Sunday, 24 May 2020

Just cruising by.

Mum came to visit in the summer of 2014, only a month or two after I had quit my job.

I was still extremely stressed out and felt like I had been pushed to the edge.

We planned a cruise to Alaska which was just wonderful but I was hiding something quite big.

I had started hearing voices, louder than they had ever been before. Sometimes I would see things in the corner of my eye and when I looked again, they were gone. My moods at this point had become that much of a rollercoaster that I couldn't really tell the difference between up or down. Something I now know to be rapid cycling.

During the cruise to Alaska, I made a decision to fall back on my old coping mechanisms. To pack up and hit the road once more. Part of it was the only thing I knew, but a big part of it was the voices.

The voices were telling me that I had to make a pilgrimage. That in order to sustain the new life I had found (pre recent work stress that is!), I had to travel to Nova Scotia - New Scotland, to find 'New Natalie'.

I declared my road trip plans to mum, who, knowing my love for adventure, helped me pack up my apartment and move into my car.

I never once considered taking a road map. I never once tried to plan ahead. Somewhere, somehow, I knew that the universe had my back. That I would end up where I was supposed to be.

And off I went. Me, my car and my dog. Making our way across Canada, where the road ahead was filled with meaningful signs.

As per usual, at this point, there were days filled with hysterical laughter and days filled with hysterical tears. I actually have videos from the car somewhere but I am too nervous to watch them, as I know they depict the highest of highs and lowest of lows I had ever encountered.

Love xo

Friday, 22 May 2020

Team work makes the dream work!

Waiting for me on my return from fun and adventure on the west coast of the states, was nothing short of turbulence.

When I got home to Victoria I was met with tears from my staff. One of the managers was being extremely cruel and bullying our front office team.

It was horrible.

Not only that, but she was not capable of doing the job that was asked of her.

We had a few head management meetings about it, but the owner was too scared to reprimand or fire her because of her abysmal attitude.

The only solution he could come up with at the time was to schedule my shifts around hers, to fix her mistakes and pick up the work she failed to complete, as well as keeping her from working with certain staff members. The end goal, for him, was to push her out.

Her attitude was shocking and in turn, it brought out a horrible side of me. I was curt and snappy to her, as it seemed to be the only thing she responded to.

It was a sad state of affairs, especially considering I had joined the team 2 years earlier and absolutely loved my job.

The entire office became hostile and toward the end, I downright refused to work with her.

Very, very sadly, the owner then passed away. I hung on for a few months more but I just couldn't bear it any longer.

Soon after, that manager gave her notice but it was entirely too late for me.

The environment that had been built had left me jaded, bitchy and sick with anxiety. I was so stressed out, I knew I had to make a change.

I quit my job and started working on side projects, but by then my moods and mental health had taken a big hit.

It was hard to ignore the voices in my head, it was even harder to ignore the signs from the universe.

One day I went to the doctor for a prescription refill and she seemed extremely worried for my well being. I assured her that I was completely fine, besides some recent work stress, but I was fine.

My friend also took me aside on another occasion and discussed the idea that I may have a mental illness. Again,  in my eyes, I was fine. I even went to the extreme of not reaching out to that friend for a while.

I didn't need people telling me something was wrong with me, not now.

The next few months pushed me into completely unknown territory.

Love xo

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Island Life

 It was an adjustment moving to Canada as a whole. Everything was a lot more laid back and slower-paced. Living in Glasgow, Perth & London, this was certainly not the case.

I quickly settled and fell in love with my new home but sadly within my first year on the island, I experienced some severe trauma. I won't go into it now as I'm not quite ready for that, but let's just say it was a time!

I made what I thought was a conscious decision to stop living in pain and anguish and move forward, but unbeknownst to me, the elevated mood I soon found myself in was a bit of a danger zone.

I was back to who I was in Australia. Most days I was fearless and running at everything with a loose tongue.

I had so much fun and got so many things off the bucket list but there was always this lingering feeling that something was not 100% right. Especially on those days where I would kick-off, flip out or the opposite when I would wrap myself in my blankets, turn off the lights and cry for hours.

It was a strange time for sure, but I had been there before.

I often chalked it up to being 'just the way I was'. At this point, I had little to no education on bipolar. I had no idea what hypomania was.

The next couple of years were fab besides the ups and downs I had now grown used to. I got to show my mum around my beautiful new home and we did so many cool things together, like camping, a trip to Seattle, afternoon tea, whale watching and even kayaking. Mum was such a great sport and with my new elevated mood, I had planned every day to the minute and packed in so much adventure for us. That was one of the best summers of my life. Mum and I's relationship grew so much stronger.

The fun continued with a trip to vegas and then a road trip through the west coast of the states. We cycled the Golden Gate Bridge, rollerbladed down Venice Beach, drove the Big Sur, got ice cream at Santa Monica Pier,  watched Dave Chapelle and Flight of the Conchords live, I even got to see my favourite band play in San Fransico!

WOW. The things I could accomplish when I was, in hindsight, 'hypomanic'.

But as always, there was a downswing. I was so riddled with anxiety that my moods would sometimes whip around all over the place. I would suffer severe panic attacks but have no idea what they were and would be too terrified to talk about it. I would be so depressed that I once again considered hurting myself, but I knew I had to push through it. I knew I was here for a reason.

Love xo