I often find myself saying, “oh we really need to meet up soon” to my friends. Planning nights out or coffee dates isn’t as easy as it used to be. Meeting up when we were… More
I know it’s been an entire month since I last posted here, but I have a very good excuse. I promise!
I got an internship… an editorial internship. The past three weeks have been overwhelming, but I finally feel like I’m starting to settle in at the office. I’m getting used to the style guide, I know how to write headlines that’ll catch your attention and I can edit photos properly (the other day I spent five minutes looking for photos of Ryan Gosling, what a dream.)
There are so many things I adore about my internship, from the fact that I have my own desk to the never ending supply of sweet treats that are in the office, and from being able to say I write for a living and the fact that I get Friday and Saturdays off. I just had to take some time out of my day off to say hello again. I have missed my blog, even though I write every day in work.
Life has been pretty good since I started my internship. I’ve been feeling less anxious and haven’t suffered from any bouts of depression in such a long time, it’s an odd but incredible feeling. My mind is clear and I feel really determined. I’ve even set some goals for the remainder of the year.
- Complete reading challenge- I’m currently reading How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. It is incredible. It’s full of history and heartache and mystery and F.Scott Fitzgerald is in it, so obviously it’s won me over.
- Go on a holiday- I need to travel again soon. The wanderlust bug won’t leave me alone. I don’t care where I go, whether that’s down to Cork for a weekend of rambling around the glorious city or ideally to Paris where I’ll eat way too many pastries and channel my inner Blair Waldorf
- Get a second tattoo- It’s been two years since I got my semicolon tattoo. I am itching to get another one. I’ve been thinking of getting a little flower, a forget-me-not to be exact, above my left wrist.
I think it’s important to remember that goals don’t have to be grueling, tedious tasks. Setting goals that will improve your life and make you feel happier is an essential.
And on that note I’m off to ring the Revenue to talk about tax and pretend to be a grown up. Sometimes we just have to tick the dull things off our to-do- lists to make room for the more thrilling tasks.
I always end up binge watching a TV show during the summer. This year I turned to Gilmore Girls where I entered the world of Stars Hollow, coffee and Jess Mariano.
I learned a lot from watching Gilmore Girls. It showed me how important your relationship with your Mam is, it reminded me of how fragile and exciting your first love is and it also made me feel better about the amount of coffee I drink. However, nobody thought me more than the ladies of Stars Hollow. From Lorelai to Babette, I learned an important lessons from each lady on the show.
I relate to Lorelai in many ways, mainly because she loves coffee and The Bratpack just as much as I do. However, what I loved most about Lorelai was her determination. She taught me to keep going no matter what. Breakups, money troubles, family feuds and even Taylor Doose never stopped Lorelai from achieving her dreams.
I’m just going to be honest and say that Rory turned out to be one of my least favourite characters on the show. I loved her in the early seasons when she always had a book in her hand and was so focused on her studies. She reminded me of my younger self, but once she went to Yale I felt like she changed and I lost a little love for the youngest Gilmore girl. Rory did teach me one thing and that is the fact that your mam will be there for you no matter what *sings* “All you have to do is call my name and I’ll be there on the next train.”
Sookie was the greatest bundle of joy on the show. Whenever she was on screen I felt so comforted and at ease. She was like a warm mug of tea on a rainy day. Her sunny disposition and bubbly attitude has inspired me to be more positive. Everybody needs a friend like Sookie St. James.
Emily’s story in the revival series managed to break my heart and put it back together again. Throughout the four episodes we see her deal with Richard’s death (which I will never ever get over) and make huge lifestyle changes. Emily showed me that the dark days will make you a better, stronger and truer version of yourself.
Paris may have been intimidating and overly competitive, but she worked hard and never lost focus on her goals. She reminded me to never settle for anything but the best.
Lane was one of my favourite characters on the show. And she certainly did not deserve that crummy ending in the revival season. She dealt with Mrs.Kim’s strict home rules for so long, and finally gathered up the courage to move away from what was holding her back. Lane taught me the greatest lesson out of everyone and that is to never let anyone hold you back from doing what you love.
I didn’t exactly learn a life lesson from Babette, but she is my hero. When I grow up I want to be Babette Dell.
“When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart” -James Joyce.
I was born in Dublin 23 years ago. I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s a city with great character and bundles of history. There are so many places around the county that hold a special place in my heart, from Dún Laoghaire to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and from my Nanny’s house to Smock Alley Theatre.
Unfortunately, the city itself has turned into one of my least favourite places. My anxiety disorder makes trips to the Big Smoke a complete and utter nightmare. I hop on the bus full of hope for the adventure ahead, but by the time it pulls up on Dame Street I am flooded with waves of panic and overcome with a feeling of dread. Anxiety is defined as ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’. Symptoms range from difficulty concentrating to headaches, and from nausea to constantly feeling on edge.
I’ve learned to live with my disorder, but I still struggle in the city. However, I don’t want my anxiety to get in the way of me living my life, so I’ve found a few little tricks that help me when I’m feeling extremely anxious in the city centre, and hopefully they can help someone else who is struggling too.
It’s simple but so effective. I know sticking on Spotify isn’t going to cure your anxiety disorder, but it can help a lot, so give it a chance. I find that listening to quiet, soothing sounds can help calm your heart rate and breathing. I listen to Ben Howard, Birdy and Tom Odell when I’m walking around Dublin. Focusing on the music also distracts you from worrying. Slow music can help reduce stress levels which will ease both your body and mind when your anxiety rears it’s ugly head.
My friends have been an incredible help to me. They’ve supported me when I’ve had panic attacks, reassured me when I felt stressed and understood that sometimes the city can be too much for me. If you speak to your friends in an open and honest way about your anxiety disorder you will feel a lot better. They will take t into account when you’re making plans. Your friends will make sure that you’re okay and will always keep an eye on you. Talking about mental health is difficult, because a lot of people can be dismissive, but your friends will understand and do their very best to help in whatever way they can. Knowing you have your friends support will help make outings to the city easier, and ten times more enjoyable.
This has been the most helpful trick for me so far. Planning your trip into the city will ease your mind and will help you stay focused. Pick out the cafe beforehand if you’re meeting a friend for coffee. Decide what shops you need to visit on your journey into town. Sticking to a schedule will keep your anxiety at bay because you will feel in control of the situation. Chanel your inner Monica Geller, but maybe leave your label maker at home if you’re heading out for cocktails with the girls.
Dear 18 Year Old Kat,
Everything got better.
You’ll discover many things in your final year of secondary school. You’ll drink for the first time, kiss people, go to house parties and spend Saturdays wandering around the city. You’ll also fight with people, and fail class tests and feel low, but I promise it get’s better.
You passed your Leaving Cert. You got that B in English that you dreamed of thanks to a hell of a lot of reading and a little chat with Ms. Munnelly. That conversation outside the R.E room gave you back your spark. You fell out of love with writing, but don’t worry, it came back. Hold onto how you felt when it was announced to the class that your short story was the best, scoring 99%.
Your mind will be full of troublesome thoughts for quite some time, please don’t suffer in silence. Tell your parents. Tell your class tutor. Go see a counsellor. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is common. Counselling will help, I promise.
Ignore the people who mock you for being shy. Being an introvert is part of who you are. You’ve yet to discover who you really are, but you will, and she’s not the worst person ever. Don’t let someone’s negative view of you impact your self esteem. I know it’s easier said than done, but you’re worth so much. Remember that.
Value the time you spend with your friends. You will meet some great people during your time in school, but friendships fall apart and people fight. Treasure every moment you have with these people. Dance at house parties. Ramble around the city centre. Wander around the local parks. Sit by the canal and natter about everything and anything. Waste your money on McDonald’s. Oh, and don’t be ashamed to talk about Glee, that show may have been cheesy, but it made you smile.
Please stop straightening your hair. Your brown curly hair is one of your best features. Also, you’re going to dip dye your hair blonde. Everyone will tell you it’s looks great, but trust me it’s hideous, please never do that again.
Stop arguing with your parents. Your Mam and Dad are two of the most amazing people on the planet. Tell them you love them every single day. Spend as much time with them as possible. Bring them out for dinner when you have the money. They have taught you so much and will support you every step of the way, even when you drop out of college.
Yes… in the future you’ll drop out of your Level 8 course, and it’ll be terrifying, however it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Don’t worry, you’ll find your feet and discover two wonderful courses that you’ll adore. You’ll become features editor of your college newspaper too, and have work published, yes, really!
You’re going to fall in love. You’ll feel content and bright and merry. You’ll go on dates and mini holidays and share many kisses. Ignore the mushy rom-coms, love is complicated and stressful. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth will not have a fight over you, I’m sorry. You’ll suffer through a great heartache and a painful breakup, but I promise it’s not the end of the world. Your heart feels happy and full again.
Do the things that make you happy. I know it’s a cliche, but please follow your dreams. Write every single day. Read as much as you can. Go to the movies and to the beach and to bookstores and cafes by yourself, it’s scary but trust me it’ll help build your character. Be goofy and embrace your pasty pale skin. Buy coffee from local cafes, because Starbucks may seem cool but their coffee tastes like dishwater. Go on holidays with your dearest friends, even if you’re struggling with money. Learn how to use a washing machine and eat more fruit. Visit your grandparents more. Drink water on nights out if you want to. Stay away from cigarettes. Wear whatever makes you feel confident, even that silly bowler hat you’re currently obsessed with.
Remind yourself that the dark days aren’t permanent, things will get better, I promise.
22 year old Kat.
There is something so comforting about watching the world go by with a warm mug of coffee in your hands.
I’m a true introvert so I adore spending time by myself. It calms me down and gives me the time to be alone with the dozens of thoughts whizzing around my mind.
I love peaceful mornings when I’m alone in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil as I try and decide which mug I want to use (a very important decision) for the first cup of coffee of the day.
Visiting my favourite cafe on a rainy afternoon fills me with waves of contentment. Sitting by the window with a cappuccino in one hand and a book in the other is one of the greatest feelings.
Buying a takeaway cup of coffee at Heuston Station before boarding a train to the countryside makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Curling up on my bed as the rain pours down outside makes me feel calm. The warm glow of the fairy lights brightens up the room and a mug of coffee sits next to a vase of peonies on my bedside locker.
I love ordering coffee for one. Solitude and coffee is the perfect combination.
I’ve always wanted to be in a John Hughes movie, but Home Alone would not be at the top of my list. However, I found myself channeling my inner Kevin when my family went on holidays for two weeks without me. Staying home alone seemed a lot more exciting until the dishes started to pile up in the sink. It wasn’t as fun as I expected it to be, but I thought I’d share what I learned from the experience here on Scribbles by Kat.
- I need to learn how to cook: Let’s take this moment to appreciate my amazing Nanny Gretta, because if it wasn’t for her I would have been living off toasted sandwiches for the entire two weeks. In my head I dreamed of having fancy giant breakfasts like they do on Gossip Girl- pancakes, waffles, pastries, fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice and gallons of coffee every morning. However, I struggled to make a slice of toast without burning it. I think it’s time to brush up on my cooking skills or my dreams of hosting a swanky dinner party in the future will never come true.
- Music makes everything better: I really underestimated the amount of housework my Mam has to do everyday. From hoovering to making the beds, and from washing clothes to polishing the furniture. It seemed daunting at first, but one thing that helped get through the never ending list of housework was music. Every morning I played my favourite albums at full volume as I pottered about the kitchen. The La La Land soundtrack and Spandau Ballet’s greatest hits were my go to albums, much to my neighbours delight- many apologies for the appalling singing. Playing music whilst I did the housework made it ten times more enjoyable, however it may have taken a lot longer due to the numerous dance breaks I took whilst hoovering. I looked just like Robin Williams during the cleaning scene in Mrs. Doubtfire.
- The difference between being alone and being lonely: I’m an introvert, which means I gain energy from being by myself, rather than in social situations. I love spending time by myself. I go to cafes alone. I go to the cinema alone. I go shopping alone. But that doesn’t mean I like being lonely. There is a huge difference between being alone and lonely, and being lonely is one of the worst feelings ever. I didn’t think I’d miss my family as much as I did, but coming home from work and not finding my Mam watching Fair City and Dad reading the newspaper was awfully sad. Also, being home alone at night time is so scary, especially when your brain makes you believe the Demogorgon from Stranger Things is outside your bedroom door.
Being home alone was both a good and bad experience. I’m sleeping better and eating real meals again now that my family are back, however I do miss having full access to the TV, I miss binge watching Gilmore Girls until the early hours of the morning.
A few years ago, during the days when my mind was flooded with dark thoughts, I contemplated suicide. I was weighed down by an overbearing depression, which left me feeling hopeless. However, the waves of negative thoughts have started to calm down. They make an appearance every now and then, ebbing and flowing in and out of my mind. But I am getting better. The days are brighter and my thoughts are lighter.
The world can be a very dark and lonely place when you contemplate suicide. I found the strength to overcome this difficult time in my life. And now, I see the world differently and appreciate the little moments, more than ever before.
I am grateful for the days when the sky lies still and silent above our heads as we potter about.
I treasure the moments when I catch my Mam laughing at something silly my little cousin did.
I love seeing my Dad sing along to the radio when his favourite song is playing.
I can’t help but smile when our pet cat chases a crunchy leaf around the garden.
I adore the days when I curl up with a giant mug of tea as the rain trickles down the window pane.
I love the feeling of freedom when I walk by the sea and feel as light as the sand beneath my toes.
I feel so merry when my sisters come home from a concert and fill the room with their excitement and infectious energy.
I appreciate the stories my grandparents tell me, even though I’ve heard them many times before.
I love the moments when I freeze and think back to those dark days. I smile as I remind myself of my strength. I am here. I am still alive and I am getting better. And those moments when I remember how far I’ve come are the greatest moments of all.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust
This month has been a joy so far. I took part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon, received my final college results and had many adventures with my dearest pals. Expressing gratitude for the little things is something I try to do as often as possible, so I wanted to scribble about three things that brought a smile to my face this week.
1: The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon
On June 5th I took part in the mini marathon on behalf of the Make a Wish foundation. The mini marathon is such an empowering and emotional event. I loved every single second of it, even when I was struggling to run when I got to the 9km mark. Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen played as I crossed the finish line in the rain, it was such a great moment. However, the best moment was singing along to Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves at the start line.
2: Tea with Nanny
The simplicity of sipping on a warm cup of tea and chatting to my Nanny never fails to make me smile. Life has been awfully hectic lately so I haven’t had the chance to visit her as much as I’d like to, but I popped down to her house on Thursday, which brightened my day. We watched Fair City, ate too many biscuits and she told me about how she used to be very good at writing stories.
3: Taylor Swift on Spotify
To celebrate 1989 selling over 10 million albums worldwide and 100 million song certifications, Taylor Swift added her ENTIRE back catologue to Spotify. You can now listen to all of her albums on Spotify- 1989, Red, Speak Now, Fearless and Taylor Swift! I’ve had Red on repeat, which is my favourite T-Swizzle album. (State of Grace, 22 and Begin Again are the best) Music makes everything better, especially Taylor Swift’s music. If you need me I’ll be dancing around my room to Shake It Off for the foreseeable future.
What made you smile like the Cheshire Cat this week? Tweet me and let me know @katkatkatt
My hair is frizzier than ever, my jumper collection has been packed away and the sun is shining. It looks like summer has finally arrived on the little island of Ireland!
I am so excited to go to outdoor cinemas, to eat ice cream by the sea and to laze about in the garden with the La La Land soundtrack playing in the background. However, one thing I hate about the summer is the ‘summer body’ conversation.
There is a huge pressure on people to slim down and tone up before summer rolls around. Women feel like they need to drop a dress size to look socially acceptable in a bikini. Men feel pressured to visit the gym more frequently to buff up for the summer months. Now, I’m not saying that being fit is a bad thing. Being fit and healthy is something we should all be, but we need to remind ourselves that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body’.
Mainstream media has tainted our views about how we should look. We have given the media far too much control when it comes to our thoughts on body image. Body’s come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s time to ignore the medias idea of what a perfect body looks like and start telling yourself that your body is perfect. You don’t need to be a certain size to wear a crop top. You don’t need to lose ten pounds to wear a pair of shorts. You don’t have to cover up your body because you don’t look like the woman on the cover of Vogue.
Everyone is self conscious about a part of their body, for me it’s my tubby belly and pasty pale legs, but I’m not letting that stop me from wearing my favourite floral skirt this summer. And you shouldn’t either.
We need to ignore this pressure and start to embrace body positivity. Never let someone tell you what you can and can’t wear. It’s your body, not theirs.
“The human body is the best work of art.”
― Jess C. Scott
I’ve wanted to blog about my anxiety disorder for such a long time, and today I’m finally ready to sit down and talk about it. I’ve spoken to the Journal about my mental health and shared my story over on SpunOut, but I felt like it was time to write about it here on Scribbles By Kat.
I’ve been battling with anxiety for over two years now. There have been many difficult moments during this ongoing battle, from extreme panic attacks to isolating myself from friends and family and from difficult GP visits to emotional counselling sessions. It hasn’t been easy, but as time goes by I’ve learned how to live with my anxiety.
Back in 2015 my anxiety was extremely bad. There were days when I couldn’t leave the house or get on bus or speak to anyone or visit the city centre. I was crippled with an intense fear and waves of worry flooded my mind. There were days when I cancelled plans with my dearest friends, because I was too anxious to get out of my bed. There were days when I stood at my bus stop and let dozens of buses pass me by, because I was too anxious to move and go into the city. There were nights where I had to leave bars because I just couldn’t deal with the crowds. There have been days when I’d leave to go to college and then turn back home, because I couldn’t handle the bus journey or being with my classmates or delivering a presentation. There have been sleepless nights and panic attacks and constant tears.
Anxiety isn’t cute or trendy. It’s not about being shy or bashful. I can’t just ‘get over it’ or ‘be more confident’. It’s not about being too sensitive or too nervous. It’s a serious mental illness that many people fail to treat with respect or care.
I am learning to live with my anxiety disorder. I still have my bad days, but this year there have been more good days than bad. I still have panic attacks, I still suffer from sleep paralysis triggered by my anxiety, I still struggle to go into the city centre, I still find it hard to breathe, I still get intense heart palpitations. I still have days when my mind is full of worry and dread and unbearable negative thoughts.
There are so many people that dismiss anxiety. There are so many people who don’t take it seriously. There are so many people who believe it doesn’t matter. There are so many people who don’t treat it like a real illness.
“You’re just a bit shy.”
“You need to go out in the fresh air more.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just being silly.”
“Stop looking for attention.”
“You’re just over-reacting.”
However, there are people who are making a difference by opening up and talking about mental health. When writing about depression in Reasons To Stay Alive, Matt Haig says “Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky, but- if that is the metaphor- you are the sky.
You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”
I remind myself of his words every single day. My anxiety isn’t in control of my life. My anxiety isn’t bigger than me. My anxiety isn’t more powerful. My anxiety isn’t going to win.
People will dismiss anxiety. People will mock you and belittle you and disrespect you when you speak about anxiety. People will tell you to ‘get over yourself’ or to ‘shake it off’. People will tell you that you’re being over the top or attention seeking, but you’re not.
This is my anxiety story and I will continue to fight against my disorder, and I will continue to talk about it, no matter how many people knock me down. Living with anxiety is an ongoing battle. It is a real disorder that needs to be taken seriously. We may live in a country where many people dismiss mental health, however, together we can change things by talking about anxiety in an open and honest way.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”