Anxiety: a photographic journey 

Hey everyone! 

I hope all is well, just a quick update before I get into this post, the new job is going great! I absolutely love being an editor of a growing furnishing publication. Be sure to check out www.furnishinginternational.com when you get the chance and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

The crystal healing course is also going well! I’m very happy with my results this far and I’m excited to continue with the course and to eventually be able to practice on my own clients! 🙂 

I wanted to take the time to share a body of work by 23 year old photography student, Katie Joy Crawford. This post was originally shared on BuzzFeed so be sure to check it out here

Katie has shared in photos what it feels like to have anxiety. Pictures speak a thousand words and these ones certainly do that and more! Those who understand what anxiety feels like, this will hit you right within your soul. Those who don’t, you will gain some insight into the world of anxiety so perhaps this will make you more empathetic when you hear about it. 

As someone who has anxiety, and as someone who has studied photojournalism and media, I could relate these images on multiple levels. 

Feeling like you’re suffocating

Being stuck in your own head

Feeling stuck in your life

Feeling paralyzed to act

Draining oscillation between depression and anxiety

Feeling trapped

I hope you can appreciate these photos in the same way as I did. 
Love & light,

X Cat. 

Anxiety: a photographic journey 

2017 – Be Here Now

***

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEEPS! Welcome to 2017! I’m sure many of you are settling back into your work routines after a well-deserved Summer break! For me, although I am again unemployed, the hard work is only just beginning! Let me explain…

Towards the end of last year you would have noticed that my posts became less frequent, both on this blog and on my Instagram. The truth is, after jumping off my medication, my anxiety relapsed and I’ve been struggling to cope. My focus was to get through the last couple of months remaining at my job and utilise the summer break to work on myself, to try and better manage the anxiety. Of course, if it were that easy, a magical cure would exist out there for everyone struggling to cope and we could all be on the mend after a few short weeks.

REALITY: NO MAGIC CURE FOUND!
– So I guess the hard work is just starting for me.

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To make things worse, the lead up to Christmas was nothing short of a nightmare. My mum had to have surgery after discovering a lump on her thyroid. It was not cancerous and all would have been fine had she not contracted an infection which saw her readmitted into hospital. Meanwhile, our beloved cat, Puss, had been eating less and less over a two week period. He had become skin and bone, and initial trips to the vet concluded that it may have been cat flu. No less than a day after mum getting discharged, the vet called and broke the horrible news. Puss had lymphoma. We had to put him down as his condition was worsening.

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So as you can imagine, with only two days until Christmas – our family was in absolute turmoil. We were all emotional wrecks and the last thing on my mind was to take care of myself. I was just trying to get through each day. I think we all were.

So anyway, here we are – the 18th of January and only just beginning my journey towards better health. This is what I plan to do.

  • Meditate every single day – even if it’s only for five minutes before bed.
  • Get back into yoga – I started my first class in a few months yesterday and boy did it feel good!
  • Exercise – for ages I’ve been saying that I need to strengthen up – now that I’m not working gives me both the time and the energy.
  • I love this blog – it’s my form of therapy so while I have the time I’ll be utilising it as much as I can.
  • Anxiety online course: Aside from seeing my therapist, I have decided to take an online course aimed at helping you manage your anxiety.
  • Stick to the medication – back on the meds and not planning on jumping off any time soon. And I’m cool with that. I no longer want to feel embarrassed being on this medication. The stigma surrounding being on anti-depressants is slowly dying as more and more people require the assistance. If you can do it on your own – all power to you! We’re not all built the same.

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For now, these are my main goals that I have committed myself to. I don’t know if they will work, and past experience has shown me that ups and downs are completely normal and to be expected. I’m at the point where I may even consider hypnotherapy in the near future. I am totally committed to trying my best to combat this. If it works – GREAT! If not, I will not have any regrets or guilt, because at least I can say I tried.

I think that’s enough word vomit for today. There’s still a big aspect of my life that I need to update you all on, given this blog was spawned out of heartbreak, love and loss. Amidst all of the struggles, ‘It’s all in a hug’ guy, also known as Nick – has stood by me through thick and thin. Many of my posts surrounded the ability to love again, and I’m happy to say that this is a reality that has come true for me. Nick and I are all coupled up and even went on a little trip to Byron Bay together which I will elaborate on in a future post. Never have I dated someone who knows the extent of my anxiety as he does. Where most would run away out of fear or difficulty, he continues to help me grow and overcome it. In his own words, ‘we’re in this together.’

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There’s a little insight into us – more on that, next time! Stay tuned kids 😉

Love & Light,

X Cat.

2017 – Be Here Now

Goodbye meds, hello withdrawals

***

Just over a week and a half ago, I took my last half pill (25mg) of Sertraline. Throughout my time on the anti-depressants, I wasn’t sure how much of a difference they actually made. Sure, I felt more relaxed and it really did help to bring my spirits up when I was at the lowest point in my life – but a small part of me thought that perhaps some kind of placebo mental game was play. I didn’t feel completely numb while on them, I still felt sad, and I still got anxious at times, but I am now beginning to realise just how much of an effect they really do have on your body.

*** Cue the withdrawal symptoms! ***

The last week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions, constant dizziness, high irritability and a lot of crying! It’s not really pleasant, but I am hopeful that the worst of these symptoms will be over in a couple of weeks. My biggest concern is how I will cope with my anxiety. What people seem to often do is package anxiety and depression in the one box. Sure, these often go hand in hand, but not always.


You see, I don’t consider myself a depressive personality type. I generally have a positive outlook on life. The glass is half full and I am mostly happy in my day to day activities.

Dealing with anxiousness on the other hand is a different story. This is something that I honestly do struggle with at the best of times, and is something that I am going to need to focus on over the next few weeks, especially while my body is getting used to the lack of substance that it was being fed for just under year and a half.


I probably should have done some more research before jumping off the meds, but I know this is the right time for me, despite how crap I feel at the moment. In case you’re in the same boat, here’s some helpful info courtesy of Mental Health Daily.


This article discusses the factors which may influence withdrawal when getting off this medication.

It also lists some of the symptoms which may be experienced. A few of these that I personally can relate to include:

  • Anxiety
  • Brain zaps
  • Cramps
  • Crying spells
  • Depersonalisation
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Weakness in muscles and joints

So what am I going to do about it?

I could sit here feeling sorry for myself, and ultimately make myself feel even worse than I already do, or I can simply try. Try to get though the next few weeks utlising all the new techniques that I have learnt.

I think I’m going to go with the latter.

Let’s just say, Lavender scented essential oil has become my new best friend – we are attached at the hip, and just like a clingy girlfriend, it ain’t going anywhere until I say it can! That’s tip number 1. Lavender is renowned for its aromatic therapeutic properties and I’m taking full advantage! I may as well bathe myself in it!


Tip 2 – yoga. I’m going to classes once a week at this stage, but perhaps I will start going twice.


Tip 3 – try to keep busy, whether it be through work or hobbies.

Self care is tip 4 – clothes, lippy and nails – #noshame to treating myself over the next few weeks. Remember that when you look good, you feel good!

Number 5 – Crystals – they are also my friends and they can stay. My favourites during stressful periods are clear quartz, rose quartz and blue lace agate.

6 – Herbal tea – I have just invested in some calming therapeutic tea thanks to Organics for Lily. Her blends contain lavender, lemon balm and chamomile.


7 – Taco ‘bout it!


– tell your family, closest friends or your significant other about the emotions you’re experiencing, don’t go it alone. Utilise that support system because you are loved.

The last thing you want is to end up like this guy –

With all that in mind, I don’t expect each day to be rainbows and fairies and sunshine and unicorns. Having shitty days is part of the process. But even if you pick one of those tips to implement within a crappy day, it counts for something and it may even help in the moment!

I’m glad I was on the lowest possible dosage of 50mg and I am glad that I decided to get off the meds now. I didn’t expect jumping off them to be such a bumpy road, but I have seen worse days. If I could get through last year, I can get through anything.

And so can you 🙂

Love & Light,

Cat.

Goodbye meds, hello withdrawals

The next phase

***

After putting off a long overdue doctor’s visit – I finally dragged my ass to the clinic on Monday night and I have some great news I’d like to share with you all.

 

I’m….

 

Not pregnant. Relax.

But I am starting the process to get off my anti-depressant medication #GoodbyeZoloft.


Those of you who have been following my blog from its creation last November would be aware that my anxiety and depression spiraled out of control due to the end of my long-term relationship. This caused me to jump on the medication and start seeing a therapist.

From the get go – I was hesitant to take meds, but I knew that it was something I desperately needed at that point in time. Had I not resorted to this option, I would not be where I am today. I did maintain however, that I did not want to stay on them for an overly long period of time.


I truly believe that I am at a stage in my life, once again, of legitimate happiness and contentment. I judge this by my overall emotions, my sleeping patterns; the way in which my body is changing and the amazing people I currently have around me for support. The biggest indicator? – I weigh the heaviest I have EVER been, and that speaks volumes to a girl who has struggled to put on weight for her entire life.

The above factors have lead me to conclude that now is as good a time as any, to start gradually reducing my medication, before finally completing my intake altogether. With support of my doctor, this process can take up to four weeks.

I am both excited and nervous about the next phase of my life – a new stage of learning in my healing process without the aid of meds. Spiritually, I have adopted practices such as yoga, crystal healing, aromatherapy and self-care in the form of treating myself to some new clothes or a pampering session. I make sure to love myself first and foremost, in the hope that someday, someone out there will love me and value my worth just as much as I value myself.


I feel now that I am better equipped to deal with my anxiety and my low moments. Sure, there’s no telling what the future will hold – perhaps I will need to revisit medication one day. But I do know one thing – I will never be made to feel as I did in the year that was 2015, because I am now armed with the tools, knowledge and experience to get me through.

Love & light to all

X Cat

The next phase