Trust.

 

Listening to: Kelly Clarkson ‘Breakaway’ (what a banger of an album)

 

 Hi friends,

This week I have a question to ask you.

Can you still be friends with someone who you don’t trust?

You’ve probably heard the saying (or a version of it) that trust is like a mirror, once it is shattered it can be put back together but never truly repaired. Side note: I think my favourite version is Gaga in her ‘Telephone’ video –

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The only problem I have with that explanation of trust/ broken trust is that it’s always led me to believe that, and expect that, my trust would always be shattered in a big way. Like the person would pick up our shared mirror and smash it like a plate at Greek wedding but that isn’t always what happens. Sometimes it’s little chips over time until one of these chips is so big that it causes a ripple effect and you find yourself unable to see your reflection in the mirror, or be able to trust the person who’s mirror it is.

Part of being friends with someone is being able to rely on each other; to trust them. You should know whole heartedly that they won’t run off and tell someone what you said, they should know you enough to know the things that shouldn’t be shared. You should be able to know that some things are only shared between you; some things aren’t meant to be shared. What is possibly even worse than sharing private thoughts and feelings is sharing thoughts and feelings with a twist – sharing a fabricated, sometimes exaggerated, version of the truth. You shouldn’t have to watch what you say to your friends, you shouldn’t have to have your guard up. Should you?

How can you be friends with someone you can’t trust?

Are we, or rather am I, too quick to call people my ‘friend’?

A couple of years ago someone who I definitely do trust called me out on how much I use the word ‘love’. I didn’t ever ‘like’ it, I always ‘loved’ it. It was a great observation, and made me realise that I DID use the word ‘love’ too much. Perhaps the same could be said of the word ‘friend’, perhaps I use it too freely, perhaps I use it too much, or too quickly.

Perhaps the word ‘friend’, like the word ‘love’, should be used sparingly.

xoxo

M

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  

Why I won’t stop talking about Mental Health

 

My name is Michaela.

I have depression and anxiety.

I am also extremely logical.

This means my head is pretty much a constant battleground of irrational thought vs. logic trying to win.

Some days logic wins. Some days it doesn’t.

There has been a decent amount of coverage the last week or so about various mental health issues, thanks in large part to those dapper princes HRH Prince William, HRH Princess Catherine and (my personal fave) HRH Prince Henry and the work they are doing with the mental health charity ‘Heads Together’.

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My mental health battles are something that I have been quite honest about over the last year or so. I haven’t always been so open and honest about it but, being truthful, it took me a long time to realise that it was ok for me to have depression and anxiety. It didn’t make me a bad person; it didn’t mean I was damaged any more or less than the next person. I realised that, actually, being honest was the best way to be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t introduce myself with that as my ‘fun fact’, it is not something ALL my work colleagues know but it is something that, when asked, I will be honest about. I try very hard to not let it take over my life; I try very hard to not let it beat me.

Most days it doesn’t, some days it does.

My earliest memories of dealing with anxiety are from when I was around 8 years old. My dad used to ride his bike to work and, for whatever reason, I began to worry that he wouldn’t come home because something would happen. The hours he was gone on the days I was home to know he was gone I would be panic-stricken that I wouldn’t see my dad anymore. I would lie on the couch, eyes shut, reciting my times tables until he got home – it was my way of coping and trying to distract my mind from the worry. I always felt too nauseous to eat my dinner but I would force myself because I felt silly telling my mum and sisters what I was worrying about. I was 8.

 Fast forward to when I was about 12, my anxious self was petrified of power cuts. Lord knows why, I just was. We were all watching Titanic on the telly box and suddenly there was a power cut. I didn’t watch Titanic for almost 10 years because I convinced myself that there would be a power cut at the same part of the movie that there was when I was 12. I also developed distaste for cheese on toast because of power cuts – as we had a gas cooker my mum would always do us some cheese on toast by candlelight. To this day I can’t stomach cheese on toast.

 When I was in my final year at university I was living in a house my friend Steph nicknamed the Big Brother house because there was always something going on. There were various incidents that happened over the course of that year. I had so much anxiety being in that house – it was quite a toxic environment. Not the best place for anyone to be let alone someone who has depression and anxiety. That house and the events that took place there took its toll on all of us, I think. Back to the point… towards the end of that year I finally went back to the house after a few days away – I hadn’t been able to face being there – I borrowed Father of the Bride (banging film) from my pal, housemate, best thing to come out of that house – Mark and fell asleep watching it. I then watched it at bedtime everyday for a month, if not longer, because that first night I watched it nothing bad happened. That meant if I watched it on day 2, 3, 4 etc. that nothing bad would happen. It was only when Mark came in to my room and asked me how much I’d watched it that I realised it was a problem.

Welcome to my obsessive, anxious mind.

Back to the summer of 2010 – I was just back from falling in love with everything that life had to offer in Valencia. I was walking on cloud nine for those few months. Then back to earth with a bump. A dark cloud followed me for the rest of that year, a dark cloud called Depression. Hello, friend.

I had days where I would wake up, cry the whole day, and then fall into an exhausted sleep. I had days where I would sit in my bed, having not showered for days, just staring out the window. Being a student it was easy to hide – people almost expect you to be a big slob. They expect you to sleep lots, be lazy, eat poorly. Living away from home it was easy to hide. My sister’s knew something was up – to quote my eldest sister “I thought you’d gone mad”. My mum said I’d lost my sparkle. My best pal Dalbs knew I had to get out of the hole myself because I was too goddamn stubborn to accept help. The whole time she was my silent cheerleader.

I got there though. In my own time – I’ve never been one to be rushed.

Depression came a knocking again at the end of 2013. This time the symptoms were very different – I had a FT job so I couldn’t spend my days lying in bed and crying. I had to get up and go live because it was what was expected of me. Inside I remember feeling very numb though, I was existing. Not living. I didn’t care for most anyone or anything. For this reason I didn’t recognise I’d fallen back down the same hole I’d climbed out of just 3 years prior. I thought depression only had one face. It doesn’t.

A visit to my doctor in 2014 gave me the reassurance I needed that I wasn’t crazy and that it was simply an illness that I had. The sentence “it’s no different from a chest infection. You’d take medicine for a chest infection, why wouldn’t you for an illness in your brain?” was all it took for me to finally see things a bit clearer and to see that it wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. It was what it was.

Making the decision to get help and take antidepressants (or happy pills as I much prefer to call them) was one of the very best decisions I have ever made. In those first three months there was such a change in myself – I stopped hating the world, I stopped blaming it for everything that I thought was wrong. My ridiculous mood swings stopped. Sure I still get grumpy but hey, I’m only human. I was no longer going calm to crazy in the blink of an eye – now it takes at least two blinks.

Once I started to feel better, started to talk more and accept it, I started to open up about it. I realised that I am definitely not alone. Two of my very best friends in the world have also struggled with depression and anxiety; one of my Nan’s had it, one of my cousins. I am not naming them individually as I feel it is not my place to talk about their experiences but it just shows you that it affects so many people, from all over.

 I eventually got to a place where I felt strong enough to write about it. I was really frickin nervous posting it because the fear of being judged was so real. Some people see the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ and immediately paint a picture in their head of how they think you are, there are those that think we do it for attention, we imagine it all. Then there are those that don’t believe you because you ‘don’t seem the type to have that’ or ‘but you’re always smiling when I see you’… say hello to the person that has highly functioning depression.

After I posted it I had 3 people message me privately from my Facebook friends confessing that they had felt very low and were worried it was depression but were scared to go to the doctor. They didn’t want the doctor to think they were overreacting because they were stressed/ going through a break up etc. I told them if they were worried enough to reach out then go and talk to a medical professional – I am not one and would never diagnose someone but I can empathise with the symptoms that come with them.

All three of those people got back in touch to say they’d gotten help and were on the road to recovery. All because I’d taken the time to share my story and listen to theirs when they reached out.

I can’t tell you the pride I felt. I can’t tell you how, much more importantly, I was pleased they were going to get better. That’s why I won’t stop talking about mental health, and the importance of getting help if you feel it’s too much.

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I was recently out for a friend’s birthday and got talking to someone about my tattoos and they noticed my semi colon –which is a symbol of the mental health movement. It then came out that this person also had depression – having been off my happy pills since August last year I was able to sit there and tell her that it does get better. I’m living proof of that. All the fears of that any happiness you feel whilst taking the tablets is artificial is just that, a fear. Sometimes you just need a helping hand. I was so honoured that person felt they could talk to be about their experiences and that they were reassured about the future, if only for a moment, because of me.

Hope is always there. When you have anxiety and depression there are days when it is really hard to see, sometimes you believe it’s gone completely. Having people around you to not just tell you but also show you that hope is not gone; that it gets better is why I won’t stop talking about mental health.

There’s too much to lose if I do, if we do.

To anyone that is suffering, or thinks they might be. Know this, you are not alone. Help is out there. Hope is real. You matter. The world needs you.

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Some cool websites to check out if you want to learn more about mental illness of if you are struggling and need help –

To Write Love On Her Arms

“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road-trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs but people more than anything else. You will need other people, and you will need to be the other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe in better things” – Jamie Tworkowski

 

Jamie Tworkowski is not a name that many people know. I think it is a name that more people should know. He is the founder of a non-profit organisation, or charity if you will, based out of Melbourne, Florida, that focuses on giving hope and getting help for those struggling with issues such as depression and self-harm.

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source: twloha.com

 

 

The charity was founded in 2006, the name is a direct reference to the first person the organisation ever helped. A young addict who self-harmed – she wrote the word ‘fuck up’ on her arm with a razor blade. Jamie wrote an article hoping to help her get cleaned up and write ‘LOVE’ on her arms instead.

I first came across TWLOHA in, probably, 2010 around the first time I had depression. Back then, I thought it was a sign of weakness, I was in denial for a long time. I finally was diagnosed, and then – after refusing any help from the doctors – I started to look on the interweb for things that could support me and help me get better. TWLOHA came into my life then, and I have followed their journey ever since. September 2011 I was officially not depressed anymore but I still followed them because I believed in their work and what they were doing and trying to achieve. January 2014 came and I hit a downward spiral, and I was diagnosed with depression again. 2 years later I’m still on medication for it, this time around I am not ashamed to admit it, because TWLOHA have shown me that I am not alone; that there are millions of people the world over that struggle with it too. I am one of the lucky ones who got help in time, who got help before it got too bad.

 

Of course, being non-profit means they have to fundraise which they do in various ways such as by selling merch on their website; some of which you may have seen your favourite singer or celeb wearing because a lot of public names have recognised the incredible work they do and shown support for the organisation. They gain exposure through public talks, events, social media, they go on the road every year for the Vans Warped Tour in the states, and they really are helping people. There are countless people online who talk about how TWLOHA has helped them through personal struggles.

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Last year Jamie announced he would be releasing a book called “If You Feel Too Much; Thoughts on things found and lost and hoped for”; it would be a collection of his writings and blogs across the years. It was released in May but I never got around to buying it. I bought it just after Christmas. I have been slowly getting through it on my journeys to and from work and each day, Jamie gives me food for thought, makes me feel less alone and gives me hope. I would say I wished I bought it sooner, but I’m just glad I’ve got it now. I’m just over half way through now and I wanted to share some of the thoughts and things that have struck a chord with me the most in his writings, so here they are…

 

“…for love is a choice more than it is magic”

 

“I am less and less impressed by “impressive” things or people who are presented as having things figured out. I am impressed by people who are honest and kind. I am inspired by moments of vulnerability, moments of confession and compassion, moments where someone makes it clear that they are a person in need of other people and someone else makes it clear that the first person is not alone”

 

“…love is a choice as much as it is magic. Magic comes in moments, but choices stretch out over time. We make them each morning”

 

“After my first winter in NY, I learned that spring makes sense only because of winter. You notice the warm sun on your face because it hasn’t been there”

 

“I’ve become embarrassed by most things “Christian”, but I still believe in a God who loves people”

 

Be loved. Be known. Love people and know people. Be so brave as to raise a hand for help when you need it. Make friends and make sure they know they matter. Be loyal to them and fight for them. Remind them what’s true and invite them to do the same when you forget. If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.

In the event that we live to be old, I doubt our last days will find us aching for success or achievements. I doubt we’ll ask for bigger names or internet followers or virtual friends. If influence comes, then let it come, but it was never the point of the story. We will look back and smile on the moments that were real, the people who knew us and the people we knew, the relationships and conversations, the days we walked together, the story that we told. We will consider the moments when we were embraced by people who loved us even at our worst. And they simply loved us not for any sort of fame but simply because our stories had joined somehow and that miracle of friendship had taken place.”

 

“…There is a car in their driveway. There is a TWLOHA sticker on the back of that car.

We don’t know whose car it is or how the sticker got there.

But we know what that sticker means.

It means that millions of people struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. It means that the majority of those people never get the help they need and deserve. It means that what we do with our pain – how we respond to it – matters. It’s one of the biggest questions we get to answer in this life.

We believe it’s possible to change. We hear from people taking brave steps towards hope and help and healing. We hear from people sitting across from a counselor for the first time, people stepping into treatment and people picking up the phone to call a crisis hotline. We hear from people pursuing sobriety and stability. We believe that great help exists and we know the first step is often the hardest one to take.

If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. Its okay to ask for help. People need other people. If someone you care about is hurting, talk to them. We know it’s not always easy, but it could be the thing that changes everything.”

 

“I feel sad more than I feel happy.

I feel stuck more than I feel free.

I feel defeated more than I feel accomplished.

I feel I should have found love by now…

…so do not despair for there is more than what we feel.

There are things missing in every single room, but there is even more not missing.

So don’t be blinded by ghosts. Don’t let them glow brighter than your friends. Don’t let them glow brighter than your family. Be present. Fight to be present. Don’t live only in your head. It’s lonely and it’s dangerous.

Put your phone down for a few hours every day.

Talk to people. Look someone in the eyes and be honest and invite them to do the same.

Read a good book and watch a great film and put a song on repeat and remember who you are. Keep dreaming all your dreams. and perhaps as well some new ones.

Go to counseling if you need to go to counseling.

Take your own advice.

Take care of yourself.

Take care of the people you love.

Tell them that you love them.

 

There is much to be thankful for.”

 

 

I am thankful for Jamie. For TWLOHA. For all my family and friends that have never given up on me and that see me as I really am but love me and support me anyway. Someone who is not perfect, who struggles and stumbles through life day-to-day, who – on most days – doesn’t see the girl they think she is, who is learning to be happy in her own skin, who lives in her head more than she should, who overthinks, takes things to heart but can appear emotionally disconnected (although sometimes they do peak out from behind the wall that’s there). The girl who has no clue what she’s doing or where she’s going in life, but who is trying to have some fun along the way.

 

Lastly, if you’re struggling know that hope is real and help is real. You’re stronger than your demons; they are a part of you but they don’t define you. You’re not alone.

 

Xoxo

 

Micks

Travelling with pals? Give this a read.

Heyyyyyyyyyyy you guys!!!!

Anyone who knows me well will know I love to travel; my passport is most definitely my most prized possession. It has taken me lots of places and is taking me even more this year. From Barcelona to Boston, Cork to California, New York to Naples, Paris to Postonja… I’ve done my fair share of travelling.

The majority of my trips I have gone on are with friends and I can tell you now there is nothing better than exploring a new place with your pals to cement a relationship. The good memories (like taking photos with Peter Pan at Disney) to the not so good (getting lost in Postojna) become fun memories and great stories that will make you laugh for years. Travelling with friends means you get to know them better than you ever have done, spending time with people 24/7 is a sure-fire way to ensure that. However, if you are not careful it can also be a sure-fire way to arguments and silly disagreements. In worse case scenarios there can be friendships lost forever. We all know those friends who went away together and came back barely speaking, right?

Over my travels I have learnt quite a lot, not just about the cities and cultures of the places I’ve visited, but also about how to travel with companions. I realised in Paris how much I had actually learnt about travelling with friends over the years. How to avoid arguments and how to ensure that you all, no matter how big or small the group, get the most out of your trip!

Here are my Top 5 tips for an argument free va-cay…

  1. Make sure you both/all understand what it is you want from the trip

Do you wanting to spend all your time on the beach with a cocktail in hand? Is your companion a person who is all go-go-go, sightsee-sightsee-sightsee?

I am someone who loves to walk around wherever it is I am and see loads of things but even I can only take so many museums. However, the idea of spending more than 1 or 2 days being a beach bum is the least appealing thing to me, ever. I could never enjoy spending a whole week lying on a beach, I’d be too bored so having a chat about what you all want is a sensible thing to do… and this brings me to my next point quite nicely.

  1. COMPROMISE

 

Compromise is key in all relationships, possibly more so when you are travelling. You’re in a foreign place where you either don’t understand/ have a basic understanding of the language. This confusion and unfamiliarity is a breeding ground for anxiety and short tempers (trust me, I’ve been there). Even if you do consider yourself fluent in the language of the place you’re visiting chances are you still don’t know the local customs and slang.

Compromising will help you get the best out of the experience. You really want to go and see that statue? Basilica? P.O.I? Your friend wants to go shopping? Well why don’t you do one today and the next tomorrow? It seems like a pretty basic tip but you’d be surprised how quickly it can go out the window when you have your heart set on something or somewhere.

  1. BUDGET

Money. This can sometimes be a sticky subject, even between the best of friends. However, in order to know what you can all do and get without making someone have to re-mortgage their home or sell their car, you must have this discussion. Both before you book and before you plan excursions.

One thing I am extremely lucky to have is friends that are honest about this and what they are will to scrimp on and what they are not. A lot of my friends share the same thought as me, so long as where I sleep is safe, has a bed and a shower it can be a $35 a night hostel. I am not a princess and, being on holiday, I don’t plan on spending much time in the room anyway. I’d rather spend less on accommodation and have more money to upgrade a long haul flight, or go and eat at that Michelin starred restaurant (foodie4lyf) than have a fancy hotel room.

Decide before you go how meals are going to work. Are you going to pay for what you ate or split it down the middle? Where do alcoholic drinks come in to that equation? If you have 5 beers that cost $5 a pop but your friend that is paying is drinking tap water all night is it really fair that your friend is footing that bill?

Talking about it and understanding what the other person can afford stops any embarrassment or anyone feeling left out-of-pocket.

  1. Divide and Conquer/ Make sure you get some alone time.

Don’t be afraid to split up! If there is something you want to do but your bud doesn’t and visa versa why not go off and do your own thing for a bit? You will, more than likely, have your phones with you. Agree to stay in touch and meet at a certain time and place and you’re good to go. Not only does it mean that no one begins to resent the other, it gives you much-needed alone time to soothe any frustrations. You’ll also enjoy sharing those escapades over a cocktail or two at dinner that night!

Be sure you don’t hold those differing interests against each other too. If you would rather stay up till the wee hours talking with a bunch of randoms she just met, or with the receptionist in your hostel then that’s fine! Go for it. Just don’t get shitty with the rest of the group that would rather get a relatively early night before a long day of travelling.

Spending time along on a trip is healthy for you; some people (me) need it more than others. Don’t think this is weird, don’t take it personally if it is your companion that wants or needs more alone time than you. Very often they just need some time to process everything – holidays are very often sensory overload and we all need a moment of calm.

  1. Be considerate of other people’s feelings.

 

Be conscious of your travel buds mood and fatigue. Are they ratty when they are hungry? (Sophie) Or when they get to an airport? (Sophie). When they are tired? (Me). Don’t take this too personally. We all get crabby from time to time, just ignore them, I do. They come around eventually. Don’t hog the bathroom, respect that they need 10 minutes to be silent in the morning (me) before you; the incredibly energetic morning person (Leanne/ Jade’s mom) jumps on them.

More than anything though… Have fun! Take too many photos, make a fool of yourself, leave part of your heart in another city (Valencia), live like the locals… make the most of your trip – after all, it may be the only time you visit that place!

Wishing you stress-free, happy travels,

Xoxo

Micks