A Year Today…

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 7.46.53 PM

A year ago today I was flying back from Hong Kong, having spent a few days in Dubai. It came up on my feed as these things do and it got me thinking. What’s changed and is it for better or worse?

Work
Having got away from my work colleague and entered a freelance life I’m much happier with my work. I managed to get funding for a project I created and bid for myself. I put hard work in and got rewarded for it. Though I don’t have a full time job at the moment, I tend to be happier whilst working. It gives me more time for creativity and quality rather than quantity.

Relationships
I now talk with my Mum again and have somehow forged a new type of relationship with her. I can tell her things I never would have before and I like that. Friendships have blossomed and shrivelled that I never thought would, that’s something I didn’t expect, but often for the better. The friends I have are strong and loyal and I love them to pieces. My boyfriend, that’s something I never would have happened. This month we’ll have been together 6 months and I’m truly very happy at the moment. I feel like I’ve found someone who gets me, we’re taking it very slow and we’re very different people, but together we’re supportive of one another and I love that. I’ve fallen out with my brother and had a true heart to heart with my sister for the first time in my life.

Travel and Dreams
I haven’t set foot on an aeroplane since I got back to the UK. This is one of the saddest things that I am forever thinking about. I said when I got back I would put away money especially for holidays and travel, but I never got the chance. Since last August I’ve not even made enough money to be taxed, but I’ve kept myself afloat. My new dream is to have a narrowboat, intentioned as a home I could move around the country in the case of my job moving, somewhere I could call home and feel like I owned something. This dream has turned into the idea of some kind of tiny home, but all these ideas come with notions of loans I won’t be given by a bank anytime soon. My instagram posts are a mile away from the asia content it once was.

Stability
In Hong Kong I felt transient, like I was going to leave any minute. My flat felt lifeless as I bought furniture for necessity rather than to make it a home for myself. Since being back I’ve gone from being ready to move somewhere else with a job any minute to just wanting to stay in Birmingham. Finding a relief in setting roots for a while. This is only an option if I work for it though and it may be that things do change, I get a job I would love to take on somewhere else, but there are other things like friends, family and now a boyfriend to consider.

My anxiety
I have gone from lessoning my medication, to difficulties breathing, panic attacks, changing my medication cold turkey, having insane withdrawal effects I was not ready or warned of and the eventual addition to my dose which sees me where I am today. It’s scared me and contented me on and off. I still feel anxiety at points but more physically than psychologically. I look at my life now and know for certain there are so many things I can now do that I wouldn’t have been able to before. Long car journeys, early morning without nausea, a positive energy that has returned to my demeanour and a heart ready to invite others in.

Looking back
I attended the wedding of a friend from Hong Kong last month and had the most wonderful time. When I left, I cried, I cried for all the things about Hong Kong that I’d missed, I cried for all the people I left behind in Hong Kong that I loved dearly and I cried for the trapped human I was there. It was hard to describe to my friends and many didn’t understand. That’s something that you’re forever unable to explain to people. I mourn the loss of Hong Kong every day, but it’s not the reason I would go back, I thought deeply about my move and overall I feel happy with the decisions I made.

In review
ON January 1st this year I posted this tweet:Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 7.37.38 PM

From this list, I can say that I am truly on my way to succeeding in my aims. I also have found a moment of calm in what has always been a rollercoaster of events and location, it’s nice to find a steady moment of me time. I needed that.

The future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera!

Advertisements

I want to run away…

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 10.11.43 pm

Every time something big happens to me, I just want to run away. You can tell I’m at a definitive point in my life because all I can think about is where I could go in the next 48 hours.

This isn’t out of character, just before the end of university in 2007, I ran away with a guy I’d only met once to the Lake District. It’s a beautiful place and it was liberating. To be sure the relationship lasted the couple of days we were there, but not much longer. Last year it was my trip to Taiwan whilst I was having a stressful time working and trying to get my friend to commit to coming away with me. I booked it and was on a plane in less than 24 hours.

I’m not sure why I do it, I’m not even sure what the urge is inside me, but it’s always to get somewhere else. From reading my Taiwan blog, it’s probably my sense of self which is rejuvenated when I have to make a step by myself and become reliant on only me once more.

I’m already worried about going back to the UK or wherever the wind blows me. Everything is so uncertain and though I can be brave and I always say never to be afraid of change, sometimes change is something that gets to me. It’s the unknown in all that lies before you.

So here I am, a 27 year old woman, sat on her sofa with her two cats asleep beside her, googling frantically looking for deals on getaways. Perhaps a hotel, a simple change of scenery could do it. Whatever it is I need it and bad.

If you could jump up and do anything, what would you do?

Everything’s about to Change.

sign

It’s a few months away yet, but I have made the decision to leave Hong Kong. There’s just not the breadth of opportunity I need here when it comes to my career and I have known that for a while. It’s time to return to the UK or to find somewhere else to call my home, at least for the time being.

I’m not scared of the move, I’m starting to save money and look at the posts that are coming up and if I’d be suitable for them. It’s hard though to go from a full time job to something I can’t really plan for. I’m starting to make my CV look good and think about who I am and how I can present myself. Think about my USP etc.

An anxious mind is not what I need in this situation and for the most part i’m doing good. As I mentioned before my anxiety is near to nothing which means I can take these steps without feeling like I’m doing anything wrong. So far it feels like the right move. I’ve told my work and I’ve told my friends, even my Mum and that’s huge! Now I just have to survive the next couple of months.

It’s funny you know, now I’m in my late twenties, I should have this shit down. I’m the person with 3 years experience, a breadth of knowledge and experiences under my belt. But will they want me? I now have everything that a few years ago I wasn’t getting anywhere because I lacked it. This is a forgotten moment in any person’s life.

Theoretically I should have a family, a house, a car and a pension building up…so far that’s not the case. You know what though, I feel like I’ve lived, if only for 3 years, I’ve explored, I’ve sought new worlds and new experiences that not a lot of other people have. There’s no engagement ring on my finger, but you know what? There’s time for all of that, I still feel like a teenager when I look at other people ‘adulting’ but I feel like my mind is more rounded. My perception clear and my body ready for this next chapter.

“Adulting isn’t all it’s made up to be anyway”

Mission Accomplished

20160209_195033
Kung Hei Fat Choi!

It’s Chinese New Year in Hong Kong and tonight I did something I would never have been able to a year ago. Literally.

This time last year my friend and me were supposed to be watching the New Year’s fireworks and my anxiety was at a peak of resistance. It took me all my strength and energy to just leave the house. My friend came to my town, had a meal with me and every step we were like “We could just stay here if we want – no pressure” we were taking it in baby steps. Now I am not one to miss out on things and therefore I took a deep breathe got on the first tram we saw and took off to Sun Yat Sen Park. It wasn’t too busy but my body was going wild. It’s so difficult to describe that feeling, it’s just like your whole existence wants you to turn around grab the nearest taxi and get home under the duvet forever more. We managed to stay and watch enough until the sky became one mass of smoke and smog and then decided to leave. I couldn’t even go for a drink after, we had buy drinks from 7/11 and go back to my apartment for me to feel any kind of secure.

So this year I was determined. I had a conversation with my Doctor about my medication and asked him honestly where it was all going. He upped my dosage and said as soon as I I stopped feeling anxious altogether, we’d start to take the dosage down slowly.

That time is now.

Tonight I was on fire. I went to a place I knew would be busy, the IFC Terrace. I left the house with no problem at all, got to a nice spot on the terrace and all this…on my own. Usually when I’m on my own it’s a mission to get myself to stay without running back home. Today was different, I wondered around the shops, knowing full well the fireworks didn’t start for another hour, found a place to sit, got myself a coke and generally chilled. After the fireworks ended, and yes I was only able to see 30% of them…., I took it slow, chilled on the rooftop for a bit knowing that it’d be busy, the kind of busy I couldn’t be bothered with rather than I dreaded. I slowly made my way down to the MTR taking routes only the professionals are aware of when it comes to slow tourists. I went to Pret, walked through the airport express, bought some water and walked back to Central. Then when feeling tired at this point, I got the MTR, not a taxi, there was no panicking, no wondering if I would get home before I vomited everywhere. I took it slow and actually enjoyed the atmosphere.

The next few months are going to be full of challenges and I know I have to work hard to keep on top of myself, my feelings and my anxiety. But for this small thing to have happened makes me proud of myself and sometimes that means more than anything anyone else could tell you.

“Sometimes you just have to congratulate yourself.”

The Beginning

IMG_3623482934629~2

Since the age of 9 I have suffered from anxiety. Now I live in Hong Kong.

Towards the summer of my last year in Primary School, my parents announced to me that I would be going to a new school, that I’d got in. I was confused, I already had a school, the school down the road with all my friends. My parents insisted it would be a better education for me, I don’t ever remember being asked my opinion, though I remember crying, a lot. At the end of the school year I left all I had ever known.

This school was different, the kids, the layout, it was huge. Within a matter of days I began to feel sick all the time as if I was about to have a horrendous bout of food poisoning. I went to the nurses office every lunch it seemed. I should explain something else, I’m also scared of people vomiting. Somehow my fear of being sick has evolved into the reaction I get when I feel anxious. I did meet friends, but I wasn’t respected by the teachers here like I was at my old school.

After two difficult years of making new friends, falling out with friends and generally learning that people can be both incredible and intolerable, I was told I was moving again. This move would take me back to the friends I’d had previously. Two years of learning how to live this new life and I would be returning. My parents thought I would be overjoyed, but the whole thing came as a horrible blow. Again came the feelings of dread, the now all too familiar feeling of sickness. I’d never been taught how to deal with change and I was far too young to understand the concept.

For all of this I got told off by my parents, they didn’t understand what was going on and assumed i was ‘attention seeking’ a popular myth. The doctors had told me there was nothing wrong with me and I felt so alone.

 

For every time someone gets up the courage to tell you they’re having an anxiety attack, they have sat alone and endured so many more.