A touch of magic.

He told me that there was a surprise planned a few weeks ago. First it was to go see a statue, then an early morning walk, then to visit Ellen Degeneres. But then we ended up at the airport with my lovely sister and mother-in-law and I was more confused than ever. We got on a plane, saw my parents at the arrivals lounge, and went to their house. There were beautiful streamers and lanterns everywhere and it looked like magic. I had decided not to have a baby shower months earlier because too many of the people I love and miss dearly were too far away to attend. But here we were. The most magnificent surprise. My husband, my rock, the soon-to-be dad, planned and organized the most incredible, light-filled day. My parents hosted this gorgeous event and my mum worked so, so hard to make it look and feel like a dream. My sister and mother-in-law traveled all the way up to be with us in this most special day. To be surrounded by everyone who I cannot put into words how much they mean was. The. Best. I kept welling up because of how thankful I am that us and our daughter have the most incredible family and friends. I am so, so grateful. And I can’t believe that this dream isn’t just a dream. Feeling all the loving and living in awe.

Good days are made.

Lately, I had been feeling so frustrated and exhausted. Just due to general life things, really. The waiting games, the normal discomfort of growing a little human, the tiresome everyday things weighing me down.

On an ordinary Tuesday, the phrase “good days are made,” popped into my head.

I don’t know where it came from or how it arrived, but wow. I am grateful. It changed my week, truly, as cliche as that is.

I’m learning is that big joys and little joys are all the same really.

The big joys are marrying your best friend, finding out you’ve got the sweetest little human coming along, graduating, new jobs, homes, and love, and love, and love again. Big joys are beautiful. How could they be anything but?

We can’t wait around for the big joys, though, because their very nature makes them big and rare.

But we can find the small joys in every day. These minute, insignificant moments every day that actually become something special because they are every day. The moments we can choose to notice or not. The moments that linger and exist and are so very ordinary. But who said that ordinary can’t be special?

They are cooking dinner and laughing with your soulmate. Looking for the brightest flower hanging over the fence and spotting a tiny spider inside. Getting the washing off the line and it’s all warm and sun-kissed. Having dinner with friends or family. Board games, movies, walks. Eating the sweetest nectarine. Having a planner and a routine that makes you feel good. A hilarious, silly, sweet dog. The color of the leaves out the window. The way the light hits the kitchen at 7am.

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At the very foundation, it’s gratitude. Again and again.

Because things will change in all the ways.

But today, I am exactly where I need to be.

I have my soulmate by my side. He calls me from his work and we talk about things. Boring things, happy things, exciting things, sad things. Ordinary conversations that make me realize it’s so dang wonderful that I get to be his human.

I feel our baby move and squirm all day long. Soon all the morning sickness and discomfort will be a distant memory and nothing compared to the immense feeling of holding her in our arms.

These past few days have been so, so wonderful. Nothing extraordinary happened, but I feel productive, joyful, and content. And so, so very blessed.

Good days are made. This life isn’t perfect but I’m sure as hell fighting to make it a good one.

Thoughts of the moment #2.

These little thoughts have been swirling around my brain recently, and letting them roam free will help, maybe. Some are fleeting, and others stay long into the night. They are what they are.

  • I’m finding the subject of weight increasingly boring as the years go by, and as I get better too. Like there are so many more interesting things to think and talk about other than your body’s relationship with gravity. I’m finding it so dull and such a waste of time, kind of like if you think about bricks or chalk for too long. It’s crazy to think how my weight occupied about 80% of my time and thoughts for so many years. It’s such a waste of time and there are so many things that are better uses of your thoughts than obsessively calculating and subtracting and adding and just generally being Very Boring.
  • I have a meeting with my research supervisor tomorrow morning and I’m just feeling all blessed and happy that I have access to higher education, and to be doing something that brings me joy. Bring on the sand dunes and me trying to make my research sound way cooler than it actually is!
  • Oh my Lanta broccoli is quite possibly one of the best vegetables ever. And carrots. I could eat those two with literally everything.
  • Getting outside is something that I’m super passionate about and you have probably read my rambles about this many times before. But being in the sun! Or in the rain! Either way just getting out from our little house shells and experiencing what it is like to simply feel, this always helps so much. Never underestimate the power of green spaces on mental health.
  • I have been going for so many mindfulness walks lately and doing progressive muscle relaxation and just feeling good!
  • There will always be periods of anxiety. Emotions will always wave, and to not accept this will only bring you devastation and heartbreak. Do what you need to do to respond to the feelings, and embrace the good ones.
  • It’s okay to not be who you thought you were supposed to be. Just like how it is okay for you to not be perfectly disciplined and your routine impossibly sculpted. Leave room and no expectations so that you can have space to be human. Accept that your last semester isn’t going to go perfectly and that it will look a little different than you had hoped. And be okay with this shuffling space. Embrace these changes and what they bring, despite not being your ideal, manicured vision. Let go of the things that you can’t healthily accomplish, and go for gold on the rest. Take time for yourself, accept that you might not make it to every lecture, and be okay with this whole being a perfectly flawed human thing. Take care of your brain over everything else. It should always come first – before immecable grades, networking, research, and awards.
  • Little experiences of feeling are so underrated. Take a bubble bath and play with the bubbles. Go dog-watching. Accomplish a few small things off your to-do list and feel your productivity shine. Brush your hand through the leaves as you walk by. Feel. Be.
  • Take yourself seriously but not so seriously that anything less devastates you. Be silly. Have fun. Be disciplined but make time for being wild too.

Love,

Kaitlyn.

Lately…

Lately life has made me amazed and in awe. Absolute awe. I feel useless at describing how golden people and moments and animals and nature and the waves of life simply are.

We are laughing so much and spending time with friends and family and there are so many good things. Kind things. Lucky things.

I feel so thankful to be alive in a world with the depths of darkness, and the heavens of light too.

To be living. To be human.

So many things flow. And are in harmony.

Lately, we have celebrated me being self-harm free for two years. It’s wild, let me tell you, because for five years that was such an engulfing part of my life, and now… I can be without it. Somehow. I still have the same thoughts, yet the daily desperate urge to act on these behaviors has finally passed. They took well over a year of not self harming to go away.

Today I have these thoughts, but I tag them and move on. They are insignificant to my life today. They just float around in the empty spaces of my brain and they wheeze a bit, but that’s about it. They are just a tiny piece of me.

Lately I’ve been going for walks with the intention of being mindful, and these are so good. To take in the grass and the dew and all of the leaves. The universe really is extraordinary.

And to be writing for a job! This was such an unexpected surprise. I never knew that writing could actually pay, you know, like real life money. Writing was always something I had deemed as only a hobby, and definitely not something that you could support yourself with, unless you suddenly turned into JK Rowling overnight. It’s so crazy how things happen.

And I’m trying to not even care that my blog posts aren’t perfect, and my writing isn’t perfect, and that my photos definitely aren’t either. But all of these things are bringing me joy, and that is what matters.

Tapering off my SNRI has been interesting. I feel as though there was a big glass pane which has been removed, and now I’m all bare and exposed. The withdrawal side effects haven’t been as bad as I had expected, and following my doctor’s plan has definitely helped. Sometimes I swear that my head is floating above my body, and that my eyes are zooming in and out way too fast to be natural. It’s all very robotic. But these things will pass. Apparently it can take a while for your brain to adjust to doing it’s own thing. Something I won’t miss are the exhausting, brutal dreams. Venlafaxine dreams, anyone? A 20 minute nap turns into a horror movie every single time. Wild stuff!

Therapy is going and going and I think it’s going good, but it’s one of those things that you don’t really ever know how exactly it’s going because you’re not exactly the right person to be judging that. Using the skills that therapy has taught me is great though, because surprise! With enough practice they can actually help! I don’t know, I’m just so content at the same time as being all out of sorts because of the medication, or lack of, and it’s weird. But good. This is progress I think?

Lately I’ve just wanted to dwell in how the ocean sparkles, and how perfect the dew is, and how beautiful being by Cameron’s side is. There are so many good things when we are able to see them.

I’m grateful. I’m grateful.

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.

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.

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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.