Walking around on broken legs

Well just one broken leg but in sticking with the songs as blog titles thing, this is what I went with.

** This is dedicated to my moon boot buddy Bree from work who broke her ankle the night before I did and who’s had it so much worse than me ****

I have deliberated on whether or not to write this, because to be honest, I am not proud of some of my actions and the way I ended up mentally after breaking my ankle recently. The reason for this is that I ended up very depressed and I just kept thinking about the fact that there are people who have permanent disabilities, some have had these their entire lives and some end up disabled later in their lives. And there I was, with my very temporary disability, too depressed to get out of bed and being shit to my loved ones. I figured though that as some of this obviously stems from actually having mental health issues, that I take daily medication for and frankly, mental health issues or not- it was a shitty thing to happen. I think that people (including me) are entitled to feel a sorry for themselves when shit things happen. Why do we have to feel bad when we feel down? Why does guilt play such a huge role in depression and when you get down about the hand you have been dealt in life? I figured the best way to go about this was just to tell the truth and how I felt and try not to get all philosophical about disabilities as I felt that may be a little condescending. So here is the story of my experience breaking my ankle.

It happened when I was heading into the office for work on Friday the 17th March, I’d been working from home for a month and so I was really excited to go in and see all of my friends. The night before I washed my hair, shaved my legs and was ready to face the outside world. That morning I put on my uniform, passed Emily on my way out as she was coming home from nightshift and walked to the bus stop. I walked down the stairs at the bus stop like I had a million times before and thought I’d reached the bottom step- I hadn’t. My stomach dropped along with the rest of me and before I knew it my ankle had rolled and I was on the ground. Honestly, writing this is freaking me out. I replay that moment over and over in my head and it makes me feel sick every time. The night after the accident and for a little bit after I would wake up suddenly after thinking about that moment in my sleep. This was my worst nightmare, I have a legitimately fear this exact occurrence- I used to think my constant fear of rolling my ankle while walking downstairs was irrational but in that moment I knew it wasn’t. It had happened.

This was not the first time I had hurt my ankle (it is the first time its actually broken though, got to thirty before breaking a bone, not too bad I guess). This is the third time I have injured my right ankle and I have also badly sprained my left ankle. The last time I sprained my ankle was almost ten years ago when I was still cheerleading, I rolled it on a gym mat. I was at my heaviest back then though and walked with a limp for a long time. I used to use my ankle pain as an excuse to not exercise but of course I found that as I lost weight the ankle pain went away. I used to walk slowly downstairs and had a real mental thing with my ankle. I realised after I had hurt it this time that I had finally gotten over that, I no longer was careful on stairs and I had no problem exercising. I just hope I get back to that mentality quickly after this recovery.

So I have fallen and people have seen it happen (how embarrassing!!!!) I’m sitting at the bottom of the bus stop stairs, crying and trying not to vomit from how bad the pain is. I lock eyes with a girl who suggests moving to a seat and tell her I have seriously hurt myself, I am not moving. A lady asks if I should call an ambulance- I tell her my sister is an ambulance (my brain is obviously working well) and I call Em who comes and gets me. The wait between the lady leaving me (only after I convinced her it was fine to leave me) and Em coming is awful. I am crying, embarrassed and in so much pain. A few people stop to ask if I am okay- I assure them I am. It was nice to see how many people actually cared about me- thanks Buranda bus station people. Em and I decided not to go to the hospital that day because we both couldn’t be bothered waiting forever in emergency, plus we figured it was just sprained. The next day it was very swollen and very sore, I went to the Doctor, then off to radiology, confirmed it was broken and then off to ED. The kicker was that because it was a weekend, they couldn’t put me in a moon boot as they weren’t available but not to worry- they would call me through the week and I would get the cast swapped for a moon boot. In the following two weeks while I struggled with my cast, I would lament the decision to go on Saturday not Friday, i just kept think “I would be in a moon boot right now, not this awful cast.”

As I mentioned, I was then in the cast for two weeks and a half weeks. I have never had a cast before and man, was it the worst! I was pretty immobile for that time because I had crutches and they are useless! It is absolutely impossible to carry anything at all while using your crutches and if the ground is wet, forget it. I had a scary incident when I tried to go outside with Henry and Daisy and the tiles outside of my apartment building were wet, as soon as I put weight on the crutch, it slipped. What a terrible design! Everything changed- Henry had to take Daisy downstairs to the toilet because I couldn’t hold her lead and crutch at the same time, to wash my hair I had to sit down in the shower with a plastic bag I had taped around my leg. When I ate dinner I had to sit at the bench on a chair instead of the couch and sleeping was almost impossible. The worst part about sleeping is that I move my feet in my sleep and I kept waking up with awful cramps in my calf because I had moved my foot but I couldn’t get it out because it hurt too much to move my foot again. I also had this awful spasming of my tendons that would wake me up as well which again was from moving my foot. I know this sounds pretty inconsequential but when every single thing about how you do day to day tasks changes, its rough. It was also my right foot so I couldn’t drive and I felt pretty trapped inside my house.

It is scary how quickly my mental health slipped, I was starting to feel pretty down even by the end of that first week. It was hard to look after myself and I seriously resented Henry and Emily for being able to go to work and for leaving me. I was lonely, sore and tired. I also don’t think it helps that I wasn’t taking my anti-depressants (I know, I know but I ran out and I couldn’t easily go get them and just kept forgetting as silly as that sounds). By the end of week two I was barely getting out of bed, I just didn’t see the point. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone and didn’t feel like going anywhere even if that had’ve been an option. I was awful to be around, I was angry, resentful and tired. I remember getting ready for something and getting so frustrated I hit the wall in anger- that is absolutely something I would normally do. I snapped at Emily and Henry and treated them like crap even though they were helping me. I still hadn’t heard from the fracture clinic to get my moon boot. I called and called and it just rang out, adding to my frustration. When I finally got through, the lady told me I didn’t have an appointment until the 13th April. I cried after I got off the phone, that was still two weeks away.

On the Monday of the third week, I was at my absolute lowest, I was home alone, had slept until 2pm and was sitting in the kitchen trying to will myself to cook food. I had been mean to my poor boyfriend and started a fight even though he had been amazing and looked after me. Instead of making food, I just sat and cried. Then I remembered
I had gotten two phone calls that morning from the same number- I checked the message and it was the fracture clinic. I could go in and get a moon boot and I made an appointment for Wednesday.

Henry took me to the clinic on the Wednesday, I was given my moon boot and that afternoon we went to New Farm park and I went for a slow but very happy stroll along the riverbank. Everything has looked up from there! I got rid of my crutches just after Easter and now I am only using my moon boot when I walk outside. In my apartment I don’t need it. I started Physio which is helping so much and I have almost normal movement in it again.

One of the biggest things I was scared of was gaining weight, I was absolute terrified of it. In the past, I would have just gone back to terrible eating and no exercise at all but this time I forced myself to hobble straight back into the gym. Obviously the exercises have had to change a bit, no legs, only arms and back and no cardio. To begin with Henry and to carry everything for me and set me up at each machine and I had to modify anything that required me to stand up. The moon boot meant me being able to carry my own stuff and stand up properly and then last week- I started cycling on the bike again. I am looking forward to the day when I can deadlift and squat again and it annoys me that I will have to start all over again with being the weights back up. But at the end of the day, I know I am lucky. I get to actually be able to do those things again and I know there are people that never will. Damn, I broke my promise to not get philosophical!

So theres my story, that’s how I felt and what happened to my brain when my normal life was interrupted. I am not one hundred percent proud of my actions but there really wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. I was lucky to be able to recognise that I was depressed and knew it was just because of my ankle and even though there was the old dark cloud fogging everything, I knew I just had to push through and it would get better. Depression is a bitch and it can really make you feel pretty hopeless and please, please if you are in the black fog and don’t feel you have a way out- know I am always here and there really is a way out.

 

 

Walking around on broken legs

I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA

Today I woke up feeling a bit down, I think working from home and the lack of human interaction is getting to be a little bit. My life is literally wake up, study, work, gym and that’s about it. I need to start getting out of the house but every minute spent away from the readings and essays of uni work is a minute filled with guilt. This is the lament of a student.

When I feel like this my brain starts to miss specific places and the need to go somewhere intensifies. Today it has chosen Los Angeles which it chooses quite often to be honest. Sometime it will be London,this was especially so in the year after I moved back from London. That was a difficult year, the grieving process I went through was terrible. I know this sounds dramatic and a little first world problem-ish but I know a lot of other people experience this. My least favourite word is wanderlust because its been turned into one of those things that people who have been on one Contiki, once and think they are super traveled and cultured, get tattooed on them.  However, the actual definition “a strong desire to travel” is exactly how I feel. That actually down plays it a little- its not just a strong desire; its a yearning, its deep inside of me and it makes me depressed when it can’t happen.

Waking up today (I cant say this morning because I woke up at about 11am,
I have been doing that a lot lately, its not helping my mental health) all could think of was Los Angeles, that crazy city has a piece of my heart that I am happy for it to keep. LA is not typically the city in America that steals peoples hearts, most would feel this way about New York and it is understandable why. While I loved New York, it just felt like somewhere I was visiting, LA feels like home. I would give anything to be navigating my way through the crazies on Hollywood Boulevard with the hot sun shining on me while a cool breeze blows. I will never forget how that breeze feels  while sitting drinking a cider, watching the world go by.

My first time in LA was in 2013 and it was on the fateful trip that was essentially the catalyst to big changes in my life- came home, ended my six year relationship, moved cities and spent the next two years alone and focusing on myself. What I didn’t realise at the time that I was in a really bad place mentally, I knew I didn’t like my life but I wasn’t completely sure why or what to do about it. Looking back, I realise I was unhappy in my relationship and hated my job and I was so sick of living a life to please every body else at the detriment of my happiness. I didn’t want to be a home own living in the small town I grew up in and have babies in the near future. I wanted more, I wanted to see more of the world and just do things my way. I wanted to actually work in a career I liked and not want to cry every morning.

The first time I went to LA I was only there for one night before making our way to Las Vegas. That night we met a  couple of really great guys who we had an accidental huge night with and talking to them was so interesting. The thing that struck me about people in LA is that no one has a proper job or if they do, they are working towards something else. Everyone says they are “something but they work at somewhere” like “I am an actress  but I work in a coffee shop at the moment.” One of the guys we met was a fashion designer who said he had been to Katy Perry’s birthday party and had a beef with Kid Cuddi. I was talking with him, explaining what I did for a job and that working nine to five is pretty standard in Australia was pretty standard and he said “I just don’ know how people go to jobs everyday that they hate.” That will always stay with me because at that time I so desperately desired to do something meaningful that I loved. At the time, I was lead to believe that doing that was not viable, that I would not succeed and it would be a waste of time.

I went back to LA in 2015 after all of the big life changes had happened and I genuinely thought I was better mentally, I thought I was happier but that trip was the two months in America during which I was very anxious and homesick. This time I was in LA for four days and then another five after Coachella and getting to see more of the city just cemented that I could live there. There are just so many things to be seen and so many opportunities to delve right into whichever scene it is you’re into. LA is often called fake and plastic because of the celebrities that call it home but on the ground level, the regular people you meet are the furtherest from fake. They are 100 hundred percent themselves, sometimes to the slight detriment of their sanity. Hollywood isn’t called Hollyweird for nothing. My first night in LA, at a bar on H’wood Blvd (look how local I am being) I saw at least three girls with live snakes in their hair and watched my friend be lifted like a barbell by a strange man who called himself “Mr Muscles.” While it did eventually get to me that I couldn’t walk down the street without being spoken to or yelled at by someone (not the best of someone with anxiety who isn’t great with strangers) one of my friends hit it on the head today when she said that maybe we like it so much because we are weird too. I feel like LA is full of my people.

I have so many stories I could tell about LA and the people and sites I witnessed- like the poor homeless man on the bus from Santa Monica back to Hollywood who was wanting to be dropped off in Beverly Hills but struggled to stay awake and was sleeping in the most body contorting positions, or the man who got on the same bus and loudly asked the man next to him if he would be interested in doing some weed testing for money. Or when my travel partner and I naively spent a few hours in a Walmart shopping for Coachella supplies until I realised there were some young guys who may have been gang members watching us and upon googling later, we realised we were in Torrence which is apparently a very rough area. Or when we took a Hollywood bus tour where our tour guide was a really bad Jackie Chan impersonator until the bus broke down and people yelled at Jackie demanding money back. Or when we went to an open mic night and I made a cute musician take me home but that is absolutely enough of that story. However, this post is already pretty long and I think I could tell those stories separately when I eventually feel like it.

On my last night in LA, I geared myself up to get a tattoo but by the time I made it down there the shops were all closed. I was going to get a tattoo of a palm tree- I know, cliche right? Right now, if I didn’t have about $100 to my name, I would make a booking and go get that palm tree done.I know LA has been orchestral in the changes I have made in life, the want to do something I love and follow my dreams and here I am working in social media, studying and trying to get into writing for a job. So while life is definitely on the track to how I want it, today I am definitely California Dreaming (good one right?)

I’d be safe and warm, if I was in LA

limosene 

I’m having one of those ‘fuck everything’ nights, one of those nights where I’m just fed up! These nights used to happen quite regularly but it’s definitely on the deacrease. When it does happen though it just consumes me and nothing can shift my mood. 

It’s hard to articulate exactly what is wrong with me. I think it’s that I’m sick of being alone. I’m not lonely in anyway, I have an amazing circle of friends, I live with my closest friends and my amazing sister who I spend an incredible amount of time with. As well as my gorgeous puppy to keep me company. But I am definitely alone, I’m just me and I’ve never really been just me and I’m feeling fed up. 

I want to come home from work and have my best friend pull me into his arms, give me a kiss and ask me how my day was. I want to cook dinner with him and sit down to watch TV cuddled up on the couch and then I want to get into our warm bed and hold each other in our sleep. Incredibly sappy I know but hey, at this point I do not care. 

I had all of these things but then I lost them and most of the time I can cope with that but some times it sneaks back up on me and it kills me on the inside. Six years of being with the one person and being incredibly in love and very happy for a large majority will do that to you. 

I know I will find that again, until just recently I actually thought maybe I had but I doesn’t seem to have worked out that way and that’s ok. It will. 

Some of my fondest memories of our time together are- 

 while we were living in London he used to work later than me so I was always home before him. When he would come home the first thing he would do would be to go to the bathroom and shower to get all the grease off himself and to warm up. I would go and sit in the bathroom with him and talk to him about our days. Sometimes we would have a cider while talking. 

And another one is- 

Every morning when he was working in town we would get ready together and have breakfast together. We would then go and ‘clean our pegs’ which was cleaning our teeth and then we would drive to work in different cars but the same way for most of the drive. When it came time to go to our separate work places, we would wave like dorks to each other. 

We had lots of things like this that were just out things and we spent every second we could together. We were best friends and even if we had seen each other for the past few hours we would always have something to talk about. We had a lot in common and we were just always Cait and Lawrie. It’s taken me a long time to understand who I am without him as just Cait. 

I know I will have that again. I truly believe we can have more than one soul mate and have that kind of relationship with more than one person. It will never be exactly the same but I’m glad of that. Those memories will always be mine and his and I’m looking forward to making cute, new memories with the next boy I fall madly in love with. 

limosene 

Every picture you paint, I’ll paint myself out 

I guess I do want you to be happy eventually but I don’t want it to be just yet..
I want you to feel that longing for me that I feel for you. When you lie next to your new girl I want you to feel that absence, I want you to feel that it’s not right but never quiet be able to put your finger on it. And then it will dawn on you. It doesn’t feel right because she’s not me. That’s how I feel. That’s how I’ve felt the entire time we’ve been apart. It’s not quite right. And I truly don’t believe there’s no way you won’t eventually feel like that too… 

Every picture you paint, I’ll paint myself out 

Lonely as I am, together we cry

Loneliness was never something I had to deal with that often until the break up. Although to be completely honest, I guess I felt pretty lonely at the end of the relationship as well because my partner as I had known him was no longer there. He was there physically but the sweet, loving, fun guy I had fallen in love with had been replaced with a cranky, grumpy stranger who had no time for me in amongst the stress of house renovations. My ex used to go out of town for work for about four days at a time every couple of weeks, so during those times I would be without him. I struggled a lot with those few days and normally would head over to visit my mum or just be out of the house as much as possible during those times. So then I was single and the gaping hole of loneliness struck.

I was very determined to conquer this though, I wanted to learn to be ok with being by myself, I wanted to enjoy alone time. I had always envied those people who said they enjoy just spending some time to themselves and just doing what they wanted to do. Also, the last thing I wanted was to dive straight in to another relationship, just to fill the void. In the past I had tried, I would go in with a positive mind set- I was going to really enjoy my alone time and I would, for about an hour. After that I would get bored, and not know how to fill my time, I would start to think of stupid things, and then the anxiety would set in and I would end up feeling sad and lonely. Missing my partner partner would start then, even if he had just left an hour or so ago and was coming back in an hour or so. Alone time just wasn’t fun because it really wasn’t something I had to do, being alone was only very temporary so I didn’t make an effort to make the most of it.

When you are single however, being alone is inevitable, your time filler, that person who was always around suddenly isn’t there anymore. The loneliness takes on another level as well. You’ve lost the person who meant the most to you and in my case, your best friend and soul mate. We did absolutely everything together and I liked being around him so much that I would never read or play on my computer when he was around because I just wanted to be with him.

How did I combat this? Its been really tough and I still struggle with it, like tonight, my sister went to her boyfriends and all my other housemates went to bed and I realised I was very alone. It is times like that, when I head to bed by myself, that I really wish I had someone but I am much better with it. One thing I have really enjoyed since being single is reading. I have always been an avid reader but it felt like I was neglecting my partner because I get much too engrossed in books. When Twilight came out, I had to force myself to take breaks from reading because I felt like I hadn’t seen my partner in days. So since being single, I can read and read and not feel guilty at all! I have been able to read some amazing books and the speed I can get through them is fantastic. I was never really a series watching person but I have now signed up for Netflix and get into a good series. I also really enjoy a weekend night every now and then at home on my couch, watching a movie.

Friends and Family are awesome for this type of thing as well. My sister has been my rock and I am so incredibly thankful of how close we have become. We were always great friends but there was a bit of tension with her and my ex towards the end and it was hard to be in the middle. Now we are closer than ever and I spend more time with her than anyone else. I’ve also made some amazing friends and formed even closer bonds with other friends, each of them I can always count on to distract me from the sadness of being lonely.

Loneliness isn’t fun and sometimes it seems to consume you, making you feel completely empty but its how you look at loneliness that is key. Instead of letting it get you down, use it as an opportunity to do something you don’t get to do often. Read the new best seller, call an old friend, watch a show that people would normally tease you for watching. Loneliness isn’t forever, I know one day I will be married and have a family and then I will look back on this time when I did so many things for myself and miss it.

Lonely as I am, together we cry

Alabama, Arkansas, I sure do love my Ma and Pa

I am homesick. I am desperately, ridiculously, pathetically homesick. I miss my sister, I miss my bed and I miss work. How sad is that? Let’s back it up a little though, so you can get an idea of why this is especially embarrassing, I am only on a two month trip. It was supposed to be a three month trip but I have already cut it short by a month and now all I want, is to be at home.

At the moment I am in San Fransisco, which is amazing! Such a vibrant, beautiful city with so many things to do and see and here I am, after a month away from home, having panic attacks and crying in the shower because I miss home. So why is this happening and what can I do to combat it? Because I am determined to enjoy myself and not let anxiety and homesickness get on top of me.

Let’s back it up again and I will tell you whats been going on with me and how I got to this point to give a little bit of context. This is not my first overseas trip, I actually lived in London for twelve months, travelled through Europe and have done two and a half months around South East Asia. The massive difference is, those trips were done with my boyfriend and this is my first ever trip single. It has been a bit of an adjustment for me as we travelled so much together and travelled incredibly well together. Travelling with a friend is different, at the end of the day you go to bed alone instead of squishing into the same bunk until he decides its time  to go up to his. Annoying habits are much more noticeable because you aren’t in love with your friend.

In the December of 2013, after 6 and a half years together, I made the incredibly difficult decision to end my relationship. This was the man I thought I was going to be with forever and who I still think of as my best friend and soul mate but we had grown apart. For now lets not open that black hole of emotions because that is a large explanation all in itself and I am sure I will eventually lay it out, when I am ready. This trip was something I wanted to do, I wanted to go off without him and had been planning it since my return from America in November. I had been bitten hard by the travel bug and wanted to travel a lot. This was part of the reason the break up happened. We wanted different things, he wanted to be responsible with a house and I wanted to be able to flit off whenever. I dreamed of a travelling gypsy life. The problem was because I had to move towns, get a new job and learn to live on only one wage after years of living off two, I couldn’t afford to travel until April of this year.

So while I waited for it to be time to come on this trip, I got used to my life in Brisbane, actually I didn’t just get used to it, I came to love it. My sister and I were always close but me being single has meant I now spend all of my time with her and we have gotten even closer and for the first time ever I actually love my job! I have started to think about career progression and decided I want to buy myself an apartment in a few years. Low and behold, I was wanting to settle and no longer wanted the gypsy life style. My original plan was to quit my job and travel america for six months but the love of my life in Brisbane made me decided to cut it to three and work were nice enough to let me have three months off.

I still very much wanted to go on this trip though, especially because I am having an incredibly hard time getting over my ex and moving on, so I hoped this trip would help in that. When it came time to leave though, I got very down about being away from home for so long, I wished my ex was coming with me and wished my sister was coming with me but I was still excited.

Now I am a month into the trip and I feel like I have spent a fair bit of it anxious and homesick.  My travel buddy and I have also had a few set backs, she got the flu in LA, we hated our hotel in Cancun and got a bit of Mexico belly. We then had our drinks spiked in Mexico city and I spent three days with very, very bad food poisoning in San Diego. I know I am being a sook but I know that I would have come through these bad situations a little better, if I had someone to provide love and affection. I am trying very hard to be the strong, single, independent woman but there is only so much a person can take. Couple all of this with the fact that I have suffered from depression since my teenage years and quite bad anxiety since the break up which I take anti depressants for.

So what am I going to do about it? How am I going to not let my anxiety and homesickness get on top of me and ruin my trip? The first thing I have had to deal with is missing my ex and the constant sadness that he isn’t here. I was driving myself absolutely mental thinking about him, thinking about our break up and pining for him. Can I just add that although we have been broken up for almost a year and a half we still see each other quite a lot and have sex (yes I know how self-destructive that is, trust me) and in the week leading up to me leaving we actually spent a massive amount of time together. So although its been a long time since we were a couple, the feelings of leaving him are still very fresh and raw. So to stop driving myself completely insane with the grief of him not being here, I have adopted the Eat, Pray, Love method. This being that every time I think of him and my mind starts to wander and I miss him, I repeat to myself; miss him, send him love, move on.  I repeat this in my head this until I think it is safe to stop.

In regards to the homesickness, I am not really sure what to do. At the moment I am simply taking it one day at a time. I wake up, do the days activity and before I know it I am one day closer to going home. I also talk to my sister all day, every day, I got myself an American sim so no matter where I am, I can Facebook message her. When I am lonely and bored, I write in my travel journal and load my photos onto my computer and Facebook. I am going to Skype my mum and FaceTime my sister. I am also going to use writing as a way to cope. When I am feeling super anxious or down, I am going to write about my feelings. The most important thing I am going to do is not beat myself up. I will stop being annoyed at myself for feeling this way, being annoyed at myself only makes me anxious and then I ended up anxious about being anxious. I am just going to keep going and before I know it, it will be time for me to head home and I will be sad about that and wish I had longer. I can do this, I have made it through one of the most emotional periods in my life and come out the other side. I have spent a year away from my family and friends, 16,000 kilometres away from home in another county ,so I can spend another month travelling around America. I also keep thinking to myself, as the meme goes “If Britney can get through 2007, I can get through this day” or month in my case.

Alabama, Arkansas, I sure do love my Ma and Pa