This week is one of those where I go from a high last week to the lowest of the lows this week – this is part of my Manic Depressive Disorder (MDD). Last week I felt good and positive and yesterday I woke up with that all too familiar feeling of dread and shame. This week has been a hard week for everyone back home and it made me start thinking about how I could try and help people who are going through a wave of emotions right now. Yesterday was lovely Molly’s funeral and my thoughts were with her family and best friends all day. Molly, I hope you rest perfectly in peace my girl, you touched the hearts of so many people and that was clear to see from all the love and support shown for you yesterday.
If you can do anything today please donate to the Molly McLaren Foundation and you can find the link here:
All that I could think of today is a quote I saw last night on the train home from work which is my quote for this week – Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay. You’re here to live your life not to make everyone understand.
This is what has lead me to this week’s blog… Journey’s. We’re all on our own little journey and everyone’s story is different. We are all facing our own personal challenges – so why are we scared of showing people the real us?! One of my biggest anxieties has always been what people think of me and how people will perceive me and I am sure I am not alone in this. Speaking out about my issues over the past few weeks has been a scary thing for me to do as everyone knows and I get nervous every time I blog, but why are we so afraid of showing people what we are going through? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be happy all the time and why can’t we accept that this feeling/challenge is all part of our journey and that is ok?
I have always wondered why I was “cursed” with these horrible mind games. Why me? I was always the happiest girl in the room… I had my bad days as anyone does, but nothing used to phase me. So why have I become this anxious person out of nowhere? All I try to think to myself is that this is my journey. Everything that I am going through is making me a stronger person than I was yesterday and that is what everyone going through similar experiences needs to remember. This is your journey and you should never feel embarrassed or hopeless about who you are or what you are going through and feeling.
Everyone’s journey forms the basis of who they are. The toughest people I have ever met are the ones who perceive themselves to be the weakest and are going through some form of personal challenge. I too, feel like I am weak but when I look back at how far I have come in my life – I am stronger than I think I am. I have put myself through emotional exertion and it’s pushed me to be a stronger and a far more resilient person today. When I moved to Hong Kong I had such a hard time settling and finding my place to fit in and I was always focusing on what I was missing from back home, whether that was friends, family, colleagues at work… there was always something missing or wrong. But if we always focus on the negative, we might start missing out on something totally amazing around us.
Our lives are constantly changing but you will never continuously feel the lows that you perhaps do right now and when you are out of this little phase, I am positive that it’s going to shape you into a tougher person. Our journeys will be filled with special times, heartache and lessons, and hopefully these will all lead us to our purpose in this world. It’s taken me close to three years to fully feel settled in Hong Kong. At times, I thought I was never going to feel this way until I eventually moved back home. Now I am finally out of that little phase of my life, I have started to enjoy my surroundings and feel comfortable with what I have in my life right now.
Life will not always be plain-sailing and in fact, we will encounter so many challenges along the way. These challenges will test our strengths and our weaknesses. These “set-backs” that are always temporary, come to us and it’s down to us as individuals to either focus on why it did not go as we had hoped, or to focus on the silver lining of that situation, being the lessons that are learned from it. I, like many people, have been through so many challenges in my life and have thought, why me? What have I done to deserve to feel like this? But when I overcome these little demons one by one, I can see that they have shaped me and helped me deal with situations in a different way.
Our personal journeys will be filled with our own happy times, our own challenges and heartbreak. As I said above, how we choose to react to these moments will shape how the rest of our journey plays out and which path we lead in life. It’s things like mental health issues, that give us strength when we do not even realise it. If you look back at all the times you have been hopeless or heartbroken, do you feel worse or better being out of the other side of it? I am absolutely certain that once you are out of that phase of your life you feel stronger looking back, I know I do.
People that we meet along the way in our journey were destined to be a part of our lives. Some may stay for a lifetime, some only for a short while. But it is often the people who are not in our life for too long, that end up leaving a lasting impression and give us a lesson to learn. We probably do not realise at the time, as we are so busy focusing on ourselves, but these people change our lives and shape us into who we are today.
Sometimes all it takes is that one special person to completely change your life. This happened to me and if it wasn’t for Scotty I would still be in Gravesend, commuting 2 hours each way to work every day, dreaming of the day I was living somewhere else in the world, able to travel to beautiful destinations. I now have that lifestyle that lets me travel to places I never dreamed that I would be able to visit, meeting amazing people from all over the globe and able to form incredible friendships with people who are now my adopted family. On my down days, I would focus on what I was missing being away, I was missing my lovely family, my amazing friends, missing out on seeing my friends children grow up, missing driving, missing having friends at work, but really, if I had sat myself down and wrote out a pros and cons list of being in Hong Kong – I probably would have sat and realised just how lucky I am but I think sometimes it’s just the right moment when it hits us.
It only took me until June this year to really understand just how incredibly lucky I am and just how settled I am here in Hong Kong. After a busy few months, Scott and I were moving into our new apartment in Hong Kong and the stress was taking its toll on both of us. For two people who generally get on extremely well every day without bickering, this was all too much for me. My mood began to seriously drop and I had no one I felt that I could confide in. I would cry every day, going to work would be a struggle and being at home made me feel lonely and miserable. One night when things began to get too much for me, I decided I didn’t want to be in the world anymore. I didn’t want to have to suffer with trying to force myself to be happy all the time when I really wasn’t, I just wanted out. Something happened that night that was more of a cry out for help than anything else but I just wanted people to realise how bad things had got for me and that I needed a break from reality. To tell you the truth, it still upsets and scares me now to think how I felt back then, but Scotty, being as supportive as ever, immediately decided it was time for a break back home for me.
The next day I packed my case and took off for the airport. Usually when I am going to visit home I am super excited but this time felt different. I didn’t want to see people, I didn’t want to pretend that I was happy, I just wanted to be alone. The only people I told were a couple of my close friends and my immediate family. No one else needed to know I was home – otherwise I would have to explain the reason why I was there and that I just couldn’t face.
Usually when I go home it’s a big affair and a happy time, doing amazing things with my family and friends. This time, I treated it as if I was back home for good and this was my life now. I spent my evenings at home watching TV and in the day pottering around the house with my dog. I eventually realised that everyone’s lives have changed and it’s not the same as when I use to live at home. Everyone is busy at work or with their own little families and the reality hit me that maybe my life and my little family was in Hong Kong with Scotty and Buddy. I eventually saw that no matter where you are in the world, the grass is always greener and you’ll probably always want a bit of something else. That week at home put everything in perspective for me, as much as I miss my family and friends, I have an amazing life with Scotty in Hong Kong and we have so much fun. Family and friends will always be there to talk to and see when you come home but sometimes you have just got to embrace the path you have taken, and that’s exactly what I was going to do.
Landing back in Hong Kong the following week, I have never been so excited to see my boys. As soon as I got home there was a welcome home sign and a picnic on the rooftop overlooking my incredible city at sunset. For the first time in my three years in Hong Kong, I sat down and admired the view of the city with a sense of contentment I have never felt before… this was my home and I am so lucky to be here. From that moment, I have been so happy being here and have been embracing every day.
That being said, I know it is extremely hard to look for the positives in your life when you are feeling low and something so tragic happens to you. Sometimes it’s hard to find any positives when you feel like things are always going wrong. But, if you ever feel that you are always going to feel this way, please don’t. One day, your journey will all make sense and at some stage your complete happiness will come back for good, I promise. My therapist always tells me to ride that wave. You will always go through waves of emotions and as they say, nothing lasts forever! Always make sure you are telling yourself this is just a wave, just go with it and it shall pass. One of the best pieces of advice I have seen is; “sometimes all you need is a break away from reality, in a beautiful place to figure everything out”. It really does work. Treasure each day of your journey, every moment, feeling and every person you meet, because they all serve a purpose and are a special part of your story!