Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Green Sofa


At the age of 8 I moved house. I moved three miles up the road to another estate.
I was leaving my world as I knew it.
I was leaving my best friend and my routine of ‘calling in’ for her so we could go out in our roller blades or go on our bikes.
This was all being diminished because I was moving house. It may not seem very dramatic to an adult, but for me, at 8 years old, it was traumatic.

My casual walking down to school with my best friend was now going to be replaced with having to
sit carefully, on the clankity old Ulster bus seats, in hope that the movement of the bus wouldn’t disrupt my position and cause my legs to shift onto the freezing cold chrome edges of the seats.
This is when I started to feel strange. 


My best friend Carla (Left) and I



"I too, felt like I was covered, wrapped and stitched in complete unfamiliarity."


I remember opening the door into the living room of our new house. The only familiarity that I saw was our green sofa that had made the journey some hours before.
I stood in the doorway, and I stared at the green sofa.
That sofa had been a different colour once, but my mama had got it covered in a new material earlier that year.
I looked at the sofa. What was once a brown, familiar and molded with routine sitting sofa, was now covered in a new fabric.
I too, felt like I was covered, wrapped and stitched in complete unfamiliarity.
At 8 years old, I remember the overwhelming feeling of fear. I was consumed, by what I know now, was acute Anxiety. I was for the first time, experiencing Mental Distress.
Little did I know that this was the start of what would be a very long journey spent in complete mental wilderness.

"I was losing my childhood
 to the ‘bad feeling’ that 
my young innocent 
self labelled it."

I didn’t know how to explain how I felt. I was a child, and my vocabulary was limited.
I began saying that I “didn’t feel well” and when I was asked where I was sore, or how I felt, I just replied, in hopelessness “I don’t know”.
After many a trip to the Doctors I was told “It’s all in your head, stop worrying”, but it was in my head, and it was festering. That was it, I had to deal with this feeling because the Doctor and nobody else  could understand me.  My mum was always trying to distract me from the silent torment of my mind by saying “let’s bake buns” or “let’s go up into town to get new shoes”.

Nothing worked.  

I was losing my childhood to the ‘bad feeling’ that my young innocent self labelled it.
I wasn’t young anymore, I wasn’t carefree anymore, and we all knew it.
I, who was completely in awe of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ and sang every song during every second of every day, had stopped singing. The house was quiet now. My voice was silenced by the turmoil in my young mind. Before I was 10, I wanted to die, I couldn’t cope with it. 
At that age I had believed I wouldn’t live long, because I felt that it was not normal to feel so bad without dying soon.

Let’s fast forward to 2013. I’m still alive. I’m 24 now.
Since becoming mentally unwell from that young age of 8 I’ve been on three different types of anti-depressants not to mention the multitude of anti-anxiety medication and sedatives.

But I’m so happy!
Never did I think that feeling this good was possible for me.
Looking back, I know today that those feelings that I had when I was 8 was the beginning of the Depression and Anxiety, and ultimately a clinical diagnosis of O.C.D.
It has been over two years since I’ve been diagnosed with O.C.D. I was diagnosed due to a crisis, and I couldn’t cope and I had a major breakdown.
The coping strategies that I had developed since I was 8 had crashed and burned in face of this crisis where a family member had become unwell.
It came to a point where I refused to let the Doctor tell me that “exercise would lift your moods”.    

I swallowed my pride and demanded professional help.

My pride, my awareness of the stigma attached to mental health that came from society and even myself didn’t stop me. I didn’t care anymore. I needed help because the other option was Suicide and I refused to let Suicide be an option any more, even though I had Suicidal ideation.
And so, I was given an appointment for a psychiatric assessment. On the day of the assessment I was petrified about what would happen to me once I started to talk about how I was thinking and feeling.
I have no idea what I said that day in that room, but I remember I felt like there was a black cloud that had just burst open with rain and was now relieved.
A couple of days later I graduated with a degree in Drama. I was proud of myself and I was happy to have my photograph mounted on the wall between my brother and sister’s graduation photos.

The day following my graduation I had received a letter from the place where I had gone for my psychiatric assessment. I had sat down on our new black leather sofa and read the letter. The letter described my disorder; the letter deemed my disorder ‘common’ and contained a treatment plan of new medication specific for my disorder and C.B.T.

That letter meant more to me than my degree, because even though my degree proved that I studied drama for 3 years, my letter from the psychiatrist meant that I could now get better after 15 years of mental struggle.
I sat on our new black leather sofa and I cried with relief, liberation and catharsis from the unknown shadow that I could now name, and now control.

Celebrating my birthday in Melbourne, Australia

I wasn’t like the green sofa anymore. I was becoming more like our new black leather sofa, I had aged with struggle, but I was tougher now, I was durable and I was now more resilient, despite who or what impacted on me. 


Sunday, 8 February 2015

My Birthday

It felt so special to spend my birthday in Australia, and being in such a beautiful city like Melbourne I knew my birthday would be like none of my previous birthdays.
On the eve of my birthday my brother, his girlfriend and my boyfriend and I had dinner in a rustic restaurant called 'The Boathouse' in a place called Mooney Ponds, the next suburb from where my brother lives. I knew my birthday had begun once my brother surprised me with a Chanel bag, and inside it was a voucher to spend in one of the Chanel shops in the city. Chanel is my favourite designer, not only because it's a luxurious label, but because of the story behind the name, and the incredible woman who built the empire. For me, Chanel is art.




The next morning I woke up totally forgetting that it was my birthday until my boyfriend wished me a ‘Happy Birthday’ and sang to me in one of his many amusing accents. Highly entertained, I set off to begin getting ready as my boyfriend informed me that he was taking me to a place that required quite an elegant dress code, I was so excited because I had no clue where he was taking me.
I wore my makeup heavier than usual because I knew I’d be out all day and I wanted a dramatic look as it was my special day. 


I decided to wear my dress that I bought in the night markets the week before. It's from a beautiful brand called ‘Grandma Funk’ and I bought a few other things from them before I left. They're an amazing group of people. I wish I could buy their entire shop. The brand name basically sums up the style as it’s unbelievably chic, elegant but with added funk. Check out their page here- Grandma Funk


The Man

Chanelling in my inner Blair Waldorf
Still not relenting to my constant questions about where we were going, my boyfriend took me to get the train and at each stop pretended to get off, until we actually got off at the ‘Parliament’ stop, which is basically the chicest part of the city. Whilst walking through the gardens he stopped and pointed to the most luxurious building, The Windsor Hotel, and said “We’re going for Afternoon Tea’’. I squealed as I knew it was Australia’s most highly-esteemed hotel with Beyonce having stayed there during her tours. After I settled myself down and maintained a decent level of excitement we entered The Windsor. 





We were greeted as if we were Beyonce herself and were led into the Tea room. We were given a flute of fine Champagne and encouraged to pick the kind of tea we wanted. I typically chose a strong black tea and my boyfriend enjoyed his coffee. We were then brought out the most ornate display of finger sandwiches, desserts and scones. After 'ooohing' and 'ahhhing' over the explosive flavours and textures of the desserts I found myself being induced into a sugar coma until I was surprised with a 'Happy Birthday' dessert from the staff, it was so special and I did actually eat the Macaron, with the help of my boyfriend.




Pina Colada Cup

Madagascar Manjari Chocolate Mousse

Vanilla Strawberry Slice


Internal thought- "How the hell am I going to eat this"



After the afternoon tea my boyfriend and I explored the hotel and enjoyed reading the history of how it was built and prevailed over the previous years, I loved feeling like royalty on my birthday.

After that experience I was then faced with the beautiful prospect of going into Chanel and spending my voucher. I had my mind set on one of the unisex scents exclusive to Chanel boutiques, and therefore not easily accessed. After much deliberation over which scent to choose (poor sales assistant) and sitting down due to being dizzy with smelling every fragrance (my boyfriend included) I settled with 'Coromandel'.






A beautiful sight
We then went and had the most delicious dinner in an Italian restaurant called 'The Spaghetti Tree' where I was presented, again, with a birthday dessert. But oh that didn't stop there, on the flight back, and a teary parting from my boyfriend, I was victim to another birthday dessert because my boyfriend had informed the airline that it was my birthday and 30,000 ft in the air I enjoyed another beautiful dessert.

Flying high dessert

I had a beautiful and meaningful day spent in a beautiful country with amazing people.

I hope've enjoyed this little insight to my birthday and how it was celebrated.

Check out my You Tube channels for vlogs and hauls from Australia- You Tube- The Red Dutchess

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

VIDEO: My First Fashion Design

When we were at the Melbourne Hot Rod vintage car show, I came across an airbrush art company. Have a look at what they made me!! Thank you Airbrush Venturi.

http://airbrushventuri.com.au/

Thanks so much for watching.

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1uJml0w

Monday, 19 January 2015

Australia: Week 1

I'm currently sitting out in the back garden of my brother and his girlfriend's house in Melbourne. I'm enjoying the last of the day's sun after having just returned from a Hot stone massage and facial.

I can't believe I'm on the other side of the Earth, and feeling like I'm in heaven. I flew into Melbourne on Thursday evening, which was Thursday morning back home in Ireland, so I was so quite jet lagged. Something I do remember is driving past fields and fields of kangaroos. I thought 'wow I'm really jet-lagged if I'm seeing kangaroos already, but my brother and his girlfriend were surprised also. It was so surreal. l arrived at my brother's house and met the new addition to their family, George the pug. They also have a Samoyed husky named Eskie who I had met at home in Derry before they moved to Australia.

My brother has been living in Melbourne for a couple of years and now I can appreciate why he and his girlfriend left to live here. The first evening after I had arrived we walked along the harbour and went in for a meaty dinner in a place called Breslins. After that we went to a bar called Madam Brussels which was a bar in an almost derelict building. We entered the building and took the elevator to the top floor. Never did I expect to see what I saw, only a bar in the theme of a 1920's garden party. There were floral suites of furniture, artificial grass and the waiters were dressed in tennis gear, not to mention the most fashionable and hip customers. I was in awe.
      

       

   


                        

     


     


       


     

I was still very jet lagged so the next day I rested on the hammock and had an intermittent routine of reading, drinking tea and sleeping. The next day we took the dogs a walk to the park, had a nice grilled fry and then ventured into town. We walked about the city and had dinner.

      
                    

On Sunday, we had high tea at the Hougton Tea Rooms, a chic tea room that always has a queue outside it. We were given a menu of unique teas and were able to window shop our choice of dessert. The sheer decadence of the cakes as they were displayed, the smell of the fragrant teas and the late 1800's ambiance was truly like that of an old film depicting high society. Quite in a sugar coma, we went up Collin's Street, more like 'designer alley' where we coveted the latest trends of the Gods of the fashion world, Chanel being my favourite, Obviously.
 
     


       
      
      

      
 



                                 



      

      

      

         

                            

      
 

                              


    

   


   


    


                                  

                        
                       
 

Im so excited for Thursday because my boyfriend is arriving, and it feels amazing that I get to share this experience with him. 
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