people need other people.

it’s 10pm on a wednesday night and here i am, just a while in from having dinner with someone very special and i’m sat in bed crying.

why you ask? or maybe you didn’t but either way you’re finding out.

the reason i’m crying is because i have just finished reading Bryony Gordon’s book ‘Mad Girl’. the book is Bryony sharing her story, her mental health story.

some of the parallels in our illnesses are scary but it made me realise that we, Bryony and I, are the lucky ones. we had people around us, both at home and at work, that cared. that care. that care enough to not give up on us when our demons get too much, that don’t run the other way saying ‘fuck this shit, you’re on your own’ but stand next to us, gently guiding us saying ‘you’ve got this’.

tonight when i was at dinner my friend told me about a colleague she had who had passed away recently, this colleague had struggled with his mental health (his death was unrelated to any mental health illnesses) in the past which eventually led to him leaving his position – by all accounts the management were not very supportive of the days out he needed to take.

(please note, needed is accurate. when you’re depressed you can’t simply say to depression ‘oh well today isn’t a very good day for me to be depressed, i’ve lots on. can you come back tomorrow?’ depression, in case you didn’t know, is a bit of an inconsiderate bastard).

at his funeral she learnt how much having that job meant to him. she said she never realised the impact their day to day jokes and interactions had on him, and on his life.

i’m crying because i realised that i was lucky, i was lucky that back in september i had someone who was able to notice i was poorly before i did – Momma Sophs, you recognised i was ill before i did, before anyone did. i don’t know how but thank you.

i was lucky that, when i was stood on a train platform a couple of weeks later listening to the voices in my head telling me to give up and that me dying would be for the benefit of everyone, that it would be better than the constant battle in my head, i had diane on the end of the phone telling me not to listen to the voice in my head that was telling me that. that it was lying to me.

i was lucky i had my sister to call and make the doctors appointment when i was too ill to myself.

i was lucky i had denise calling me every few hours just to check in, telling me to come to her house after work so she could feed me and let me get some of these thoughts out my head and feelings off my chest.

i had my boss – who i was super nervous to tell i was poorly because, well i was embarrassed, i was embarrassed of being ill again and of how bad it had gotten and what it might make him think of me – tell me that it was a tricky illness but that he knew i was more than capable. he understood why i text him to tell him and didn’t call and then spent time with me on the phone the next day trying to understand the illness, what it looked like for me and help me figure out what my triggers were.

now i have my new boss who was, as well, brilliant when he found out – as i’m still recovering i thought it wise to tell him and it came up very organically in conversation so i was comfortable telling him. parts of our conversation went like this…

me – i don’t run around screaming at everyone that i’m mad but it makes sense you should know.

him – you’re not mad because you’ve got depression…. you just need to make sure you tell me how you’re feeling, keep me in the loop.

(that’s what i needed to hear from him. it was a big weight off these shoulders, i tell ya. also, nb, i often tell people i’m ‘mad’ because i think i’m being funny and most people feel more comfortable when you joke about serious stuff)

i had steph, who always seems to message me at just the right time, who always makes me feel like a better human than i am.

i guess, the short version (i’ve never been very good at getting straight to the point), is that i was crying because i was grateful.

i was grateful for this year and for these people (and many more not listed here). i was grateful for the days when i thought i wouldn’t make it to the next one because, if nothing else, i’ve learnt the human spirit is made of strong bloody stuff.

2017 is the year i realised that i didn’t have to keep all my problems to myself. it was the year i learnt who my friends really were. i learnt i don’t have to keep my cards so close to my chest. i might be a burden sometimes, but then aren’t we all? the ones that think i’m worth it will stay. for the good and bad.

i learnt people need other people.

we really do.

people need other people.

and there’s nothing wrong with that. nothing at all.

xoxo M

p.s if you want to try to understand mental health illnesses and how they make you feel and think please read Bryony’s book. she words it so well, much better than i ever could.

reflections on a younger self. 

last night i found myself looking through my old journals and diaries. i don’t know why but as i was placing a book on my bookshelf i saw them and decided to pull some out and relive what i’d lived. 

a lot of the entries are not dated so i don’t know the last time i wrote in them – i can only guess it was around this time 2 years ago because of what i’d written about in them, certain incidents in my life that happened then are the focus of my last scribbles.

what i do know reading them is that i’ve changed. i can see the change in myself through the words on the page. is that weird? life is the strangest thing – we don’t see that we’re moving forward day to day but when we look back so much has changed. so much has happened. 

i like this person i’m becoming.

even on the days when i can’t see through the fog, even on the days when i want the world to go away. i like the person i am becoming. 

i look back at my old entries and feel what i felt back then but i am also able to see it differently. i can see the heart and heartbreak i felt over the boy who didn’t love me enough to not hurt me, the boy i would have moved across oceans for had he asked me again and not only see my pain, but also his. who am i to say he didn’t love me enough just because he didn’t love me the way i wanted him to love me. i can see the good in that goodbye.

i read back through the confusion and see that i have gained clarity, not in everything, but in some things. and for now that is enough.

i look at the old entries and see someone who was fighting against herself but couldn’t see that’s what she was doing. who thought that emotions were a sign of weakness (especially the sad ones). i was so proud of being so guarded and so unfeeling to the world. i was so proud of never having shared my true self with anyone. 

i thought that made me strong.

in actual fact i think now it showed my weakness, my insecurity. the ability to feel, to show emotions – the good and the bad – is part of what makes us so wonderfully human. you can’t shut it out, you can’t shut yourself off from it. you can try, but it will catch  up with you eventually. everything you run from always does.

i know more about me now.

what i want

where i want to go

life makes it hard to remember those things  sometimes but that’s why i write. it reminds me who i am and what i want. it focuses me when i need direction. when i need to get stuff off my chest. when i need a friend. there’s always a piece of paper and a pen around, no matter what time of the day it is. 

when i get lost i can pick those friends up and draw myself a map back home. 

xoxo

micks.

pictures of me from 2008 to the present day. there is one every year from 2008 doing various things with various people. the only year missing is 2016 because it wouldn’t fit!

how can I become less? 

Where I am: in bed, Montrose CA feeling like absolute rubbish (in case you wondered) 

What I’m listening to: La La Land is on in the background.

It’s my last night in CA until who knows when, I’ve had a ball these last couple weeks with one on my best friends (I apologise to my snapchat friends for the snaps you’ve had to endure). In my quieter moments on this trip, I’ve been thinking about stuff. In my quieter moments I’ve definitely been overthinking stuff. I’ve been thinking about myself and my behaviours, my character. 

Over the last few years I have been told that I am ‘a lot to handle’; that I am ‘too much’. Not just by one person, once. There have been a few different people on a few different occasions. Every time I’m told that it seems to stick in my memory more.

I’m not quite sure what they meant when they said it. I have never known whether to take it as a compliment or an insult; I tend to lean towards the latter.

“Too much” isn’t something that’s normally associated with positives, is it? Too much by definition is “an intolerable, implausible or exhausting situation or experience” (Google)  Not something I’d like to be known as really.

So my question is how do I make myself less? Is it possible to make myself just enough, just the right amount? Do I make myself smaller? My voice? My attitude? Do I have less opinions? Should I be quieter? Or laugh less? 

If you have the answers please let me know.

I don’t want to be ‘too much’. I’d like to be enough. 

xoxo Micks  

feeling the love

oh hey.

it’s 6am in LA. I can’t sleep. so y’all are getting a post (2 in as many days #sorrynotsorry)

so, quick background on where i’m staying and who i’m staying with.

one of my best friends from university (hey, Jade) is from LA. Her mom (Momma Sophs) dad (Wilf) and god mom (Lisa) all live together in a beautiful house (her dad did a beaut of a job on it, he’s so talented). I’m staying with / visiting them. Jade isn’t here- she lives in Finland with her fella. My Irish pal is here too, though. I know, I know… it’s complicated.

i’ve know Jade for 9 years nearly, and her folks for maybe 6/7 of those. They have all known me during my struggles with depression and anxiety, they housed me for a summer so Jade and I could road trip west coast >> east, they housed me this January  when I had my breakdown over going to Australia or not. 

they know me well.

they know not to talk to me in the morning because I’m grumpy. They know I’m pretty laid back about most things – one of the reasons Jades mom likes to travel with me. They know I can be a sarcastic little shite. They know I’m obsessed with music; if I’m not listening to it, I’m reading about it. If I’m not reading about it, I’m singing. 

when I come here to visit it feels like a home from home. I feel so relaxed, there’s no pretense, no bullshit. 

they remind me that friends really are the family we choose for ourselves. I think to myself on every trip how did I luck out and meet Jade and then gain an extra family? a family that is genuinely concerned for my wellbeing.

yesterday morning I was in the kitchen and Momma Sophs and I had this conversation 

S “Oh I’m glad you’re here by yourself, I wanted to talk to you alone”

M “ok, whats up?”

S “are you ok, sweetie? You’re not feeling anxious, your depression hasn’t come back?”

M “no, I’m ok at the moment. Maybe a bit anxious with work but I’m fine”

S ” ok good, I just wanted to check because you’ve been really quiet this whole trip and I was really worried”

DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY AND LOVED I FELT WALKING AWAY FROM THAT CONVERSATION? 

Having conversations like that with anyone that has a history of mental illness is so, SO important. 

Knowing someone is looking out for you… priceless. 

This email from the universe is true 

I’m feeling the love 

Xoxo micks 

Just like John, I’m so tired. 

where i am: Los Angeles with my American fam.

where my head is at: who bloody knows. when it stops spinning I’ll let you know. 

It’s happening, friends. I’m getting old. I can feel it in myself. I realise 28 isn’t really old in a numbers sense but I’m not talking about numbers and years. I’m talking about in my mindset, in my head. 

I’m feeling old. I’m feeling tired. I’m feeling the need to slow down and take some time for me, myself and I. I’m feeling like I want to start being selfish with my time. Since I was 20 or 21 every single holiday I took from work has been filled with trips here, there and everywhere. One of the first lines people say to me when they see me is ‘Where’s your next trip?’ Or ‘Where are you going to next?’. The self confessed free-spirit of my family, the traveller, the nomad I have always been the adventurer. I have loved it. I do love it, still, but I’m tired.

I have done some of the most incredible things on these holidays – I have had tomatoes thrown at my face during La Tomatina in Spain, seen the sunrise across Bryce Canyon in the US, got lost in the caves in Postonja, Slovenia. I’ve climbed Mount Vesuvius, sang and danced my way down the Champs Elysées, had my heart broken walking around Anne Frank House. I stayed out until the sun came up with friends I just made in NYC, felt the flames of Fallas on my face (not literally) in Valencia, visited Obama at the White House, swooned over the views at Giant’s Causeway… and so much more. 

But I’m tired.

I’m really fucking tired.

I was talking to one of my friends about this recently. I said that after my trip to India I have no trips planned. For the first time in a long time, I’m totally ok with that. It’s a very odd thing for me to say. I’m always looking ahead to the next holiday, the next adventure. Sure there are loose plans, but nothing confirmed.

My friend agreed it was odd and I said how tired I was. I said how I feel like I’m always travelling and that I have minimal time at home, to spend my time just being with the people I have in my life in England. My friend said to me that it’s ok to be selfish with my free time. That sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes, instead of flying off to visit someone when I have rare time off work, it’s ok to be selfish and say either ‘you come here’ or simply, ‘no’. I’m taking this time for me. I’m taking this time to be at home, to sleep in and see the people in this country. 

I realise this may post may rub people the wrong way, it may come across as ungrateful; you may be thinking I’m a brat. I promise you I’m not, that’s not my intention. I am aware how lucky I am to have travelled as I do, as I have. 

I’m also aware that I may change my mind on this (hello the sometimes fickle Gemini mind), perhaps I’m feeling this way as I’ve only had one week off since March. 

I’m just saying that right now, in this moment, I’m tired.

I’m currently visiting friends in the US. I go home, have 5 days at work and then fly to India for 2 weeks. After that, aside from work, my time is my own. 

I can’t fucking wait 

Xoxo Micks 

The one where I talk about toxic thinking. 

Now before I finish this post, I’d just like to say I am not posting this for any kind of validation. I am not posting this so people can say ‘oh, Michaela you’re so great’ I’m posting this because this is genuinely how I feel and it is where my head is at 75% of the time.

I have, historically, struggled to open up about how I feel. My mum is constantly telling me how guarded I am, how closed off I am. When I started writing I started writing for me and then when I started to share some of that with the world I said that I would do my best to share not just the light hearted stuff but also the stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, the stuff that people might read and say “WTF is wrong with her?”  

This is one of those posts and it is triggered by a couple of things that have been said to me in the last couple of weeks. 

The first was that I am, what is known as, a toxic thinker. I was talking to my boss about some stuff and this phrase came up. It’s really stuck with me. 

The second was that the world owes me some happiness. One of my friends said that to me; that I work really fucking hard, that Karma was the world’s energy and that when you are a nice person and always put everyone else first then yes karma should give you something back. 

I batted this back, naturally, by saying the world doesn’t owe me anything. I do believe this to be true, the world was here first. I’m lucky to just be living on it. 

I then thought back to the conversation about ‘toxic thinking’ and realised this reaction to someone saying something (that was actually really fucking nice) was proving the point. The thing is, until now I’d never thought of it as being a detriment to my own mental health and self worth. I never thought that me thinking that I didn’t deserve any kind of goodness wasn’t normal. I figured most people would react the same way as me if asked. Who knew I could be so dense? 

I was also so focused on wanting to be the best for other people, for wanting to cheerlead them in their lives that I always felt uncomfortable with people doing that for me. 

I never felt that I deserved anything that was out of this world in ways of praise, relationships, or love. People would tell me I deserved the best and I’d laugh. I never felt entitled. I have always viewed myself as mediocre at best.

“We often judge worthiness on what people contribute, and if you haven’t done much that is considered ‘valuable’ by society’s standards, you may not feel very worthy of any sort of rewards. You see how many people just get by, or live terrible lives, and you think what is so special about you..why do you deserve to get everything you want” – livelifemadetoorder.com

The standards I set myself are sooooo high and I might not meet them all the time. I can’t be the best at everything I do, I just need to learn to take the victories where I can. 

I need to remember that me having to bail on a friend doesn’t make me not worthy of their friendship. I need to remember that me not being able to split myself in 6 or achieve everything I want to at work doesn’t make me a bad manager (I am notorious for wanting everything done yesterday)

How can I have the life that I want if I don’t think I deserve it? The short answer is I can’t. Only I can change my perception of myself and in turn change my perception of what I think I deserve.

Is gonna be easy to change my thinking? I doubt it but I’ll give it a go.

Here’s to less toxic thoughts and more self love ❤️ 

Peace ✌🏼 

xoxo Micks 

Happy Tears and Thank-Yous.

Location: Starbucks

Listening to: My ‘Musicals’ Soundtrack

Last night went like this.

5:30 – Home, spend the next hour hanging out with the fam and winding my BFF/ nephew MJ up (just for the record – when Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse comes on the TV and he runs up to me, arms raised to pick him up and dance with him to the theme tune is one of my favourite moments of the day)

6:30 – MJ and co leave to go home. Potter around for a couple of hours.

8:00 – Quick 10 min phone call with the BFG, chatting work and life

8:20 – BFG calls back with more news.

9:00 – Ready for bed (so yes, the answer to your question is I AM rock n roll), Netflix on. It’s a ‘The Big Bang Theory’ kind of evening.

9:15 – Another friend messages me to say ‘Thank you for being my friend’ we chat for a while

9:30 – Chat finished.

9:40 – I have been lost in my thoughts for the last ten minutes and suddenly find myself crying.

Yep, for no reason at all I just start crying.

WHO DOES THAT?

Then I start thinking, what is wrong with me? I have no reason to be crying. Why am I such a weirdo? I have always been a bit of a weirdo – I kind of like it to be fair – but more than a healthy amount of weird is the person that just starts to cry. They weren’t sad tears but rather happy ones, grateful ones. We all know happy tears are a thing but it isn’t something I recall affecting me too much. In fact I can tell you the four times I have ever been affected by happy tears.

  1. When my friends surprised me on my 18th birthday
  2. When Oscar was born
  3. When MJ was born
  4. When Arlo was born (which was actually today, the day I started this post)

That’s it.

4 times.

The happy tears came from a place of gratitude though. I was grateful. I AM grateful. I know it sounds odd but I have had a bit of a roller coaster these last six months. I left a job I thought I was done with, started a new one that I was a bit bored on but met some lovely people, rediscovered an old dream of living that Oz life, quit job, flew to America, decided I’d changed mind on old dream and came home in more ways than one.

I must have been a bit of a nightmare during that time. I know some of my nearest and dearest were worried my old friend depression would come knockin’ on my door again (he hasn’t) and were worried I’d regret my decision (I don’t) and thought I was having a mid-life crisis 30 years too early (my old/new bosses words and he isn’t completely wrong).

The support from the majority of people during these hectic few weeks and months has been sure and steady from those I always knew had my back and some I didn’t know did but was pleasantly surprised to find out they do. Of course there have a been a couple of people who have surprised me in an unpleasant way but I am choosing not to dwell on that, I’d rather move on from those people and leave them pre-breakdown.

I have written about the power of gratitude before. I’ve spoken about it to a few people. Thoughts become things – positivity breads positivity. Last night, after I got that message from my friend – which was completely unexpected – it triggered a non-verbal wave of gratitude. I don’t understand my emotions sometimes but last night I decided that I would write about it and list my thanks to my many family and friends that have been there for me this last while.

Role call please…

Mi familia – I apologise for freaking you out at 3am when I called to tell you I wasn’t going to follow the yellow brick road. Mel and DC, I’m glad I didn’t wake MJ up but to be fair you could have taken him to mum and dad’s as they had breakfast at 4am to ‘celebrate’. THANKS FOR BEING SO COOL WITH ME AND MY WAYS.

Mrs. Howman – the message you sent me when you found out I was coming home, made me cry – thanks for that. We’re so similar in so many ways, not just the fact that we were both Grandad’s favourites. We’ll always be cousins because of the whole ‘blood’ thing but I hope we’re always friends too.

Denise (or Dennis the menace) – who’d have thought that my very first supervisor at work would turn out to be such a good friend? 10 years is a long time to put up with anyone, especially when you work with them too. Thanks for always being there with a cup of tea to listen and tell me when I’m being a dick. You’re one of the few people I actually will listen to. We don’t really do emotions but I don’t think I’ve said thank you enough over the years.

Rachpal – Thanks for being my best friend. We’ve done a whole lot in the last 7 years but mostly we’ve laughed. We’ve laughed so much. An afternoon with you is the best tonic for most of life’s woes, even if you can’t fix it you’ll always try. You always keep me realistic when I’m chasing something. You’re not just a ‘yes’ person and I love that about you. Oh, and thank you for making your babies. I love them dearly.

The 4130 Rincon fam (Momma Sophs, Liseeee, WIlf) – you were all so cool during my breakdown, when the decision was made there was a simple “that’s cool, there’s no judgement. Just a margarita when you’re ready”. I know I’ll always have a safe place there with you if I ever need it and that puts so much peace in my heart. You are the greatest. Love you!

Markus – my brother. You were the one (along with Momma Sophs) that reminded to listen to me and what I wanted; no one else had done that for a long time. How you made out what I was saying during those voice notes where I was crying I’ll never know. Thanks for always being there to pick me up when I fall and to then push me back over again so we both have something to laugh at.

The BFG – I think I’m stuck with you whether I like it or not! You are one of the most genuine people I have ever met (and the most talkative) and you never tell me something just for the sake of it – you’re another person who isn’t just a ‘yes’ person. Thanks for taking losing the Oz holiday so well, at least we can adventure together now… oh the fun we’ll have! You’re a good egg, and I’m glad you chose me to harass all those phone calls ago at work. ( I know, I know HOW RUDE).

Humy – when you look at us we are so different, you are the glamorous, cool girl whilst I’m the dorky girl in comfortable shoes but somehow it works. It has since day 1. We might not see each other as often these days but I’ve survived a few personal shit storms with you by my side and visa versa. You’re incredible. Thank you.

Alice Lorraine – in the words of our favorite, Rick Astley “never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you, never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and hurt you” I realise that he means it in the romantic sense but it translates to friends too, kind of. Thanks for sticking around.

The best of the rest…

Byng – you are bloody brilliant. My life would be sooooo dull without you.

Mr and Mrs TayTay – thanks for offering me a home from home and thanks for always being supportive. Amy Jayne, you’re one of my biggest fans. Love you.

Charles in charge – There’s no one I’d rather singalong to T-Swizzle with.

The original 010 crew – you know I’m an idiot but you take care of me anyway. Thank you. I have never laughed at work with anyone more than I did with you.

Sophia and Leanna – I feel like I never see you anymore but remember you’re always my favourites.

J-RO, I miss the days when you and I could just hang out , the two of us. I miss you, friend. Thanks for the memories, we’ve had the best times.

Steph, RhiRhi, Ags – we’ve gone in such different directions and even though I am not much older than any of you – in fact I’m younger than one but won’t say which 😉 – we’ve never lost each other. There’s something really beautiful about that. I’m so proud to call you my friends.

Naughty Norman, you deserve your own shout out. You’re a top bird, cheers mate.

Heather, the sass queen, you’re bloody brilliant. Thanks for being you, crackhead.

In case you couldn’t tell I’m surrounded by some pretty f@ckin’ awesome people! I don’t know what I did to deserve it so I’m not questioning it, just saying thanks a bunch!

Something else I am also thankful for is to be going back to work! Around this time last year I was out with a friend and I remember saying “ I really love my job” and they replied “ I can tell”. I start back at work in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get back to feeling like that. Various things in last half of last year made me lose interest in work and I felt a bit bored with it all. I am going to be working for someone who I have a lot of respect for and surrounded by faces old and new. I’m so excited to be given this chance and to be out the house and interacting with everyone again for wholes days rather than just hours. To be working with friends again. Being unemployed is boring and I’m so bad at it. I think this is the best time to thank Netflix for keeping me company, though.

2017 is only 2 months in, and already I have so much to look forward to. I’m feeling good; life is good. 2017 holds a lot of potential and I’ll try and remember to say thank you every step of the way.

Oh, and to anyone else I may have forgotten… thanks

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