Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thankfulness Thursday

As we slowly approach the end of the 2014, we find ourselves looking back on the year that was and giving thanks for all the highs (and even the lows)

Today is Thanksgiving in the States and while we don't celebrate this holiday here in Australia, I felt that now was a better time than ever to write a short list for all I am thankful for today.
  • My Lord Jesus
  • Stephen, and his ability to make me laugh even when I'm being stubborn, grumpy or sad.
  • The friends I can call family
  • The family I can call friends
  • Spring flowers (as seen above)
  • New work opportunities I've been given and hopefully will be given in the future
  • The blessing I have to live in a first world country
  • Having too many clothes
  • Learning more about mental illness and starting open conversations about the subject
  • Thrift shops
  • The chocolate muffin I had for lunch
  • Spotify
  • New and wonderful blogger friends
  • Summer being only a few days away
  • My business and having the support to keep pushing forward
  • The creative ideas my brain is filled with
  • Having the motivation to stick to being a vegetarian all this month
  • Dentists (oh the pain I was in this week)
  • Sherlock (the TV series)
  • and Love. I am always thankful for love.

Maybe you could try writing a list too? If you do, please send me a link in the comments :) I'd love to share in thanks with you.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Stranded at the Drive In

We jumped in our cars; pillows piled in the back, snacks hidden in the glove box, air con blasting.

We drove forty minutes away from city life into the open plains of Blacktown, the setting sun guiding us along the way.

We pulled up at the Drive In and was immediately reminded that I was born in the wrong era.

50s music blasted from the speakers, the diner was bustling with girls in red and white candy uniforms, and all I wanted to do was grab Stephen and do the 'twist' in the middle of the parking lot.

He declined.

We ordered burgers and gigantic cups of soft drink, too big for any person to finish, and we talked of what it would be like to live in the 50s. We both agreed I would make a good housewife for maybe the first few months but then get seriously bored. Maybe the 21st century is the place for me after all.

We stepped back out into the golden light and found our friends in the lot. We parked next to each other, drank apple cider and laughed over silly things and funny stories, as most people do these days. I stood back every now and then to take some photos and in that moment I truly felt appreciative for the friends and family I have been blessed with. 

Community is so important in this world we live in. It is so easy to feel alone, to be alone.

But I know now I'm not alone. You all showed me that last week. 

and for that, I thank you.

Friday, 21 November 2014

I've got Friday on my mind

Wow.

That's really all I can say.

After my last post, I didn't really know what to expect. I walked around the streets that afternoon, doing my errands, and felt a terrible fear that everyone was looking at me differently. They knew my secret. They're thinking of me differently now. Are they judging me or supporting me?

The biggest step I made was sharing that post on Instagram and Facebook, for all my friends and family to see. Somehow, sharing posts from my blog with the people I actually know makes everything seem so much more real. I know this blog is open to everyone but sometimes I'd rather not know that the girl I used to go to school with, or my distant cousin, or my best friends, or even my mother are reading the things I write.

Though my fears soon faded. Not even an hour after I shared my post I was flooded with texts, messages and emails from so many different people. People sharing their stories with me that they had hidden for years, people admitting they have sought help in the past, people feeling encouraged to speak up about the issue after reading my blog. I had friends I haven't spoken to in years contact me, and distant family and bloggers from around the world. My aim was to start a conversation and I think I achieved that. I couldn't be happier.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have contacted me, messaged me, commented on my blog and supported me (publicly and privately). Your love, prayers and thoughts are what has gotten me through and what continues to push me forward. I love you all so much, like so so much! 

I haven't got any pretty pictures to share with you today. I haven't been on any awesome adventures this week either. This week has been one of reflection and one of spending time with those around me, talking about the issues that matter the most. If you ever need to talk, please just send me an email - samanthaheatherphotography@gmail.com - I seriously would love to chat!

For now though, here are some links I've been enjoying this week. I hope they get you through the weeken

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Inspired
Creating
  • I could watch people creating for hours.
  • And again
  • I have a Christmas Dinner coming up and I'm hoping to make a few of these beauties.
Photography Love
Wanting
And other random things
xxx
p.s. Happy 200th post to me :)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Deep and Meaningful

I want to have a D&M with you all today.

I want to tell you something about me that I hardly ever talk about on my blog or with anyone for that matter.

The truth is, I have a counsellor.

A shrink....therapist....personal listener....whatever you want to call it.

Yup, I said it.

You can judge or applaud all you want, but this is something I've been meaning to get off my chest for the last two years or so.

A lot of people know that I've sought help in the last couple of years, but a lot of people don't know the extent of my story and what I have gone through or what I am going through currently. It's not their fault though. They don't know because I haven't told them.

There's a reason for that though. You see there's such a stigma associated with mental illness, and even seeking help, that is so strong and cemented within our society that opening up about the issue results in confused, negative or blank reactions. When I tell people I'm off to see my doctor for a monthly checkup, I get a nod of approval and a thumbs up. But when I tell them I'm seeing my counsellor this week, I see a sudden awkwardness flood their face and their body starts to nervously shift in their seat. 

#petpeeve 


I don't blame anyone though. I'm not angry, not really. I used to have that same reaction too. I used to think that if you saw 'someone' it automatically deemed you crazy, or if you did have depression all you have to do is 'think positive' and you'll be okay. How naive. Truth is, seeing a counsellor is as crazy as going to your doctor when you have a belly ache. In fact, seeing a counsellor doesn't even mean you have a mental issue, it might just mean you want someone to talk to that week. Is that really so hard to understand? 

Apparently so.

I remember analysing the different reactions to the tragic death of Robin Williams. Many people mourned his loss with a loving heart and opened up to the idea of starting a conversation about mental illness, but then there were also many who said to me "but he has so much money, so much fame...how could he take his own life? isn't that selfish?"

At first I raged about these comments. Selfish!? You call that selfish?! But I realised that this ignorance about mental illness isn't anyone's fault. As a society we have failed to talk about mental illness as much as we should. We are improving day by day though, and that's wonderful, but we still aren't where we need to be, not in my opinion anyway.  

Because here's the thing, I've struggled with anxiety for two years and depression for a lot longer than that. It's something that is a part of me, something I am working on healing, and something that I don't want to hide from anymore, especially with those around me. Is it hard to live with? Yes. Is it hard to talk about? Yes. But am I ashamed of it? No. I shouldn't be scared to talk about my life or any part of it, I shouldn't feel embarrassed when I tell people I have depression, I shouldn't feel judged (even if I am).

No one should feel ashamed.

I watch movies and TV shows and read books set in New York and it seems like every second person has a personal relationship with their shrink and they're not afraid to admit it. I'm not sure if that's what New York culture is really like but there's something in that notion I admire. There's no fear in admitting to have a counsellor, someone to professionally talk to. In fact, it's encouraged!

So if anyone tells me they're going to go seek professional mental help, I don't just sit there awkwardly and say "oh cool...", instead I give them a nod of approval and a thumbs up. In fact, I want to give them more than that. I want to say "Yes! Congratulations! This is the best thing ever! I am proud of you" because sometimes all people ever need is a little support.

I don't really know the point of this blog post. I don't even know if I want to make any kind of point, because that's not really my aim. My aim is to just start having a conversation about this. My aim is to not weird you out when I start talking about what my counsellor and I worked on this week. My aim is to be straight about my life and what I go through.

I have that right, don't I?

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Please note I am not a mental health professional:
If you or someone else needs support in a crisis situation please call at Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you or someone else needs information on relevant services for depression and anxiety related matters, please call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
If you or someone else is in an emergency situation, please call 000 immediately 
The numbers above are for AUSTRALIA only.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hello summer.

We're in that time of year where the seasons are starting to cement themselves into the ground. Summer is upon us and I can say that now without a doubt. 

Here's how I know:
  • 35°C (95°F) days
  • I can walk around in a bikini and an oversized t-shirt and no one will think twice
  • The water in my pool is warm enough to swim in
  • Ice-cream melts quicker
  • Mangoes are in season
  • I've replaced coffee with iced coffee
  • My freckles are more prominent
  • I don't pack an emergency cardigan in my bag anymore
  • The air con in my car is switched on most of the time
  • Christmas is only 5 weeks away
  • My skin is slightly darker than it was last week
  • and my body is itching to go to the beach each and every day.

With parents born in two very different climates (one wintery, one tropical), I find it hard to settle on where my allegiances lie when it comes to my favourite season. There is something about Winter that is so romantic and cosy and homely, but then there's Summer with all it's lustful adventures and colourful vibes. I'm torn.

Perhaps though it's okay to love both seasons. Perhaps I'm not crazy for loving it all.

I also, irrelevant to this post, love dogs and cats equally.

...and coffee and tea.

So maybe it's just who I am? Lover of all.

What is your favourite season? Am I crazy for loving both?