Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Cheers to dreams, old and new.

I feel like I've been neglecting the blog and Instagram quite a bit of late!

Please forgive me, I am a busy bee. . and honestly I was having so much fun reliving past years on my last few posts that I have totally run out of things to talk about haha

I still can't believe its almost September, like it was just March?!

So some things have happened in the last wee while, of course 🤣🤣

WE BOOKED OUR WEDDING VENUE!! 

In 2022 we will becoming husband and wife in the beautiful coastal town of Parksville. It’s going to be so wonderful and we just cannot wait to share such a special day with our family and friends.

What else?

During Covid I started a little project called Positive Relations Media. It is the beginnings of a nonprofit that will soon be offering tools and programs to help others on their journey. On our social platforms you will find stories of hope and empowerment, as well as informative and inspiring posts from our bloggers around the world. Check us out here!

I finally went back to work after 2 and a half months off (due to Covid)

But through it all I came to some harsh realizations...

I have been working for 17 years in the hospitality industry and I have nothing to fall back on. 

No pension, no vacation days, no health, no dental, no sick days. . . It got me quite sad actually.

AND THEN I thought some more. . .

How can I change this?

What am I passionate about?

You probably know the answer to that question just as well as I do. 

My psychiatrists' words echoed in my wee head, 'YOU are the poster child for recovery, YOU should be working here and helping people just like YOU'

I mean, I did take some psych courses just a few years ago and I did pretty well grade-wise but then that course was for me, not for future job prospects. Would I do as well if a new job was the end goal?

Cue looking at mental health jobs at my doctors' office and assessing required qualifications. 

BAM. The local college offers a course that could land me one of those jobs.

So of course I had to apply.

 AND today I got my 'Congratulations we are offering you a place on the course' email - I am thrilled!!

Fuck it. I'm going to try and I'm going to try hard this time to change careers.

I keep picturing it, someone like me helping someone like me ✨❤️

Can you tell I’m a little bit excited??

Anyway, that’s about the long and short of it. Keeping busy, setting goals and moving forward. 

No one said recovery should be boring 😜

Love xo



Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Timing is everything.

I had made it. New Scotland, New Natalie.

But in the wake of my life-changing experience and after the advice of more than a few people I had met on my travels, I started talking with myself about the idea that there might, maybe, possibly be something wrong.

My actions, emotions, visions, voices, all of the above, were not 'normal'.

In fact, I couldn't tell you another person that had had a similar experience. At least at that point.

And then the phone rang.

'Hi, this is Andrew from Vancouver Island Mental Health'.

That phonecall moved the idea of 'there might, maybe, possibly be something wrong', to 'there definitely is something alarming going on here'.

At the time I continued on my 'I'm fine' path, not wanting to be a burden on anyone else.

Plus, I couldn't be crazy, God had told me I wasn't. After all, I was an angel.

By then I had commenced the journey back to the island. I met up with some friends along the way and everything did seem somewhat 'fine'.

Within a few weeks of being back in Victoria, I evaluated the last. . well, in all honesty, I thought over the last 14 years, but I paid specific attention to the past 6 months.

I needed help. 100%, I needed help.

I called Andrew, who promptly made an appointment with Vancouver Island mental health services.

And the rest is recovery baby!!

Love xo


Tuesday, 7 July 2020

And sometimes there are life changing moments.

That 'trip' lasted a full 3 months.

3 months in complete psychosis and on the road.

3 amazingly terrifying months.

I'm not going to share all the details of my trip as some of the encounters I will hold dear to my own memories. . .

But I can tell you something. The day I crossed the border into Nova Scotia, tears flooded my eyes and within seconds, the rain broke the 23-degree sunshine and flooded from the heavens.

Whether it was meaningful in any way to anyone else does not matter, because it will be eternally meaningful to me.

I had made it.

I had come through all the obstacles, I let the voices guide me to here, to a new version of me. I had now completely walked away from my grief and pain and was ready to run at life with everything I had.

As I watched the rainbow form overhead, I kissed my dog and I swear to god she spoke to me. She told me it was ok, things were going to be ok from here on out. We had each other, we had this and we were finally going to be happy.

I just can't even describe the feelings, pure raw emotions that were pumping through my veins in that very moment. At that moment I had never felt so alive and for the first time since I was 11 years old, I told myself that suicide was not ever going to be the answer. That no matter what came my way, I would stand strong and overcome it.

Right then and there I knew it could be a wonderful life.

Love xo

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, one of the owners passed away. I hung on for a few months more but I just couldn't bear it any longer.

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

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Saskatoon to The Rockies & Beyond. . .


Once those qualifications were bagged and I made the move to London, I realized that I needed to keep moving. I needed to chase the person I thought I was, or could be.

I applied for a Canadian visa and soon left the UK armed with a guidebook for Canada & New Zealand (both of which I still have in my bookcase I believe!)

When I first arrived in Canada in 2011, I was still quite lost.

Pretty much as soon as a landed I looked for a job and fell into yet another rut. I was working two jobs and blowing off steam on the weekend. I found I had no real pleasure or joy from the little things and I was just working to live another day.

I'm so happy for the people I met in Saskatoon and although I was very depressed, they were some great times.

After living in Sask for around 6 months, my manager told me I would be waiting on him dying or retiring to get his job and that it would make more sense for me to apply for other management positions outwith Delta hotels.

I took his advice and was soon offered a management role which turned out to be on Vancouver Island. I had never heard of this place before!! Sure I'd heard of Vancouver, but Island? OK let's go!!

I had a skype meeting on the Friday and they asked if I could be there by Wednesday, so in true Natalie style, I packed up my car and left for the West Coast on Monday morning.

It was such an exciting trip. The landscape was incredible and I picked up my first hitchhiker in Lake Louise. We saw mountain goats and even stopped for an avalanche canon. A true taste of the rocky mountains.

Reaching the city of Vancouver I was overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and as I drove onto the ferry I felt a tingle.

Little did I know this place would change my life.

I had some meetings with the team at Ocean Island and rounded my day off with a meal and some margaritas at Cafe Mexico.

Right then at that moment, I knew something big was happening, I just didn't know what.

Love xo

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Why can't I use the party hat emoji on blogger?


Because there bloody well should be a party hat on this post!

It happened.

As of Friday, May 1st 2020 at precisely 2.15pm I was discharged from outpatient psychiatric care.

My psychiatrist said with great delight that the next time he will see me is when I am on the psych ward working alongside his patients, whether that be as a volunteer or as an employee. . 

GOALS.

SO COOL!!

I can't believe this day has finally come and I'm so proud of all my hard work - cause you know, it does pay off.

6 years ago I was a mess. 5 1/2 years ago I reached out and admitted I needed help.

No it's not been plain sailing but every moment that led to here was worth it.

The trial and error with medications, the CBT classes, the therapy, going back to university to take abnormal psychology classes. . all of it has led to this.

To recovery.

I had the education and tools to manage with Bipolar 1 & PTSD and I KNOW I can keep this up.

Wooooo. What a feeling!!

Love xo

Friday, 1 May 2020

Ahhh yes, that ‘time in my life’.


After a couple of years travelling I returned to Glasgow with the plan of getting qualifications and hitting the road again.

I was pretty lost and managed to get myself into a bit of a rut.

I’m not proud of who I was at all.

I had never really had a large circle of friends. I was bullied in school and kinda bounced around friend circles depending on my mood, but somehow when I returned to Glasgow in 2008, I had the biggest circle of friends I ever had. More than a few of them were just ‘drinking buddies’, but some of them were wonderful people.

If I had the chance, I would tell them all how sorry I was for my behaviour back then. I spun back and fourth between manic and depressed. My anger was out of control and I was often known as the bitch of the group. I just couldn’t hold my tongue sometimes and when I thought someone was, or was going to be rude to me or my new friends, the defences came up and I struck first. This was in a bid to avoid being ridiculed or bullied but it was not healthy. The walls I had built left me with a very lonely existence, even with all these people around me. I pushed people away and rarely spoke of my emotions, even though I was in complete despair, self harming and suicidal. 

My lifestyle back then wasn’t helping my mental health in any way but it was a crutch for me. A way to make it through another day. Another drink, another party, another late night. I really don’t know how I managed to hold down multiple jobs and complete a college course, but I did! And I’m proud of that. I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t of gotten those qualifications and gotten out.

We dabbled in ecstasy back then and I know it is an effect of the drug, but I felt so much love and happiness when I took it. It was like I had no worries at all and I was flooded with positive emotions. Which was quite new to me and it became a bit of an indulgence every so often. I wouldn’t say I had a problem in any way, but I did do it quite a few times.

I actually think drugs like ecstasy and mushrooms should be (and currently are being) used in mental illness therapy. The fact that they produce such positive moods and allow you to detach from trauma is astounding. Obviously, in smaller and more controlled doses. We have a ways to go in research but I think we are on the right track. Last year my doctor recommended that when larger trials begin that I to put my name down. He thinks it will really help my recovery from PTSD.

After completing my college course, I accepted a job offer in London and moved away from the life I had built in Glasgow.

As much as I get a slight shiver when I look back on this time in my life, I still wouldn’t change it. Again, I would change my reactions to things 100%, but in the end, it all led me to here. 

To happy. 

Love xo

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Memory Lane.

Taking my Instagram down memory lane this past week and it got me thinking of the impact my bipolar had on my travels.

Mostly it made me fearless and any opportunity to have fun and be wild that arose, I was on it with no questions asked! 

I took a bikini barmaid job and travelled around Australia, pouring pints in my swimming gear. I even ended up bartending for a *cough* well-known bicycle gang but, hey! I was young and brazen haha

My hypomania meant that I never really questioned the dangers of anything, I just ran at it. 

I felt on top of the world when I was travelling, but some days were harder than others. Some days I would stay in bed all day with lots of tears. Some days I was known for being bold.

It was a mixed bag.

Besides some of those askew emotions, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I really urge anyone who’s unsure of their next steps but has a desire to explore, GO TRAVEL. It sounds so silly but go find yourself. Go find what and where you love, who you are as a person and where your comfort zones are. It’s unreal what you’ll learn about yourself and hopefully, you’ll have a great time doing it!

Love xo

Thursday, 23 April 2020

14 years on.


I was reminiscing today on one of the big goals that I set out to do 14 years ago - take a year out!

I travelled to Australia and then onto Thailand with plans to continue onto Laos & Cambodia.

Sadly my interstitial cystitis kicked in and close to being hospitalized in south-east Asia, I had to make an emergency journey home. It took me a total of 38 hours and 5 flights to get back to Scotland, I was so sick.

I remember sitting in a Dubai airport, totally worn out and sad. Somewhere nearby I hear the faint sounds of a Scottish accent, and after having been away from home for over a year, I burst into tears at hearing those sweet Scottish lulls. The couple who had been chatting gave me big hugs and we talked about how excited I was to see my mum.

Little did I know that that was the start of my troubles with chronic illness. After those early days, every time I was depressed or stressed out, I would require antibiotics and sometimes hospitalization for bladder and kidney infections.

The doctor has linked this illness to PTSD and throughout therapy, we have often touched base on a trauma I encountered during my time in Australia.

It wasn't the worst of my traumas by any means, but it still stung.

I had been general manager at a boutique backpackers in Perth, Western Australia. I loved my role there but after residing there for a few months I felt it was time to get my own place.

The man I was dating at the time agreed that it was time to move out and we began looking for our own place to call home. We came up trumps and soon moved into a cute little townhouse with its own hot tub in the local neighbourhood of Leederville. It was soooo cute!!

My girlfriends were still staying at the backpackers, and to save them some money I offered them our spare room - which they gladly accepted.

On one weekend in particular, I had been out of town. I came home early and thought I would surprise my partner. When I returned home he was in the shower, so I knocked on the door in excitement to see him. He opened the bathroom door with a big grin on his face, followed by a look of confusion and then hugs and such followed. It seemed a bit odd but I paid it no further attention...

That was until I came home from work one night and the house was in darkness, everyone was in bed. Laying on the table there was what appeared to be a diary, opened at a certain page and in plain view. The nosey bitch in me glanced down and DID NOT like what she read.

It read at first like a fairytale, passionate kisses, lovemaking under the stars, rushes of excitement, the whole 9. . not so funnily enough the prince in this fairy tale was no other than my partner who lay upstairs, sound asleep with no fucks to be had.

My heart broke into a million pieces and then, I was furious!!!

I didn't wake anyone up, which I'm quite glad for as I would have kicked off big style - so I kept my tantrum for the following morning.

After copious lies and straight-up denial, both parties broke down and filled me in on their rather too often for my liking rendezvous.

Belongings certainly got flung straight into the hot tub haha

Everything from what she chose to wear, to her perfume was I a bid to seduce him. Something she had been working on since we had all resided together at the backpackers.

I remember a nice night we all had sitting on the patio of our home, we had a bbq and all the fixings. Turns out when I was in the house refilling the salad bowl or getting more drinks, they would be sitting making out.

What the actual fuck?!

Bold as brass these two.

It was so hard to come to terms with and I spun out, hard. At this time I wasn't aware of my bipolar disorder but my behaviours certainly knew. I drank too much, I flung around hatred and name-calling, my reaction to their actions was out of control.

It's taken a long time to realize that my reactions are my own responsibility. That even if someone committed the most heinous act there was, that how I behave in response to that act is my own doing, and at times, my own downfall.

It was a gut-wrenching feeling to know that people you trusted, let into your home and loved, could do something so cruel.

My emotional pain was soon surpassed by my physical pain and that took forefront of my thoughts for a very long time. Kidney infections and being hospitalized by those infections really took its toll on me.

I never even thought, in any way, that the physical pain could have been connected to the emotional pain.

BUT here we are 14 years later and still dealing with chronic interstitial cystitis.

I hope one day that I will come far enough in therapy, beyond all these traumas, to negate any physical ailments. For now, I can only hope that I am in a stable enough place to avoid my chronic illness symptoms, and that when bad things do happen, that I can react in a calm and less destructive manner.

One day.

Love xo



Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Till we meet again.


I just posted an Instagram pic of me as a little un and it got me thinking about how awesome my mum is, and has always been.

I really DO NOT know where I would be without her.

She has supported all of my dreams, my good days & bad days.

For over 10 years she slept on a sofa bed so that I could have my own bedroom like all the other kids.

She would have holes in her socks, but as long as I didn't, she was happy.

She worked tirelessly, often holding down multiple jobs. I was fortunate enough, because of all her hard work, that I got an annual vacation somewhere nice and hot - We spent many summers vacationing in Bulgaria, as well as many other places around Europe.

I never told her how important she was to me growing up. I was often in such a bad headspace that I never told her just how high she let me fly, and how grateful I was for that.

When I was 17 I told her I was going to Australia and she supported that with all her heart, even though her baby girl was moving to the other side of the world.

She was my number one cheerleader every time I signed up for, and then dropped out of, a university course.

When I finally got my qualifications, I country hopped to England and then onto Canada, and she never had a bad word to say about it.

When I skyped her mid psychosis, she did everything in her power to bring me back to reality.

When I told her about my biggest hospitalization and then filled her in on my years of anguish, self-harm and suicide attempts, she held me so close and wiped my tears.

She means everything to me and I couldn't be more proud to call her my wee mawpaw.

Over the years we've travelled around the world, we've been on cruises, camping trips and everything in between. We've made memories that will never be forgotten and I just cannot wait till this is all over. .

Till the day I get to give my mumma a big squeeze, till the day I get to go wedding dress shopping with my best friend, till the day we meet again mumma bear <3

Soon.

I hope you are doing well.

Love xo




Sunday, 19 April 2020

I can still taste it.

Last weekend was a hard one.

It was a holiday weekend and it is supposed to be fun, filled with love, family & celebration, but every year it hangs over my weary head.

In the run-up to Easter, I get very nervous as to what will or could happen.

6 years ago, last weekend, I was completely out of touch with reality.

I was deep in psychosis and my days were made up of hearing, seeing, even smelling things that did not exist in this realm.

After a very disturbing couple of months in which god and the devil were incarnated by people in my life, a strong battle of my religious beliefs ensued. I sold all of my belongings on a request from God, moved into my car and began a pilgrimage from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, in a bid to find 'new Natalie'. I had a firm belief that I was an angel and made my cross country road trip without a map or direction, but instead with gut feelings and signs from the universe.

The road ahead of me was troubled, but nothing could have stood up to how troubled I was before psychosis.

Psychosis to me was an awakening.

Throughout this time I had extremely impaired judgement and I dug myself a deep mental hole in which nothing made sense, but everything had meaning.

After almost 6 months in this state, I was hospitalized and medicated. I found clarity in antipsychotics, they allowed me to return to a 'normal' state of mind - something that I am very thankful for, even if I continue to believe in the magic that is.

6 months after my hospitalization and after copious tests and assessments, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and PTSD.

The following 5 & 1/2 years have been building blocks in my mental wellness. I know today that I stand strong with care strategies, medication regimes and crisis management plans that allow me to be myself and keep me far from the end of my existence.

Throughout the years, throughout the depressions, the manias, the self-harm, the suicide attempts - nothing could have prepared me for psychosis.

I hope that I never in my life return to that state of mind, but I am thankful for the lessons it taught me.

My inner demons came out to play and I learned what I was made from, what trauma I could let go of and how to move forward as a positive and connected human being.

Mental illness can be trying, it can be painful, but it can also change your perspective for the better.


I really hope that no matter how dark it gets, no matter how much you are hurting and no matter how much you want to give up, that one day you will have the epiphany I once had.

IT DOES GET BETTER.

There IS another side to mental illness and I hope you get to see that.

I hope one day you shine like the star you are.

Love xo

❤️✨

Friday, 17 April 2020

Stigma Free


I was asked to work on a wee video for the Stigma-Free Society, talking about my experience with stigma.

This was my first attempt. I'm not happy with it, mostly because I was working from notes and not really paying attention to the camera. 

In the end, they decided to go with what was my third attempt where I spoke more about the effect of Covid-19 -  I'm glad for that as it was a lot more natural and flowy haha

Anyway, I thought I would leave this here for you to have a little peek at!

Love xo



Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Nice Knickers!


I pulled out the fabric box two weeks ago and I've just been staring at it daily with no inspiration, but today I thought I'd give it a good bash.

The inspiration was still a little lacklustre until I found an old sewing pattern for a pair of knickers, AND then I came across a scrap of polka dot material that I would have otherwise tossed away.

Would you believe it was the perfect size for a cheeky wee pair of panties?

So now I'm dancing around my house in a pair of freshly sewn red polka dot knick-knacks hehe

I completed a refresher sewing course through Skill Sucess online (with the help of a free trial from Groupon), and I feel more confident about getting behind that machine.

So much so I ordered some new shirting material from Fabricland.

And that's another story...

I sat reminiscing the other day about a past project of mine that did NOT take off the ground. Mostly because I was sick and very shortly after hospitalized, but you know, shit happens. Then I started thinking to myself, why did I let that dream go? Sure my life for the past few years has been all things mental health  & recovery BUT I have plenty of free time now and would you believe it, an entire closet full of Vintage & Consignment pieces I've just so happened to collect over the years.

So in the past few days, I've put together a wee Instagram store for myself.

I even found what was left of a collection of skirts I made and sold. There are two left and it put me in the mood to hunt down shirting material and make more of those skirts. People loved them last time and they are just so gosh darn cute!!

So that's lockdown adventures of this week...

That and lots of doggo snuggles... and in about 45 minutes some sushi.

Staying at home all day is not half bad.

I hope you're having a beautiful day <3

Love xo



Friday, 27 March 2020

I'm a little bit peeved.



I  got myself good & mad over the past couple of days, let me explain . .

The federal and provincial governments have announced financial aid plans for the nation, great right? 100%

Here's my blight.

The package offered is giving people $2000 income per month, plus an additional $500 rental subsidy - faaaantastic!!

Global crisis = Basic living amount assessed at $2500

Those on employment insurance, income assistance and disability receive less than 50% of this amount and are not eligible to apply for any of these new funding programs.

Crisis your whole life = $1100

Can anyone see the contradiction here?

Are those in crisis at any other point not entitled to the same standard of living as everyone else?

Average rent in this city alone is $900+.

So that gives those on assistance a maximum amount of $200 for hydro, internet, cell phone, insurance, medication, food and other expenses. (To give those in the UK some perspective, cell phone bills alone are easy $75+ in Canada)

Seems fair! NOT.

I'm absolutely fuming at this.

Then there's part two...

Normally on disability, those who can fulfil a part-time role can earn up to $1000 extra per month, bringing their monthly income to around $2000. A completely doable and reasonable amount to survive, if you are lucky enough to be in the health to work part-time that is.

Anyway, during your working life, you pay into an employment insurance scheme. This allows you to continue to receive a portion of your regular wages for 6 months should you be laid off or on temporary sick leave.

Absolutely fantastic program and goes a long way for those in colder climates where it is just not feasible to work in the winter.

Now, I have been paying into this scheme my whole working life in Canada and in my hour of need applied to receive such benefits.

Heres the thing. . I have been approved for $900 per month. Which you would think, perfect! That makes up the missing income and I can survive on $2000 per month, very close to the basic required income the government have assessed for this time.

Hahaha too fucking easy!! This amount gets deducted dollar for dollar from my disability income, once again leaving me with $1100 per month.

I am very very fortunate that I can make this work and I have other support systems BUT many have nothing whatsoever to fall back on. NOTHING.

Many people, even before this crisis, often choose between paying a bill or putting food on the table. Many people rely heavily on food banks. Many people have gotten themselves into unmanageable debt due to this unreasonable living amount. Many people HAVE to live on the street because the amount they are provided with does not even afford them shelter.

Don't get me wrong, something is better than nothing and we are all very very lucky to live in a country that can offer financial aid to those in need BUT it's not enough to cut it, and this crisis is shedding much light on that.

I will continue to make noise ALL over the internet, I will continue to bombard our MP's with emails highlighting this gap in the system.

The poverty divide is real and it continues.

As things break down in this crisis, NOW is the time to put them back together the way they SHOULD be.

I'm going to say this again for those internet trolls at the back of the room. .

THOSE ON INCOME ASSISTANCE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR 'FREE MONEY', THEY ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A 'FREE RIDE', THEY ARE INCAPACITATED AND LOOKING FOR HELP, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR OPTIONS TO ALLOW THEM TO SURVIVE ANOTHER DAY, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR EQUALITY IN STANDARDS OF LIVING.

I'm taking a break from social media today as some of the judgemental and downright disgusting comments to my fellow peoples in crisis really irked me yesterday.

'Stop complaining, you're getting free money and do fuck all for it'

'What do you need more money for, you out of booze?'

'You're just being greedy, you already know how to milk the system'

Like SERIOUSLY, educate yourself, find some compassion and learn to empathize with people.

God forbid the day you find yourself seriously ill and unable to cope with life's demands. God forbid you are hospitalized and without income assistance, you would lose the roof over your head. God forbid.

I've been there, pre and post hospitalization I was sleeping in my car. Within a year or so of treatment I made enough of a recovery to work but ordered by the doctor to ONLY work 16 hours per week. On minimum wage that is $750 per month before tax and employment insurance deductions. I had no other options and the doctor persuaded me to apply for this assistance. He, alongside my case worker took on the paperwork and made sure I didn't end up on the streets. Do you think I wanted to feel the way you are portraying me? Like I'm mooching off the government? Do you think I wanted to feel like a third-class citizen? I had NO choice. When my car was surrendered I had no place to go. My only option was a single bed in a house with 7 other people. I could barely afford that. I am very fortunate in my recovery that I have been easing off of assistance and supporting myself for quite some time now, but it has been a very long, and hard journey to here. I cannot wait for the day that I say I once again rely on myself financially AND it will happen, it will just take some time.

So, thanks for reading my rant haha I very much needed to get that off my chest!

Much love xo




'They say that girl you know she act too tough, tough, tough - Well it's till I turn off the light'

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Best Foot Forward.

Ok, so below is a post I started writing last week, when everything got on top of me. . . 

” I'm trying so hard to keep it together.

It's not going as well as I'd hoped.

There have been lots of tears today. . .

I had a session with my therapist but I couldn't find the clarity to talk about my concerns rationally, it was just lots of defeatest attitude and crying.

We're all in this together, and watching people unite in hope is so inspiring.

BUT, then there's my little head. . .

I feel so bad that people are hurting right now. I mean, I have a mental illness, I'm all too versed in pain and turmoil, but I would never wish it upon anyone. I hate the idea that everyone around the world is scared, is overwhelmed, is anxious. I'm no martyr but for some reason, it hurts me more to know so many people are also in pain. I don't want all these innocent, unknowing people feeling the unease of a panic attack, I don't want people being so absurdly filled with fear that they can't move, can't think. I don't want people to become so desperate that they question the entirety of their being or even worse, wonder why or what they are doing here to the extent of self-harm or suicidal ideas.

THIS CANNOT HAPPEN. IT CAN'T.

I'm so overwhelmed. . . .”


So, YEAH! That was last week HA 

Fuck sake, how does it just spiral like that?

I was going to delete it, but I wanted you to see the path my head takes any time there’s a hint of despair. 

Sheer panic. 

I increased my meds and made some lifestyle adjustments, mainly drafting a routine and small, achievable goals. 

I took some time to clear my head and then again to think some more, this time with a bit more perspective.

We’re all in this together. We have to stand strong.

This is NOT the time to relapse. Things have been going so well up until this point & I’m not going to let my mental health deteriorate. I KNOW that I possess the education, tools & strategies to stay out of the psych ward. 

I got this.

I’m feeling a lot better. I hope you are doing well also.

Love xo




Wednesday, 18 March 2020

WOW, has it been a hot minute?

I’ve been so sidetracked for the last . . Like, what? 8 months haha

I set up an Instagram account to continue my somewhat diary of how I was doing, but I got a bit complacent.

SO much has happened I just don’t know where to start and Instagram isn’t much of a rambling place you know? I like my rambles.

I’m just going to lay it all out there.

Scotland. New home. New jobs (plural). Quit jobs (also plural). New awesome job. New York. Quit smoking. Engagement. Psychiatric discharge. New dog. Promotion. Volunteering. 

Uuuuft. I think that might be it.

Pictures?

Sure!







Could there *chandler face* BE any more to tell you?

 I’ve been living my best life, but don’t for a minute think that means bipolar still don’t try me. We have our moments but I feel like these days I’m handling it all so well.

My psychiatrist recently called me ‘the poster child for mental health recovery’, fucking NAILING it!

Who’da thunk it?

* 5 1/2 years in recovery.
* 2 1/2 years self harm free.
* 1 1/2 years on a stable medication regime.
* 1 year panic attack free.

Some days I go to bed in disbelief but every day I wake up filled with hope, and that my friends IS recovery.

I hope you are doing well.

 Much Love xo