moments to memories

I am fully in the Christmas spirit now, I had my first Christmas party yesterday and I’m feeling festive. I surprisingly did not wake up with a raging hangover but felt pretty fresh.

The last week or so I have been thinking about my favourite memories I’ve made in the last year. I have, overall, had a crackin’ 2017. Sure, there have been some terrible, terrible lows but I can look back on the year and see where the good times are and smile.

Here are some of my highlights from 2017

Dis-day 2018.

you cannot beat starting the new year off with Mickey and co.

 

 

LA KINGS Game

i finally, finally, finally found myself out in LA in season to go to an ice hockey game. it did not disappoint.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 15.08.23

 

Arlo was born.

my adorable second godson/nephew who isn’t my nephew but is was born. he is a dream.

 

Irish adventures.

one of my favourite countries in the world, the sexiest accent in the world and some of my favourite people in the world. i can never go wrong with a trip there.

going back to my old job.

the best decision i have made this year. swear down.

 

star wars day

friends and star wars. i don’t think i really need to add anything else to that, do i?

 

 

Nick Lashaway day

the best day with my American familia, celebrating one of the best! on a day that could have been so so so sad we all managed to smile and laugh through the tears at memories of Nick and i certainly learnt more about him on that day. the strength his whole family have shown, none more than his mama, is incredible. it was a beautiful day filled with love and i am so privileged to have been a part of it.

 

 

london zoo 

my two favourite chicken nuggets took me to the zoo for my birthday because they know i love that shit. i love spending time with them playas. couple of the year.

Passenger concert

the first of my two favourite memories based at Kew Gardens this year. i have loved Passenger and his music for a wee while and i was finally able to go to see him live. in typical british summer style it was absolutely pissing down but as soon as he hit the stage i forgot about the rain. what a gem.

Brighton 

in the summer my best pal, my 2 nephews and i spent the day on brighton beach watching The Lion King. hashtag winning

Kew gardens 2

i spent  a lovely day here in the summer with my pals amy and byng. we went to see byngs younger brother in The Wind and the Willows. the sun shone, the play was super cute and we laughed. loads. i really have great friends.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 15.09.26.png

 

annie

tomorrow, tomorrow, i love yaaaa, tomorrow! for my sisters birthday we all went to see annie in the west end. miranda hart played miss hannigan – she was a scream. i enjoyed it so much – i normally cry at the theatre and this was no exception. a great day.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 15.15.33

 

NYC

back to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of to celebrate momma sophs birthday. we hung out with old friends, julie came down from boston for a day, it was magicallll.

 

montrose days

i always enjoy trips back to montrose and this time was no different. whilst mark and i were driving around montrose singing along to some pop song, i had a moment where i just thought, yeah. i like my life.

mj

this time last year my nephew and i really weren’t pals. this year we made friends. he’s just a wee dote. i love him.

 

xmas party

the last minute entry was yesterday’s xmas party. i bloody love my work collegues, i bloody love my boss. i just bloody love my job. don’t get me wrong it does my feckin’ head in from time to time but i have great people around me to lean on if it gets too much.

img_1107.png

 

2017 isn’t quite done yet, i know but it was fun thinking back over the last year and what i’ve got up to. some is here, some isn’t. with a busy december coming up i’m sure i will have more memories to add to these by the end of the month.

i hope you have a december filled with festive cheer.

until next week,

M xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

2018 – the countdown is on.

 

Wednesday 22nd November – where has this year gone?

this time last year i had just booked a flight to the other side of the world. i was unhappy and running from who i was and what i had become. i was confused about who i was and what i wanted from my life. i was convinced that running away from myself and my life would be what i needed to figure myself out. i thought that it would provide me with the clarity i sought.

i know it sounds dramatic but its true.

well, i didn’t get on that plane.

i can safely say it was the best decision i’ve made this year.

so much has happened to me this year, none of which would have been possible if i’d have run away.

i feel like i have really grown this year, i have made peace with a lot of events that have happened, i have gained the clarity in most areas in life that i so desperately sought. i don’t feel as though i’m as lost as i once was. 

here are some lessons i’ve learnt this year, some lessons that life has reminded me of, just in time for 2018. 

family is everything

this year i have been especially grateful for my family. we’ve been through a lot together this last year and it has only brought us closer as a unit. i am lucky enough to say that i like my family, as people, not just because we’re related. a fair amount of my friends seem to spend time with their family because its what they feel obligated to do. i do not. i do it because i really bloody like ‘em!

 your friends aren’t always your friends.

at 28 i’m sure i should have outgrown the ridiculousness of this but alas, i am still learning that your friends are not always that. they will not always support you, they will not always understand you. an example – the reactions that some friends made when i told them that i wasn’t going to Australia… well… lets just say it stung.

being able to acknowledge when i am wrong / when i’m being an arse is one of my biggest strengths.

this year, more than ever, i have realised this is quite a rare trait. I can hold my hands up when I have been a sucky person, or a sucky friend. i mean, i hate being wrong – i always have been an insufferable know it all so i hate having to say i’m wrong – but i can, and will, admit i am wrong when i am.

i recently messaged one of my oldest friends, someone who has continually reached out who I have rarely responded to, and apologised for being a shit friend. i didn’t try and excuse my behaviours, i just tried to make her see it was me and not anything she had done and that i still adore her.

only you can take care of yourself and your health,

 the last few months are the months i have been the most grateful in my life for our NHS. i have been feeling the benefit of my tax money. i am now, hopefully, on the up both physically and mentally, but it has given me a new perspective on all things health related – so much of it is within our control, the care we take of ourselves has the biggest impact on our health. what we put in our body to fuel it, what exercise we do (or don’t do) and the impact that has not only physically but also mentally. we need to make sure we’re taking the best care of ourselves. the situations we put ourselves in, the pressure we put on ourselves, the people we surround ourselves with… we might not be able to control every illness, every accident, but we can make sure that we are taking the best care of ourselves; that is within our control. you have to make your own health a priority.

your gut knows when it is not right – listen

everyone will give you their opinion if you let them and whilst it can be helpful to gain the perspective of an outsider ultimately you know when it isn’t right. trust yourself.

 you can’t force anything.

if it’s meant to be it will be, sure you need to make an effort initially but if it becomes too much like hard work and you’re not feeling the benefits, you’re not feeling satisfied then let it alone. chalk it up to experience and move on.

the idea of something is often better than the reality but you should still try.

You never know, you might just be surprised.

 if you have people in your life that make you feel like you have to apologise for who you are and what you like, get rid of them.

 or at the very least, distance yourself. i understand we all like to take the hand out of our friends, me possibly more than anyone, but if this turns into them making you feel bad about yourself it is not ok.

people that don’t love themselves cannot love you. same for those that don’t like themselves.

exactly as it says.

 support can come from the most unexpected places – appreciate it.

this year i have had support and understanding from someone that i never would have expected, i don’t think i will ever fully be able to thank them and i don’t think they will ever fully understand how much i appreciate all they’ve done for me.

 

2017 has in some ways been so confusing but i feel a different person this side of it. this year i can really see the change in myself, i can see how i’ve changed for the better. i’m much more sure of myself, i’m much more appreciative of who i have around me. i stopped running long enough to catch up with myself. 

2018, you’re a few weeks away but i’m excited for the adventures already. 

the return of saturn.

xoxo M

World Mental Health Day

hi everyone,

i wasn’t going to post today. i wasn’t going to write. i was going to let the day pass and share this another time, perhaps when i was better. however, having seen so many of my friends (both real life and online), family and even celebrities, post about World Mental Health Day i feel like it would be insincere of me not to post.

as many of you know, mental health is something that is very close to my heart (and head). i posted before about my mental health battles, about dealing with anxiety and depression. i have been very vocal about not being ashamed of my sometimes chaotic mind. So, with that in mind, i have something to tell you.

i, michaela, am battling depression once again. third times the charm, ay.

when did I know it had come back, when did i suspect something was wrong again? that i needed help? well, it hit me like a sack of shit last week but the symptoms had been there for a while; i just ignored them, or rather blamed them on exhaustion from having worked continuously since may with no break, pulling at least 50hr work weeks.

so what finally made me admit that i wasn’t well and that i need a helping hand? it was number of things and they all came to head last week. i’ll tell you.

this next part some people may find difficult to read and so i apologise in advance if you makes you feel uncomfortable.

september 23rd. i was in montrose, ca visiting friends.  i took the following picture and uploaded it to my socials

21762075_10213514924657460_1677022517823307179_n

nothing weird about that, most people enjoy a quick selfie. the difference is, most people don’t follow posting a selfie on facebook with thoughts of “if i jumped off the balcony would it be high enough to kill me?” i pondered that for a good 5 minutes. then my friend Mark came along and distracted me enough for that thought to leave my mind. i slept more than normal on that holiday too – which is common sign of depression – but again i blamed it on exhaustion, all those long hours i’d done were catching up with me. or were they? Mark and my friends fed me up good and proper the whole holiday – i’d been going days without eating properly (eating too much/ loss of appetite – another sign of depression) before – but again i was just too busy to eat. i mean, a bag of popcorn and a breakfast bar is a normal amount of food to eat in a 48 hour period, right?

when i got home i was still exhausted, but blamed it on jetlag. getting up in the morning was harder than ever and i was extremely emotional but, hey, i had my period so it must have been that.

tuesday i was off. i shared my worries with one of my oldest friends, denise. i spent a couple of hours with her, her little one and the dog. it’ll do me good to get out the house, i thought. i thought i’d been ok but, turns out, i hadn’t. she told me on friday that she could tell i “wasn’t right”.

i was starting late on wednesday, it took me an hour to get out of bed. the negative thoughts had crept back in but again, i brushed it off. it took all the strength i had to get in the shower, i managed through and got out the shower but that’s where my energy left me. my sister had to pick me up off the floor. she had to help me get dressed. she had to dry my hair for me, all whilst i sat there in a daze. dentist happened and then i was away to work. i got to the train station and stood crying on the platform. i knew there was something wrong with me, i could barely keep my head up. my thoughts were along these lines… how long would i feel the pain if i stepped in the path of a train? do people ever survive being hit by a train? it would be over in seconds, i’m sure. the aim was not to die, the aim was to end the confusion. the aim was to clear the fog that had clouded my mind. the aim was peace.

i realise that this may seem dramatic to you. hell, it does to me. but it’s my truth and i won’t lie about it. i can’t sugar coat anything because to do that would be pointless.

clearly, as i am sat here writing this, i did not step in front of a train. i had a set of people around me that listened, that knew me well enough to make me get help. i shared that train thought with one of my best friends because, through all the fog, i had a small moment of clarity, i knew telling someone would help. and it did. once i had told her, the fog cleared slightly.

whilst this was happening my sisters had been talking, and my eldest sister called me and told me she was booking me doctors appointment – she got me one for the next day.

i went to the doctor. i’m getting help. this time around i have opted for no anti depressants, although i have some waiting for me if i change my mind. this time around i am trying counselling. i need to understand my triggers.

i had to cancel my trip to india to get better which broke my heart. my doctor deemed me too ‘high risk’ to travel so far with no treatment, so soon after diagnosis, “it’s definitely not advisable, michaela. india will always be there”.

i never thought i would be back at a point where i was having to tell people i was ill in this way again.  all i can ask at this time from those that are closest to me is their patience, please be patient with me. some days i will be ok. others i won’t. today was a good day – for the first time in 4 days i found the energy to get out of bed and shower (depression is not glamorous), it took everything out of me – my hair was knot city so that was a chore in itself. i also ask you to not edit yourselves around me – make jokes, talk to me like normal; i don’t need special treatment. i’m still me!!

i also need to say thank you. thank you to my sisters for looking out for me, my parents. thank you to diane who talked me down from that moment on the platform, who messaged me each morning and night to make sure i was safe. to denise, for checking in on me each day, for giving me an evening of distraction on friday – i felt normal for an evening, for putting food in front of me (even if i only ate half a plate), to my little sophia for being honest and saying that you didn’t know what to say but that you just wanted me better. to steph, you always know what to say, even when i don’t believe the nice things you say to me, you still say them. to the taylors, yesterday was a bad day but you took the time to find images and youtube videos of my favourite things to make me smile. it worked. rachel, for reminding me that it is all temporary, that there is no right or wrong way to live life and that i will get there eventually. byng, mark, ken, tom, rhirhi, mariana, emma, katie… anyone who has taken 5 minutes to just see how i am recently. thank you. i even have to shout out my boss because he was amazing when i told him – i’m very lucky to have a boss that doesn’t think less of me because of it – i know from other friends that this is, unfortunately, very rare.

i know you don’t all understand it, i don’t either sometimes but i am trying.

i’m learning to understand it. i’m learning how to keep trying. i’m learning to remind myself that i have survived 100% of my worse times and that no matter how many moments seem unbearable the darkness is temporary. i’m not afraid to put the work in to get better.

because that’s all i want.

to be better.

xoxo micks

 

p.s if anyone, no matter how well i know you, ever needs someone to talk to, if you ever feel this way, know you are not alone. i am here.

Social Media: an alternate reality.

“How can you be skint? You never go out, I never see you post anything.”

A simple sentence from a conversation I had with someone a while back that has stuck with me. I use social media a fair amount. Normally to see what everyone else is doing when I’m bored. I am not, and have never been, one to post every aspect of my life on social media, yes I enjoy a good Facebook post, or Instagram pic, but I don’t post everything I do in my life on social media. Call me old-fashioned but I like to save some stuff for myself, and, if giving up Facebook for lent at the beginning of the year taught me one thing it’s that, it’s actually great to give your full attention to people you are with, rather than talking to them whilst also thinking about the perfect status update to tell your virtual friends how much fun you’re having.

Since I had that conversation I have thought about that comment a lot. It’s got me to thinking. How much is too much? As in, how much is too much to share on Social media?

We all have those friends who use social media like a diary, there are four or five (at least) status updates a day, a constant stream of ‘check ins’ and photos so we can see how much they are loving life. There are those that use social media to post their dirty laundry which I secretly love because, well, I’m a nosy bitch, those that use it to tell us when their child has coughed, or smiled or done a poo “Oh my god, Bitsy just took her first poo on the toilet!!” seriously, stop with these status’ no one other than you cares about that shit – pun intended. There is that couple that has been together for minutes but has already dropped the ‘L’ word all over your news feed “I have the best boyfriend in the world. I love you so much, baby!!!” – again, stop it. You’ve been together for 2 minutes take a seat. Then at the other end of the spectrum there are those users that rarely post anything – even though you know they are lurkin’ in the background silently stalking and judging. How do you find the balance of ‘just enough’? Only you can really answer that for yourself but if most of your timeline is full of your own posts you’re definitely on the ‘too much’ end of the scale. Same goes for those that post more than 3 status updates a day (and I’m being generous when I say 3).

The incessant stream of ‘loving life’ posts and photos has made us obsessed with creating the ‘perfect’ life. You go out on a Saturday night to a club, there is a 99% chance that the majority of those there will be, or will have, taken 101 pictures on Snapchat to show their friends all the ‘LOLs’, they’ve then Instagrammed those photos (while spending time making sure they use the correct filter). It seems we spent more time posting about what we’re doing than actually doing it, living it. This narcissistic behavior is laughable but more than anything this makes me kind of sad. When did we become so unhappy with our real lives that we feel the need to ‘edit’ it? When did it become normal to compare our life to the lives of people we haven’t spoken to since year 11?

I was speaking with someone recently who was talking about their relationship and how seeing what other couples do on social media has left them feeling not 100% satisfied in their relationship. My response? Social media isn’t real! No one is going to post about that slanging match they had the night before because someone left wet towels on the bathroom floor again. No one is going to share a photo of themselves when they go to the local greasy spoon for the hangover breakfast – they take a photo of food instead.

It is so easy to fake everything on social media; relationships, partying, fitness, food, travelling… it’s not all glamorous. We just want everyone else to think it is.

There is no perfect relationship – everyone argues. The partying photos are always at the beginning of the night, not of the drama in the toilet with one friend with her head in the loo because she had 1 too many jagers and another crying over that guy she went on one date with back in 1947 who she has seen here with another girl. The gym and healthy food posts that make us all feel like a big tub of lard (only me?) – those people are looking for approval. If they were really 100% with what they looked like wouldn’t feel the need to post everyday about their gym workouts and comparing your fitness lifestyle to others’ isn’t fair to you or them. We all have different bodies, lives and priorities, and no one is going to display the worst of that for the world to see. I would also bet my left foot that greek yoghurt girl has stuffed her face with chocolate eclairs at least once in the last few months.

Travelling is only glamorous in retrospect. Being stuck in a big tin can for hours on end with recycled air leaves your skin dry, hair gross and body achy. No one wants to see a picture of me grumpy, hair all over the place, red –eyed from tiredness, so I’ll wait for a few days to acclimatize myself to the time change and then give you a perfectly filtered picture of me and my pals, drink in hand watching an amazing sunset.

So maybe, just maybe it’s time we throw a little reality back into social media. Or we can carry on pretending, but we’re going to have to start changing that witty tagline to something more fitting. And next time you see that someone has uploaded the ‘perfect selfie’ just remember there are 100 of the same photos on their camera roll that didn’t make the cut.