Friday, August 26, 2016

Finding my rainbow

I rarely post photos mainly because A) I am too lazy to take them B) when I do take them they mostly contain a certain ginger cat or C) a mix of the the above! But today I have a few photos to share :) Recently I have been feeling like nothing in my life has been going right, the job market is non existant and I'm just not getting any interviews so despite me wanting to get employment its just not happening anytime fast.
A while ago I was craving to see a rainbow, I know its weird to crave to see something but I honestly just felt like that by seeing one it would remind me that God always comes through in storms and things would be fine. After weeks of praying and waiting I saw my rainbow, it might be kinda hard to see (which is why I circled it) but I saw it (if only for a few minutes before it faded).
On Wednesdays I take one of Megan's friends for a walk along the river after I pick her up from her art class and the local council decided that up on the hill to put a big shipping container rainbow. So this past Wednesday instead of our usual walk we walked up the hill and decided to take some pictures. It was loads of fun and it turns out being a model can be tiring :) here are some pics I let her take using my phone:
Sometimes when it rains it pours and it feels like it will never stop, it can be so easy to feel down about it and not get back up again or you can realise that eventually the rain will stop and a rainbow will appear it just takes time. Just like with some storms sometimes a rainbow doesn't appear but it will eventually appear, sometimes it will be faded and you have to squint to see it other times it will be vibrant and light up the sky.
One thing I have learnt throughout my unemployment journey (journeys?) is that sometimes no matter how hard you are praying rainbows are impossible to find and other times rainbows appear unexpectedly and when it happens you embrace it. At the end of the day though it's all up to God and he is the one to make them appear :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Praying for an answer

One of the places I get a lot of thinking done is my car, my 1998 Ford Laser which isn't fancy but it goes well and its mine. I plug my ipod in through the tape aux and find some Christian music and just think, I talk to myself, ponder things and pray. I pray for friends and family, I pray for my church and I pray for what my next step should be. I have let the tears fall as I pray and ask God questions, I let myself be angry at God and let myself be thankful to him, I just let it all go and by the time I reach my destination I feel clearer and calmer.
Lately my main question/prayer to God has been 'What should I be doing?' I feel stuck at the moment and I can't help feel jealous of those who get offered jobs without looking for them or get the first job they apply for or find their niche so easily. When here I am stuck, not getting interviews and being lucky enough to apply for 4 jobs a week. People keep telling me that its only a matter of time before I find my niche but as the weeks and months go on I can't wonder if I will ever find a job.
But then theres this period of when I've finishing praying and I've turned the car off and I am sitting in silence, when I know things will work out and God will come through like he always does even if it means waiting just a bit longer.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five Friday Favourites

Its Friday!!! I have honestly been feeling like Winter is planning on staying long term as we have been having lots of rain (including a severe weather warning on Wednesday!) of course when it rains Rikki gets drenched and that makes things interesting to say the least. He has always loved water which is strange for a cat and I think he just likes the new smells and creatures it brings out.

Last Monday I did a stall for ReachOut which went really well, it was up in the hills at a high school and for 2 hours we had kids dropping by the stall. I had spent the week leading up to it making Mental Health Memory and that was a huge hit. I had one set of cards (which were then mixed up and laid facedown on the table) with an app, fact sheet or service that ReachOut offered and the other had a screenshot of it and they had to match the cards, so for example on one card there was anxiety and on the matching card was a screenshot of a fact sheet all about anxiety. Kids then played it either alone or with a few of their friends to win a notebook/high lighter/post it notes it really helped them understand what ReachOut does and was a great interactive game. I was thankful that I reinforced the cards by sticking them to (blue) cardboard then laminating them, it was a bit more effort but it means I can use them multiple times for other stalls.

Moving on to Five Friday Favourites here are things that I have been loving these past couple of weeks:

Easy Caramel Cake - I made this cake for Bible Study last Wednesday and it was a huge hit! People are still talking about it a week later and I am pretty sure I have found my Mum's new favourite cake. Poke cakes are currently in and I have been wanting to try my hand at one for a while so when I saw this recipe I figured it was worth a shot. It turned out really well and tasted amazing, it was a bit sweet for me but the icing did cut down on it and while I don't think I could make it every week it, I will make it again. For the caramel sauce I used a jar of Coles brand Caramel Sauce which can be found with the baking ingredients (like chocolate chips, vanilla essence etc.) which I then warmed in the microwave for 1 minute and poured over then I topped it with salted caramel ice cream topping (also Coles). I also made another for Sunday lunch just using the salted caramel ice cream topping and it worked out well too. I would be interested to make it with home made caramel sauce but I was lazy and using store bought is what makes it easy.

Covergirl Colourlicious Jumbo Gloss Balm Sheers - I am kinda obsessed with lip gloss/lipstick/lip balm and I am always after something that can add a swipe of colour to my lips while not drying them out (liquid lipsticks terrify me for that reason) and I grabbed a couple of these balms when I was in Priceline last week and they are amazing. They have great staying power and feel so nice on, plus they are great alternative to LAQA&Co lip lube (which I also use regularly but are only available online).

How You Can Help Someone Who Is Going Through a Mental Illness - I did this post after people told me they found the tips at the bottom of my anxiety post helpful and I figured why not do a whole post based on what's helpful or not if you know of someone who is going through a mental illness. Its full of useful realistic ways that will actually help based on mine and other people's experiences.

The Wedding Dress Shop by Rachel Hauck - I have just started this book and its a really good read! I love how it combines history of the shop along with the shop in present day so you get to see just how big an impact the shop made in the past. The blurb reads (taken from Rachel's website):
Two women separated by decades. Both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled.
It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.
More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life.
When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love.
As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

I find you can never really go wrong with Rachel's books and I am looking forward to reading more about Haley and Cora and their stories, in The Wedding Shop.

Tree Painting - I enjoy painting (in high school my blazer was always covered in paint much to my Mum's annoyance) and do it as a way to relax (more times than not while watching something). One of my friends is currently building a house and she is due to get the keys next month so I figured I would paint her a picture. Ages ago she showed me a photo of a painting on Pinterest that she liked so I did my own twist on it and its turned out really well! Painting all the dots was really relaxing and I did it over an afternoon.


***As I have said in previous posts I have been shortlisted for a job and was expected to have an interview a few weeks ago but have since heard nothing. I finally managed to get through to the person this afternoon and was told that the phone call never guaranteed a job interview and I wasn't to expect any follow up. This has left me feeling gutted, betrayed and annoyed as I spent so much time and effort following it up and no one could give me any answers! I just have no idea what I should be doing with my life!


Monday, August 15, 2016

22 in a month

I turn 22 in one month and I honestly couldn't care less! 21 was meant to be the year that everything clicked together and all my struggling ended but no instead I am still struggling and I honestly have no idea what I am doing with my life. When I left my last job I had set myself a goal of having a job before my Birthday, I figured 7 months that should be easy but I am realising that I am wrong, at this stage it will be nothing short of a miracle if I get a job and I am slowly beginning to accept that I may be spending my birthday being unemployed. I have always said that God has a plan for my life and I know that he does, its just hard to see what exactly it is.
2 weeks ago I got a call saying I had been shortlisted for a job and that I would get another call in a few days time letting me know when the interview would be. I ended up spending all of last week trying to get hold of someone, anyone who could give me some answers and I have yet to hear back. I know God is in control of the whole situation but my anxiety levels are slowly rising being left in the dark with this job. I also felt like maybe I was getting somewhere and that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is slowly fading to a speck the longer I don't hear back (I ended up emailing them today as a last resort so hopefully that works). I am just praying that it works out and I do eventually get to have the interview.
I have a lot of people who are keeping an eye out for jobs for me and that's really encouraging and helps me feel not so alone. As people keep telling me, I will get a job eventually; my resume is great and I am doing everything in my power to find a job, I don't let my anxiety get in the way, its just a matter of finding a good supportive job and staying in it.
I just feel like this year isn't my year and its not easy to keep staying positive!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How You Can Help Someone Who is Going Through a Mental Illness

When I did my post all about my anxiety one bit of feedback that I received was that many appreciated the 'how you can help someone who is going through a mental illness' tips at the end of the post so I figured I would do a whole post on tips and what you can do if you know someone who is going through a tough time. One important thing to remember is that everyone's mental illness experience is different and everyone needs different things whether it be space, a distraction or something else.

Don't

  • Don't push them to open up about their illness - it's taken me many years to be comfortable to openly talk about my anxiety (and Dyspraxia!) and there was a time where I didn't want to mention or even acknowledge to anyone that I had anxiety. It's only really been since leaving high school that I have opened up about it. When the person reaches a comfortable point with their illness then they will be ready to talk, some people never reach that stage others reach it early on their diagnosis others it take years it all depends on the person.
  • Don't treat them like they will break or try to shelter them from their triggers - treat them like a normal person and if you know their triggers let them decide if they are ready to face them. For me any new environments or situations can be hard for me but if I never faced them then I would live my life in a bubble and I don't want that.
  • Don't ask them if they've taken their medication especially when they are having a bad day - there are times when no amount of medication will work on a bad day and for you to ask them that means that you have picked up on it and it will cause them to be self conscious of it. Since starting medication for anxiety I have maybe forgotten to take it 2-3 times (this it out of 9 years of being on it). I am an adult and I know when to take it and the chances are if I miss a dose I will realise pretty quickly (I have a few signs that pop up) and sort it out without anyone realising that I missed a dose.
  • Don't confuse the mental illnesses - please don't do this! With many mental illnesses many people have multiple characteristics of them but will be diagnosed with a main one. For example some people might have anxiety but have OCD and depressive characteristics linked in with it (and vice versa). It you know the main one that they have then address that one if not just say mental illness but please don't confuse them! Its like confusing a broken arm with a broken leg similar injuries but different parts of the body.
  • Don't makes jokes of mental illness - whether you know someone who has experienced a mental illness or not its never to jokingly tell someone to kill themselves or jump of a cliff or tell them that they are so OCD if they are straightening out their pencils. Mental illness is a serious issue and its upsetting that people still think its ok to joke about it, just don't joke about and if someone you know makes those jokes tell them not to.
  • Don't google their medication - if you are at their house don't google what they are taking or even ask what they are taking if they are on medication, its just plain rude! If they offer up the information then feel free to ask questions but please don't google it!
Do
  • Do ask them if they are ok and really mean it - whether its via text, over the phone or in person sometimes a person just needs to know that people care about them.
  • Do give them distractions - take them out for coffee, go see a movie with them, go shopping anything that will take their mind of things can be good. Recently I was going through a tough time (mainly with anticipation anxiety) and a friend asked if she could come over, bring lunch and watch chick flicks. It was a welcome distraction and meant so much to me to know she cared.
  • Do read up on ways you can be supportive - ReachOut has a whole section dedicated to how you can help your friends going through tough times.
  • Do talk openly about your own struggles if you think they could be of help - since being more open about my anxiety I have had many friends come forward with their own struggles and its helped me feel not so alone.
  • Do ask how you can help them during the tough times - its one thing to just assume what you can do to help but its great if you ask and take note of what you can do. For me it all depends on how I feel at the moment and its super hard to predict what kind of support I will need! Sometimes I just need space (so I can read a book or just zone out with a tv show), other times I need someone to listen and talk over things with and other times I need a full out distraction. If you are unsure what type of support they need just ask and respect their answer (don't try and think you know what's best for them or make assumptions).
  • Do stick with them during the tough times - I am terrified that my friends will decide to abandon our friendship  when times get really tough. This is part of the reason I refuse to get into a relationship until I am settled into a (God willing secure) job because I don't think its fair for a guy to stand by me during the first couple of weeks of a new job which are hell for me. Just stick by them and let them know that you aren't going anywhere no matter what they say.
It may be hard to support someone going through a mental illness but the realise that even the smallest things can mean a lot to them and don't be afraid to ask questions and find out what you can do to support them.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Friday Favourites and an update

It's Friday so that means its time for Friday Favourites! This week has been busy, with a Centrelink
meeting, psych appointment, coffee catch up and a call letting me know I have been shortlisted for a job so I am expecting a call any day now confirming a job interview time (so if you could pray for that that would be great).
Megan has been asking me how many weeks until we get to go to see The Next Step in concert and its so much fun to see how excited she is, its 6 weeks away as of yesterday so she is happy. Of course this means its 5 weeks until I turn 22 which is scary to think about! I am still getting used to being 21, I can't be 22 already?! I feel that 22 isn't really worth celebrating so this year it will be very low key and I honestly feel like the
concert counts almost as a celebration (as it's an early birthday present for Megan and her birthday isn't until Feb), I will probably just ask for more jewellery as there is nothing I really need and you can never have to much jewellery (I am clearly my mother's daughter!). I will say this many times if you buy me nice (stirling) silver jewellery you will get on my good side :)
In no particular order here are Five Friday Favourites of things that I have been loving lately:

FullOut Movie - I am pretty sure I already posted about this but its now on Netflix which means you watch it just in time for the Olympics! Its such a great movie to watch to see into the world of competitive gymnastics and the cast is full of Next Step and Degrassi alums.

Essence longlasting lipstick - I love wearing lipstick and find it gives me such
a confidence boost so when I discovered a great shade (Natural Beauty) I decided to give it a try and its a great formula! It stays on and has great pigment and for the price (under $5!) its a steal! Don't judge a lipstick by its brand as I will buying more of this lipstick whenever I see it in stock (its been sold out in the places I have looked for it since originally buying it).

Dolce Flats - I have had trouble in the past finding flats that actually stay on my feet, are comfortable and look nice until I found these. I lived in these when I was working in Summer (we had to wear enclosed shoes) and got loads of compliments on them as well. They look smart but can be worn anywhere. I find with the style of the shoe they work perfectly for summer and they are leather so you know they will last. I wore mine so much (this was during the time I lost my license so I had to walk to the bus stop daily) and they still look like new. You clearly get what you pay for when it comes to shoes and these are worth the $59.95 price tag, do keep an eye on sales though as I managed to buy 2 more pairs (in black and in white/tan) for $60 for both which was an amazing deal.

Miranda Kenneally - If you are after a new author you must read her books! They are standalone books but in a sense a part of series so you often get guest appearences by past main characters in her books (like Sarah Dessen style), so you can read them in any order. I just finished her latest book Defending Taylor in 12 hours and I could not put them down. They are great books if you just need an escape for a few hours and the characters and storylines are amazing. There are currently 7 books to read so just grab whichever one draws you in and get reading once you start you won't be able to stop!

Geraldton Wax - It's August so that means the Geraldton Wax is out in the full bloom and it makes
me so happy! I love wildflowers and I have to say Geraldton Wax is my favourite of the bunch, we have a few plants growing in our front yard and it brightens up the place plus they are so hardy (they are common to be planted down roads here as they grow so well) and really thrive in sandy soil.




Monday, July 25, 2016

6 months and 1 week of unemployment round 2

Today was a rough day, not only was I in pain from my 5km walk yesterday (only ReachOut would be worth walking that much for!) but it hit me that I have been unemployed for 6 months and 1 week. I honestly thought that I would be employed by now but there is no end in sight and its super discouraging! My phone rang twice today and both times I hoped that it would be regarding a job interview and both times it wasn't one was about a 5 day gym trial (I'm in pain from walking so going to the gym isn't on my mind right now!) and the other was my employment agency wanting to move my appointment back tomorrow (which is fine). It seems that no matter how much I willed the phone to ring regarding a job interview it didn't (praying that it will tomorrow)!
It got me thinking if I knew what the future held would I have accepted the job over a year ago knowing that a year later I wouldn't be signing another contract for a year and celebrating surviving a year, instead I would at home wanting to hit my head against the wall? I don't know, a part of me thinks I wouldn't have and another part of me feels like I still would've given it a shot because at the end of the day I survived 6 months in a high stress job that many people who don't battle anxiety have told me they wouldn't have been able to survive.
I ended up heading to my favourite café (despite having been there on Friday) along the river and just sitting, praying and reading my bible because sometimes you just need to stop and pray. I ended up reading some Psalms starting with the one Psalm that I keep going back to, Psalm 27 and then just flicking through them and reading what caught my eye. I read how God answers prayers and even when we feel discouraged he is there and he listens to our prayers and answers them in his own time. I just feel like its really hard to stay positive when so many people are getting their dream jobs and having their prayers answered. I just want to be able write that I have a interview then a week later I have a job then a week later I am feeling super overwhelmed and have no idea what the hell I am doing in this job but God is with me post and finally in a month or so later I am no longer drowning in this job post but I can't see that happening anytime soon and it sucks.
Everyday when I get in the car I pray that God will show me what my next step should be and guide me through this tough time and show me light at the end of this tunnel because I can't see it and I have no idea what I should be doing.