A Year Today…

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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!

A Letter to Myself.

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Dear N,

Remember who you were in Hong Kong. Remember that confident and resilient woman you were. Remember the friends you made and the people you now cherish.

I know England is hard for you right now, because life has become hard for you right now. There’s a certain way you used to be in Birmingham which effects who you are right now. But that’s the old you, that’s not who you’ve become. Embrace England with a fiery passion in your belly and a kind spirit.

Noone knows your personality like you do. You’re hilarious, witty (sometimes) and altogether kind. Remember that. Be that person you want to be, smile at strangers, be kind to the people around you and live life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in or who’s around you. Do this next step for you. Make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt and love yourself ever the more for it.

Remember people don’t know what you’re thinking. Ask for help when you need it and take notice of what’s going on around you. Be the strongest you, you want to be.

You know you don’t always love yourself. In fact often it’s quite the opposite, but the only way you can get through this is to be true to yourself. Use everything you learnt and be the traveller N. Right now there’s not much difference between you and her. Take that as an opportunity.

It won’t always be easy to read this letter without crying your eyes out or wishing you didn’t exist, but remember it’s always here. To care for you on the dark days and lift your spirits on the bright ones.

You need a new start and that all happens with you. Sit and write those applications and tell them everything you love about yourself, about how when you’re working with Young People you can’t think of anything else you want to do in your life. They make you happy, they give you life and without them you don’t have that. So get it.

Now, stop reading and get on with your life. Live it, to the full.

Best wishes,

N

I want to run away…

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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?

Who knew I was so strong?

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Since I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to be somewhere where I talked about the positive and not just the negative. So I am writing this post to show just how positive things can be, we may have peaks and troughs in our emotions, but there’s always a time when you feel good or notice your strength, even just get suprised about the way you handled an event.

This week one of my best friends visited from the UK someone who I find strength in, love to pieces and trust deeply. When her and her boyfriend arrived a weight was lifted as I gained an adrenaline rush from their presence, I steamed through Hong Kong taking them to Causeway Bay, through Central and into Sai Ying Pun. I was showing them my city and just how proud I was of it. I breezed through it all and felt awesome.

Slowly throughout the week my friend got more and more negative and lagged behind me when walking. I realised she relied on her boyfriend a lot, getting into emotional tizzes easily and waiting on him to pick up the pieces. It was so out of character and it worried me. The week continued in this vein with me feeling pretty miffed that my friend who had been so full of positivity and life was being so grumpy.

On the last day, we went to go Kayaking at the beach, two paddles in she declared ‘ I’m too scared, I can’t do this.’ By this stage I had little sympathy thinking she would just be going back to sit with her boyfriend.  So I watched her get out, explained I was going to go out anyway and waved at her from the sea. I had every conversation possible with her whilst in my kayak, going over every scenario in  my head, something I do quite often so my emotions aren’t bottled up.

When I got out I returned to the beach to be told by her boyfriend she was pretty upset and I should probably go speak to her. In my head I was fuming, I hadn’t done anything wrong. I approached with caution and asked if she was ok and in the next few minutes I slowly realised and she admitted, that she now suffers from anxiety. She gets panic attacks and gets scared doing activities she would normally relish. This girl is a fearless surfer adrenaline junkie. As she explained the way she felt, the way her head had changed, I started to tell her about my own symptoms and she suddenly began to realise that she wasn’t the only one. There’s a big perception that you’re going insane when it first happens and I could see in her eyes a door opening as she realised it wasn’t just her. This is the most important element in all of this. You are not the only one.

My friend explained she’d never known what I meant when I told her I was anxious and instantly said sorry. She told me that I was such a strong person and had done so well to go so far. I explained I was proud of myself, but not everyday was like this week. I admitted that I felt like a phoney in Korea after having spent a lot of time at the hotel.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, but I’m not the only person who can do it. I find that you need to really listen to the voice being drowned out. Think, what do they want? Then sometimes just bloody get on with it. If I let my anxiety get the best of me, and don’t get me wrong there have been several times when it has, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning, be working abroad in a job I love and I wouldn’t have met such lovely people out here who guide me everyday with their support.

If you’re only just beginning in all of this, yes it’s scary as hell, but the first step is just to admit it. I told my friend I was always here, but she wasn’t using me, the anxiety queen, well enough. I recommended she go to councilling as it’s a great first step in all of this, but it’s only you who can control it. Find a good friend,  don’t go overboard on the details as it’s a hard thing to understand, but just ensure they understand you sometimes need a little bit of support.

One thing my friend asked was if it would ever go away. To be honest, I don’t think it ever will, but that’s not the end of the world, unless you let it be. When you look back on your life you won’t highlight the moments of anxiety, you’ll think about the amazing adventures you had, so get up and get on with them, leave your comfort and defy the second voice.

 

 


Positivity is key in life. You should always look for the ways that it improves you as a person and gives you an opportunity to grow.