3 Things I Discovered When I Lived Alone

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.

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

Living with Anxiety

Hello.

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.”

-Margaret Mead

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

 

5 Things That Will Make Mornings Easier

Waking up at 7am is never easy, especially when you’ve stayed up past 2am watching Parks and Recreation the night before. Luckily I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that have made this early mornings a lot more bearable.

1: Brush Your Pearly Whites

It’s a simple task, but if you brush your teeth first thing in the morning you will feel a hell of a lot fresher. Plus nobody wants to tuck into into their avocado and toast when someone with awful morning breathe is sitting opposite them.

2:Music

Music that reminds you of a happy memory will increase your mood. Serotonin levels can increase after you listen to music so make an upbeat morning playlist on Spotify that you can dance around to whilst getting ready. Lately I’ve been playing Green Light by Lorde and You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oates in the mornings.

3: Prepare Your Clothes

I understand that rummaging through your wardrobe and ironing at 8pm doesn’t sound ideal, but preparing your clothes the night before will make your morning less stressful. Say goodbye to mornings where you spend most of your time running around looking for a pair of matching socks and your favourite stripey t-shirt.

4:Wake Up Your Brain

We all feel lethargic and a bit doddery in the mornings, but one way to combat those feelings is to get your brain into action. Read the newspaper or a few pages from a book. You don’t need to read half of Ulysses, but reading in the morning will make you feel focused and it helps generate creativity.

5: Join The Breakfast Club

This tip is not about befriending Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald, even though that sounds like a dream. One vital thing you should always try to do in the morning is to eat breakfast. It’ll boost your energy levels and keep your inner hangry gremlin from being unleashed when the ticket machine at the Luas doesn’t work. Eat whatever tickles your fancy, whether that’s a bowl of coco pops or the Ron Swanson option- bacon and eggs.

“Start each day with a positive thought.”

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

From Gloomy Mornings to Bright Mornings

I miss seeing the bright, blue sky in the morning whilst I wait for my toast to pop and for the kettle to boil. I hate the eerily cold feeling in my bedroom as I stumble about looking for my snuggly lilac sweater. I stand at the bus stop bundled up in my long grey coat and bright red scarf craving a warm, cup of coffee. January mornings are harsh, icy and bitter, but I’ve figured out a few little tips to help make these mornings a lot bubblier and brighter.

Music

I had a 9am class on Monday morning which meant I had to wake up just before 7am. Waking up so early was not easy, especially after the Christmas break where I spent most mornings snuggled up in bed until 11am. One thing that gave me a happiness boost was listening to my favourite songs. I’d highly suggest making a kick ass playlist that’ll have you dancing around the bathroom as you brush your teeth. Every morning I’ll be strutting down my road to I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan just like Bridget Jones.

Hot Drinks

These winter mornings are so cool and crisp which is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a hot chocolate, a herbal tea or a cup of coffee from your local coffee shop. Leave your house a little bit early than usual so you can pick up a cup of your favourite hot drink to keep you all warm and snug at the bus stop.

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Do What You Love

Take some time each morning to focus on something you love whether that’s reading, writing, meditation or singing. Doing something you love in the morning will boost your mood and leave you feeling motivated and inspired. I try to take time to read either a chapter of a book or a few blog posts in the morning to get my brain working. It’s a short but effective way to set you up for the day ahead.

Here’s to feeling chirpy and content on these chilly, crisp mornings.

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

2017 is the year of self care

Happy New Year! I am so glad that 2017 is finally here. I’ve made a tonne of goals for 2017, but my main mission for this year is to focus on self care which I’ve failed to do over the last few weeks.

When you’re feeling low it is important to acknowledge your feelings. I am currently suffering from seasonal affective disorder which is a certain type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. Some of the symptoms include tiredness, lack of energy, weight gain and oversleeping. Personally, I tend to suffer from the disorder after the excitement and huge build up to Christmas dies down. I tend to wallow in self pity like a grumpy little gremlin and find it extremely difficult to make myself feel better. I let the disorder take over and mope about all day. However, I am determined to take better care of myself thanks to a video by Lucy Moon and Rosianna Halse Rojas where they discuss self care and share their tips on how to make yourself feel better during these darker times.

The video reminded me of how great I felt during last summer when I was really invested in looking after myself. One of the main things I did was taught myself to enjoy my own company. I think it’s extremely important to be comfortable with who you are and to feel content by yourself. Some of my happiest days were days I spent alone, for example my solo day trip to Galway or the day I spent in a local cafe reading. So I’ve set myself a few self care goals for the month of January and will continue to do so because 2017 is the year I take care of myself. It’s the year I put myself on a pedestal.

1: Go to the cinema by yourself

2: Get a haircut

3: Spend more time outdoors

4: Drink more water

5: Go on a solo day trip

Have you got any self care tips that you swear by? Share them in the comment section or tweet me @katkatkatt

Sincerely  Yours

Kat.

 

The Winter Blues

Now that Christmas has passed I’m suffering from a major case of the blues. The week between Christmas and New Years is a strange one isn’t it? I feel very lost and down this week. However instead of letting the negativity take over I have given myself a kick up the arse (and my wonderful friends have sent me the most encouraging messages too) and I’m determined to beat this case of the winter blues.

Something that has always helped me is escaping into the magical world of movies. There’s nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa and watching a timeless classic like  Jurassic Park or The Breakfast Club. If you can spare a few bob I’d highly suggest going to the cinema for a bit of escapism and most importantly butter popcorn.

Another thing that helps is dancing; and don’t worry you don’t need to be as talented as the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing. One of the greatest things Grey’s Anatomy taught me was to “dance it out.” Whenever I’m feeling down I channel my inner Meredith and Cristina and dance around my room. It is goofy and you may feel silly as you prance about the place, but it will make you feel full of spirit (and slightly sweaty)

mer-8

Finally, another thing I plan on doing a lot to beat this horrid case of the blues is embracing my creative side. Being creative helps me feel very fulfilled so I’ll definitely be working on a few little projects over the next couple days, whether that’s redecorating my bedroom or writing a short story. You can be creative in whatever way tickles your fancy. For me, writing a short story gives me a huge burst of happiness that I want to store away in a jar and hold onto for these dreary days. You could channel your inner baker and make some cupcakes (and then bring some over to my house) or you could pick up one of those snazzy adult colouring books from Easons and doodle to your hearts content.

The most important thing to remember is that this case of the blues will eventually bugger off and will leave you with a calm and clear mind again. It takes a lot of patience, but you’ll feel better again in no time.

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

Home Sweet Home

Thousands of people will be flying home to Ireland from all across the globe this Christmas. They’ll be greeted by their loved ones at the airport with open arms and handmade banners. They’ll be driven home to a warm and cosy house where they’ll sit in the living room with a cup of tea and 101 stories to tell their family about their time away from the Emerald  Isle. 

Christmas is a time where we cherish our family and appreciate our home that’s been decked out in festive decorations. Unfortunately there are thousands of people spending Christmas on the streets this year. According to The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Homelessness Report in October 2016 there are 4377 people who are ‘officially homeless’ in Ireland.

Knowing that someone will be spending Christmas on the cold, empty streets of Dublin instead of being surrounded by family is devastating. But what can we do to help?

You can get involved with the Home Sweet Home campaign, who are working tirelessly to end homelessness in Ireland. It’s time to make the change we want to see. It’s up to us, the people of Ireland, to help as much as we can to defeat homelessness. To donate to this incredible campaign please go to https://www.gofundme.com/home-sweet-home-ireland where every cent you donate will help stop homelessness. 

This Christmas you can also make a donation to Focus Ireland and help stop another family becoming homeless in our country. All you have to do is click on this link which will bring you to Focus Ireland’s donation page https://www.focusireland.ie/donate/ where you can donate whatever you can.

The homeless crisis in Ireland is worsening and it’s up to us to stop it. We can’t let anymore families lose their homes or let people sleep rough on the streets as the rain pours down and soaks the cardboard they have to sleep on. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head this Christmas because there are thousands of people across the country that don’t.

Keep the homeless people in your thoughts this Christmas and make a donation. Hopefully this time next year they’ll be sitting in a warm, cosy home instead of in a sleeping bag on the street. 

Sincerely Yours,

Kat. 

My life has been crazily busy lately. I’ve barely had a second to myself between working part time, travelling, being features editor of the college newspaper and tackling assignments. It’s been a stressful time and there have been moments where I’ve cried and where my stress levels were through the roof and when I’ve completely run out of energy. 

I love being busy. I love having plans. I love working on exciting projects. I love how fun life has been lately. However sometimes we need to take a break from the hussle and bustle. We need to find a place of peace, tranquility and calmness, whether that’s at your home or at a local cafe or a library.

 

It is so important to have a place where you can unwind and relax. A place where you can breath out any stress and focus on you. I feel like us milenials are constantly rushing about, but rarely take time out to sit still and focus on life and absorb it. 
That’s why I’ll be spending the next few days reenergising and taking it easy. I’ll be snuggled up in the fairy light cavern that is my bedroom, where I will read and drink peppermint tea and listen to music and breathe.

And when I’m ready and rejuvenated I will go back to my hectic lifestyle and I’ll be able to handle it with ease and most importantly I’ll be able to appreciate it and enjoy it. 

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 

Sincerely Yours,

Kat

Stop Judging and Start Encouraging

Imagine a stranger walking up to you in the street and saying how ugly you look or how unflattering your dress is. It would hurt wouldn’t it? So, what on earth gave us the notion that it’s okay or socially acceptable to criticise someone’s appearance? I’ve spotted school girls snigger at their classmate because they’re wearing different shoes, I’ve heard my mam complain about what the RTÉ weather woman is wearing, the Daily Mail published tonnes of articles slating everyone from Beyoncé to Kate Middleton. I’ve been guilty of judging people in the past about their appearance, I think we are all guilty of that, but we have the power to change it.

It’s okay if somebody wants to wear a bright yellow polka dot dress.

It’s okay if somebody wants to wear their hair in pigtails.

It’s okay if somebody wants to wear a short body con dress.

It’s okay if somebody wants to wear over-sized multicoloured sweaters.

It’s okay if somebody wants to dye their hair green. rupi

What matters most is that we feel content and comfortable with our appearance. We all come in different shapes and sizes, some of us are a size 10 and some of us are a size 20, some of us are black and some of us are white, some of us have blue eyes and some of us have brown eyes, some of us have small boobs and some of us have big boobs, some of us have short, curly hair and some of us have long, blonde hair; but one thing we do have in common is that we’re all beautiful and we need to remind each other of that every single day. Let’s join together and push the negativite and judgemental people away by encouraging, empowering and loving one another. We need to spread love and not hate. The world will be a better place when we stop mocking each other and start cheering each other on.

 

Be empowering.

Be encouraging.

Sincerely Yours,

Kat.

Bad Brain Days

I’ve been feeling very down lately. My spirits are low and I’m running out of positive vibes. However, unlike my past self I now have the strength in me to make myself feel better. We all have our down days and one of the most important things I’ve come to realise is that it’s completely normal to feel bad and to cry from time to time.

On these bad brain days I often find myself focusing on the negative parts of my life. I sit in my bedroom and mope around like a grumpy little oaf. I isolate myself and do as little as possible. I basically do everything you shouldn’t do when one is feeling glum. Thankfully I’ve realised there are so many things that make me smile like the Cheshire Cat on bad brain days. So, I thought I’d share my list with you and hope it helps you too.

  • Disney: I love everything about Disney. It fills me with so much joy. I cannot get enough of it. If there’s something that’s going to make you smile from ear to ear it’s gotta be Disney related. Visit the magical Disney shop on Grafton Street and try not to spend all your money on the soft toys (I’ve currently got my eye on Lucifer, the sleepy Eeyore tsum tsum and the little Flounder soft toy. They’re just all too cute!) A trip to the Disney store or a Disney movie marathon will always make me feel better. Day dreaming about visiting Disneyland is another favourite of mine; I’ll visit one day, soon!

  • Friends: I tend to shut people out during bad brain days, which is the silliest thing to do. It’s something I’m working on fixing and I think I’m doing a grand job at it so far. I’ve started speaking to my friend Laura on the phone which is the ultimate pick me up (even if our late night phone calls are ruining our sleeping patterns) Chatting about light topics like what TV shows we’re watching or what we did during the day has helped so much. Our light, relaxed & goofy conversations have kept my anxiety at bay and have made me laugh like an absolute loon at 2am.
  • Volunteering: I adore being  a volunteer, it’s one of my favourite things about who I am. I wish I had more time to do it these days, because my family over at the volunteer shop never fail to make me feel better, especially Sally and Tracey who are two women that I really look up to. They are some of the greatest people I have ever met. They make me smile and laugh until my sides ache. They also believe in me and support me so much. Working in the charity shop is a great way to get out and meet all kinds of characters, both good and bad. It’s also a nice way to give back to the local community. Pottering around the shop and fixing the book shelves and steaming clothes on a Saturday makes me feel so motivated and gives me a much needed confidence boost. Knowing the work I do is helping others is the best reward of all.
  • My Journal: I’ve got at least fifteen journals under my bed full of thoughts, memories, fears, hopes and story ideas. I try to write in my journal at least once a day. There is something so therapeutic about spilling all your thoughts onto the pages of a journal. Pick up a journal in Primark or splash out on one from Paperchase. Writing is one of the best ways to get things off your mind.  Embrace your inner Bridget Jones and start scribbling away in your diary.

  •  Travelling: I have a part time job now which means I now have money for the first time in forever. I visited Amsterdam at the beginning of the summer and since then the travel bug hasn’t left me alone. I’m constantly scrolling through booking.com dreaming about staying in the swankiest hotels in London. I’ve recently traveled to Cork and Louth by myself which I am so chuffed with. Last year I could barely get on a Dublin bus without having a panic attack so being able to travel solo is a huge achievement for me. I’m hoping to visit London within the next couple of months. I cannot wait to hop on a plane again.
Let’s hope the bad brain days stay away and that July is a positive month.
Kat