Friday, 11 December 2015

I miss being independently creative. I miss writing stories and drawing pictures not just doodling and typing up articles for other people. I miss when a story would pour out of me like it wasn't so much a part of me as the universe using me as its instrument. I miss seeing a beautiful thing and wanting to capture it or share it. I miss finding myself in fantasies instead of building myself out of completed tasks and assignments. I am always on the edge of feeling like I'm losing myself in the things I care about, instead of caring about the things I lose myself in. I am scared to let go and scared of what holding on means. Scared that making a decision one way or another will destroy a world, will destroy a side of me that may never get to fully develop. The curse of loving too many things or having more than one passion or gift is that you can't fully give yourself to one thing, that part of you would rather have you be decent at several things but keep all of them, than truly flourish at one thing but always know that you left things behind. So I compromise, I collaborate and I contribute - so that my gifts teamed with those of others can create the magnificent thing I can't, or am too scared to, make alone. I don't want to be seen as marvelous when I'm doing something to what I feel is my lowest capability. And I hope when I work with other they give their all as much as I do. 

Saturday, 10 January 2015

insecurity's a bitch

The last few days I have been contemplating the concept of insecurity. For most of us living in the 1st world insecurity tends to be more about ourselves and less about out lives. Most of us are pretty secure in having somewhere to live, something to eat, education and someone to talk to. What we obsess over is thing we want more control over, like our appearance or our love life, or things we have no real power over, like the future or other people.
I have been waxing lyrical in my inner monologue about how proud I am for overcoming my anxiety and feeling more secure than ever but really it's been fate and a degree of letting go of control that have allowed me to feel this way. Moving to a country I'd previously know rather little about was such an enormous leap of faith that I was weirdly relaxed about it - you can't fight what you can't predict. Everything here has been unpredictable, how well I would take no longer always coming top in my classes, the friends I would never have made at my university, the new hobbies that have become highlights of my week, or the man in my life who never lets me down.
Unfortunately, the ease with which I acquired things after so many years of feeling like everything was hard work has made me overly sceptical. This, coupled with the consistent joy that is my anxiety, means that I can go from cool as a cucumber to frazzled like crispy bacon in about 10seconds flat. My insecurities have just found a new way to manifest themselves; by leaping up out of nowhere the second anything isn't 100% perfect.
On the one hand, life's disappointments and tribulations have given me an incredible appreciation for how incredibly lucky and happy I am, but on the other hand they have imbued me with a cynicism that has put me on constant edge - just waiting for something to go wrong. I guess one of the biggest obstacles we face in life will always be ourselves, living up to our expectations, avoiding being consumed by our disappointments. Learning to let go is probably the greatest gift I ever gave myself in the fight against my insecurities. Yes there will always be someone out there whose life is better than mine, who might be kinder, more interesting, more talented, prettier, saner, softer, sweeter, and just generally have their shit together a bit more, but that doesn't need to make me feel any less great. We all perceive ourselves and others differently, and while you might be looking at someone and wishing you could quote literature as effortlessly as them, they might be looking at you and wishing they could pull off blue hair. The person you think is too gorgeous to know you exist might think you're too talented to ever be interested in a hack like them. What we forget when we feel insecure is that the only person worth comparing yourself to is yourself, and even then we need to focus on our insides and not on our superficial appearance so much. So what if you were thinner when you were 17? You also hadn't achieved half the incredible things you've done since then and in fact you probably felt worse about your weight back then than you do now.
So I'm not saying that we can ever reach a point where we won't feel insecure, we're human and therefore unfortunately prone to pettiness and jealousy - even the very best of us - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't let go more and try to focus on what's around us and what we're doing rather than getting stuck in our heads and worrying about stuff we have no control over. We can't stop anyone from being better than us in someway, but we can stop ourselves from letting that slow our progress to becoming better versions of ourselves.
As far as I'm concerned, my insecurity can suck it, I'm an adult and if I can't be happy about that much then I wasted my angsty teenage years complaining for nothing. I have a degree of control in my life that makes me feel like I have at least the power to cut out some negatives and add in some positives and that's all I need to keep moving forward. Fingers crossed I can keep this outlook for a little longer, if not, at last I've written myself this reminder.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

not so secret me

For a long time this blog has been one of those places where I talk about all the things I don't like to broadcast too much to the people I see every day. The things I don't want to define me but have for some time, my insecurities, my issues with my ex, my coming to terms with my mental health problems and even, occasionally, my fights with my friends.
That's not to say that these things are secrets, if they were I certainly wouldn't put my name on this blog (that said I actually don't know how to anonymise it, tips in the comments if you're in the know). I've always been a very open person, I'd rather be upfront about my insecurities, feelings and opinions than have someone who doesn't understand them try to interpret a reaction caused by these internal issues.
Today, I revealed to my new boyfriend some details of my mental health history. While he knew I had anxiety, he didn't know I'd been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, that I had symptoms of OCD when stressed, that I'd had depression or, perhaps the most difficult to admit, that I'd had an eating disorder.
One of the things I worry most about in my relationship is that I have all sorts of things wrong with me and I get nervous that someone like him might not want all the extra drama a person like me can bring. I think for a person who has always been more or less mentally and physically healthy, it might be overwhelming to constantly be around someone who has to take regular medication, has a bowel condition, mental health problems and, in the short time you've dated has had a serious dramatic fallout with an ex and spent time in hospital for emergency surgery.
My whole dating life I have always been worried about scaring people away. Scratch that, in all my relationships I worry more about overwhelming the other person than I do about myself. Only in the last two years have a found that precious give and take balance that comes when you have exactly the right people in your life. Luckily for me, no matter what secrets I might let out, my guy takes them on because, according to him, it only makes it easier to love me, easier to help me when I'm struggling and easier to understand me, build me up and take care of me. When he says this I realise I've always shared this outlook, but never really applied this to myself. I guess the more the other person reveals, the more you can grow together and individually. For the first time ever, I don't feel self-conscious in my relationship, my feelings or myself, because I know I've met someone who sees anything that's a part of me to be something worth caring for. And his acceptance, makes it easier for me to forget my secret shames, well to accept them at least, as part of my past, and not the most important part of me.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


I kissed someone once
the kind of someone that makes you feel like..
Just being around them.
The someone eveyone wants to be with.
But the more time I had someone who was someone.
I started to feel like no-one.

There wasn't room for two someones in one
I had been no one for so long I almost thought it was enough.
That being with someone was enough
Was better
Than feeling like someone yourself.

But luckily thats when another one
Showed this one
That I was someone once
That I still am
And I dont need somebody with a hot body
who treats me like nobody
when I could be anybody.

And it turned out that that one
was the one
The one who made me feel like no one..
else in the world.

Hello 2015

So 2014 has left us at last and I have bid it a very fond farewell. I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, other than to live 2015 doing what it took most of 2014 to realise was important to me.
Last year was a year of challenges for me. I dealt with bad friends and bad relationships. I realised that once imperfect ones had finally matured into something fantastic. I overcame my relapse into depression and finished up with counselling for the time being. I put myself outside my comfort zone for the first time in a long time and in doing so took my biggest step towards taking control of my own life.
Last summer au pairing in Spain was my dry run for moving away from home. I spent two months living with a family, absorbing a culture, improving my language and making friends I hope to see again soon. In many ways a few months away from all the usual faces, places and dramas was good preparation for moving, Moscow was an entirely different kind of adventure.
I never thought anywhere but Ireland would feel like home for me, but my first term in Moscow State University changed my perspective not just on what home was, but who I was. I have fashioned myself a little family here, I have decorated my tiny apartment into a room fit for me and I have gained insights into more languages, cultures and people than I initially could have imagined.
Because this post doesn’t have a particular direction, I don’t want to make it too long, I could write reams about the newness of arrival, my worlds colliding when my parents came over to visit, or even the alien feeling of flying to Dublin and feeling like my house wasn’t the home I once felt it to be. Now I don’t mean to say that it wasn’t as welcoming as it always has been, only that home doesn’t feel like a place anymore, but rather the feeling that I can make my way anywhere, that happiness, comfort and love don’t live in only one location. Most importantly, I found that by leaving the only place I thought I had these things, I reminded myself that they live inside of me as much as they do in my friends, family and surroundings.
I may be sitting on a half broken soviet bed frame in an apartment the size of my kitchen in Dublin and hoping the snow outside won’t get in through my dodgy window frame, but I never felt more at home. I know that my fantastic family will wait for me, and that my great friends will have even more to share with me after not seeing me for a year. I know that, for the time being, I have a fabulous roommate and future roommate, an international troupe of new friends to learn from and one boy in particular who will always remind me that even without all of the great people around me, I would be enough all by myself.
2014, you were a bitch of a mistress but you taught me a lot and I will be forever grateful for the most important person you brought back into my life – myself.  I was lost for a little while, but running away to a strange place, all alone and with no idea what to expect, turned out to be how I found my way. I am full of excitement for what my next year has in store for me, and I hope a part of it will be getting back into writing because I love it, not just because I need a way to get out all my negative feelings. Thanks to those of you who stuck with me during a particularly bleak period in this blog’s outlook – I’ll try not to get into that hole again.

Belated Happy 2015! 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Crazy in love

One of the hardest things I had to do was to admit to myself that my anxiety and depression were a part of me that I would maybe be rid of. Coming to terms with the fact that there might always be the chance of having a bad day, of never being completely secure in my mental health was a really terrifying thought.  The only thing that is harder is trying to explain mental health episodes to someone who has never suffered from them.
Anxiety can cause sudden mood swings and changes of heart and can sometimes make you feel stressed and uncomfortable in situations where people wouldn't expect it, or where you were perfectly alright moments before. Because of this, I have become pathologically upfront about my feelings, I feel a need to talk, explain and assess situation constantly. I know that the only thing more difficult than suddenly feeling uncomfortable in an intimate moment, or stressed and introverted at a party, is when people can't understand why because that makes the situation all the more stressful. Unfortunately, some people aren't talkers or sharers.
I recently found that in romantic relationships, some people aren't good communicators. Guys tend to prefer to play things close to their chest and aren't very upfront about their feelings. This makes it difficult for someone like me, anxious people need a lot of reassurance particularly in vulnerable situations. Also, because I always explain any behavioural changes of my own, I find it hard when other people don't, I worry and obsess over what it means and usually feel like it's somehow my fault.
It terrifies me to think that this vulnerability of mine might make me look like I'm coming on too strong and I worry about the intensity of my mental health. When you have a bad day, you don't want to be around yourself so it's hard to imagine anyone else wanting to be around you, it's why so many people cover it up when they struggle with mental health because the only thing worse than lowliness is feeling that you're a burden on someone. I think mental health will always be a little misunderstood but I like to hope there is someone out there willing to try to understand my daily struggles and support me through them, the way my mentally healthy friends and family have had to learn to.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


There is a cure out there for depression and anxiety. Granted, it's not a permanent one, its a bit like taking painkillers for a broken leg, you still have to wait for it to heal from within but it helps for a little while.
The cure is touch.
It might not work for everyone, sometimes it doesn't always work for me. But it helps a little. Depression can feel like being hollowed out and aching; like a cheap, plastic shell of a person. When your mental illness kicks in it can take over body and mind, and it feels like the you you know and are used to is gone and you don't know when it's coming back. The empty ache like loss fills your chest and feelings of guilt and stupidity fill your mind. This is when human interaction can come to the rescue. It has the power to reconnect you to your body, to bring you back into yourself and help you feel whole again. That shoulder squeeze or arm rub or knee pat that says: 'hey, you ok?' That hand squeeze or hold reminding you to hang in there. Putting an arm around you when you sit down next to them. Looking into your eyes when you're trying to avoid the world. The hug that is tight enough that the warmth from their chest spreads into yours, reminding you that you aren't a shell, you're a human, you can feel and that maybe you are even loved.  That tiny touch is enough to remind you that someone cares about you, enough to reach out and give a bit you a bit of themself. I am lucky that my best friends are tactile too. One will always snuggle up with me like an eager kitten as soon as we are together. Another will press his forehead to mine, not in a romantic way, just to be close. Another will squeeze my hand or shoulder as he passes me to sit down in class. These tiny gestures are enough to bring me out of myself, to reconnect me to the world outside the darkness and emptiness that can take up the inside. A place where there is warmth, smiles, and offers not to say anything, not to fix anything, but to be physically present, to be near me in an interactive way, so I am not left  alone with myself. There is a quiet magic in the emotion that a simple touch can stir up. Most importantly it is a reassurance. It says someone is not afraid to be near you, and maybe you shouldn't be either