The shittiest time of my life (so far)

Besides depression and anxiety I wanted to talk about something else that has been on my mind lately… and that was my miscarriage. Now before you stop reading, I am not going to go into too much detail and I don’t want to make the focus of this blog about miscarriages. I want to bring awareness to the underlying issue… not talking about it/or other traumatic things. Once I had to let everyone know about my recent experience I had at least 13 people privately message me, telling me “no one else knows but I went through the same thing this year”. Firstly, you do not need to broadcast it to everyone like me (I am doing this to help people). But I urge you to talk about it, get it off your chest.

 

Every night when I am trying to sleep all I can think about is the ultrasound.

When I am driving to work and have the radio playing, something small reminds me of that day.

I hate the new dress I bought, it reminds me of that day.

I think about the day at the beach when my partner and I took our reveal photo and then continued to lay around the beach taking photos of the bump.

 

No one knows this, because I don’t talk about it. So I am going to take you back through my journey….

My partner was on his footy trip and I was extremely sick so before I was due to pick him up from the bus I went to the doctors. I remember sitting in the doctor’s surgery waiting 2 minutes for the pregnancy test to reveal the results. Those were the longest 2 minutes ever… “You’re pregnant” she said holding the stick I had just peed on. I cried…. I was in shock. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I had to wait a few hours before he was ready to be picked up, which felt like a bloody lifetime. I wanted to be excited seeing him, but I couldn’t look into his eyes, I was awkward AF to say the least. I didn’t know how to tell him so I handed the pee covered stick revealing our pregnancy. Fast forward a week to our dating scan. We saw this little circle on the screen and a heart beating so fast and sooooo big. Right now I knew that it was all too real, this was also the day I fell in love with you.

I was experiencing really bad morning sickness, crying at nothing, hating my partner touching me, hated getting “fat”, hated that I was always hungry (I ate so much I hated the feeling of chewing). I was trying to embrace it, but this was all new to me and I hate change… so yep, it was hard. As the weeks grew, my belly and boobies grew, everything was getting soooooo big. My morning sickness had started to slow down at around 10 weeks pregnant, which was a huge relief.

Being new parents we had no idea “what to expect when expecting” so pretty much every weekend we would go into different baby stores to research prams, cots, literally everything… we had no idea what we needed, which was pretty obvious when we were at one of the baby stores and a random man introduced us to the pram he has and swears by.

Anyways, we just passed the “safe zone” and revealed our pregnancy to the world just after 12 weeks. A week later on the Sunday I was starting to experience cramps, however I googled this and thought it was my uterus expanding as I was now entering the 13th week of pregnancy. On Monday around 9.30am I noticed I was bleeding…. This scared the f*ck out of me as it was the first time I had it throughout my whole pregnancy so I immediately went to the hospital. I told them what was happening and they put me straight into a bed and the tests started.

I remember walking into the ultrasound room, the sonographer and I were so excited to see the baby… “you’re baby is going to be soooo big, I only get to see the early stages of pregnancy” she said. This made me so much more excited to see our baby. My heart stopped and I felt like vomiting when the scan started… I couldn’t see a baby. All I saw was an empty black sack. At first I thought the baby was playing hide and seek, but the whole sack was visible and no baby! I couldn’t stop crying, I knew there was no baby but I couldn’t come to terms with what I was seeing. The sonographer said that we needed to do one of those internal scans which was uncomfortable but I didn’t care, I just wanted to see the baby and I wanted answers. Then we saw what was left of the fetus… It measured 6weeks and 2 days. It passed away 1 day after our dating scan, but the sack kept growing until 10 weeks and 5 days. Still to this day, I have no idea why this happened. Did the baby know I was scared? Did they baby know it changed our plans to move overseas? did the baby know what I was thinking and did this so that we could continue to live out our plans? I feel so guilty for some of the things that were running through my head, for not being as excited as I should have been when the doctor told me I was pregnant. If I could go back and re-live this day I would. I would have eat more, slept more, done everything I could to protect you.

 

But I can’t and that’s reality. As confusing, heart-breaking and shitty as it is we have to accept that. I want people to know that we are working through it, but we will be ok.

 

It’s been 2 weeks since I have been in hospital and the only time I have cried was at my Christmas party.. because I wrote myself off. I know this is a shitty and unproductive way to deal with it, but it started “That Awkward Conversation”. Now, in NO WAY am I saying go out and get shitfaced, because I regretted it… what I am trying to say is all I needed was someone to ask if I was ok. Clearly I wasn’t ok due to the amount of drinks I had drunk and how much I wrote myself off.

The reason I am bringing awareness to this whole situation is to help you and others out there who know anyone who has experienced this (or a traumatic situation) or if someone does experience anything like this, please do not shut them out – or give them broken promises (like saying “If you need anything I am here” but never show) because you don’t know how to act. I had “friends” do that to me. If anything it’s these times we need you. Just show up.

And please don’t be afraid to ask questions… I was waiting around for people to ask about it (and look I get it, I know you probably don’t want to ask) but I needed to vent and cry but I couldn’t. In no way am I blaming you for my lack of ability to express my thoughts and feelings out loud, but sometimes (even with depression and anxiety) we need a little encouragement. The thought of talking about it is easier than actually doing it, trust me I know this.

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This photo was taken just before I went into surgery to get a curettage. I was in unbearable pain to the point I was shaking and felt like vomiting. The moment I couldn't see my partner I broke down in tears, crying so much I felt sick. I hate everything about this day. I really didn't want to let go of the pregnancy and I knew that after having surgery would make this whole fucked up experience real!

That Phone Call.

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Like every relationship, as time passes you slowly figure out the true colours of the other person. You know what they like, you know what annoys them, or what annoys you, you grow together or you grow apart. Well, it wasn’t until a phone call I made to an outsider last week that I knew I wanted to get out this toxic relationship….

I knew that I had to make this phone call, but I was really scared of making it… why? Because of how much my thoughts controlled my body…. Before I even touched my phone this is what I was experiencing:


  • My chest was tight, so tight that I was in a bit of pain
  • I am sweaty, so sweaty it’s gross
  • My throat feels like it is going to close, like there is a ball or something at the back of my throat… making it hard to swallow.
  • My mouth is so dry… maybe that’s a good thing, because I can’t swallow right now
  • My palms are shaking…. No wait, my whole body is shaking I can’t read my thoughts on paper anymore because I am shaking that much I can’t write
  • When I go to speak I can’t get the sentence out correctly... Which makes me stress even more because if someone can’t talk right it’s a sign they are lying right? I don’t want them to think I am lying…
  • I can’t concentrate – I am sitting here staring blankly at my computer screen thinking about the worst possibilities that could happen and then thinking about what I would do in each scenario
  • The anticipation is building the attack

I tried calling and it rang out. But now my phone is ringing and I nearly dropped the phone because I was shaking so much. Once the conversation started it was all fine and to my surprise the conversation on that phone call went totally opposite to what I had replayed over and over in my head. So now I am sitting at my desk with the aftermath of my anxiety attack:


  • I stink from sweating (sorry to my work colleague who sits behind me… no matter how much I try and mask the smell with my deodorant the worse the smell gets worse)
  • The ball in my throat has disappeared and I can swallow
  • My mouth isn’t dry anymore, I can feel saliva
  • My chest has relaxed but it’s aching from clenching so tight
  • While writing down how I am feeling now I can read my handwriting – I am not shaking anymore
  • Surprisingly I am relaxed…. I automatically felt relieved and at ease

Although I should feel happy right now that the phone call went totally opposite to how I played it out in my head, I am angry at myself! Why? Because in the past I would let these anxiety attacks last for a few days at a time whenever I thought about one silly little thought… that I usually made up in my head from overthinking about it way too much.  I let anxiety control me and instead of approaching the situation that I was thinking about I would put it to rest because the feelings I was physically feeling were too much for me to handle. It was easier to stay then change.  Although I wasn’t happy, I was safe.

But you know what? After experiencing anxiety again… (I know that it will pop up every now and then, it always does, it’s an asshole!)  I know that I don’t want to be safe anymore (well, to a degree). Instead of me talking myself out of doing things I want to do I am going to do it!

So yeah, that was the day that I decided to end my toxic relationship my anxiety.

(P.S I found this photo and pissed myself laughing because it totally fits!! This was a photo of me taken when I was suffering a very severe anxiety attack and ask you can see they are extremely ugly!! However, in all seriousness I used this photo because anxiety is like a (ugly) mask that stops you from saying or doing whatever you want...well in my case anyway!) 

I didn't want to die, I just wanted it to stop

After my recent video interview (link here to watch) with Mental Awareness Foundation I received a comment from someone saying that my interview was another "crappy inspiring video" they watched trying to find that light at the end of the tunnel, but there isn't one.... Now, I am not singling this person out because it was the first negative feedback I have received since launching this blog and I do not take offence at all. I wanted to let you know that I respect you and I get it! I used to be exactly like you. I never thought there was light at the end of the tunnel no matter how many times I searched for "inspiration" or watched Eat, Pray, Love. It was all bullshit... these people didn't know what depression was, they had never been through it, so why the hell are the pretending to have it and sell their stories. Watching these videos fuelled my anxiety and buried me further into unhappiness and depression. 

Do you want to know what it took for my life to change?

Well, if you answered no... I don't care, I'll tell you anyway... It was when I was sitting under the story bridge (if your not from Brisbane, it's a bridge in the CBD where unfortunately too many people have taken their lives...thankfully now they have put suicide barriers up)... anyways I was sitting there for 5 hours or so, which was long enough to write and re-write my goodbyes 3 times... every time I read them back to myself I was trying to force myself to cry but I just felt numb... All I wanted to do was to feel some sort of emotion, anything else but numb... I hated that I could't feel anything anymore! I thought the only way to stop it was to end my life...

But something in me told me to turn on my car and drive away, as far away from that bridge as possible. Maybe it was all the unanswered questions I wrote in my goodbyes for someone else to somehow answer, or maybe I knew that someday I could answer those questions myself. I think deep down I knew that I didn't want to die, I just wanted it to stop. Which is why I was writing everything down, hoping that reading what was going on in my head would make me cry.... giving me sign to not give up. I know that I couldn't cry as much as I tried but I didn't give up! And I hate that I let myself get to that point in my life but I am also grateful. I call this day my Lana Del Rey- depressing but beautiful....why? Because in the darkest hours of my life I saw light.  And ironically the silver lining to this day was that I found writing therapy. 

So, after a few therapy sessions with a social worker I was ready to read my goodbyes. This time I cried and when I say cry, I mean like one of those ugly cry's... This day was also the day that I answered most of the unanswered questions that I was so desperately trying to answer, I finally felt emotions and this was the sign not to give up. In a way I feel like I tested myself (let me get this straight! Toying with the idea of suicide is not a game and was not the test!) the test was seeing what it took to make me get the help I needed and wanted so badly. 

So yeah, I get it.... these "crappy inspiring videos" may seem like they are all the same, but I can assure you that I have been where you are... and still have my shitty days! And, I know that you can't see it now but I can promise you there is light at the end of that tunnel. It won't be on high beams straight away, it will be a very dim candle flame flickering at the end but the more you walk through your tunnel the brighter it will shine.... I have only tasted happiness and I may only be 60% through my tunnel, but everyday I am walking through it, knowing that the light is there.

So please don't give up. 

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NOMINEE.

"Wait, did you just say your blog was only 2 months old and it's already nominated for the BUPA Blog Awards? That is huge Whit, you should be so proud!" 

It wasn't until I spoke to Casey from Livin to realize how big of a deal this was! I know that I haven't won or even made the finalists list yet, but it's pretty awesome to know that I am in the running to win an award for my recently launched blog. I have never been one to celebrate anything but papered achievements, but you know what? Today I am celebrating this journey.  This journey and this blog is one I need to celebrate, it's bitter sweet to say the least.... it was born when I died.

Ok, so I didn’t essentially die, but apart of me did….I use to be this outgoing, bubbly person, nothing scared me, I use to go out clubbing by myself knowing that I will meet people or at least meet up with a group of friends. I had so much confidence. Then one day it was all gone. I didn't recognize the person I would get a quick glimpse at in any reflection (I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror anymore). I had no idea what was wrong and I sure as hell didn't know how to "start that awkward conversation" because I found it embarrassing... why would anyone be interested in hearing that one day I could look at myself in the mirror and the next I hide from every mirror? I thought this topic would make me look vein to others, but it wasn’t even the fact that I couldn’t look in the mirror… It was the fact that I didn’t know how to describe how I was feeling, it kind of felt like the person I use to be had left my body and I was left living in this numb shell, I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I found it hard to talk to anyone about this because everyone around me was so positive and happy, why should I bring them down with all of negative thoughts and feelings? Instead of sharing these thoughts with people I wrote them down. And when I finally had enough confidence to explain to my friends why I was the way I was I sent them my "book” (a book of stories that I released from my head out into the world to free my head from these thoughts). I had some people tell me that they were up until 3am reading it for the second time because they loved it, I had some people just walk up to me and hug me not knowing what to say, but the thing that I guess bought life to the idea of this blog was when I started receiving replies like "You have no idea how much I can relate to this, I have been going through something similar but don't know how to talk about it". There were more replies but these are just the highlighted ones that inspired me to start this blog, knowing that there are other people out there struggling through the same shit and not knowing how to talk to their friends about it. 

I wanted to create a platform for people out there who don't know how to start "That Awkward Conversation". A platform to release whatever it is they are holding onto, to encourage and inspire people who are struggling through depression and anxiety to also start talking. I want people to know that they aren’t the only ones struggling and hopefully feel inspired to get help or start “That Awkward Conversation”. It is also a way of having that conversation with your friends and family without speaking. I know for a fact how draining it was telling people over and over again my story and when you're struggling through depression you're already so tired and drained all the time... Call me lazy or smart, I found a way to save my energy for things like yoga that give me energy and a way of informing those around me about what's going on.

Regardless if I win this award or make it to the finals, this has been my journey so far and I am going to celebrate my achievement.

 



If you think my blog has what it takes to help people please get support me and share the shit out of this post, my Facebook page and Instagram! I want to show Bupa that my blog is doing it's job by reaching and inspiring people!!  And to do this I need followers....

I WOULD LOVE TO REACH 10K followers before September 18th when the Finalists are announced... However, I would be happy with 2K followers!

21 July 2017 - Entry closes
18 September 2017 - Finalists announced
18 September 2017 - People’s Choice voting opens
13 October 2017 – People’s Choice voting closes
6 November 2017 – Winners are announced

 

The Happiest Place on Earth.

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This blog post has taken over 6 months (or maybe longer) to write. Why? Because I knew what I wanted to write, I knew what it was meant to feel like but I had to experience it for myself… no it’s not an orgasm, it’s something better! No disrespect to my amazing lover… this was just something I had to do and experience on my own….

Happiness.

I have been meditating with the thought of happiness lately… why? Because I had this feeling that I had been lying to myself about actually feeling happy. What does it mean to be happy? When will I be happy? How do I get happy? Am I am happy now?  So this “epiphany” I guess you could call it started back in February when I returned from my first overseas holiday to New Caledonia and Vanuatu. At first I thought it could have been post-holiday depression talking to me because this whole time I thought I was happy… I was up to date on all my bills with a little bit of savings, happy in my relationships, living out of home and pretty much winning at “adulting”.  So I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden I felt like this… and this is when I started to have one of those “awkward conversations” with myself.

Google defines Happy as: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. I sat back in the chair sitting at the desk of my 8.30-5.30, staring at the computer screen to re-read the same definition probably 10 times before I that awkward conversation started…Am I happy with every aspect of my life at the moment? With work, my relationships, the colour nail polish I am wearing, the shape of my reading glasses, what I ate this morning for breakfast? Am I happy within myself?

So without making you all jealous I won’t go into detail of my holiday, but what I will tell you is that I was able to redefine the meaning of happiness. Everyone that we crossed paths with in Vanuatu and New Caledonia were so welcoming and proud of how they lived, you could see their passion, love and happiness with every word they spoke, with every small gesture and through every small detail they taught us about their culture. I am not going to lie, I felt a little embarrassed about the whole “tourist thing” because I would probably be offended if people came into my village and paid to see how I lived. I couldn’t grasp the fact on how this was “normal”, to me (this is the depression and anxiety talking) this whole zoo like concept would make me feel so insecure about my life because essentially someone is paying you to come into your “home” and judge you and the way you live.  Anyways, I soon learnt to grasp that concept and while we were there we “hired” a tour guide to drive 12 of us to the other side of the island in his taxi…it was a rundown Ute with a makeshift seat (a piece of timber) in the back of the Ute tray. I was shitting myself with the thought of sitting in the back of the tray unprotected from anything, and then after maybe 10 minutes I started to embrace that this was normal to them. I remember sitting there feeling so free and happy for the first time in ages.  On our one hour journey across the other side of the island to visit one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen we were greeted by all of these amazing humans! Almost every local we saw collecting coconuts on the coconut farms stopped what they were doing to stand up and wave at us with a huge smile.

The “tour guide” was so proud of where he lived and asked us if we would like to visit his house and his little village. He showed us his pigs, chooks and tiny brick house. Everything started to sink in on our journey back to town, especially when I saw a lady (maybe around 40 years old) washing her clothes in a river, while her kids were 10m downstream having their baths, this really hit me hard in the feels… this was normal to them.  You know what, the more I thought about how much this trip had affected me the more I get angrier with myself. Why the fuck am I depressed? (Well that’s a long story and you will find out one day), why should I be depressed when I live in a house, have food on the table, have shoes on my feet, a new car, a wardrobe full of clothes… I literally have everything I need (no, not need… want) and yet I am not happy and I sure as hell don’t appreciate any of this!

These people are the happiest people I have ever come across and they have fuck all…. literally nothing after the tsunami/cyclone hit. They are still trying to rebuild everything they lost, but yet that doesn’t bother them. They look out for each other and don’t expect it to be returned… I learnt this when I embarrassed myself by asking the tour guide if he would like me to help him pack up our table and throw the unwanted food in the bin, his reply “no that’s fine, we leave it here for the locals to eat”.

Upon returning home I couldn't shake the anger and tried so hard to think about what I can do to feel that kind of happiness and making the most of what I have. Just seeing how much they appreciated the small things (like a smile or a wave) changed the way I viewed my quality of life. I want to feel the happiness and freedom I felt when I sat on the back of that “taxi”! So, I went on a journey and I searched a shit load of bookstores for a manual on how to be happy and stumbled across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen is an amazing writer, maybe too proper for me but I still read her book, she had some valid point’s that prompted me to also embark on my own Happiness Project, I wanted to be as happy as the locals in Vanuatu. Look, I know that I may be a little naïve about building my Happiness Project on one particular culture and destination because it is the only place I have been overseas but this trip is exactly what I needed to open my eyes.

After reading 5 self-help books I grew to learn that I wasn’t going to find “Happy” hiding in the context of each novel… they pretty much all had the same advice in different formats. Instead I introduced the thought that maybe the happiest place on earth is within myself (So cliché right?) Well, reflecting back to my visit to Vanuatu – it was pretty evident that this theory actually works! You’re probably thinking WTF is this bitch on about… well there are 2 ways to look at this: the suicide and depression rates could be significantly high over there because it is a third world country who have lost everything they have built in a natural disaster, some people don’t even have shoes… But that isn’t the case at all. They walk the streets (sometimes barefoot) with the biggest smiles on their faces and the suicide rate is extremely low. So yeah, maybe minimalistic lifestyles do make you happy and maybe happiness does come from within? It is a hard concept to grasp but it was a new concept that I am willing to invest in… all the other things I thought made me happy were only making me "temporarily elevated".

So, after contemplating buying a one-way ticket to Vanuatu to find my happiness, I decided not to. Instead, I decided to do something about finding my happiness within; I sent my book to an editor for help (it’s totally fine to ask for help), I started reading and writing more, I practised Yoga every day, I learnt how to meditate, I hiked, I camped... I invested my time and energy into things that made me happy. I understand that there are bills to be paid but at the end of the day it made me realize that I wasn’t happy and the only way I could “live like a Vanuatu local” is to cut the bullshit that doesn’t make me happy and to start to value my time and understand self-worth (also a hard concept to grasp at times…. Especially struggling through depression).

And you know what? After this whole experience I was able to redefine my perception of Happy (without google). So, how are you going to redefine your perception of happy? Are you happy with every aspect of your life? Are you proud of who you are?  Do you love what you do? If not, what are you going to do to change it?