Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens

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All you crystal junkies out there, listen up! If you have never been to Byron Bay before, what I’m about to show you will BLOW YOUR MIND!

The Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens are located about 30 minutes away from Byron Bay in the town of Mullumbimby.

FUN FACT: Iggy Azalea was originally from Mullumbimby.

DOUBLE FUN FACT: Iggy Azalea’s actual birth name is Amethyst!

Well how bout dat, COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

Crystal Castle is basically a theme park for all spiritual / crystal lovers out there. If you’re not open minded or into this kind of thing, save yourself the $28 entry fee. I understand it’s not for everyone. Wish I could say the same for me, but we all know that I loved every minute of it and walked away with $200 worth of crystals (special mention goes to Nick for the early Christmas present). Hi, my name is Catherine and I’m a crystal-holic. Don’t judge.

Ok, I promised myself not to ramble on with this post, I’d rather bombard you with beautiful pictures so you can all see the tranquillity and beauty of this place for yourselves. Make sure to visit if you’re ever in the area!

img_6152Crystal Guardians: World’s tallest geodes standing at 5.5m tall and weighing 20 tonnes.

  Rose quartz: Feeling the love.

Flower up: Garden walks.

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The Castle: How’s the serenity?

Om: World Peace Stupa.

Happy place: Crystals.

Oh Look!: More Crystals!

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Who dat, who dat?: Amethyst Cave.

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Last but not least: cash me outside in the bamboo reeds. So zen.

Hope you all enjoyed the humour and happy snaps within this post!

Remember to laugh & love this week.

Until next time,
Love & Light –

x Cat.

Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens

A Byron Retreat

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Within my last relationship, for as long as I can remember, all I wanted was to book a small holiday and getaway.  It didn’t have to be as big as travelling overseas, nor did we have to go interstate, I would have been happy retreating to a small Victorian beach town. There was something about going on an explorative adventure with the one I loved which really appealed to me. Critics will tell you to hold off on going away with your partner because it can ‘make or break’ you, but I never saw it that way. I saw it as an opportunity to create new memories, and gain new experiences, learn new things, smell new smells, and expand our pallet with the tastes of new regions.

Unfortunately, the more I wanted and expressed this to him, the less he wanted to go away with me. I couldn’t understand after being in a relationship with me for three years, why he was always dismissive and disinterested in the idea. When it came to his mates asking him to go on trips however, he would greet the topic with much more enthusiasm. Was there something wrong with me? Was I not fun enough? This issue alone caused an array of insecurities within me as I struggled to understand the cause of his indifference. Perhaps this was one of many red flags, which ultimately lead to the demise of our relationship.

>> Fast forward two years >>

Step by step, I take in the sights and smells of the lush green leafy environment around me. Walking trails leading us through age old rainforests provide a tranquil and calming surrounding, leaving us at one with nature. A wild wallaby greets us as we explore the trails and wild bush turkeys scurry along the paths. The buzzing sound of insects increase as we walk by ponds scattered with lily pads and lotus flowers. Native birds sing to each other amongst the treetops. Finally, we reach meditation point – a bench overlooking the water, the epitome of stillness and mindfulness. Despite being at the peak of a relapse with my anxiety – I feel so safe and happy, I’m finally away with someone I love.

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Nick asked me to be his girlfriend after dating exclusively for 9 months. To be honest, we were exclusive from the first day we met. I lay down the law pretty quickly one that one … hey, can you blame me for not wanting to share my men!? Luckily for me he doesn’t like sharing his women either! This set up automatically provided us with a foundation of trust that we were able to build upon as we continued to get to know one another.  As I alluded to in my previous post, I have never dated anyone who knows the full extent of my anxiety, until I met Nick. He has taught me that I am worthy of love and being cared for wholeheartedly, despite having an anxiety disorder. I don’t feel like I need to hide the extent of my anxiety from him, if anything, he encourages me to teach him more about it so we can work together to better manage it. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to feel as though we are combating this as a team.

You can just imagine my excitement when Nick suggested we go on a little trip together – a little retreat to help us relax before the busy Christmas period. I think I teared up when the topic was suggested. To think that someone who I had been dating for 6 months ‘unofficially’ – wanted to go away with me! I almost had to look twice, behind me, to make sure he wasn’t talking to someone else! And despite feeling very anxious the morning we were leaving, Nick held my hand, told me he loved me for the first time and said that we will get through this together. He asked me to be his girlfriend in this moment. #keeper #goals

The Byron at Byron Bay Resort & Spa offered the perfect getaway for optimum relaxation and tranquillity. I highly recommend this resort for those considering visiting the Byron Bay region and surrounds. Essentially, the resort is built within luscious rainforests, so you truly feel as though you are living amongst the trees. Walking trails within the resort allow you to explore the various wildlife, trees and fauna and there is even a trail leading to a beautiful lake. Another trail leads you to the lovely Tallow Beach – where Nick and I were lucky enough to spot a baby whale.

I can’t stress enough how vitalising this trip was, not only in helping me with my anxiety, but also for our relationship. I believe the trip brought us closer together, it was a well-deserved holiday after a tumultuous previous year (2015).

Being at one with nature is good for the soul, and I really felt this to be true while we were in Byron. Next week, I will post about our beautiful visit to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. All you crystal lovers out there – keep an eye out for that one!

In conclusion, I want to speak to those of you unsure or afraid of going away with your partner. Stop doubting yourself and the integrity of the relationship. Get out there and make new memories. You might discover something new about yourself or your partner that makes you fall in love all that much more. As far as I’m concerned, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Don’t let fear stop you from creating the best memories life has to offer.

Until next time,

Love & Light,

X Cat.

A Byron Retreat

2017 – Be Here Now

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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

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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