149a45cc-bfee-423f-ad2a-9d66e7ba6c3cThe problem with society is people always want to be “right” instead of learning new things or perspectives. The whole concept of being “conscious” or “woke” is an illusion. Because in reality we’re only using those terms to describe someone who has acquired knowledge that has gave them a new level of awareness. When the truth is we are all learning at different levels. And that’s what life is about, learning from each other. We are all humans living on the same planet, no one is superior or inferior to you. Everything you’ve learned was either from someone else’s mind, experiences, perspective, opinions or history. So next time you run into someone who may not know what you know take time to share knowledge and exchange information. Everyone has something they can teach you.

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My journey through G.A.D. (Delayed post from 2016)

8:30 am… Alright, I have to go to the grocery store to buy milk, butter, toilet paper, detergent, tissues and some frozen veg. OK, I have my list and just need to drive to the closest supermarket to get these things.

It’s simple. Drive, buy, drive home. Drive, buy, drive home. But i’ll pass so many people and what if the staff member at the front of the store says hello and then I have to respond. What if people look at me funny?  What if there aren’t any self-service bays when I pay? I have to talk to the check-out person. Then I have to walk to the car and..

Wait, what am I wearing? I need to get changed. 

8.50 am…

What is that pimple on my face? I have to cover it up. 

9:05 am… OK, let me check my grocery list again. Milk, butter, toilet paper, detergent, tisss….. Voice in the background: “Can you get some flour, apples, vanilla essence?!”

What? That wasn’t originally on my list. I need to write it out again. 

9.15 am… Milk, butter, toilet paper, detergent, tissues, flour apples, vanilla essence. Check! I think that’s everything.

9.20 am… Voice in the background: Can you take me to the gym?

What? That wasn’t my plan. I had my plan. To go to Coles and get these groceries. I can’t take you to the gym when that wasn’t in my plan. I can’t do it. That wasn’t my plan.

9.25 am… Come on, it’s not that out of the way. It’s not that bad!

Yeah it’s not that bad for you. You can’t spring things like that on me without notice! Stuff it. I’m not going anywhere. Just take the car.

Ladies and gentlemen! I introduce you to Generalised Anxiety Disorder…

This is just a very general example of what my life used to look like when I had to go and buy something as simple as groceries. It is a no-brainer for most people but for me, especially back then, was the most traumatising experience that could happen to me. It was the constant worry of things going wrong, the anxiety of leaving the safety and comfort of my home. Some days I was would rather starve or get pizza delivered than leave. It was a horrible cycle.

With G.A.D. you may worry about the same things that other people do, but you take these worries to a new level. A co-worker’s careless comment about the economy becomes a vision of an imminent pink slip; a phone call to a friend that isn’t immediately returned becomes anxiety that the relationship is in trouble. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. You go about your activities filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke them.

I was diagnosed in 2014 but I know I have had it since I was a child but I didn’t know that it was a thing. I thought constant worry was normal until I had a massive panic attack one night about going to a going-away party by myself after my friend who was supposed to come with me changed her plans and left me to go on my own. That panic attack threw me for six and it only got worse from there. From anxiety, comes depression, and from depression can come suicidal thoughts and this was a normal cycle for me for many years. Being overwhelmed by day-to-day activities produced a fear in me that made me suffocate, be belittled and not look further than the time in front of me.

I was put on medication and that in itself was a journey. Some of the medication made this hungry, pissed-off-about-anything-and-everything monster come out to play that I knew they weren’t for me. Some others made me so sick that I was crying for the pain of nausea and wanting to vomit but I couldn’t. The symptoms usually lasted a month if I could make it that far but thankfully I found one that worked. I was rather reliant on medication that I think I became addicted to the sensation it gave me and I knew I had to face the real problem at hand.

*To be continued…..

 

 

Egypt

Egypt

Where to start.

I decided I was going to go on a big holiday at the end of 2018 to celebrate me now turning THIRTY (I should change my blog name now…) and go to one of the many places I believe people should definitely visit during their lifetime… although it is still classified by many as dangerous, I still think everyone should go!

!Ancient Egypt!

Egypt is officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country along with India, tracing its heritage back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt’s long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, and often assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman Turkish, and Nubian. Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was largely Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority.

I decided to break up my trip of Egypt into sections… Enjoy! 🙂

You sir, were rude.

Title: You sir, were rude. 

It’s quite amazing how we think we’re nothing like our younger selves until something triggers a sensitive area and you’re back to your 15 year old self. 

Last night I got called a ‘Fat C____t”. Now I’m used to being called names in my field of work. It happens all the time but when this stranger said the three letters I hate to hear, I instantly shut down mentally and went into this panic. I was suddenly not this nearly 30 year old full of confidence who actually started to love her body, that had just secured her own home, who works full time and had just started to feel like shes moving ahead in life, no I was taken back to every time prior to this where I was either being bullied by people at school for my weight, told by friends of the family that I was too big for my age, all those moments where I could never fit clothes where all the “pretty” girls shop.. just all the flashbacks from my childhood came streaming back. 

That stranger didn’t care that I had previously lost 30 kilos, he didn’t care that I had a lot of loyal friends that love me, he didn’t care about my dreams and ambitions, he just saw what he saw and he’s not wrong. I am fat. I have always been fat. I haven’t known any of life without me being fat. The problem wasn’t that he called me fat, it’s what it did to me when he called me that. It triggered a floodgate of thought patterns and unworthiness I thought I had dealt with? 

Not only that, I was embarrassed and felt humiliated that I was called that in front of a friend. It was like I felt I had to apologise for being fat so we wouldn’t get harassed again or apologise because it must be hard being around someone this big? (….like what even?) 

On the outside, I shrugged it off in front of my friend and acted cool. All the while everything within me wanted to run away and hide. I managed to keep it together for two hours until getting home and crying it out. I cried so hard that I think at some point no sound was coming out of my mouth. It was pain, real pain. It affected me so much that the next day I still felt down. It was like a grey cloud hovering over me. 

I have to be honest, it hit me, real hard. 

However.. eventually I have to realise all over again that I am so much more than what some random stranger thinks of me. Being fat does not make me any less kind, any less creative, or any less funny. It does not mean that I am lazy, it does not mean I am a slob, it does not mean that I am not desirable. It does not make me any less of a woman or a human being for that matter. 

Side note: all that self-empowering positive thinking junk aside, people can be real jerks and you sir, were rude.

Dysfunction.

The head wonders so easily. To keep it focused on what’s reality. But it’s so appealing and seems much more satisfying to be caught up in an imitation. On what’s actually counterfeit. A deception. A lie, if you will. Something that pleases quickly but lasts, never. 

This isn’t a way to live. Getting caught up in a whirlwind. Thinking it will last. This will be it. Drawing closer only to be dropped. Like a second thought. 

Why do we convince and deceive ourselves like this, like this is love? How many more tears need to be shed. Aching hearts and false hopes. Pleads and apologies. Heartbreak after heartbreak only to run back.

Why do I do this to myself? 

God, I need you. 

The year that was!

The year that was!

Towards the end of every year I usually like to reflect and then write a list of a million things I could have done better in hopes that maybe ‘one day’ I will accomplish what I want to do. Basically a pity party of ‘I could have done better’.

Only now I realised that this year has been different. Like really different. In a matter of 12 months, I conquered more than I have in my whole 28 years of existence. You see, when you are bound by fear, you let it blind you of any vision. You can’t see past the next 24 hours or the next hour depending on what kind of day you’re having. My life leading up to now has been a chaotic mind mess EVEN as a Christian.

Thankfully last year I decided that 2016 was going to be my year. I still don’t really know what that means but I know I kicked butt.

First off, I do not encourage everyone to do this without your doctors advice and guidance and in saying that, I stopped taking anti-depressants for my anxiety. YES! A big deal. A very risky deal and I do not encourage anyone to do this without doctors guidance. I am FOR anti-depressants as they helped me cope for the season I needed them. It was a long and painful journey for me to even find the one that worked well but I couldn’t stand being reliant on them and the only way I was going to start finding victory was to face it head on which was petrifying considering I was about to travel for 4 months abroad but I did it. Which leads me to my next point.

After Dad died last year I knew I had to travel. He always repeated to me “Go travelling, Sarah. Travel, Travel, Travel”. Since I had pretty horrific anxiety, I never left the country. I never went on holidays except for a couple trips to the east coast but I never made time for me. So I decided to sign up for one of the best trips of my life and ended up going to 3 countries! 🇳🇿 + 🇺🇸 + 🇲🇽
In the State of Maryland, which is on the east coast of America, I embarked as a Camp Counselor for 3 months at a camp for those with disabilities. It was the most wonderful, hard working and rewarding experience. The days were super long, jam packed and tiring. Sessions were 7-12 days long and it was 12+ hours of work. We slept in a cabin built in 1937 surrounded by wildlife. Yeah, it sounds lovely but mice & bugs were your roommates and bears and deers roamed the woods right outside your doorstep. It is not as glamerous as Disney make it out to be! but through the hard work and sometimes sleepless nights, we provided the best time and atmosphere for every single camper. I encourage every young person to do it. It will stretch you, challenge you and change you in the best possible way.

The perks of being at camp were the cities I got visit while on our break: BALTIMORE, WASHINGTON DC, OCEAN CITY, PHILADELPHIA, PITTSBURGH, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, ORLANDO, LOS ANGELES and a surprise trip to MEXICO after camp ended! Yes, beautiful Mexico.

I could write so much more about my year but it is impossible without making this the longest post ever to written. So I will finish off with this…

Last year I wrote that I wanted to be: FEARLESS, TRUST MORE, LOVE MORE.

I can humbly say that I did all three. Travelling to a country I’ve never been to before for 4 months opens your eyes and it shifts your thinking. I came back from my trip bolder than ever, I knew and loved myself more and was able to pursue things I’ve never thought I wanted to pursue.

Next year, I pray that I continue to be fearless. I pray I continue to love myself so I can love others. I pray I continue to learn more and open my mind to bigger and greater things. I pray I never shrink back to the girl who let anxiety rule her life.

So long, 2016! You were the best year yet 💋

I hate Christmas….

I have dreaded every single Christmas to date. I know, I sound like the grinch but it’s true. I LOVE JESUS but as I touched on it briefly on a previous blog, I’ve really hated most family related events so lets add Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all the holidays while we’re at it.  I just can’t wait until the day was over.

Why do you ask?

It hurts.

It hurts like hell.

It reminds me that my bipolar mother would rather spend Christmas alone than spend it with her own children. It reminds me that my Dad is no longer here and that in itself is enough to not want to celebrate. It reminds me that my family is and will never be like any other family let alone “perfect”. It reminds me that all other Christmases have ended in pain so what’s going to change? It’s never been my favourite time of the year because it reminds me of brokenness.

Now before you get all turned off by all of this and think “well maybe she should be thankful that she has a roof over her head and even gets the opportunity to celebrate Christmas” speech I’d like to say that I completely understand all that. I understand perspective and being grateful and I really am. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am so grateful for everything I have – but – it does not disqualify my current struggles.

I am learning that God is ever faithful. Yes, I had a pretty unfortunate.. actually I’m just going to say it… sh*t upbringing and having to process and deal with all of that crap is going to take a long time (thank God I have a very patient therapist!) but God IS faithful. I always wondered when it was going to be “my time”. The time when I would finally love Christmas (and anything related to family) and not have that stab-in-the-heart feeling every time it came around and in the last few months, I’ve seen a glimpse of it.

You see, for most of my life, starting from a very young age, I was forced to be a carer. I was a carer and mediator in my family and from then, I was just used to having to mature too early and deal with other people’s junk while putting mine to the wayside. It caused me to only ever have that mindset but to never truly trust and let anyone in. However, only recently have I realised that God has aligned people in my life so well that through the victory I gain from dealing with past hurt and trauma, he highlights to me how important they really are to my life but not just from me to them but from THEM TO ME. It was time for me to be cared for and he shows that through his people.. my church family.

So this Christmas, I hate it a little less and I trust a little more..

Why? Because I have church family who have opened their arms so I can spend Christmas with them. A very simple and small gesture to some but it means the world to me. It’s a safe place where I don’t have to mediate. I don’t have to stress. I don’t have to dread and for once in my life, I don’t have to want the day to be over.

It has rekindled my faith in that my God has everything sorted.

“A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely.” Psalm 68:5-6