World Mental Health Day


10/10/2017





Oh boy, it's been a while hasn't it? I wish I could come up with a good or interesting reason why I haven't updated here in a while. It might be because I am a little bored with blogging, or because I haven't felt really inspired to write or share anything in public, and when I do it usually ends up over on Instagram. I've always talked quite openly about my mental health and lately I've been going through quite a bad bout of depression. It's something that comes and goes and I'm usually okay dealing with things myself, but this time around has been a completely different experience. When I'm feeling well, I try to keep an eye on my health and look out for signs that I could be entering a difficult period. This is so I can try and prepare myself and deal with the depression appropriately by reasurring myself that whatever happens, it will only be temporary.

This time around has been different for me for a number of reasons. I've been going to therapy and I think it's actually helping. I've tried different forms of therapy and counselling over the years but it either didn't help or I wasn't commiting to it.

I believe that anyone can become mentally unwell. You can live a more or less problem-free life and still get sick. Nobody is immune. However, it's hard to imagine anyone living a problem free life, because if life has taught me anything, it's that it sure likes to fuck with us.

Anyway, I've been going to therapy because I have definitely not had a problem-free life. I'm honestly not trying to sound dramatic for the sake of good writing here, but I've experienced enough terrible things to last a lifetime. So many, that when I attempt to list them out to another person, even a therapist,  I tend to stop half way and wrap up because I think I can feel how uncomfortable I'm making someone else feel. This is not good, because this leads to bottling things up and pushing them far far away. This leads to not dealing with your trauma and this leads to PTSD. Trauma and PTSD are the two guys I'm dealing with these days. Before now, I could openly admit to struggling with anxiety, depression and the world surrounding that, but succumbing to post traumatic stress disorder is a new ball game entirely.

At the age of 26, I've started to open up my past and look deep into it with a magnifying glass. A huge problem for me is dealing with self-pity. I can't stand it, just cannot handle it. I am my Father's Daughter. Woe is me? No thank you. Part of the reason I don't want to explain what I've been through on here, or with anyone, is because I don't want to come across as self indulgent. However, the typically Irish approach of just deciding to be grand doesn't really work either. Going to therapy and learning how to retrain your brain so you can use the tools in your mind to cope with poor mental health is very rewarding but also very hard. I guess it's like being an athlete in the sense that you have to think about it all the time and you can't slack off if you want to become stronger.

Opening up about several traumatic events in a small space of time is incredibly draining both emotionally and physically. Jesus Christ. Severe back pain, especially at night right before I'd like to sleep, along with randomly breaking down into floods of tears have sort of become the norm recently. This is of course not really normal, but probably a side effect of having to expose myself to a lifetime of pain that I've spent so many years running away from.

Without going into much detail, I can still open up a little bit to give an idea of what has contributed to a complex-PTSD diagnosis. Growing up was not easy and something I had to do too quickly, my upbringing was, let's say, complicated and while I truly love my family, I feel isolated in some ways and have a lot of work to do in terms of building those relationships. An assault which left me with cracked ribs and a broken arm. Self harm. My mother's suicide. Car accident. Break up. Sexual assault at university. Dropping out of university. Endo and PCOS. Chronic pain. Surgeries. Feeling completely dissociated from my body for three years. Spousal depression. Heartbreak. Cancer scare. Another assault. Six months of insomnia and living in the worst place I've ever lived, which finally ended when I had a breakdown. Suicidal. Attempt. Recovery. Miscarriage. Break up.

Yeah, it's pretty hard to say all of that to someone's face.

And all of this vieled with the idea that I have to pretend to be okay all the time because that's much easier than facing up to what's really going on. In the short term it is, easier I mean. Facing the reality of trauma is so hard, but I've had problems my whole life and I don't want to keep going on without at least trying to figure myself out a little better. I've pushed good people away, said no to incredible opportunities and let myself and others down more often than I would like to admit. I hide behind ideas, I run away from people, I delude myself. I talk all day about the things I'd like to do and get nothing done. I make excuses and I'm tired of living this way, so I've really tried to make some changes. Therapy is draning, both financially and emotionally, but I'm going to try and stick with it for as long as I can.

The great thing is, I can make a list ten times as long about all the good things I've experienced. It's not boastful, but genuine gratitude. I've been dealt a bad hand sure, but life is still good. I've accepted that I will probably always experience some level of depression and sometimes that feeling scares me, but most of the time I'm actually okay with it.

Life is, if anything, surprising. This year has honestly been one of the best years of my life. I travelled abroad by myself for the first time and discovered a true confidence in myself that I hadn't felt before. The year started off pretty badly, but even when terrible things were happening, I knew I had a lot of love around me. I feel like no matter what's happened, I've been lucky enough to get another crack at things. I've no idea where it comes from, but I've always managed to push through. Things have slowly but surely been getting better, thankfully. Don't get me wrong, some days are total shit, but it's realising that my brain isn't actually trying to slowly kill me,  and that I've just been through a lot and there are ways I can help myself recover. That is what really gets me through those days.

So there you have it. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a lot of kind people in my corner looking out for me. Be kind to each other, always. You'll never truly know the ways your kindess can help another person, but I promise you it will. Be kind to yourself too.  Help end the stigma surrounding mental health issues. If you're struggling, know that there is love and understanding out there for you. If you need to talk, I'm here for you too.



Summer got me Dreaming


8/04/2017


 Well, here we are. August already. I cannot believe how quickly this Summer has fallen through my hands. It's been a mad Summer for me. A lot has happened. I've gone out too much and haven't slept enough. I've been spending my time on a long list of distractions as well as working hours in a job to pay the bills and somehow fit in time to work creatively too. To be honest, juggling everything has been tough, but every time I say I'm going to be good and sensible etc, I just end up tempting fate by doing something spontaneous anyway. Perhaps in the next few weeks while Summer is winding down, I'll take some time at home for a calm repose...


I mean... We'll see about that, but I guess the problem is that I really don't have any desire for a quiet weekend to myself. I don't know why but this time of year energizes me in a way that I almost forget feels possible at any other time of year. And it's definitely not the sunshine because I live in Ireland where it's raining most days. I blame my friends for being too interesting and too fun. I also blame the god damn Beats for fueling my sense of adventure and want for a great story. It's so fun and invigorating but also leaves me exhausted because as soon as I catch my breath from one thing, I am once again breathless for something new. I can barely manage my texts, never mind actual professional emails. I've spent more time than I'd like to admit feeling hungover from too many parties or sprawled out on my bedroom floor listening to music, procrastinating, instead of working. I always feel like I'm half in love with something or someone or some place new every other week. Constantly caught up in the 'what ifs' and that very specific kind of daydreaming that comes with being young and single in the Summer. I'm still feeling like this, although I'm well aware how quickly this month will slip away - just like those hazy, dreamy thoughts of mine do when I finally pick myself up from my bedroom floor...




Photos by the extremely talented Brinkley Rose Capriola





Berlin Photo Diary


6/23/2017























Hi! I'm just back from a few perfect days in Berlin. so thought I'd just share a few snaps here from the city that holds my heart. This was my first ever solo holiday and I had the most amazing time experiencing this weird and wonderful city. I also loved meeting so many people, mostly brand new but also some old faces from back home too! I'm so thankful that I got to travel to this incredible city so last minute and for the hospitality that was shown to me. My heart is so full right now, even though truthfully I'm a little heartbroken to be home. I have really. really been itching to travel anywhere I can lately and this trip was exactly what I needed. It's funny how just a few days away can feel truly life-giving sometimes. This feeling begs the question: where next?

Monday Inspiration


6/05/2017



Hi friends, I'm going to start sharing a playlist here every Monday because I am obsessed with making new ones on Spotify. I'm also going to share a little series of images that have inspired me lately, just because I still haven't grown out of my teen obsession with Tumblr. Hope you all have a great week x







 


Self Love Club


6/04/2017



Some days I just can't be bothered. I'm lying on my bed and I've already missed a few days at the gym, but still, I can't be bothered. I've learned to be okay with this, to let myself just be instead of running myself down into the ground. I think we are all too hard on ourselves. We live in a world that is constantly telling us that we are too much or not enough. The concerns that seem to define femininity seem infinite to me sometimes. I get really desperately sad about the dumbest shit sometimes. Swearing, that's something I hardly ever do here, but that's what it is: shit. Like this double chin I have every time I laugh, no matter how much weight I lose it is always going to be there. My hair that always falls flat. My prominent nose (thanks Dad) or my terrible posture. Throw in harsh opinions that surface on social media from time to time (not often thankfully) and there are days I convince myself I am the most unattractive woman alive.  Jesus, this is without even starting on my personality. And this is all before I've even had my first cup of coffee. Recently I convinced myself that I had wrinkles all over my forehead, even though I still get asked for ID and most people can hardly believe I'm almost 26. Most days, I don't think like this or feel this way, but it happens. It also makes me sad because I know I'm not alone. We are all too hard on ourselves, I think. At my most insecure, I've been jealous of other women. This makes me feel awful, and unlike myself, because all women should be celebrated and that includes me. 



This realisation pulls me right back to my roots. I soon realise that these insecurities are simply playing to someone else's idea of what I should be. These ideas are hard to shake. They feel like poison. We're overly sexualised and broken apart physically. Emotionally. Intellectually. It's draining. It happens every day. It makes me mad and I'll complain and stomp my feet about it but I won't let it consume me. Indifference can feel liberating. Saying, I don't care what you think, well, that feels good to me. How other women look isn't any concern of mine and even my own appearance has no bearing on how I live my life. And that is what matters the most. Life is to be lived. It's not how we look that's going to define us, we won't care about that stuff in the end so why do we let it take up so much of our time right now? 


I feel like I've finally reached a stage in my life where I can say: I'm over it. We as women are too used to being shamed. I'm not genetically blessed when it comes to my figure, but I say, so what? I'll show it off anyway because I'm happy. I've never been in a situation where I've showed someone my body and they've responded with; "no thank you, can you put that away please?" If I ever feel that way when I look in the mirror, I like to remind myself of that fact because I should never want to say that to myself either. 

Sometimes people take issue with taking pride in your body, especially on social media. Confidence is often mistaken for arrogance, even attention seeking, but what I want to know is, why not love your body? It's the most rebellious stand you can take against the world that is constantly telling women they are not enough or they are too much.. My confidence still ebbs and flows and on the worst days it can dip very low. Thankfully, those days are less and less. Self acceptance is a life long process, it's an investment in yourself. It's exhausting, but something we simply cannot escape. 

As RuPaul would say. If you can't love yourself - how the hell you gonna love somebody else?


Photos by the dream that is Brinkley Rose Capriola x




Sweet Beginnings


6/01/2017


Sweet friends, if you've been following me for a while, you'll probably know that I've never been one to shy away from sharing a personal story. I've written quite openly about my own hardships. Through sharing my own personal stories about my health: living with endometriosis/pcos, struggling with depression in the past, and also speaking candidly about heartbreak and grief; I have found a limitless amount of support online. 

I want to tell you all something I have been thinking about lately. This time of year always stirs up all sorts of feelings for me. It was five years ago this month when I started to become very sick, little did I know I would end up having to deal with reproductive health issues for this long after that. It's also around the same time of year I lost my mother. It's been nine now. Hard to believe that when it's typed out in front of me. I always take this time to reflect and it used to make me so sad thinking about how much time had passed so quickly. Also thinking about how sick I had been for so long. Thinking that way really got me down for the longest time, beyond grief for my mother and what felt like my good health forever, I just had a negative attitude. 

Anyway, skip to today and here I am, reflecting once again over the times gone by and I have to be honest and tell you that it really does feel good. I love this time of year. I mean I really love it. The sun makes me feel so good. I have such romantic notions about Summer, I just feel like anything could happen. 

Often people ask me how I have found joy in my pain, telling me that they have felt stuck and don't know how to see beyond their hardship. It can be so difficult to see through the darkness when you are right there in it, the feelings of loss can be all consuming. All I really know is that every single good thing within me, or that I might share with the world, anything you might read here that draws you to me, is a direct result and overflow of the pain and loss I have suffered.

Every. Good. Thing.

Joy and pain go hand in hand. So often we want all the good stuff but we never want to deal with any hardships. That's just the human condition. I am a very social person and I love to travel and stay active. I'm an artist and I will stay awake all night if I feel inspired. These things keep me sane. They make me feel alive. However, they also come at a very steep cost physically sometimes. I love these parts of my life more than I could ever express, but friends, it really does kick my ass sometimes. There are days I just can't get out of bed because I'm so exhausted. Or I'll throw up from the stress on my body. I try to cover it up. I hate complaining. There's something so powerful in acceptance. I've tried to escape pain through medicine, living my life bound to my bed, never working, never creating. Sleeping all the time because the rest felt so good. By trying to numb the pain this way, I also prevented every other beautiful thing in my life from happening. 

Joy and pain. These things are always connected. I don't talk about it much anymore but I think I've been having some pretty bad 'endo' flare ups lately and the pain has actually been worse now than it was when I was resting more... but my life is genuinely the sweetest it has ever been. You just can't have all the good stuff without accepting your share of hardships sometimes. 

Life, man. It is the most incredible thing. You just never, ever know what it's going to throw your way. So you might as well lean in. Do the extremely hard work it takes to accept the hardships and let them sit next to you, but do not let it consume you. You are not your pain. You are powerful and beautiful and beyond this there is even more incredible life waiting for you.




Thank you for snapping me on this cute stoop Brink x

Monday Inspiration


5/22/2017



As part of a new feature here on A Stitch to Wear, I'm going to start sharing some Monday Inspiration. I'm a visual kind of lady, so it just makes sense to share more of that here. I'm also going to share a Spotify playlist every week so you can find me on there too!












A Letter To Love


4/24/2017







Oh love, I'm still learning how to get it right. In a way, love has been the hardest part of my life so far. I'm talking family, friends, boyfriends, all of it. Romantic love in particular has been the most challenging for me. When I was younger, I really used to think I was wise beyond my years, full of life experiences when I had barely even lived. I used to believe that I was cut out from the start to be the perfect woman for a deserving man, so you can see already that my entire romantic thinking was centred around my ego. The things that I could bring to a relationship seemed to be what mattered the most. I used to think that whatever I had to offer another person, myself plus my actions, was all I really needed to know about being in a relationship. Now that I'm a little older, I've come to realise that love is much more than this. I've finally come to realise that love is about true partnership. It's not just about investing in who you are right now, but who you hope you can become. I've only really had my heart broken once. It happened slowly and all at once, I was strangely fine and then became so deeply sad that I thought I would never feel okay again. The heartbreak was real, and after a couple of years I am finally seeing what I have truly learned from that experience. I sort of arrived at a crossroads, where I could decide to emotionally close myself off or continue to open myself up. Vulnerability is truly the most incredible gift I have allowed myself. It takes genuinely every part of who I am and it is exhausting. It is a life-long investment and requires me to be so honest with myself and others. It is hard to be vulnerable sometimes, but it has rewarded me again and again. Hiding away from my feelings, as much as I might have tried, did not equate letting go. Feeling angry made me bitter and that is not a shade I wear well. A temporary hardship couldn't be enough to justify staying sad forever. Instead of investing in sadness, I've chosen honesty and perseverance. I'm still so young and admitting that I don't have it all figured out is the only way I can learn. I'll tell you something I do know for sure though, putting my ego aside has given me so much room to grow. Life is very fleeting, so let yourself be loved and when it's possible, love as fully as you can.

A big thank you to Brinkley Capriola for this beautiful photoset, you are a dream.
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