If you haven’t seen the featured image on this post then here it is again;
This was me in 2011 the night before I flew away to Norway for 6 months of volunteering, an impulsive but life-changing decision that I would definitely do again.
By this point in my life ( 20 Years Old!!) I had experienced my fair share of death and loss, anorexia, bulimia, self harm and abuse. Most recently I had experienced heartbreak and had moved back to the family home. I was getting by (luckily) by not having to pay rent and working a caring job and bar work and Christmas jobs at Marks and Spencer!!
Fast forward to me now and things are very different, but I do miss the ‘old me’ – I was sat thinking about this the other night and then it dawned on me that I could not really remember the old me.
The old me;
Happily worked at least 2/3 jobs as well as study.
Only experienced pain when I injured myself.
Was a little anxious but got on with things.
Could cope with 2 hours sleep and get up and head out for the day.
Exercised several times a week.
Had people around me.
Was motivated and enthusiastic about my future. ( The inability to get into Nursing or Midwifery at Uni started this downhill spiral).
Could get by day-to-day without anxiety, depression, illness, pain or life getting in the way.
Was happy (ish)
Don’t get me wrong there are positives in life now, but the fact that I looked back to remember the old me and I couldn’t, really hit me. Looking at 2017-Present Day it is difficult to see how a bout of anxiety and depression and other difficulties has made me change so much as a person and made me a shadow of my former self. Factors such as physical illness, workplace bullying, mental health and the realisation of what happened to me as a younger person throughout my life only just becoming a reality and really getting in the way has made me change. I am still unsure whether this change is completely good or not, yes I do get very anxious and depressed, I am in pain a lot of the time and struggle to get to sleep, stay asleep and function normally but I find it so hard to discuss these things as people simply do not understand. You can be the most caring person in the world but unless you have experienced certain things you really cannot understand them. I am tired, it is not tiredness that will be fixed by a decent nights sleep, although that would most likely help it is not going to cure everything. I lie in bed and have to have the tv on in the background because otherwise my mind is at 100000000 miles an hour, it hurts, it is tiring and sometimes scary and upsetting.
In November 2010 I left the flat I lived in with my boyfriend and went back to my ‘family home’ fast forward to April/May 2011 and my story in Norway began.
A friend told me about a volunteering post that had been made vacant at short notice and I thought ‘what the hell’ applied and a week later I was being driven to Gatwick to embark upon 6 months abroad.
One regret I have is not documenting my travels enough and getting more pictures of me, but I always say that when I travel and often enough when the time comes I often feel too anxious to get in front of the camera.
My time in Norway was special and memorable. Involving moments like;
Coming across the gangway at the end of a week trying to carry all my belongings as I had a week on land, forgetting the purse was in the side of my rucksack and all I heard was a splash. Luckily it was at ‘home’ and the water was only about 1-2 metres deep. My friend and fellow crewmate Michael got his wetsuit on and dove down and got it for me. Luckily as it had everything in it, including the Euros Dad gave me at the airport (we didn’t know at the time Norway did not use Euros).
Sailing crew only across the open part of the ocean and being asleep with a good book in the dining area, to wake up under the table with the cushions everywhere and my book across the other side of the boat – we obviously hit a big wave, which woke me up when I could only travel so far under the table!!
Climbing a mountain and finding a beach in between and stripping down to my underwear to go for a swim in the sea (and actually asking someone to take a photo!)
I have so many stories but I haven’t written them anywhere, so you may start seeing more posts about my travels.
Here are some of my beautiful pictures from my travels ❤
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.
Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!
Letter 12 – To Norway,
First of all, you are a beautiful country and I am so grateful to have experienced everyone and everywhere I travelled.
In May 2011 I made an impulsive application to go abroad and volunteer in Norway. It was a perfect opportunity for me, but it was a quick decision (timeframe between applying and flying – less than 1 Week!) I was 5/6 months out of a breakup with a guy who I considered the love of my life. I wanted to marry him, have children, a home and grow old. But that was not meant to be.
Norway is beautiful, the water, the homes, the culture and the people. Unfortunately, there was an incident in 2011 when I was in Norway involving one not so beautiful or kind person. Resulting in fear and the loss of life of several people. I mourned with Norway the loss of these people and Norway is strong and not scared of this monster.
Moving to Norway gave me time to explore, work and travel as well as meet some really nice people and provide me with unforgettable memories.
Looking back at the decision to go it was impulsive and I didn’t consider finances and things like my car, I just wanted to leave. I am so glad I did.