Synchronicities 

Remember that movie from the early 2000s, ‘I Heart Huckabees’? The main character, played by Jason Schwartzman, is curious about the constant coincidences in his life, so he hires a unorthodox duo of detectives help him figure out what they could mean. 
At the time, I found the premise pretentious and confusing, but right about now, I totally get it, for my own life has begun to resemble a Wes Anderson movie, albeit without the helpful existential investigators and dreamy pastel hues. 

So in the spirit of attempting to make sense of them myself, here are some examples of the synchcronicities I’ve experienced lately.

 
NUMBERS
At work, I’m a busy person. I’m rarely idle and I don’t clock-watch, but still, almost every single day, I find myself looking at time at 11.11, 1.11 and 3.33. Usually, those times are the ONLY three times I’ve checked my watch. In fact it’s so common that if I happen to miss one, like the other day when I checked my phone at precisely 11.12, it feels like something is off.  

RUMI POEM

A few months back, I was listening to a psychology podcast on my 45min commute to work, as I am apt to do. The topic was mindfulness, a concept I’m reasonably familiar with, and the segment closed with the guest speaker providing a quote by the poet Rumi, who’s work I am also reasonably familiar with. This, however, was a poem I had never heard, called ‘The Guest House’. For those unacquainted with this particular piece, here it is:

It is a lovely poem and I enjoyed hearing it, although to be honest I didn’t give it much more thought once my drive was over. 

One of my daily work duties is selecting the store’s music playlist, and that day I randomly put the latest Coldplay album into the rotation. Now it is important to note that I have never heard this album, nor had much inclination to as I’m not a huge fan of the band (although I did admittedly enjoy a few of their earlier songs). I don’t know what inspired me to choose it that day, but I did, and around 1pm it started playing in the store. 

A few songs in, while performing duties out on the floor, I was stopped in my tracks. The music had ceased for a spoken word interlude, which in itself is not remarkable, but the words themselves gave me goosebumps. “This being human is a guest house,” a booming, authoritive voice declared. “Each day a new arrival.” Its recited in its entirety, and I later found out that Chris Martin discovered the poem while going through his divorce and loved it so much he decided to feature it on his album. 

ENTROPY IS UNAVOIDABLE 
Earlier this week, after finishing work for the day, I was sitting on the couch scrolling through Facebook. I came across this meme:

Like most memes, it provided a feeble chuckle and I swiftly moved on. The only line that stood out was ‘entropy is unavoidable’ as I didn’t really know what that meant but didn’t care enough to look into it further. 

About an hour later my boyfriend and I settled in to watch an episode of ‘Animals’, an absurd but hilarious cartoon on the comedy channel we’d just gotten into. In this particular episode, the band 311 guest star, and in one scene the main character is singing one of their songs lyrics back to them: “You can’t stop entropy so why even try, observe the conscious flow and don’t mystify.”

 So the message I’m getting is that entropy is unavoidable and you can’t stop entropy. Now I just need to figure out what ‘entropy’ actually fucking means. 

SPECK OF DUST 

Two nights ago, my boyfriend wanted to watch the aforementioned Sarah Silverman stand-up on Netflix. One of the bits in her routine included a monologue on the insignificance of individual human life in the grand scheme of the universe, likening us to a mere ‘speck of dust’. 

After the special was over, we retired to bed with an old episode of ‘The Office’. Just as I was drifting off, I heard Michael Scott’s character justifying calling a staff meeting to talk about the planets. “Because it’s a big universe,” he says to Jim. “And we’re all just tiny little specks of dust.”

So there we have it- numbers, a 16th century poem, an unusual phrase and a common quote. Some patterns I can see from listing these are that every time, the synchronicity has occurred within the same day, sometimes within hours. It’s always delivered via seperate and unrelated mediums, i.e.: educational podcast and music cd, Facebook and cartoon, stand up comedy and scripted television. Beyond that, I’m not sure. I’ll guess I’ll just continue to list them as they occur and see if more patterns emerge. 

Is my subconscious trying to tell me something? Is my higher self attempting to communicate through various mediums? Am I reading too much into it? Are they all just stupid coincidences and I maybe smoke too much weed? Who knows. I wish I had Jason Schwartzman’s number. 

A Better Son/Daughter

For the first and probably last time on this page, I wanted to post something- specifically, a song- which was not actually written by me. 

I’m not in the habit of sharing other people’s work, as there will always be an infinite amount of better writers than myself to quote and praise, and I feel it takes away from the authenticity of my personal blog.  

However, this is not just any song. 

 I discovered this obscure little indie gem many years ago, and the lyrics could have been plucked directly from my soul and written in my blood and tears. It is closer to my truest self than anything I’ve ever read or written; the words resonate within me in a way I can’t entirely explain. 

I had the tremendous honour of meeting Jenny Lewis, the singer/songwriter behind this track, about three years after I first came across it. I got to tell her how much the song meant to me, how it simultaneously inspires and deflates me to hear my innermost struggles so beautifully articulated by someone else. “It pleases me that you love the song,” was Jenny’s response, “but it saddens me that you relate to it.”

So without further ado, I present to you my life’s penultimate theme song- I hope you get something out of it.  

“A Better Son / Daughter” 
by Rilo Kiley

Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can’t move
Awake but cannot open my eyes
And the weight is crushing down
on my lungs, I know I can’t breathe
And hope someone will save me
this time

And your mother’s still calling you insane and high
Swearing it’s different this time
And you tell her to give in to the demons that possess her
And that God never blessed her insides

Then you hang up the phone and feel badly for upsetting things
And crawl back into bed to dream of a time
When your heart was open wide
and you loved things just because
Like the sick and the dying

And sometimes when you’re on, you’re really fucking on
And your friends they sing along and they love you
But the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in it’s absence

But you’ll fight and you’ll make it through
You’ll fake it if you have to
And you’ll show up for work with a smile

You’ll be better you’ll be smarter
And more grown up and a better daughter
(Or son) and a real good friend

You’ll be awake, you’ll be alert
You’ll be positive though it hurts
And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends

You’ll be a real good listener
You’ll be honest, you’ll be brave
You’ll be handsome, you’ll be beautiful
You’ll be happy

Your ship may be coming in
You’re weak but not giving in
To the cries and the wails of the valley below

Your ship may be coming in
You’re weak but not giving in
And you’ll fight it you’ll go out fighting all of them…

Tired, Stressed and Existentially Depressed

 The lights are out and the curtains have finally been drawn on the shit show that was 2016. The audience waits with breathless anticipation as the next act is ushered in- a new year filled with new hope, new fears and new problems to be played out on the worlds’ stage. Everyone’s hoping 2017 will provide a better, more positive performance, but personally, I didn’t find the past 12 months to be as evil and arduous as the public en masse seemed to.

There was a kind of collective condemnation of the offending year, as if 2016 was a storybook villain wreaking havoc on the innocent citizens of the world, rather than the intangible measurement of time that it actually was. 

For me, it was a period of transformation and awakening. I reached the milestone age of thirty, and surprisingly didn’t haven’t a breakdown about it. I began experimenting with altered states of consciousness and entheogens, which unexpectedly propelled me onto a path of spirituality, and discovered a lot of new things about myself, the world, and this reality which I inhabit. I found several of my long-held beliefs challenged and subsequently smashed to smithereens.

Now, its been awhile since I’ve added any updates to my DMT Diaries, and I must explain that this is not due to a shortage of things to say; rather, my silence has been the result of a recent ‘spiritual fatigue’, for lack of a better term, that has washed over me.

I spent most of the last year on a quest for deeper knowledge, embarking on fervent esoteric research and experimentation. I’ve attempted to document my experiences and findings and connect with the psychedelic community. Some would say my fascination bordered on obsession. The result of all this has been, at best, a mystical, eye-opening journey into the realms of the unknown, and at worse, a frustrating exercise in mind-fuckery. Frankly, the whole thing has been quite exhausting.

So now, I’m a just a bit over everything. I’m bored with reading about interdimensional travel and Planck time and sick of trying to raise my vibrational frequency. I’m tired of monitoring my thoughts and trying to manifest positivity. I know I have so much left to learn, I’m just lacking the passion to do so.

But it’s not like immersing myself in regular old 3D reality is overly appealing, either. I know too much now; I will never experience the bliss of ignorance again. I can’t just plonk myself down in front of a sitcom for hours and chuckle along with the laugh track anymore. I can’t just scroll through my Facebook feed and read the endless mind-numbing expositions of my friends and acquaintances or be bothered weeding out the click-bait from the genuine articles. Everything just seems to tedious and irritating to me, and I don’t know what to do about it.

So I’m stuck in this uncomfortable state of restless dissatisfaction; itching for change, but unable to see any viable opportunities for it. I want things to be different, better, more exciting, but I don’t know how to make that happen. 
I think I need a mentor. 

Someone to guide me through this period of transition, to re-motivate and inspire me, to help illuminate my path. 
I must remind myself that I’ve come pretty far on my own, and even give myself props for that. I not only ventured out of my comfort zone this year, I came tearing out of it, naked and screaming, like a bat out of hell. The past 12months have seen me shed a huge amount of negative constructs in my life: for example, I no longer rely on pharmaceutical drugs to regulate my moods and sleep, which is huge coming from a girl who has been heavily medicated since 16.

 I’ve also shed all the external artifice that for years acted as armour against my insecurities, and no longer get the costly and painful hair and eyelash extensions I’ve worn since I was 19. I barely eat fast food anymore, and I drink liters of water a day, something which might seems simple and insignificant to those who naturally embark on these basic healthy habits, but no so to myself, a soft-drink and takeaway addict. I’ve also started weekly yoga classes and regularly practice breathing and mindfulness meditation. 

However, I still smoke what is probably considered ‘too much’ weed, have the odd cigarette if I’m feeling particularly nervy, and divulge in heavier drugs occasionally. So I’m far from being a holistic temple of purity, but I still like to think I’ve come along way. 
I have a good life, all in all. I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been mentally, my relationship and home life is filled with love and stability, and I have a job that pays a decent wage and allows me to spend my days around music and movies, two of my favorite things. So what’s the problem? Why do I feel so empty? Why, on most mornings, am I filled with dismay upon waking? 

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a glimpse of something more, something bigger, something divine, and it’s difficult to readjust to the mundanities of everyday life. Maybe I’m experiencing a ‘dark night of the soul’, a period of tumultuous inner chaos that many report suffering while on a quest for enlightenment. If this is the case, it means I’m embroiled in a kind of tug-of-war between my spiritual self and my ego, both fighting for dominance over my consciousness. 

If anyone has experienced a similar feeling, or had overcome a ‘dark night’ of their own, please reach out to me. Any and all advice, tips, stories etc is welcome! You can comment here links to your own accounts, or email me at little.psychonaut@gmail.com. Thanks in advance, and safe travels to all of you in 2017. ✌🏻

The End of Anxiety

Oh hello there anxiety, my oldest friend
Back for an unwanted visit again?
I thought I told you, I no longer have fear
I’m stronger than ever now, didn’t you hear? 

You were like a cloak that I wore all year round
Heavy and stiff, always weighing me down
But I cast off that cloak and I’m learning to breathe
So if you don’t mind now please, I’ll ask you to leave 

Oh what’s that, anxiety? You’re Constricting my throat? 
Reducing my voice to a whimper and croak?
And now comes the part where you get in my head
Try to convince me I’d be better off dead

But I’m smart now, anxiety, I know that’s not true
The days of you poisoning my mind are through
I won’t let your vitriol dictate what I do
And the only thing better off dying is you 

So I’ll let you visit this one last time
But then you can fuck off out of my life
You weren’t invited, and won’t ever be
So thanks for the memories but now you must leave.

Reflections

Around a year ago my life started changing. Improving, some would say. 

I’ve been barreling clumsily down a path towards awakening, and during this entire period I’ve had an insatiable hunger for knowledge, which I’ve been devouring through essays, scientific reviews, books, pamphlets, literally anything related to existential psychology and expanding consciousness. 

From all of this manic research, combined with my own experiences and rumimations on the subjects related to the higher self and the inevitable questions everybody has about the ‘point’ or meaning of life, I believe I’ve started to piece together pieces of the puzzle. 

Ive been shown glimpses of the code, the sacred geometry, the patterns literally weaving together the fabric of existence, through my experience with DMT. My focus for the past few months has been trying to develop some form of understanding and integration of the complex messages I received.

Im still in the infant stages of my esoteric education, so a lot of it is still far above my current ability to comprehend, and it’s challenging to retain the knowledge of the things I do understand, so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the key thoughts, teachings and theories that have resonated with me since commencing this journey of mystical weirdness.

• Good and evil exists on this earthly plane in equal measure, however it is better defined as light and dark. I’ve seen the yin and yang symbol a thousand times throughout my life but now when I come across it, I understand it’s deep meaning. I’ve struggled my entire existence with my own darkness, allowed myself to become consumed by it at times, at others fighting hard to suppress and smother it. 

I’m realizing now that neither is the correct way to go about it. In order to live a fully integrated life and move towards fulfillment, i must find a balance with my emotions and find a way for both sides of my nature to exist in harmony. Darkness shouldn’t be willfully ignored or attempted to be squashed deeper down into a hidden recess. But in equal measure, it should not be exhalted or glorified, but rather, in order to attain emotional balance, one must acknowledge their darkness, and then find a way to accept it. 

Acceptance means more than just tolerance. To truly accept your darkness, one must have the same attitude as the sun towards the moon. Existing side by side, understanding that each is as vital as the other, the sun content with it dominion over the daylight hours and happy for the moon to own the night. It is the way it is, both serving an equal yet opposite purpose, just as it within ourselves.

•There is so, so much more to this life than we can perceive in our third dimensional form. This whole universe is an energetic life force, teeming with endless possibilities, layered with infinite dimensions and realities. 

DMT has shown me glimpses of the ‘energetic imprint’ of the fourth dimension. Every single solid thing, every life and piece of matter in this world, has a trail or ‘aura’ around it, and all these auras bleed into and feed off each other. Things that I once perceived to be bland, innanimate objects, such an an aircon unit, were suddenly no longer in solid state but wavy and gaseous, with an energetic aura and ‘personality’ to match. 

Our feeble 3D senses would be overloaded if we were able to perceive all of this information all the time- imagine constantly ‘hearing’ colours and ‘seeing’ sounds whilst still trying to function within our societal constructs. One would surely go insane. 

However, there are abundant ‘points of access’ for us to experience these heightened states of awareness, and I feel it vitally important for every individual to tap into it at some stage of their life. The more we open our minds, the more we allow in.

• Our thoughts manifest our reality. This is a mind-meltingly difficult concept to grasp, and it’s the one I’ve been most preoccupied with lately. The way I understand it is this: human beings are a way for our higher self, which is an unembodied life force, to experience third dimensional consciousness. It is an opportunity to explore the complexities of emotion, through physical experience, and a progressive linear timeframe in which conflict, growth and resolution can play out.  

Information is received to the human brain via the lens of the five senses, and based on our previous experiences with whichever sense we receive, we apply emotion to that information. We then respond physically to the stimulus based on this emotion. Our response and actions have an immediate ripple effect on our surroundings, and thus our reality is formed. 

By this logic, the only way to drastically change our current reality is to first examine our thoughts, and become aware of the subconscious emotional factors influencing our responses. Once we identify thought patterns that are no longer serving us or aiding our advancement, we can work on altering these thoughts and manifesting a more positive reality.

Word to the wise, once you go down this line of thinking, you  inevitably become embroiled in the world of quantum physics. It’s a mysterious and confusing world, and I believe it’s the scientific link between our spiritual and physical selves. 

Much like the yin and yang, I’ve always been vaguely aware of Quantum’s famous double slit experiment but didn’t really get it.  I was reintroduced to the concept recently, and thanks to my current awareness of these things, I actually could grasp it, and my brain is still exploding over the implications. Schroedingers cat, observer-based reality… these are no longer abstract ideas for me but truth.  If you’re not familiar with any of this, I’m afraid you’ll have to do the research yourself as I’m way under qualified (read: not intelligent enough) to explain it. 

• Finally, I read last an article last week that really interested me. It was theorizing on how DMT affects the pineal gland, and that the bombardment of geometric patterns is actually a kind of chakra-activation. It’s a ‘visual language’, deeply rooted in our subconscious, and once the imagery has been recieved, it works like the secret signal activated in a sleeper cell; your third eye has been opened, you are offered a glimpse into the realm of the divine, and things will never be the same.

This is certainly true for me. The first time I experienced the spectacular mandala and chrysanthemum visual display, I felt a deep sense of familiarity with them, almost a bond. Like reencountering a beloved childhood tv show that had been long forgotten. 

I could write endless nonsensical volumes on all the concepts and ideas I’ve been obsessing over, but brevity is something I’m trying to work on. At this point in my awakening I have far more questions than answers, and that’s ok. The more I question the nature of reality, the more illusions shatter on their own.

 I know that I’m exactly where I need to be at this exact point in time; so far down the rabbit hole I can no longer see the way out, but unafraid of what lies on the other side. 

For more on my experiences in the realm of the psychedelic, please check out my other blog which is devoted entirely to the subject. The DMT Diaries

How watching ‘Derek’ makes you a better person 

An avid consumer of media, I’ve always had a particularly passionate love affair with television, and the little window of escapism it offers to an otherwise drab existence. The bright colors, the beautiful people, the drama, the chaos, the neatly-packaged resolutions. It was all so much more appealing than my lame little suburban life in Australia. I was intoxicated with Hollywood glitz and glamour, and coveted the lives of my television counterparts.

Of course, my viewing habits have matured with age, and these days I find myself less drawn to glossy melodramas and inclined towards more substantial viewing  (that being said, I did waste five embarrassingly recent years of my life on ‘Pretty Little Liars‘, captivated by the endless riddle of A’s identity and the attractiveness of the leading ladies, all the while painfully aware of how ludicrous the show actually is). 

My quest for enlightenment and a life of meaning is often  thwarted by a tendency towards shallow frivolity, and evidence of this is littered throughout my Netflix watchlist. 

Television serves many purposes to many people- at its worse, it can be a mind-numbing, soul-sucking agent of dribble, used for biased agendas, exploitation, promoting shitty ideals and reinforcing negative beliefs onto the spongy brains of the uninformed. At best, it can be absolutely life-affirming. It can bring around a new way of thinking by shining a light on an issue or concept you had not previously encountered. It can inspire the biggest of belly laughs and move you to tears. The greatest example of this kind of show that I’ve come across is Ricky Gervais’s Derek.

I initially avoided this show based on the mistaken belief that it was, essentially, a piss-take on disabled and ederly folk. I was familiar with some of Gervais’s work but was unaware of his personal status as a prolific atheist, animal rights activist and humanitarian. I therefore had no reason to believe him above portraying a disabled character for a few cheap lols. Thankfully, after hearing a coworker constantly gush about the show and insist I give it a chance, I discovered I was completely wrong, and fell head over heels for this incredible character. 

For those who have yet to experience the magic of Derek, the basic premise is this; a middle aged man with undisclosed learning difficulties, lives in an aged care home, where he helps out with the general running of the place, but mostly provides support and love to the other residents and workers. The home is run by the huge-hearted Hannah, who is a living lesson in selflessness. 

 The hilarious Karl Pilkington costars in the first season as Dougie, the maintenance guy, who is basically just Karl with a bald-cap and even greater sense of disillusionment ( “Life is pain. From the moment your head pops out someone gives you a slap.”)

Rounding out the main cast is, Kevin the repulsive, drunken cretin who is spared from homelessness only by Derek’s insistence that he be allowed to stay at the aged care home, and Vicki, the teenage kleptomaniac who is forced to volunteer at the home as a part of a community service sentence. It all seems reasonably light-hearted, and is quietly hilarious from the get-go. 

We are drawn to this motley crew of underdogs and we find ourselves wincing with embarrassment and giggling uncontrollably at the situations they find themselves in.

 But a few episodes in, we discover that this is much more than just a clever mockumentary, this is actually a series with substance, and at its core a poignant message that should not be ignored. 


The key to Derek’s appeal as a character is his simplicity. He knows he’s a bit different but it doesn’t matter. One of my favorite moments  is from season one, when a council inspector enquires as to whether Derek is handicapped and would consider being tested for autism. “If I am ’tistic,” Derek responds, “will I die?” Hannah assures him no, he won’t die. “Will I change in any way? Or will I be the same person?” He’s told yes, he’ll still be the same and no, he won’t die. “Well, don’t worry about it then,” he says nonchalantly. Case closed. 

In another scene he addresses his ‘low intellect’ while talking about his late mother and the things she taught him. “She told me that kindness is magic. I’m not handsome or clever. But I am kind.”

 And he is, always, to a fault. To everyone, deserving or not, no matter how they respond in turn. He’s kind in situations that I could never be kind in, to people I could never be kind to. And as result, things change. People change. Kindness changes them. 

They become kinder people in return, they spread it around. I feel like this is a universal truth that we all understand at a fundamental level, but collectively, as a species, have sort of forgotten about. It took Derek to remind me. I would watch, tears streaming, lump in my throat, and be like, ‘oh, yeah’. 

They should be teaching it at schools. Sure, the humor is often R-Rated and Kev especially is offensive as fuck, but the occasional crudeness of the comedy provides the perfect balance to Derek’s earnestness. It makes the sincerity palatable, rather than shoving it down your throat like an after-school special. 

I can’t speak highly enough of this show. I’ve never wanted kids but I love Derek so much I’m almost tempted to have them, just so that I can make them watch it. 

Kev’s constant vulgarity is beset by occasional moments of brilliance – who knew that a character best known for lines such as “8 ounces of pure blood sausage coming atcha!” would also be capable of such insights as, “I’m a coward, a failure I guess. But I’m not a failure because I didn’t succeed- I’m a failure because I didn’t try.”

This theme, suggesting the deep-down goodness of everyone, is prevalent throughout the entire show. We witness it in the evolution of Vicki’s character from the first to second seasons. I initially thought she was a bit of a write-off, a useless ‘thot’ there to provide a bit of comic relief with her millenial-style airheadedness, as evidenced in her early exchanges with Hannah: “So what do you wanna do for a living?” 
“Oh, you know, Kardashians n’ that.”

And that’s the whole point, it’s so easy to write people off as a losers, unworthy of our time, we all do it. But after Vicki finds herself bonding with the residents and Hannah gives her 100% on her volunteer evaluation form, we see a different girl begin to bloom (“I’ve never got 100% on anything before,” she says tearfully). Hannah’s relentless kindness and belief in Vicki changes her, gives her the ability to believe in herself and quietly become a better person.

We are forced to face our own mortality through watching the elderly residents of Broad Hill on their march towards death, and heartened by the staff’s dedication to giving them as comfortable and dignified exit as possible. We feel a stab of shame as Hannah laments their plight, “Just because they’re old, just because they’re poor, they’re forgotten about,” and it breaks our hearts a little because we know someday we’ll be old and forgotten, and we vow to be more thoughtful towards the ederly in our lives and appreciative of our relative health and youth.

There’s a thousand other examples of unexpected kindness and life lessons in this show, my favorite involving Kev and a tin-can dog (I challenge you to watch that episode without bawling), but I don’t want to spoil everything for the unacquainted. Suffice it to say that every single character will surprise and move you in one way or another, and the underlying message always prevails: kindness is magic

There is really nothing more important you can do with your life than to be kind. Or, to quote Derek (who himself was quoting a Chinese proverb):
“If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. If you want to be a happy for a day, go fishing. If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime- help other people.” And if you want to be reminded on how to be a good person- do us all a favor and watch Derek. 

Grown Uprising 

 Something weird is happening to me. I don’t know how or why or when it started, but slowly, progressively, mostly against my will, I’ve started becoming.. dare I say it… an adult

I’ve tried to ignore it, but the signs have been cropping up for awhile now. I recently whipped up a cheese and fruit platter- for myself. That’s right, not for the benefit of a fancy visitor, it was just the snack my old lady brain desired, and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even Instagram it.

A few weeks ago, I set up a Direct debit for my phone account so now my bills are never overdue- which means my phone is never cut off. This is a revolutionary concept. Over the years the team over at the Vodafone billing department have become like a family to me- I certainly have more conversations with them than I do my real one. The automated ladies voices that informs me, ‘sorry, you have call barring activated’ is as familiar to me as my own mothers. I’m gonna miss those guys.

Last week, I broke a tooth, and instead of ignoring it for several months and allowing it to become a far worse and more expensive problem, I went and got it dealt with a mere two days later. Not only that, but I scheduled it for my weekend, so that I wouldn’t require any additional time off work. How’s that for an ethic?

Ive never had health, life, or home and contents insurance- but in what is probably the most telling hallmark of my incline into adulthood, I’ve been doing extensive research on the matter. I can now conduct entire fascinating conversations with other adults about policies, health funds, and assets, whereas a few years ago, a mere mention of any of those words would make my eyes glaze over as I backed away slowly.  

I think a big part of my resistance towards growing up is because of how terrified I’ve always been of it. Turning 30 used to feel like the most ominous thing ever, and now that I’m here I of course realize that it’s not as lame as I’d though it would be, but I feel like I’m betraying my younger self by not hating it. My instincts tell me to Fight the Power! Forever young and wild and free, right? Raise hell! 

So I’ve tried to deny it. I’ve tried to act like I’m still a wayward youth. But I just don’t have the energy to do the shit I used to find enjoyable. The idea of spending a few hours, let alone an entire evening, in a nightclub, paying $13 for a shitty vodka in a mason jar that instantly gets spilled on you by a hipster dancing ‘ironically’ to a 90s pop dubstep remix, navigating my way through a sea of Kardashian-esque girls with fake boobs and hair and nails and lashes and lips and tan, and guys in their collared-shirts and Vans sameness, the pickup lines, the awkwardness, wanting a ciggy and having to squeeze into a sardine can of cancer with a thousand other banished smokers; I’d rather hang out in actual Hell, I think.

I used to think that living fast and dying young was a romantic and beautiful notion; I yearned to be like Kurt or Amy or Jeff or any of the revered ’27’ club, fellow misfits, people who felt eternally misunderstood, creative savants who lived their life recklessly, like a piece of performance art, crashing and burning gloriously right up until the bitter end. 

Thankfully I outlived 27 and outgrew my desire to die forever young and pretty. I realized that annoying phrase uttered by every adult ever –   “time heals all” is actually true, and now I can annoy the next generation by saying it to them . 

In fact, in the past six months, I’ve not only survived the transition into adulthood, I’ve actually taken steps to live even longer. I’ve quit smoking cigarettes, a habit I’ve held half my life. I stopped taking psychotropic medications and sleeping pills. I’ve started making healthy, home cooked meals at least once a week. I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water every day. And the funny thing is, I haven’t had to make a huge effort to implement any of these changes, it’s like I just  started paying attention to my body and prioritizing my wellbeing, and once I did that the changes started to occur naturally. I’m practically a health guru at this point, and considering renaming my blog ‘totallywellness’.

So clearly I’m beginning to relax about this whole getting older thing, fancying myself as ‘reluctantly refined’. I told myself I’m aging effortlessly, gracefully, becoming a more well-rounded and capable adult without even really trying. Allowing nature to take its course, if you will. And feeling pretty smug about it, to be honest. After all, I’m doing way better than I ever thought I would be at this age- I’m not dead and I’ve never even been in jail.

And then… I make the mistake of going on Facebook. I scroll through the lives of my peers, dozens of whom have also hit that milestone age this year. A few jobless deadbeats, with children and drug habits they can’t handle, a few with mediocre middle-class existences. But what was surprising to me was that the vast majority of my fellow triple-decade compatriots are actually kind of killing it.

 One has a disgustingly cute year-old baby with the man of her dreams, and they’re this cool little nomadic bohemian family who spend half the year in their chalet (at a snow town called Mount Beauty, for fucks sake)  working at a ski resort, and then reside at their gold coast beach house for the warmer months.

 One is engaged to a model, has two gorgeous and well-behaved kids from a previous marriage, and is a doctor that owns his own radiology clinic and is currently doing pre-production on a feature film for a screenplay he whipped up in his ‘spare time’.

All of a sudden my ‘interest in health insurance’ doesn’t seem so impressive. Maybe I’m not as mature and adulty as I thought?  Im not sure whether to feel jealous or inspired by these examples of higher echelons of successful adulting. 

Oh, well. I’ll ponder it further while I go smoke some weed and eat fancy cheese. Fight the power! 

Welcome Homeostasis 

A few weeks ago, I made the decision that I no longer wanted or needed to take my medication anymore. I’ve had a lifetime plagued by anxiety, depression and insomnia, and have tried nearly every drug in the book to treat them, with varying results, mostly underwhelming. Last year, however, the game changed. It turned out all of my various psychological afflictions were linked, symptoms of a bigger problem, and I finally had a diagnosis and a name for my particular brand of crazy- Borderline Personality Disorder.

 I was put on a cocktail of medications and went through months of intensive therapy, where I learned about mindfulness, emotional intelligence and coping strategies. For the first time ever I began sleeping, uninterrupted, the whole night through. My shakes and tremors virtually disappeared. I began to feel more balanced and in control of my moods, and minor inconveniences no longer sent me into nuclear meltdown. Basically, my quality of life was vastly improved after my diagnoses and subsequent treatment, and I’ve been a vocal advocate of therapy and medication ever since.  

So why on earth, one may ask, would I even consider going off those miraculous little chemical compounds? Am I stupid as well as crazy?  Perhaps I’m one of those people who finds the peaceful life boring and thrives on drama and misery?  Maybe I just decided it was time for a good ole’ fashioned derailment? 

As exciting as that all sounds, the actual reason is because I just couldn’t deal with the side effects anymore. Back when I was in peak psychosis, a little fatigue and cognitive dullness seemed a small price to pay for a magic pill that would take away the mania. Prior to taking them I felt like I had completely lost control of my mind and physical reactions. I would have muscular convulsions so severe that I’d be unable to walk for days after; I would find myself desperately tearing at my skin, convinved I had to peel it all off because it was suffocating me. The meds, in particular Seroquel, took it all away. My mind, once a chaotic hive of activity, slowed to steady, monotone hum. The constant tears dried up, I could take a breath without it hitching, and it felt like a big warm cloak had been thrown over all my pesky emotions. It was the chemical equivalent of sweeping a problem under a rug, and it was peaceful and lovely. 


However. Having to carry around a heavy cloak all the time gets really exhausting. It weighs down on you, makes you flushed, affects your ability to think straight. Plus, cloaks are seasonal; while it would make sense to wear one in the winter (you know, if cloaks are your thing), it would be illogical, uncomfortable and weird to drape yourself in that heavy shit through the blistering summer months. As your environment around you changes, what was once your savior can quickly become your burden. 

I always just kind of assumed that my psychological issues were something I’d struggle with every day, forever,that they would always be intense and unmanageable. But it turns out the extremities of my disorder are just as ever-changing as the weather. Storms don’t last forever and neither do psychotic episodes.

Just when I’d almost resigned myself to the endless winter and given up hope of seeing the sun again, the seasons changed and so did everything around it. I am forcibly reminded of the impermanence of life, the inevitability of change, and the crucialness of adapting to it . I came to realize, that as my mental state was no longer in crisis and my mind had calmed, it made about as much sense to continue taking such a powerful antispychotic drug as would wearing that fucking cloak in the Australian summer .  

The sedative effect on my cognitive function was turning me into the walking dead. Every single day, my full-time job was trying to stay awake (as well as, you know, my actual full time job). While driving I’d alternate between micro-napping and slapping myself in the face as the perpetual motion made me unbearably sleepy. All my free time was spent in bed, I would constantly sleep through my alarms and I was always running late. I was a mess, and I knew I needed to do something about it. My warm, protective cloak had become my straightjacket.

I couldn’t find any jobs that entailed sleeping all day, so my only other option was to ditch the pills. I started by tapering off for a few days and then thought fuck it and just went cold turkey, on all the three anti’s as once (depressant, psychotic and convulsant, for those playing at home) as the idea of dealing with three seperate detox’ s and withdrawals was far too unappealing. My boyfriend naturally disapproved of this method and advised me against it, as would most sensible people, but honestly I just wanted to get it over and done with. Throw all the shit to the wind and see where it lands. That’s an expression, right?

I probably should have consulted my doctor, or psychologist, or psychiatrist, anyone with higher medical credentials than myself really, but I didn’t want to be talked out of it, and also I’m super lazy. So I just lied and told people that I did speak to my doctor and he said it was fine. 

The first week passed by with deceptive ease, and apart from a touch of the night sweats and lethargy I didn’t seem to experience withdrawals at all. This lulled me into a false sense of security. I was all like “I don’t know why I was even worried, this is ain’t no thang!

Unfortunately this feeling of being unmedicated and fancy-free was short lived, and the following week I took a brief, but memorable little sojourn into hell. I woke up crying and shaking three days in a row, the bedsheets soaked through, filled with a deep sense of impending dread which would rot in my belly for hours. The room would tilt and sway dangerously, giving me a constant sensation of vertigo and light-headededness, and the brightness of daylight was almost unbearable. I had no personality or emotions to speak of, I was just a grey puddle of nothingness in humanoid form.  I googled ‘withdrawal symptoms from seroquel and Lexapro’ and I had every  single one on both lists. I was too tired to look up the ones for Lamotrigine. I sensed I was losing my ability to function, and this was confirmed when a co-worker made a comment which I knew I found funny, but I couldn’t remember the natural human response to humor. Instead I stared blankly at her, not blinking, for about 40 seconds, after which I suddenly remembered the concept and barked the word ‘LAUGHING’ in her face. It took me another twenty seconds to actually recall how to perform the act of laughing, so I did, but I had now forgotten the joke and so instead I just made loud maniacal noises that I thought laughing was supposed to sound like and then had no idea why everyone was staring at me with a mixture of concern and fear. I took the rest of the week off work and slept for three days straight. 

As the second week drew to a end, I started to feel better. Not only were my symptoms abatating, my head was starting to clear. It felt like a deep fog in my brain was finally starting to disperse. I could think. I could feel. And thankfully, I could handle the feelings. 

Now, I must not fail to mention that I embarked on this little mental health experiment of mine while my life and circumstances were very stable (at least by my somewhat lofty standards). I have the greatest and most supportive partner, which makes things immeasurably easier. There is no significant conflict or turmoil in my career, home life or health, and although I came to the decision to withdraw rather impulsively, I did it at the best possible time, for what I believe was the best possible reason. I want to experience the highs and lows of my life completely, without the cloak, without the pills controlling and masking the receptors in my brain.

It’s still early days but so far, I’m incredibly happy with my decision to go rogue. I wasn’t sure if my brain had the ability to generate serotonin on its own anymore, so that’s a victory (and, to be fair, quite impressive when you consider how much chemical abuse it’s  endured over the years, both pharmaceutical and recreational). In fact, this is the first time since I was seventeen that I’ve been unmedicated. I still have a long way to go and only time will tell whether I’ll be able to sustain this current contentment, but for now I’m just keeping the cray at bay and enjoying the reprieve. 

I’ll keep the cloak safely stashed, just in case, but I have hope that there will never be a winter cold enough to need it again. 

Farewell, shitty youth 

It’s a warm night in May, and I’m at home, unsettled, as this is not just any other night, it is in fact the last night of my twenties. Tomorrow I will be flung across the precipice into the long-dreaded decade of ‘proper adulthood’. Thirty is a milestone birthday I’ve never looked forward to, I think mostly because I’ve never wanted to be a real grownup, and by that I mean what society has led me to believe is a proper grownup. Marriage, kids, mortgages, the stock market; none of these things interest me in the slightest. I just don’t want to do all that stuff. I loathe having to get up and work every day in a pointless job just so I can (barely) afford the luxury of existing; why the fuck would I want to extend that struggle into a smaller, even more incapable version of myself?

 Why would I want to enter the most outrageously unaffordable housing market my country has ever experienced, and sell my soul to the big banks for all of eternity? Why would I want to spend upwards of $10,000 on a single day parading my love and union to someone, in an outdated and patriarchal tradition that bears no spiritual or emotional significance to me whatsoever, just because my fucking family and friends want me to? I’d much rather get high, listen to good music, have meaningful conversations with real people, make art and sleep all day. And now, in the twilight of my youth, I’m starting to realize that it’s ok to want to do those things, it’s ok to reject society’s preconceived notion of how you’re supposed to live your life, and I shouldn’t fucking feel bad about it. 

I’m a good person, and I can say that with conviction. For the past twenty-nine years I have constantly craved approval from those around me, and made it my life’s work to please others. The satisfaction I feel when I’m able to help someone, or at the very least meet their requests, is immense. But that means that if I don’t do things correctly, or piss someone off or give them cause to reprimand me, the shame and guilt I feel is crushing. This compulsive need to please doesn’t just apply to my loved ones; even people whom I don’t particularly like or opinions on anything else I wouldn’t value, have the power to destroy me. Such is the importance I place on others perception of me. But the beauty of getting older is that you become wise to the fact that most people are fuckheads and it doesn’t matter what they think. Deriving self-worth from others is stupid and damaging and I’m grateful that I’ve started figuring that out. Instead I’m turning inwards for approval more and more, and as a result I am living a much happier and honest life. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think I’ve got it all figured out now. It’s just that I’m far enough away from misguided mess that were my teen years to see that I have grown up, I am wiser and more confident and I’m vastly better at life than I was a decade ago. I’m sure when I turn forty I’ll look back on my life now and laugh at how I thought I was even slightly knowledgeable, but for now, I’ll live in the ignorant blissfulness  of thinking I’ve got at least a few things figured out. 

So yes, I’m about to be a thirty year old who smokes weed every day, struggles to pay bills on time and often eats cookies for breakfast. I may not have a kid, a husband or a mortgage, but you know what else I don’t have? A single grey hair, wrinkle or stretch mark. I’m not trapped in a loveless marriage with someone I thought was cool 10years ago but actually turned out to be an annoying douchebag, but who I’m stuck with coz there’s still 30 years worth of mortgage payments to be made and little Johnny’s only just started school. My life doesn’t stop at 8 and 3 every day to do a school run, instead I do, I dunno, take drugs or have sex or whatever the fuck I want. Instead I have a hot boyfriend who actually loves and respects me, a house full of cool shit and two adorable kittens that satisfy my maternal needs without ruling my life. 

 I  may not look or act like a responsible adult all the time but that doesn’t mean I’m not. I’ve earned my status as a grown up because I’ve spent thirty fucking years growing up. I’ve chosen kindness and empathy over money and power, intelligence over prestige, exhiliration over stability, passion over success. My life is sometimes chaotic, often incredibly peaceful, but it’s always my own, and I realize now that I am exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up- free. 

Anxiety, The Worst of Me

 Living with a mental illness and various panic disorders is, to me, kind of like walking around with a heavy and noisy speaker on your shoulder. Blaring your personal, and often embarrassing, playlists for the world to hear, on shuffle, with you desperately trying but unable to find the mute button. You receive a bunch of unwanted attention from eye-rolling strangers, the song and tempo is often wildly inappropriate for the situation, and people don’t understand why you can’t just silence the damn thing. Continue reading “Anxiety, The Worst of Me”