfect vegan” does not exist, and that every choice we make regardless of the label, all adds up in the long run. It’s the actions you take in the day-to-day, the intentions you have, and the willingness to care for your brain, as well as the animals, which is what matters.

So, that’s me. I’m Kaitlyn, and I’m an ex-vegan – a vegetarian now – who is just trying to do her best. One day, when I am truly, fully well, and when I can trust my brain enough to know that my intentions are clear, I will return. But for today, I just have to put in the hard yards, and do what I’ve got to do.

A reason to recover (number one billion).

WordPress is prompting, encouraging eagerly to “share your story here” but this particular story is a really difficult one to share.

It’s one that is close to my heart, that has shattered me and broke me in ways I never knew possible. It’s also one that I don’t know if it is right to share.

However in saying that, it is part of my story, part of me in some way, and I’m trying to learn not to be so darn ashamed all the time. I yearn for honesty – to share openly and with vulnerability – as this is where I’m at in recovery.

I’m at the stage where I’m trying to stop running. The stage where you learn to stand still, strong, in the face of all the old gusts of wind trying to force you to bend, break.

Before I begin, I must say that what’s to come discusses miscarriage, pregnancy loss and self-harm. Remember to put yourself first, and please stop reading if it won’t serve your recovery.

About two and a half years ago, I was a broken, confused, and very, very lost person.

I was 20, had just dropped out of university due to being too unwell to attend, and was deep in the hardest slog of recovery from the eating disorder. I spent the next eight months working incredibly hard to gain back all that I had lost – weight, energy, friends, the ability to learn and understand, and most importantly, my life.

I moved in with love of my life, my now-husband, and had enrolled to begin a new course at a different university. A brand new start all round. Things were looking up. I was learning how to be stable in my eating disorder recovery, though still struggled immensely with self-harm and anxiety.

In the weeks leading up to beginning my new degree, I felt a bit different, a bit “off” you could say, and was experiencing symptoms that weren’t normal for my cycle. Despite not believing that it could be a possibility at all, I took a pregnancy test just as a precaution, so that our minds could be at ease.

We were not prepared for the result.

Those two, little purple lines, a positive, changed life as we know it.

We were terrified, confused and shocked to say the least. We always, always would use contraception, so were baffled at how it could have happened. No form of contraception is fully 100%, but it’s not the sort of tiny chance that you think would happen to you.

Until it does.

How could it all be real?

However, the positive result lines were not the only marks that caused immense feeling. Days earlier, in one of my many, messy episodes of intense self-harm, I had slashed into my stomach, leaving behind superficial trenches of hate, of hurt.

Right across where our apple seed sized baby was growing.

I don’t think I have ever hated myself as much as when I realised what I had done.

background, blur, bokeh

A few days later, I woke to the sound of my alarm going off, waking me to begin my first day of classes, in my brand new course.

Immediately, I felt that something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel nauseous, as I had every day before. All my pregnancy symptoms were gone. As nice as it was to feel normal again, it was confusing, so I took another pregnancy test.

This one came back negative, meaning that my body had stopped producing hCG, the pregnancy hormone.

As if with perfect timing, blood flowed, and I lost our baby.

What I didn’t know, or expect, or anything, because nobody really talks about early miscarriages, is that it takes days. It takes days for your body to pass the pregnancy tissue, to empty your womb out, and that it’s a really, really hard thing to go through.

When researching early pregnancy loss, I found out that miscarriages are actually really common. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and most of the time nobody really knows why. It’s just part of life, sadly.

One of the most difficult parts of it all to deal with is the guilt.

The guilt for feeling afraid of your pregnancy, especially because it was unplanned. We were young, financially struggling, and I was still unwell with mental illnesses. I feel the need to point out, though it really doesn’t matter, that although I am staunchly pro-choice, I wouldn’t have chosen an abortion. However the thought of bringing a child into our lives was still, nevertheless, incredibly frightening. And that’s something that it’s hard not to feel guilty about.

Then there was all the guilt about the ruins I had turned my body into, merely months earlier, from the eating disorder. That this could have been the reason for our baby leaving us.

There was also the guilt about all of the self-harm, all of the time and energy spent into tearing myself apart, all while unknowingly pregnant. What if the baby knew how much it’s mother hated herself, and left because of that?

Although we don’t know the reason for the miscarriage, it could have been anything really (and logically I know that, I promise), and in a way it has really influenced my recovery.

I think back about how ill I had been, both before that time and during, and I am astounded that person was me.

It has made me determined to be the best I can be. To work on my mental health, which in turn helps my physical health. To be the most well and healthy I can be, so that when we are ready, we can welcome our baby with open arms.

Sometimes we think of what could have been, and although painful, it’s comforting in a way. We like to think of that baby just visiting, popping in to say “hello, I’m waiting for you”, and that they will come back when the time is right.

All these experiences, they have broken, torn and ripped through me. But in a way, they have given me the opportunity to build strength, to work on being resilient, and heal, for when we do have our own family.

You maybe have seen me mention babies a few times on here, and that’s because the prospect of them makes me so excited. I am filled with so much joy and hope, at the thought of becoming a Mum, and same with my husband at becoming a Dad.

We are so excited to meet our future babies.

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?