Saturday, 6 May 2017

Life After The Dreaded Blog Post



I would like to express how touched I was that so many of you took the time to read my blog post. It was overwhelming and unexpected and I thank you all. It meant something to know people wanted to hear me.

I didn’t expect there to be such a long hiatus, which just goes to show that there is a lot more to the healing process than you think. I’ve learned that things don’t always go as planned, people change and you change. You know what? It’s all for the better. It’s been a series of highs and lows since I last posted.

I plan on using this space to write whatever I feel like talking about, including topical things such as mental health issues. Mental health should be a topic which we are comfortable with because only by learning about it will we accept its prominence and help each other out. We are so caught up in social media, I think we forget about the real things that matter and count. A “like” is considered a form of support, and while we all love getting “likes” is it more about showing off how supported you are? Or does it actually have some sincerity attached?  What are the deciding factors to whether we “like” something or not? Is it pity, admiration or just an automatic response?

I didn’t expect to take two steps forward, only to take three steps back. I let that wall down, and it came in like a flood. I became depressed like never before and it felt like everyone expected me to be healed and reborn. My anxiety started to affect me physically; uncontrollable shakes, irregular breathing, insomnia, etc. I couldn’t control it anymore. When things like this take effect, you see who is really there for you and who sees the change and helps you. It helps when others around you notice you’re suffering, that it’s not all in your head. The best thing you can do as a friend is be there, even when you don’t know what to say or do. The best thing you can do if you have a friend that is suffering is to not shut them out because it isn’t you they’re ignoring. The best thing you can do is not leave your friend behind, not expect them to change or pretend to be okay. We can all be avoidant creatures; we all have our own faults and problems, but we can’t leave each other behind. That is far more damaging, more than some people can understand or comprehend.

Asking for help is the first step. I went to my doctor and he referred me to a psychiatrist, who turned out to be the most pig headed, rude, and horrible doctor I had ever come across. He made me feel like I was fabricating my symptoms. I didn’t feel safe there at all. We all have the right to feel safe. I was horrified to think that this is our mental health system, but it makes sense why people don’t get the help they need. Some people might not give it a second chance like I did. The mental health care is disgraceful, and for the doctor to make me believe I was not “sad” enough by his standards is the very reason we have this uninitiated and negative culture towards mental health. You can’t rank what others experience. I’m glad to say he isn’t working there anymore, and rightly so.

After seeing another doctor, I was prescribed antidepressants. I felt uninhibited despite what people might see on the outside. I am not ashamed to say I’m on medication that helps me in this part of my life. Like I said previously, I am not diseased, I am not dying, but I am doing what I can to survive. There is a stigma around taking such medications and there shouldn’t be. Especially if you feel like it is a considerable difference between living and not living. I used to think medication was unnecessary and you could do anything you put your mind to with a combination of a healthy lifestyle and diet, but I’ve come to realise that every situation is different and there are an infinity of factors. Sometimes, you need an extra help, and that is okay.

Despite all of the negative affects it had on me to be open about the rape, I don’t regret it. You have to let the pain in and feel it. If you can’t find the words to express yourself, I believe you have to go it alone sometimes. All the friends, support systems, relationships help put the pieces together only so far, and sometimes the rest of pieces can only be put back together by you. We are always in such a rush to do this and do that, I’m particularly guilty for living in the fast lane because I was always trying to get to what I hoped would be a better part of life. Sometimes you have to accept that you’re in this alone and it is a slow process. 

Only when you’re truly alone with yourself, will you be able to breathe in the pain and let it out. You’ll be able to face all those demons. It’ll be intimidating to feel the strange moment of peace. I don’t think we are familiar with that, with not feeling like you’re in a moderate state of chaos. It’s going to be overwhelming and you’re going to truly realise the damage and the time you need. You can't distract yourself forever.

So I’m taking this time because it’s okay not to be okay still.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Dreaded Blog Post: Rape Survivor

I think this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it is the right thing to do. This is necessary to me, despite what other people may think, and I hope that there are some people who will take comfort in reading this. Once I realised that I wasn’t alone, I felt better. I don’t have other victims to talk to but I’m going to extend an invitation to everyone, feel free to talk to me or reach out in confidence. That’s all I really want, to get past this by helping others because not everyone can see they have the strength in them to say it out loud. So here it goes; I am a rape survivor.

I have been shown unwavering, and somewhat unexpected support, in my decision to make this blog post. There is still a long way to go in regards to dealing with it but it starts here. I have made a lot of mistakes in the past four years because of a secret I’ve held with guilt and shame. I have made a lot of poor decisions, drank too much on various occasions and still do, and I have had a lot of silent sad days.  I realised one day that I was hiding from myself, and that I didn’t have to be okay for everyone else. I didn’t have to hold back from the highs and lows anymore just to make people comfortable. It should be talked about, it’s rape. It’s a violation of your body and it needs to be talked about because it’s so overwhelmingly common, more so than people can imagine.
  
The last four years had been filled with denial, confusion and avoidance until I hit rock bottom and forced myself to realise I needed to deal with it and recognize it for what it is. It is rape. There is no rationalizing any sexual abuse, assault or anything of the sort; I felt a lot of anger when I stopped rationalising it. I was angry at myself for accepting the most disgusting crime that could happen to me and angry at society for allowing a stigmatism to be built around the idea of discussing rape openly. It is rape. I know it is a hard word for people to hear and use, but it shouldn’t be hidden. It shouldn’t be hidden because the discomfort experienced when people hear the word is nothing compared to actually going through it. I am not dying, I am not diseased, but what I am is a survivor and I need to be able to express myself just like everyone else. I don’t believe in tolerance; I am not going out of my way anymore to make sure people don’t feel uncomfortable with hearing this. It’s easier to accept the way oppression is normalised in our society, but it’s not right to have to feel like you should internalise the pain and indirectly maintain the traumas affecting us. Society says don’t get raped rather than don’t rape and that mentality needs to change. I listened to a video by Kat Blaque, and believe she’s right when she says we live in a society that celebrates the result of overcoming a trauma but looks down on people who haven’t been able to as successful. She says that in a way all these things has to happen in order to shape the person she is today but no one should ever be that strong or get use to it. No one should have to endure and internalize the trauma. As she says in her video, oppression is not the answer. 

I was good at internalising the pain for a long time, even fooling myself for a while. I went from losing my friends and eating alone in school bathrooms to making better friends and meeting a great guy. This positive transition helped me ignore what I was feeling, I was happy with the wall I had built between me and the pain, but cracks formed in times of pressure and over time that wall tumbled down and the pain was still there waiting for me to acknowledge it. Being the master repressor that I am didn’t help me in the end, but getting to the lowest point in my life was necessary in order for me to face it. I wasn’t ready to deal with it at the young age that I was.

This year I told my parents and everyone important in my life. It helped me realise that I'm not in the wrong, or alone, or someone that needs to be pitied. I need to be heard and I need people not to confront the topic, even if they’re uncomfortable with it. Rape survivors need to feel that they can talk about it, but people avoid what they can't comprehend and avoid things that make them stop and consider their actions. It’s more than okay to feel what you're feeling and admitting you've been torn apart by another is not weakness. It’s important not to judge yourself on what others have done to you. I didn't want to admit weakness but what I didn't understand four years ago was that this isn't weakness, but strength. I am strong and so is every rape survivor, but we shouldn’t have to be. Everyone I have told so far were glad I told them, because those who are closest to you will understand that you need to be heard and supported, and their strength gives you strength. The first step is to talk about it; no one should blame you. You're still standing at the end of the day and they should respect and admire you for that.

I am still angry; every now and then I fall apart and this still affects big parts of my life, but it's not going to dictate how I live. It may cripple me some days, but some days are not all days and that's what matters in the end; it means you're getting there. Healing doesn’t mean the damage isn’t there, it just means that it can’t control your life anymore.

What I want people to take from this is that it's okay to talk and that we need to create a world where it's safe to talk about rape, not a world where a rape occurs every two minutes. Talking about things that are perceived as weak is a big issue we have in our society. I can't just sit and shrug while saying to myself that this is just the way things are anymore; this is the way things shouldn't be. We live in a society that judges those who embrace their sexuality, where the victim is to blame for what they wear, or, for not having their full wits about them, for drinking, for not covering their drink, for not watching out for predators and for not staying safe in numbers. The victims are not the ones that need to change. The way I dress is not an invitation or a free pass to my body. I don't think that my inability to say no is a yes. One problem today is that the severity of sexual assault, rape and crimes of a similar nature are rated on this imaginary scale of how bad they are. No one can tell you that some complete stranger touching your butt without invitation is not sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault cannot be measured and don't you let anyone try to. No one has the right to tell you how bad that experience was compared to others. In my twenty years I have encountered three serious accounts of sexual assault. Once was rape and the other two happened two years later, one by a friend and the other by a stranger. I reported the stranger, because I wasn't about to brush it off anymore and let it seem like it was okay, and cut all ties with this friend, I wasn't about to change my morals and discount my own self worth by making excuses for her anymore. Sexual assault is still sexual assault no matter the gender of the perpetrator or how good of a friend they were. They’re nothing if they would violate you.

People may think that I've had a long time to deal with it but the fact is I'm going to live with it for the rest of my life. It’s not that I don’t feel the pain; it’s just that I’m not afraid of hurting anymore. There are going to be moments where I'm genuinely happy, and then there will be the memories of those dark moments that I let slip through the cracks. I wanted to be alone in the past, but it's my friends that keep me afloat. I'm happiest in their company, even if we are just driving around, singing and pretending to be without a care. You just have to find those people that help you find yourself again, even if they don't know that's what they do for you. For me, I think you all know who you are and I don’t know where I’d be without all of you.

Just remember you’re not on your own and it wasn’t your fault. Inhale the future and exhale the past; whatever you do don’t stop breathing, because you’re stronger than you think. “I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become” – Carl Jung

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SupUmg566js – What is Rape Culture: Kat Blaque
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gITJqqsmMFc – The Victim’s Complex: Kat Blaque

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

I Rather Be a Mermaid.


I may be clouded by my obsession with mythical (and non mythical) aquatic creatures, but these super cute and comfortable pjs definitely deserve a blog post. I bought these Disney pjs in +Primark (Penneys), the t-shirt is 7 and the leggings are €10. 
One thing to keep in mind if you plan on getting these is that I found the sizes to be generous, I bought a medium in the leggings because of the junk in the trunk but I actually find them a little too big! I bought a small in the t-shirt and it is also plenty big, so keep that in mind if you're similar in frame to me. The Little Mermaid was definitely in my top favourite movies as a kid.. And now.. Plus I use to collect lots of shells as a kid and the leggings are covered with a cute shell pattern. Remember, even your pjs can have a positive affect on your morning mood! My only complaint is that I haven't experienced any mermaid dreams while sleeping in them! 

Happy Sleeping xox

Feelin' like a cute little kid... Even my phone case as aquatic creatures on it. Penguins are basically sea birds right?

(I found this picture on +eBay)




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Monday, 21 March 2016

Black & White

I had a family party a couple of weeks ago and decided to go very casual considering it was a black and white masquerade ball! I just wasn't feeling the party mode so I went for an all black outfit (nearly) with a white tattoo cape. I still felt pretty glam I will admit. 
The lace bodysuit was a steal for 6.99 in +TK Maxx, my jeans are my ultimate go to black skinnies from +River Island and the shoes are from +Primark. I have a few pairs of those court shoes in different colours from Penney's (Primark). Sometimes on a night out my shoes get destroyed from whatever is on the floor (AND whoever is stepping on me), so why take out those favourite expensive shoes? I couldn't find the tattoo cape to link, but it's from +FOLKSTER, like a lot of my super pretty pieces. I found a white cape here though at +OfficialPLT : https://www.prettylittlething.com/aleta-cream-cape.html
Right now there is 15% student discount! Perks of being a student. 







Red eyes from battling with my contacts. 







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                                                                               xox
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Casual Wear for Town


I always misjudge the amount of time I have to get ready to face the real world, so this outfit was really just the first pieces I touched. Not to shabby, super comfortable for running around town taking care of business and mostly black. What is there to fault? Unless you don't like the plain understated look. Nothing beats a granny cardigan on those busy days, it was super warm though for spring. Weather is always questionable..

 



I'm obsessed with wearing these all the time. Frilly frilly socks purchased in +River Island.
Shoes from +schuh 


Super sad I forgot I was wearing one of those necklaces with your name written on a rice grain floating in water... Anyone remember those from holidays? I got mine in Korea when I was younger.


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xox





Tuesday, 1 March 2016

College - Outfit of the Day




I use to always think it was going to be great going to college and ridding myself of having to wear that uniform everyday. Now that I'm here in college for my second year, I understand it's a struggle to pick an outfit each day, even a pressure for some. I sometimes find myself wanting that blue skirt and grey jumper back. The student life definitely does not allow for constant shopping for new things to make different outfits so you're not recycling the same outfit every week. SOO, for this outfit I wore what usually is a dress I throw on for a quick option on a night out with a turtle neck top. I opted for my new kicks instead of the usual ankle boots because I thought it looked cute with the denim jacket! The bag I use for college most days is my +Michael Kors backpack and I love it. It was in a really good sale at +Macy's reduced down to about 80 dollars from 200. I couldn't leave it there, so it became an early birthday present to myself.. the only annoying thing about it is that my laptop doesn't fit in it. I use my iPad way more now because of that so that's a plus within a con! The Nikes were on sale as well in +schuh, only 50 euros with the sale and the student discount (early anniversary present for me). Anyways the point was suppose to be that it's not difficult to switch pieces around to make different styles! 

Here's some early morning pictures before my lecture, 30 minutes prior to these I was in bed.



Dress from +Forever 21 and the top is from +River Island.


Just can't stop checkin' out my shoes it seems. 




Old denim jacket was my mothers, it's from +Levi's®.


Until next time buds xox
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Getting Back to Fitness

I have been making slow but good progress is getting back to my fitness. Looking back at my old post about sports wear I can really see how fit I was and toned (sigh)! I find it to be disheartening when I keep looking back on photos of my previous physique, so from here on out I'm putting a stop to that. Or at least for this week. 

I've started back with my old eating patterns such as; not eating late at night, having a portion of carbs once a day, high intensity interval training (way to go for weight loss), more fruit and veggies etc. I'm not as impressive as I use to be in the fitness area but I'm getting there. The key is to start of with small goals. For example when I first started back using the treadmill, I was only running for a minute and a half (9 km/hr) and briskly walking for five (6km/hr). Then I started running for two minutes at 9km and walking for five minutes at 6km, then two minutes running and three minutes walking till I reached where I am currently at two minutes at 9.5 km and walking for three at 6.5 km. It may not sound like much but for two weeks it's still progress. I was going to start shortening the gap between the running and the walking but since I'm not looking to increase my endurance it's not too much of a big deal if I don't. I read a study actually that said running for two minutes and walking/jogging for three burns more calories!   Of course I do my cardio and then move on to weight training, I don't over rely on cardio.

Example of some of the exercises I do after cardio come from +FitnessBlender
I did my abs yesterday using this work out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yk_z7CK6Ig

Workout Structure: (45 seconds on and 10 seconds off for each exercise.  Do each group twice through without a break before moving on to the next group)



Group One:
Jackknife Crunch
Knee Tuck Crunch
Standing Dumbbell Oblique Crunch
Back Bow Cross Over
Group Two:
Criss Cross Crunch
Russian Twist
Side Hip Raise
Back Bow Pull
Group Three:
Toe Touch Drops
Reverse Crunch
Ab Rocker
Swimmers

I have to say it was hard, because my abs are weaaaak. It's important to take your time though to do each rep right. Don't forget to stretch before and after as well! 
I started wearing some new gym gear by the way and I love them. I've opted for three quarter length work out pants instead of my usual straight leg yoga pants. They're still high waisted (just the way I like it) like the yoga pants. I also wear loose fitted X back tanks. I got them in +Old Navy, they don't seem to have the patterns I bought anymore but this is the style anyways: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1049018&vid=1&pid=487010182 From time to time I use my full length leggings from Penneys as well. I wear my +Nike roshe flyknits to the gym, they don't seem to sell this pattern anymore but they have plenty of others. http://store.nike.com/ie/en_gb/pw/n/1j7?sl=women%20roshe%20.  As for the sports bra, I use the same brand always: http://www.panache-lingerie.com/en/products/details/panache-sport/sports-bra/sports-bra/geo-print 







Happy gym-ing! 

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xox