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

Moments

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.

FullSizeRender (4)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.

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

 

Shape of You

I’ve got freckles on my back

And pasty pale skin.

I’ve got stretch marks on my stomach

And light grey eyes.

I’ve got curly brown hair

And scars on my thighs.

I’ve learned to love my body, even the parts that make my heart sink when I look in the mirror. I remind myself of it’s strength and it’s power and it’s duty to protect the organs that keep me alive. My body’s purpose isn’t to squeeze into a pair of jeans from Topshop.

It is there to protect the heart that pumps blood around my body and the lungs that are the reason for every breath I take. My body protects my brain, which is full of ideas and memories and dreams. My body protects the bones that are the reason I can walk down the street and dance around the kitchen and hug my parents.

Your body’s strength is mesmerizing, so the next time you start to worry about how your legs aren’t long enough or how your tummy isn’t toned enough, remind yourself that your body is strong, your body is your great protector and your body is your home.

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

12 Valuable Things My Mam Taught Me

My Mam hoovers the house three times a day. We argue about missing socks and my cluttered desk. We share a love of white wine and are both madly in love with Patrick Dempsey. I like to remind her that I’m just that little bit taller than her because I know it drives her mad. She’s taught me a lot over the past twenty two years that I will always treasure.

This blog post is for you Mam, thank you for teaching me so many wonderful things.

1: Be generous in whatever way you can. Helping the ones you love will always send good karma your way.

2: Always be wary when you’re considering giving somebody a second chance.

3: Never let people walk all over you. We may be small, but we are so strong.

4: Put white lemonade in a vase of flowers. It helps them bloom.

5: Never spend the money that somebody put in your purse for good luck.

6: Your heart will always know who your true friends are.

7: Strictly Come Dancing is always a lot more enjoyable after drinking a glass of wine.

8: Always buy your cards from Mr.Price or the Pound Shop.

9: The best time to go to town is on a Thursday evening.

10: Using the word ‘dishy’ when referring to a handsome man is the best.

11: Listen to Sunshine 106.8 on a Sunday afternoon.

12: Wipe away your tears, put your shoulders back and lift your head up high, especially during the hardest moments.

Mam, if you ever read this (even though you won’t because you have no idea how turn a computer on) thank you for everything. I may not know how to use the washing machine properly, but you’ve taught me how to be the best woman I could possibly be. Your strength is admirable and you have the kindest heart. I’m so glad that you’re still here for me to tell you that I love you every single day, even if I have to shout it over the noise of the hoover.

All my love,

Katy

 

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

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.