San Francesco Village

As I take my final walk through San Francesco Village, my home for the last two and a half months, I realise that my suitcase wheels aren’t the only things that are rolling. Dabbing the tears from my eyes I look around whilst attempting to balance multiple suitcases, rucsacs and a cowboy hat. Being here is a lot like being on tour when I ski. You are in such a intimate living situation that you automatically build up strong relationships with people fast.

I have met many people whilst working here. So many different stories, experiences and advice on how to see the real Italy. I have been lucky enough to see just that through my colleagues eyes.

It will be strange to not wake up here on Friday. Of course I can’t wait to see my family and my friends back home who have supported me through various relapses and moments of doubt but I feel like in the last 2 and a half months I have made a family here also.

Plans of various trips to return for holidays, visit families and have people join me back in Worcester comfort me. To know that although it is sad and to leave, it isn’t goodbye it’s a see you soon brings me great comfort.

So what I really want to say to each and every person I have met whilst I’ve been out here is thank you. Thank you for showing me how beautiful both this country is and how beautiful people are.

Although the tans will fade, our memories will stay forever.

San Francesco Village

The Sea and Me

Dipping my big toe into the water I think to myself shit that’s cold, I’m not doing this but then I look at the moon and its reflection dancing across to surface of the sea and I know I need to. Inch by inch I slowly lower myself off of the rock I’m sitting on, letting the cool water climb up my legs. Before I know it the words ‘fuck it’ come to my mouth and I throw myself into the sea. I have a wave of emotion hit me, for some reason it felt like this wasn’t about just jumping into the sea.

As I wait for my friends to join me I tread water and take in the view. The waves gently rock me like a baby so I lie on my back, floating with the rhythm. For a moment, just a moment, I let my ears be submerged by the water and as I look up to the dark sky all I can see are the stars and all I can hear is my breathe. I close my eyes and listen, it’s calm and deep. I manage to breath in time with the waves, letting them soothe my mind, body and soul, this is all I want right now, no phones, no iPods just to lie here and feel the peacefully energy from the sea.

A short while later we all clamber out of the rocks, cutting our knees and feet and giggling at how free we feel. I climb out onto the same rock and start to make my way back to the path but just before I do I turn back around and look out at the reflection of the moon and the sea and smile to myself. I know this will be a moment I’ll remember until I’m an old lady sitting in her chair, the moment when I let go and was healed by the sea.

The Sea and Me

Waves

I want to paint an image for you. Picture an empty beach, the sand warm under your feet the sun on your back and the crystal clear ocean in front of you. Slowly dipping your feet into the ocean you feel the cool water move gently in between your toes. As you lie your head back to begin to float, closing your eyes you lie on the surface feeling complete tranquility, the salt water heals your open wounds and you feel safe.

Floating, healing, meditating deeper you are completely unaware of the black clouds that begin to form above only you. You open your eyes but then close them again. A few minutes later you open but then close them tighter to hide from the clouds hoping the peace from the sea will keep you safe. Suddenly without any warning a wave crashes over you, it slams you underwater, you panic as you desperately search for the surface, when you do before you can breathe deeply to control it another wave come crashing and then another and another. However this time when you reach the surface you are able to look up to the sky. The clouds are no longer black but grey and slowly moving away. You feel the pain from the waves that hit you and pushed you down so deep, you look at your body, your hands, the reflection of your face in the water but there is nothing to show of what has just happened.

As you begin to make your way back to the shore you see your friends come, they express what a beautiful day it is. How the sky’s blue and the sun is shining, all day it will be beautiful, nothing will effect this day. You think to yourself do I tell them about the clouds and the waves? Would they believe me? After all like they said there is not a cloud in the sky, what could go wrong? For them I let them enjoy the tranquility, maybe the sun shines for them all day, maybe it only goes a little grey but for me, today, I am a slave to the waves, they have the power over me. The power that I fear one day they will come again but this time I won’t be able to resurface.

Waves

Waves

I want to paint an image for you. Picture an empty beach, the sand warm under your feet the sun on your back and the crystal clear ocean in front of you. Slowly dipping your feet into the ocean you feel the cool water move gently in between your toes. As you lie your head back to begin to float, closing your eyes you lie on the surface feeling complete tranquility, the salt water heals your open wounds and you feel safe.

Floating, healing, meditating deeper you are completely unaware of the black clouds that begin to form above only you. You open your eyes but then close them again. A few minutes later you open but then close them tighter to hide from the clouds hoping the peace from the sea will keep you safe. Suddenly without any warning a wave crashes over you, it slams you underwater, you panic as you desperately search for the surface, when you do before you can breathe deeply to control it another wave come crashing and then another and another. However this time when you reach the surface you are able to look up to the sky. The clouds are no longer black but grey and slowly moving away. You feel the pain from the waves that hit you and pushed you down so deep, you look at your body, your hands, the reflection of your face in the water but there is nothing to show of what has just happened.

As you begin to make your way back to the shore you see your friends come, they express what a beautiful day it is. How the sky’s blue and the sun is shining, all day it will be beautiful, nothing will effect this day. You think to yourself do I tell them about the clouds and the waves? Would they believe me? After all like they said there is not a cloud in the sky, what could go wrong? For them I let them enjoy the tranquility, maybe the sun shines for them all day, maybe it only goes a little grey but for me, today, I am a slave to the waves, they have the power over me. The power that I fear one day they will come again but this time I won’t be able to resurface.

Waves

The sun has got his hat on

I haven’t blogged in a while, well actually since I got back. There are two reasons for this, one I went straight back into full time work and haven’t stopped and two I wanted to give it a few weeks to see how I’d adjust to being back home.

The first week back did feel very strange, it was like everything had changed but not actually changed. You forget that the world moves on without you.

I’m currently sat eating the most delicious pasta dish in my home town Worcester. The sun is out and I feel very happy. I’ve had a great session at the gym this morning complete with outdoor swimming in the sunshine, which made me very happy. I feel like I have been released from the heaviness that was sat on my shoulders. I love where I now work, I’m going out more and socialising, my fitness levels are back up to stratch and I’m slowly coming off my tablets.

I needed to take that journey to Australia to see what kind of woman I wanted to become. I feel like I am a healthier, stronger person than I ever was before.

So to add some cheese to the blog, the sun is now shining after the eclipse 🙂

  

The sun has got his hat on

Home

Flying over the Middle East I attempt to sleep however I can’t because my head is thinking about what I want to write to summarise my 7 week journey.

When I first took this plane ride out I was running away. I was running away from problems that I felt the only way to deal with was to have some time on my own completely cut off from everyone. I need space to reflect on my life, my relationships with people and hoped to find inspiration for what I want to do with my life. It’s a lot of pressure to put into a 7 week trip but I feel a better person for doing it.

As I’ve said in previous blogs, I was meant to take this journey at this point in my life. I felt dangerously close to being completely consumed by my depression. Now I’m flying back home so of course I do feel sad to be leaving the two most beautiful and amazing countries I’ve been to but I feel excited to make the changes that I need to in order to have a happier and healthy life.

I’ve been asked a few times now where was my favourite place, they are not so much places but moments.

Being picked up from my cousins at the airport was a massive one for me, getting off a 30 hour flight and being embraced by family the other side of the world is a warm feeling I will never forget and will always be thankful for.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The climb is split into sections so you can have pictures done. There is one moment that you have truly to yourself, it’s about 100 metres where you get to do a solo climb. I remember walking up, looking down on the harbour at sunset and welling up. It was a proud moment for me that I had achieved one of the things I had wanted to do for so long.

Hiking in The Blue Mountains, views I will never forget. The accomplishment of walking among such beautiful nature was incredible.

Byron Bay. What a place, a place that I felt I had a deep connection with. A place where I felt cleansed of all the bad things that have happened, a sense of release from hurt and a place of forgiveness. I had felt so angry at a lot of people, held grudges and most of all felt angry with myself. I felt peace from all that here.

Meeting my Dad off the plane in Sydney and being able to share New Zealand with him was amazing. It’s one thing to experience to beauties of our world but it’s another thing to share it with someone you love.

Ben Howard’s song Keep Your Head Up has a lovely line in it which feel right for how I’m feeling..
I saw a friend of mine the other day, he told me that my eyes were gleaming,
I said I’ve been away and he knew, he knew the depths I was meaning.

Friends have said they haven’t seen me be me since we were younger, the truth is I’m not that person anymore. The person who goes out clubbing, is bullet proof the relationships and hyperactive. I’m a better version of that person, I’m ready to restart. Achieve goals, inspire and feel free of pain.

I’m also ready for a cuddle with my Mum 🙂

So I shall leave you with that. Day 54 of my journey, 4 hours until touch down.

Signing off for now,

H x

Home

Abuse Me. Humiliate Me. Neglect Me.

I am angry. I am cruising at 32, 000 ft and I feel enraged and disgusted with humanity. I’ve just watched a documentary about the treatment of inmates in America who have mental health problems. I can’t unsee the things I have just watched, my skin literally feels hot I feel so passionately about wanting to do something to change this.

If you were a doctor and someone came to you telling you that they heard voices, that those voices were telling them to hurt themselves or hurt other people would you lock that person into solitary confinement? Would you strap them to a chair and pepper spray their face? Or ask them if they wanted a rope to hang themselves with? No. The inmates shown on the documentary were in for theft, possessions of arms ect and then there were raspiest and murders without mental illnesses that were being treated like royalty.

I am not condoning violence at all, if someone takes another persons life they need to be answer for their crime but what is the answer when you throw mental illness into the matter? The treatment of thousands of people in prison with mental illness is horrendous. We try to recorrect young offenders, rapist, thieves who do crimes of sound mind so why are we punishing people for something they can not control. Now I know my illness is tame compared to others, I have never wished to hurt myself all I want to do is hide away but the people who are severe need help.

People have been killed by prison guards. Men and woman who kill and then get to roam free and the people in power write this off and say it was protocol or the inmate lashed out, I’m sorry but if a prison officer was pinning me down and spraying pepper spray in my face because I’m not of sound mind I think I’d spit in their face.

This programme really affected me, I need to do something to help people with mental illnesses, the stigma attached to it clearly is still up front and centre. So many people suffer from mental illness, we should be helping not making it worse. As soon as I’m back I want to start my training to become a mental health nurse and I want to go and work with inmates in prison and get them the care that they deserve.

To be beaten, abused and humiliated because you can’t control your mind is disgusting and I want to change this, I plan to do everything in my power to achieve this.

Abuse Me. Humiliate Me. Neglect Me.