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


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.


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 online store and Instagram 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