Fack, I can’t believe you’ve done this.👀

sally <3 This might be more of a sad blog post this time around because, well, I’m a little sad. I’ve sat down to write this post almost everyday for the last week but I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything of any real substance. I’m tired and life has been a bit tough the last few weeks.

Just before Iceland I wrote about my stress-induced tummy ulcer. It’s shit craic. Turns out I can’t just medicate the problem away as easily as I thought I could. This whole situation is as a result of stress and my anxiety being totally out of control again. It’s mad because I’ve been handling day to day challenges relatively fine which is why it’s been hard to try and explain what’s going on to people. But over the last month or two, particularly the last month I’ve completely spiralled. I seem to be spending my life vomming these days and can’t keep food down at all. I have completely lost my appetite and with that, all my energy. I’ve lived mostly on soup and fruit the last few weeks and because of all this I’ve lost quite a lot of weight to the point where I can’t really afford to lose anymore. So, as well as medicating the ulcer I have been put back on anti- anxiety meds. Just short-term, while there’s still a lot going on in my little world to stop me from losing any more weight and to keep me above water.

Anyone who’s followed my blog for a while now knows that I’ve been on medication for my mental health before and after a sum of about 6 years of inadequate health care services and treatment I went to America and took myself off the medication Ad Hoc and worked so hard on myself and haven’t looked back since. So, to be put back on medication feels like an almighty blow.

The doctors this time around have been brilliant and have assured me it’s only a short- term solution. It’s all still a bit shite though. I can recognise however, that maybe it’s necessary for the moment.

It’s mad because I haven’t thought properly about the stigma surrounding Mental Health particularly in relation to myself in a long time. I’m so open about my mental health that I’ve gotten to the stage where I just don’t care what people think anymore. I am so open with my emotions. I talk about how I’m feeling all the time with those closest to me because I didn’t in previous years and I have since learnt my lesson. I believe so much that a problem shared is a problem halved and I think that if we were all more open about what’s going on in our heads we would all feel a whole bunch less lonely and afraid. That’s one of the main purposes of this blog.

This last week though, I have felt the stigma. I was fine about discussing the prospect of medication with my closest pals and family before it happened. But, the minute I started the medication I completely shut everyone out. I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed. (I know this is ridiculous and I hate myself for thinking that way.) I’m the girl who’s gone through it all and has always won. I’ve gotten used to winning. This time though, I kind of feel like I’ve lost to life a bit and that’s really hard to swallow.

People have a funny perception of medication for mental health and it’s been such a long time since the last time I had this realisation. I have always maintained that in the height of my mental health difficulties medication was absolutely necessary and in no uncertain terms kept me alive. It was 100% the best decision for me at the time and if our country was in any way efficient mental health wise, I would have been properly looked after and monitored and would have been off them significantly sooner than I was.

People have said things along the lines of: ‘you don’t seem anxious, are you sure you need it?’ I don’t need to justify my decision but it wasn’t one I made lightly and I simply can’t carry on like this.

I’m fairly sure that I made the best decision for me and my body but it’s all just a lot to process. Like I said though, this is a short- term solution until I properly get to the bottom of everything and give my brain a little spring cleaning.

During my Welfare Campaign someone questioned by ability to do the job because of my mental health difficulties in the past. At the time I remember thinking to myself: ‘ah fuck you, you don’t know me and what I’m capable of’ and moved on, not giving the comment a second thought. The day I started my medication I sat there wondering if that person had been right.

I have taken the time to properly think through my situation and I have decided that what that person said about me during the campaign was bullshit. I am more than capable of everything that anybody else in the role could do. Sometimes it takes a little more effort or persistence but I reckon, I’ve shown Maynooth that I have and will continue to do the best that I can; which I now believe is absolutely good enough. I have always been proud of what I’ve overcome and completely believe that my mental health has made me who I am today. This situation is no different.

I’ve had a couple of students lately facing similar situations and saying similar things to what I’ve been thinking, which is why I decided to write this post. How hypocritical it would be of me to sit back and tell others to look at going on medication as a positive step in the right direction, to look forward to what the future will bring and to absolutely never be embarrassed or ashamed of taking medication for their health, Mental or Physical; while secretly not being able to own my own story.

So I am here to tell you that whether or not I know you, or I know what’s going on, we are going to get through this together. One baby step at a time. I’ll make a commitment to not be ashamed or embarrassed of my heath and you do the same. I’ll make a commitment to reprioritise self- care and just generally be kind to myself and again, you do the same.

My good pal Gregory told me the other day that life is all about balance and that balance isn’t a straight line. That balance is all about the ups and downs and how we move forward. Well, I’m on a little down hill at the moment but you know what, the hill is about to start sloping back up again!

I’ve spent a lot of time painting and writing and spending good, chill time with close friends and my pupper, whom I can’t help but feel happy around.  ❤️ I just gotta look after myself a little extra and be selfish for a while now, I think…

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Anyways, keep tippin’ along everyone. We’re all going to be fine after a few deep breaths and a hug or two. Be kind to those around you and to yourself. The sun will come out tomorrow, it always does. ☀️💛

Smile always, beautiful people. We can and will all get through this whole mad life thing together. If you’re struggling reach out and don’t suffer on your own; like I said a problem shared is a problem halved.

Kimbo. x 🌻🍄💛🐥💐

 

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Absolute madness.🎄❤️🎅

Absolute madness! Christmas is over already. How did that happen? I kinda feel like it should still be September; maybe October at a push!

I usually hate Christmas. I dread it for weeks before hand. I love the build-up, the music, the decorations, the lights, the jumpers. It’s just Christmas day.

I know a lot of people are with me on this, Christmas can be the most lonely time. There’s so many reasons why people struggle around Christmas time. I always feel like there’s such an expectation to have a big, perfect, happy family, lots of gifts under the tree and to be surrounded with nothing but love and  laughter. Food is another part that comes into the equation for me. I always feel like I’m supposed to eat so much food and drink so much alcohol. For quite some time my family hasn’t met many of these expectations and every year I feel like the freak who hates Christmas come December.

This year, however was different! I spent Christmas day with my mom and then Christmas evening with dad. Adam also called over for cans on Christmas night. It was so unconventional and chilled out. I felt really ill for the day (I’ll get to this in a minute), so I didn’t have to eat much, the decorations were limited and the spirits around me all seemed to be low enough to begin with meaning I wasn’t the only Grinch this year.

Because neither myself or my mom were feeling too Christmassy, we just sat and cuddled and chatted for hours. It was beyond perfect and exactly what I needed. Then I went home to dad and we watched multiple Harry Potters and just relaxed. It was all so stress- free one way or another and it felt like there no expectations.

On Christmas Day I usually do the rounds and go visit a couple of families; my foster fam, the neighbours and I usually meet Ellen for a walk. I realised this year that I only do that because it gets me out of the house and I previously longed to be a part of a ‘happy’, ‘conventional’ family, even for an hour or so. (Not something I long for much anymore.)

This year I was happy to just float about and be with my own people. ❤️ I didn’t even make it into next door. It’s the first year for as long as I can remember that I didn’t feel like a lost cause, like a bit of a charity case.

I absolutely loved this Christmas! I know however how lucky I am to have had a good day this year and I know a couple of people who faced an unimaginably difficult day- so, the biggest well done to all of you who just made it through minute by minute. I know what that feels like. Don’t worry, it’s over now and behind us all for a full 12 months! ❤

Onto the feeling sick bit now. I’ve been a bit ill for a while now. For the past month or two I’ve been getting sick every morning before work and sometimes during the day. I have 100% lost my appetite and even when I know I need to eat I feel so ill that I end up just skipping the meal.

It’s not intentional; in fact it’s been quite frustrating. My energy has been on the floor and the last couple of weeks in work before Christmas were so intense that I really could have done without missing so many meals.

Because of my relationship with Christmas and the weather in winter and how it affects my mental health I usually lose a bit of weight around this time of year. I just presumed it was my anxiety acting the bollox. These are the usual ways my anxiety manifests itself.

After a couple of weeks of this I noticed I had lost a lot of weight and started worrying a little. Ellen has watched this all go on and has waited in the car for me in the mornings more than once because I was still inside after getting sick.

Ellen suggested that there might be something more wrong than anxiety because I couldn’t figure out what I was so anxious about.

Turns out ya gal has a stomach ulcer as a result of stress. LOL

I was fecking over the moon to get this news. Not because I want a stomach ulcer or anything that relates to that, but because the problem is physical and not mental. I was getting so panicked about how I was going to overcome this food thing. I might have to get a little operation in the New Year if I haven’t improved (I’m still experiencing a lot of discomfort)  and I need to put on a bit of weight but I feel like all that sounds a whole bunch easier than having to properly sort out my head, ya know?

As for 2018? What a year! It’s been absolute madness from start to finish. I started the year off in Edinburgh visiting camp pals and I’m about to end the year in Iceland with camp pals. ❤️ These people changed my life two summers ago and I’ll love them forever for this.

This time last year I had a whopper panic attack before going to Edi and had decided I wasn’t going. (Only for a lot of persuasion and support from my pals that I got on the plane.) This year, I barely thought about Iceland at all until yesterday. This morning I woke up sick as hell but I’m not sure if that was anxiety or ulcer? Maybe a bit of both? But, there was no drama and no fuss. I got ready, had the usual pep-talk from my faves and hopped on the plane. ✈️

I am buzzing to see the gang and not a nerve to be felt although my tummy is killing me atm and I need a widdle. (I’m stuck on the plane currently sitting in the middle seat and I don’t want to be that person that makes everyone else stand up.) 👀

Welfare has been unreal! I wrote myself a little letter at the start of the year to take out and look at if I started to lose faith in myself or really started struggling. In the letter there’s a whole paragraph about how under absolutely no circumstances could I quit, that I needed to make it to the end of the year in one piece if it killed me. ( I don’t think I really believed that  I’d actually have it in me to complete a Welfare year until recently.)

I am now half way through my year and haven’t even taken out the letter to read yet. 💪🏼

I have accomplished a lot this year, I think. The most meaningful accomplishments being the small, seemingly insignificant ones that only my closest homies know about and understand. Things like getting on the plane today with not too much of a bother.

I woke up to messages from Ellen and Alisha this morn telling me how proud they are of me and how there was no need to worry. I hadn’t even told them that I was worrying yet.

Ellen said: ‘Think of how proud you from last year would be of you right now!!’ – and she’s dead right! 2017 Kimbo wouldn’t have even dreamed about what 2018 Kimbo can now do. ❤️

That’s how I know I’m going a good job at this whole life craic.

However, in saying that I couldn’t do any of it if it wasn’t for all the love and encouragement from the very best people in my life. The ones that have spent the last year picking me up and dusting me off. Encouraging me and reading all of my blogs. Putting up with my jokes, making me giggle and giving me all the cuddles and love.

I love and appreciate you all more than you could ever imagine!

I don’t really feel like I am ever just Kim the individual. I kinda feel like I am Kim and Sally and mom and dad and maybe like a tribe of 10 heroes holding Kim’s hand every step of the way… Does that make sense? I wouldn’t be Kimbo without them all.

Little shout-out to my parents too. Maybe I don’t give them enough credit sometimes but they’re both absolute soldiers who have taught me that I can get through anything and inspire me daily. They are beautiful, kind, smart  people and I’m a pretty lucky kiddo to have them carrying me through. ❤️

Anyway, I want to wish you all the happiest of New Years. 2019 is gonna be a blast, I can feel it! I hope next year’s adventures are just as plentiful and that all the memories are just as sparkly. I hope you all continue to discover who you are, what you really value and what you are made of. I hope you all smile more in 2019. I hope you laugh far more than you cry and I hope that you all spend your year trying to be kind to everyone you meet.

Don’t look down on people, don’t judge them and don’t put them down. Worry about yourself and your own issues instead. Be selfish but lean on those around you. Be strong and be brave.

Lastly, don’t beat yourself up inside if you slip-up along the way. We all make mistakes. It’s how we move on from them and learn that counts. Just don’t make the same mistake twice.

I’ll try do the same.

All the love and best wishes. Don’t forget to smile always.

Kimbo. X 💛🌼💐🐥🍄❤️

 

Welfare life when you’re 5″ nothing.🐥

It has been the most crazy few weeks! Welfare life moves at such a fast pace. The summer is over and I literally have no idea where the time went. It has all absolutely flown by!

It has all been pretty wonderful so far. The job has made me feel so many emotions and it’s only really starting. I get really terrified every so often, and I question what I’m doing here. But recently, when I start panicking about how I’m feeling I’ve learned to stop and breath. I’ve been through an awful lot over the past few years and I’m stronger and happier than ever so absolutely nothing is going to stop me now!

I graduated a couple of weeks ago and had all of the most wonderful people around me; friends from home, college and my course friends along with my family. I was so unbelievably happy all day and it’s a day I’ll never forget! ❤️ I can’t wrap my head around how it could possibly have been three years since my very first, terrifying day in Maynooth. I remember exactly what I wore that day and every single emotion I felt like it was yesterday.

My undergrad degree was the best and without a doubt, most challenging three years of my life. I found myself, my beliefs and my values. I’m still finding them and exploring and growing in strength and confidence day by day.

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This job keeps pushing me. I have found myself attempting to reverse back into old anxiety ways. But now, every time I go to run and hide I get pushed back out of my comfort zone and I have no choice but to do what needs to be done. It’s my job. And then, I leave my comfort zone and am always grateful for the push. Orientation week is over and I think we gave orientation talks to about 3,000 freshers. That’s a lot of people, a lot of public speaking and one more almost overcome fear. 💪🏼

In his orientation speech Paul kept saying “…all it takes is just five seconds of bravery, that’s it!” And I keep taking his advice and literally diving in! -I jumped off the pier in Salthill a few weeks ago; and couldn’t bring myself to do it this time last year.

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Five seconds of bravery is brilliant advice! Close your eyes for five seconds and take the leap; whatever that leap may be. By the time you open your eyes you’ve already taken the step and then it’s too late to go back. Did I mention I also got that blood test I’ve been too scared to get for about 3 years?! I also booked my tickets to go to Iceland for New Years to visit all my favourite camp pals. Last New Years I had a massive panic attack the night before going to a camp reunion in Edinburgh, but I conquered that fear. The prospect of the Iceland trip scared the shit out of me which was the biggest deciding factor in me booking the tickets. 💪🏼 What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?

It’s all coming up Kim.

The team has been amazing. I have really felt so supported the whole way along and it’s all so exciting. The Union is such a busy place! I really had no idea. Everyone works so hard but they literally all just never stop smiling and being so kind to everyone they meet. I know it’s early days and I still have so much to learn and face, but I really think this is going to be one of the best years yet.

I’ve been quite ill recently and I’m exhausted. It’s been a little bumpy but again, my friends have picked me up and carried me through. I could not function without them and am constantly, everyday, amazed by how wonderful they are.❤️ Forever grateful.

Last week, for World Mental Health Day 2018 Paul and I held a mental health coffee morning. ☕️ I got to tell a whole bunch of people that it was okay not to be okay and that we are all one big welfamily in Maynooth that will get through everything life throws at us together. I ended my speech with a Winne The Pooh quote and I have never felt so empowered in my entire life.

It was SUCH a special, perfect day. My job lets me do these things. It’s fecking class! AND having a pet anxiety bath duck called Albert in work is acceptable? I actually have no idea how I got so lucky! 🐥 I say it all the time, but I genuinely think Maynooth is one of my favourite places in the world. In Maynooth I am happy, loved, accepted and safe.

SAFE- a word I’ve questioned a lot as of late. It’s a word that means a lot to me for various different reasons. I haven’t always felt safe. Safety is a feeling I have learned to take great comfort in, however it’s a feeling that catches me out sometimes because I am naturally drawn to the situation that appears safest. I know I am being so vague right now but this theory can be applied to almost all aspects of my life.

Every so often safety is a necessity, for obvious reasons, but sometimes the safe option isn’t always the best option. If we’re safe all the time and avoid these 5 seconds of bravery and don’t push ourselves out of our comfort zones how will we ever grow as people? It’s a confusing grey line that I find really hard to navigate sometimes. So, I’m really glad to have so many people around me pushing me everyday and reminding me that I am capable. A reminder that I require frequently. I spend my life feeling overwhelmed and slip into the ‘I’m doing such a shit job’ mindset all too often.

On another note, last night I faced something that to me, was terrifying.

Earlier in the week I was asked to face a certain situation that I knew was going to make me incredibly uncomfortable and force me way out of my comfort zone. My immediate reaction was to say absolutely not. Then, I rang Jimmy, my old school counsellor whom is now one of my most trusted friends. To my great disappointment, Jimmy told me to face my fears. To choose the uncomfortable option which would inevitably lead me to a place where I could move on from a situation that’s been holding me back for quite some time. He told me that whatever I chose to do he would never judge me but, gave me a little guilt- trip thing and then told me to let him know what I decided to do. 😂 He’s a wagon like that.

So far, after about ten years, Jimmy has never been wrong. So I decided to give into his guilt- trip and face my fears. I decided to take 5 seconds of bravery and to face this particular situation head on. Of course, my closest friends all jumped at the chance to stand by my side and help me face the situation and together, with them all by my side, I knew I would be A OKAY! ❤

This time the safe option was not the right one and the fact that I could recognise this and chose the scarier option is a testament to my personal growth.

So, I faced the situation and it was difficult but I did it! I’m really proud of myself, but also triggered. The situation was a really difficult one and it’s a situation that wouldn’t have been difficult for most other people. I’m conflicted as to whether I should feel happy and delighted with myself for overcoming a fear, or sad because the smallest things still trigger me and I often wish they wouldn’t, you know. But baby steps, I guess.

Despite this, life is constantly terrifyingly wonderful and I for sure hope it remains this way. I also hope that I always have the very best of the best people by my side encouraging me on.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week, dearest readers. I also hope you conquer something small this week. It’s a feeling I’ve become addicted to. 🐥

(P.S. Hope you’re all as #buzzing that Westlife have made a comeback as I am! x x x)

All the love and hugs,

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🐥🌻👣⭐️🌼❤️

 

Be the change💐

“Know your Worth.” ❤️

So, I’ve been having a bit of an intellectual crisis lately. I’m not sure if that’s a thing- I’ll do some research later; but that’s what’s been happining. I’ve been spending too much time worrying that I’m not smart enough. And it’s been getting me down. But after further consideration, and I’ve given this a lot of thought over the last week, I’ve decided I’m overreacting and that this is just me focusing on the cover up problem, not the real issue. A lack of confidence and self-belief is what’s really going on. I’ll further discuss this in a minute.

But what’s also important here, which is positive, is that I’m beginning to focus more on internal traits and characteristics; honesty, Intelligence, patience etc. rather than on my physical appearance. I’m not going to elaborate much further here only to say, that this is a welcomed realisation.

I seem to have spent an awful lot of time this year listening to podcasts and reading. I have realised that my blogs are slowly improving and especially as of late, I feel like I’m learning new things all the time. Then on Monday I found out that I’m graduating with a 2:1 degree in Social  Science. Not so sure how or when that Happened. I’ve been telling myself unconsciously and consciously all year that I am not smart enough to graduate. Maybe, I am?!

I have a fear of public speaking. I’m slowly dealing with this fear and it’s absolutely becoming easier, but my biggest hesitation around public speaking and talking to people who I perceive as smarter/ more important than me is the fear of being put on the spot.

Sure, I’m not smart enough nor do I know enough to answer questions. I find it difficult to debate with people, even friends about different topics because I always presume that they know better what they’re talking about.

However, there’s a problem with all these notions because I have a lot of confidence in my writing. I feel that I can articulate myself much better and make a solid argument in written words. This however means that I am smart enough. I trust what I write, just not what I say. This screams that the problem is not so much my intelligence, but my confidence.

Is the fear of public speaking just a cover-up problem?

But this is good because self-confidence and belief can be learned over time. I’m already making progress.

I am currently reading ‘The Confidence Kit: Your bullsh*t- free guide to owning your fear’ by Caroline Foran. She also wrote a really good book about managing Anxiety called, ‘Owning it: Your bulls*t- free guide to living with Anxiety.’

I read ‘Owning it’ when I was in America and thought it was unreal. I’ve since loaned it to a bunch of people and I swear by it. The first half gives you a clear understanding of what anxiety and fear are. Where they come from, why they happen and how they can manifest themselves. The second half explains how to cope with and better manage anxiety.

I’m not far into “The confidence Kit’, but I’ll let you know how I get on. Certainly, I couldn’t recommend ‘Owning it’ anymore if I tried.

Grasping somewhat of an understanding around my mental health and exactly what’s going on inside my body and why has been, in my experience, very helpful. When you know about and understand something it becomes so much less intimidating.

My mind has been all over the place the last week. Not in a bad way though, I don’t think. On Monday the job starts and this past week has been my first week to properly relax and to unapologetically be a vegetable in a very long time and I have 100% taken advantage. I’ve done lots of reading and some writing, listening to podcasts, a little painting and a lot of lying in the sun. It’s been quite wonderful.

I’ve really tried to practice mindfulness readily across the week and have tried to allow myself to feel and understand all the emotions I’m feeling and thoughts I’m thinking; before storing them all nicely in their imaginary folders in the imaginary filing cabinets that inhibit my brain, nice and sorted and thought through and ready to be put away next week. Presently feeling confident that by Monday I will be starting Welfare with a totally clear head.

Change is good but oh, so scary. In ‘The Confidence Kit’ I read about the optimal level of anxiety. How we, as humans perform better under a realistic and healthy level of anxiety, known as ‘The Optimal level.’ Using this small fact as inspiration, I hope to take this position one baby step at a time pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little, often. The aim is to finish the year of Welfare a whole new, stronger, better and more confident person, which I have no doubt I will.

*Change is scary but Kimbo is feeling ready! I AM smart enough. I am publically comitting to learn to believe and to have confidence in myself!

Hope everyone’s enjoying the beautiful sunshine and is happy with their results. If you’re not, don’t panic. There are options! Take a deep breath. 💛

Make the best of all the Vitamin D and remember to Smile Always,

Kimbo. X🌼🌻💫🍃🐥🌸

 

Life? Conquered it, baby. X

Wowee! Kimbo just finished college! What? Like how did that happen? (I mean, this is presuming I passed all of my exams and my thesis’ aren’t shit…) “Thesis’?” I hear you say. Yes thesis X2 is a thing. A thing that I, unluckily had to do. But I did it and now it’s all over. Life’s a bit mad like that. Can’t seem to wrap my head around it all. It literally seems like about a month ago that I walked into JH for the first time. I so clearly remember being so very terrified in that huge lecture theatre. I felt so high up and like such a small, tiny, itty, bitty fish in a mighty, great, very big pond/ocean. I sat there dressed like SUCH a dork and remember thinking to myself how daunting three years seemed and feeling a little trapped. I was adamant that I wasn’t smart enough, wouldn’t fit in and would hate every second.

By god, I had no idea about the adventure that lay ahead. I am now a TOTALLY different person! I now know who I am; or rather, am well on the road to discovering myself. I have learned what I value the most in life. I have found my place, the place where I fit in and feel comfortable and oh, so happy. And I have found meaning to my life.

Man, I’ve been through some amount of shit the last three years but I can’t help but look back and beam with pride.

In first year when asked to say my name out loud in a tutorial class of like 20 people I had a panic attack. In second year I had a panic attack in my first Summer exam. This year I had my biggest ever panic attack when I got on the wrong train and ended up in Port Laoise instead of Heuston on my own at like 10pm. Then three weeks later I went on to address lecture halls and explained to people why they should believe in me and my ideas. Why this disaSTAR of a woman with awfully bad duck jokes, periodical extreme bouts of anxiety who runs around college with a yellow bath duck called Albert and talks far too much deserved to be Maynooth’s Welfare and Equality Officer.

I was vulnerable. Very vulnerable. I was terrified and unsure if I would get anywhere. But I believed so much in what I wanted to do. I was honest about my vulnerability and it turns out, a lot of people could relate. Winning Welfare was, undoubtably the best night of my life so far.

Mental illness is not a weakness. If understood and managed well, I firmly believe it’s a strength. We can do anything anyone else can do! Sometimes it just takes a little more persistence and bravery.

As for life? It’s been a little tough. But I’ve never been so calm about a set of exams in my life as I was for my finals. I was able to eat and wasn’t vomming 24/7 as per usually. I managed to somewhat sleep and I didn’t cry once during the exams, I don’t think. Immediately after I went into thesis writing and that was a bit tough. I ended up having to take a few days off and take some proper Kimbo time. That helped a lot and definitely got me to the end.

I wasn’t actually sure if I would get through this year with Ellen, Adam, Alisha and Cathal all away. But I did!! It forced me out of my comfort zone. I got closer with lots of other people. I had to rely on others I didn’t know so well. I made new friends. Great friends. This time last year I left for America, a shell of the person I am today. I’ve now been off medication for over a year. Without any medical intervention what so ever. (That is not a recommendation to anyone. It was a totally stupid, reckless decision that just, luckily, ended up working out class…😂) Although sometimes the world still seems a little terrifying, I am now stronger and happier than I have ever been.

Repeal won! That was fucking wonderful! I cried so much. That was emotional and historic and I was so proud of this little country! Thank you to any of you who voted Yes!! ❤️ The feeling that people were voting on whether or not I deserved equal rights was a bit shit. But nevertheless, AMAZING result!

34666123_1799902413399939_4644711241737043968_nI’ve decided to go back to counselling. I’m in need of a top up and that is A OKAY! It’s exciting. I can only get stronger and happier. Life is good. Self-awareness and discovery are wonderful, wonderful concepts. Ellen is such a class psychoanalyst and that, amongst a million other reasons is why she’s the best. Speaking of which, we’re in Wexford right now chilling out and breathing and drinking wine. I was pretty fried before coming here but life is back on track again.

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Summer is here and welfare work starts on Monday. Excited doesn’t even cover it! The world absolutely feels like my oyster right now. Pals are starting to arrive home from Erasmus which makes my heart so happy and bright and I really feel that the adventure is only beginning.

Life is quite beautiful at this moment. I feel at peace. I’m sitting on the 5th floor, looking out over the bay and a funky looking castle. The birds are chirping and I just got sent a really funny Dad joke. So that’s what I’m gonna leave you with. Sending all the love.

What do you call a guy with a rubber toe?

ROBERTO!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Keep laughing, and smile always,

Kimbo. X 💛🌞🐥🌸💐🦋

Kindness makes the world go round 💛

I’ve been quite sick as of late. A couple of days ago I went to my doctor and got told I should be on my way to hospital. I as good as laughed in my doctor’s face and without hesitating told her that it wasn’t happening. She asked why and I informed her I was in final year and could not afford to take the time away from college work. Not unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY- this was a reason I did not deem as absolutely necessary.

The real reason I’m not going anywhere near a hospital? NEEDLES! 🙅💉

Good luck, not a chance, goodbye.

I will get over this phobia, I promise. Just not right now. 😂😁😳

I am on the mend now thank goodness, but I’ve had a particularly tough two weeks. I’ve had quite a lot going on in my personal life, I’ve been totally overwhelmed and being so ill just intensified everything I was feeling by a hundred.

I really tried hard not to let the sadness and anxiety consume me but my body was wiped out and it’s hard to remain strong mentally when you’re not feeling physically strong and well.

It seems the last two or so weeks have been surrounded by sadness for a lot of people. (As I write this there’s a really fab rainbow that’s just formed outside my window. That’s definitely gotta be a sign that what ever’s going on in life is about to get a whole lot brighter. 💛)

But yes, the last two weeks have been sad. My head has been fried and I’ve been trying to process information, decisions and actions of my own and others while feeling quite pessimistic and overloaded with college work. Life just hasn’t been going so well.

My head is still spinning but I’m starting to feel both mentally and physically stronger. Hopefully this week will continue to get brighter. 🌈

I had a totally different plan for this post but someone I know had a very bad day yesterday and there’s a lot of people who are very sad and distressed at the moment. What I was originally going to write about just doesn’t seem so relevant anymore.

Everyone’s under a lot of pressure in college at the moment and it’s 100% getting to us all, never mind having extra stressors to worry about.

The only somewhat comforting factor here is that if everyone’s struggling, feeling sad, anxious, low and dealing with ‘stuff’, whatever that stuff may be, we’re all kind of in it together. Right?

I saw something really inspiring yesterday when a whole bunch of people came together to offer a hand to someone who was in need of support. It just reaffirmed my belief that whatever it is we’re going through, no one is ever really on their own.

Whatever it is going on, it will pass. The hard times always do. Summer is around the corner. Hopefully the sun will come back out at some point very soon and our smiles will return. Remaining positive and staying busy, even if it’s the last thing you or I feel like doing is paramount.

The strength and kindness I witnessed yesterday was refreshing. Lately, I’ve been feeling disheartened by the actions of people, both in my personal life and on a wider scale. Kindness is essentially, in my opinion, what keeps the world turning. There is so much sadness and catastrophe around us presently and the kindness of people is, I reckon what keeps people going. It’s certainly what keeps me going.

The saying ‘everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about’ could not be more relevant. Exam season is upon us. Everyone is under immense pressure and not feeling themselves. But what is going on behind closed doors is not always apparent.

The smallest gestures make the biggest difference! Being kind to people working in the service industry- telling them you hope they have a lovely day and THANKING THEM. Smiling at people as you pass them on the street. Giving constant hugs to the people around you. Making a conscious effort to stay upbeat and positive in a bid to keep your friends spirits up. Complimenting people. Asking those you feel may be struggling if they’re okay.

We’re all in this together and we all have to make it one way or another so why not help each other along rather than tearing each other down?

Bitterness and Jealousy is a sign of personal unhappiness and insecurity. Rather than taking it out on others step back and take a look at yourself. Meanness is not a nice quality and it’s a quality that could, potentially do an irreversible amount of harm to someone who is already struggling. Just be kind.

Last week I was privileged enough to stumble upon and listen to a snippet of a podcast that someone had shared on Facebook. The podcast was by BlindBoy from The RubberBandits and the snippet was about ‘Lad Culture’, the Belfast Trial, misogyny, sexism and Repealing the Eighth Amendment. It was fantastic and articulated perfectly everything that needed to be said on the issue. If you haven’t heard it, PLEASE go listen to it. Guys, gals and non-binary pals, it’s something everyone needs to hear! (The link is on my Facebook.)

So feeling inspired, ill and unable to move from bed, I looked up Blindboy’s podcast and have since been blown away! They are INCREDIBLE! Hilarious, interesting, random and full of important messages that everyone should be exposed to.

I am very much still working my way through all the episodes but in one he talked about the idea of emotional intelligence, a concept I wasn’t very well aware of before his explanation. The idea captured me and I have since spent hours researching how to grow and become more emotionally intelligent.

Put simply, and from my limited understanding emotional intelligence is the idea of being aware of your own emotions, how you physically react to how you emotionally feel and being aware of other people’s true emotions and reactions as well.

I have since had a series of realisations about things that have been bothering me as of late. Things that I wasn’t even aware were really bothering me. I have also become a little more clear about how to handle all the anxieties that I was facing before.

I write and draw an awful lot and I have found myself doing a lot of writing during my recent patch of feeling a bit shitty; trying to process all my thoughts and fears. I’m going to continue with doing that and hopefully things will become increasingly clearer and my head will feel lighter.

Since the Belfast Trial, I have really been consumed by anger and unease. The only comfort I have taken from these events has been the developing women’s movement and the sense of solidarity.

For now, with the amount of college work I have hanging over my head, I guess all I can do is be really vocal about the atrocities going on currently in our society but, as soon as summertime comes I am SO ready to fight!

In the snippet of Blindboy’s podcast he talks about how important it is that good men stand up and start speaking up about sexism. He talks about how locker room ‘banter’, lads just chatting and having ‘a laugh’ with the lads at the expense of women is a culture. A culture of insecurity and fear of rejection and not looking ‘cool’ in front of their mates. He explains that it’s not just a funny private conversation because it has been normalised and it is going on everywhere, all the time.

Men need to join in this fight. We need to fight together to stop the awful cultural shit that is going on right now.

My old school counsellor whom I still catch up with all the time sent me an email the other day with the quote:  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

Can we all please be kind, gentle, aware of others and how they are feeling (men and women), fight for and be vocal about the issues and inequalities we all face and help each other through.

Lastly, can you all, anyone reading this and anyone remotely interested in the stuff I write about start having the discussion, if you haven’t already, with friends and family about why it is so important to vote on May 25th and why we need to vote yes!

For now, have a lovely week, my friends and I sincerely hope that life starts feeling more achievable and much brighter very, very soon.

Sending lots of love, hugs, encouragement and positive vibes for those who are also struggling right now. We will all get through this patch and summer is just around the corner. ❤️☀️ Hang in there.

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 💛🍄🌼🐥👣💜🌸

WONDERLUST ✈️🌍👒

So I’m well and truly home now and life is beginning to get back to normal. It’s been weird. I guess it’s a side they don’t really tell you about travelling. I went from being happy and tired all the time, care free, having the most wonderful adventure to back to normal life.

The first few days were great; I saw and caught up with everyone. I was kept busy.  But now things have settled down and since uni hasn’t started back there’s not much routine. I’m kinda bored and my mind is in over drive simultaneously missing camp- all the people, the weather, the fun, and dreaming of my next adventure. I miss the excitement of not knowing what’s next. I miss not having real adult worries.

I’m so happy to have been able to see everyone and get all my hugs ❤ but now I’m ready to run away again and see the world.

I’ve kind of come back from America with a new perspective on everything.  I’ve had a taste of what being so happy all the time feels like, and now that’s what I’m determined to work for. In every aspect of my life. Not that I wasn’t happy before hand, I absolutely was! I’ve just woken up to the idea that there’s a whole world out there that’s so different to my little Dunboyne. I feel so ready to just kill it this college year and really start working towards all my goals and dreams. Also, I am totally aware of how cheesy all this sounds!

My anxiety has definitely gotten better. I’ve found myself really starting to recognise when I begin to get anxious, so that I can question myself as to why I’m anxious, take a few moments and just breath. This usually stops the anxious thoughts from spiralling  and gives me the chance to deal with the situation and move on; rather than to just ignore all my problems into a state of absolute panic.

I don’t think I’m quite as naive as I was before I left.

I am happy, just in need of a challenge.

With college starting back soon, four of my best friends are going on a year-long Erasmus adventure, one has moved to Scotland for three years to  get a nursing degree, (go you, Caoimhe! 💖😉) And lastly, one of my college girls is leaving to join the army. 😮

I hate goodbyes so, as you can imagine, six goodbyes to some of my favourite people has been a little heartbreaking. 💔  *I’m gonna miss you guys so much but I’m endlessly proud of you all! ❤

However, life goes on and as I said, I’m really looking forward to getting back to college and making Third year count!

At the start of second year I wrote a blog post with a few goals for the year. I can’t remember what they were, just things like: keep taking baby steps, get involved with a new club (Whoohoo Drama!) ❤ , things like that. But I remember reading over the blog post on the plane home from America and feeling so happy when I realised that I’d completed them all. I felt so proud of myself for getting to the place I’m in today. It took a lot of work, but I feel like right now life is good! And when things get bad which is inevatible, hopefully they won’t ever be quite as bad as they were before!

People have always been so lovely about my blog. At camp a few people told me that they  liked my blog, that they could relate to how I was feeling, that they too have struggled with mental health issues. It came as such a compliment that these people trusted me enough to tell me that they could relate to how I was feeling, which isn’t always easy. I know.

It genuinely makes me so happy that what I write is a small comfort for some people. As selfish as it is, it also reassures me that I’m not on my own either. Sometimes it’s a bit scary writing so publicly about the things that go on in my head; so it’ s such a relief and a lovely feeling when people tell me that they liked reading what I had to say. So thank you, I really, really appreciate it. 💛

As for this college year, my plan is to work hard, keep taking baby steps, start taking bigger steps, stay healthy(ish) and I suppose just to be happy and have fun. And when the thesis starts stressing me out, or the weather has me a bit down, I’ll start planning my summer 2018 adventure.

(So sorry for all the cheese!)

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🌹🌻👣🌸🌼

One great, big American adventure. 🇺🇸😎🌞🍹🍻💫🎉

So this post is going to be a little update of my travels thus far. I’ve had so many messages from my loved ones asking how I’m getting on but I don’t have too much free time and I also have a very limited amount of absolutely shocking quality WIFI so it’s been hard trying to keep everyone updated. (Sincerest apologies to everyone I’ve broken my snap streaks with…) 😬😂😑🇺🇸 I figured a blog post was possibly the easiest way to let everyone know that I’m still alive and about what’s happened so far.
Firstly, just going to emphasise the fact that I’m here! I’ve made it to America. After 14 days , I’m not even sure it’s sunk in quite yet.
I talked about this trip so much for so long. Truth is though, I never really thought I’d go through with it. I saw the add for camp on Facebook and just decided to fill in the forms and take it from there. I wasn’t really planning on going but I reckoned there was no harm in making some inquiries. Even when I had verbally accepted and was physically signing the contract, I’m pretty sure I still expected myself to chicken out.

I just did everything I could to not think about camp. I didn’t pack until the day before and I left all the preparations until the last minute. By not thinking about leaving, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to over think things and to totally freak myself out. I’m so happy I did it that way.

Saying goodbye to everyone was absolutely heart breaking! It got to a point where I didn’t say goodbye to some people because it was getting too hard. Sally was the hardest goodbye, of course! 💔🐶💛 I am totally aware that 3 months really isn’t the longest period of time in the grand scheme of things but I endlessly love and am so unbelievably attached to all my friends and family that the prospect of leaving them all was absolutely terrifying! I suppose the whole anxiety thing comes in here; home is one great, big, giant safety blanket, isn’t it.

I left for America a day early because the flights were cheaper. Upon arrival, I met up with 11 others who had the same idea as me and we spent the night together in a hostel in Queens, NY. I’m so unbelievably glad that I got to know these 11 people and to be a member of ‘The 12 OGs’ before heading to camp because it eased me into the situation and made the whole experience much less daunting!


Getting off the bus that dropped us to camp I was shaking. There was so many people and I was nothing less than terrified. I quickly settled in though. Like I said, having the other 11 new friends by my side made life 100Xs easier!

The first night at camp I was a bit emotional and homesick. I was really jet lagged, riddled with anxiety and just plain exhausted. I questioned whether coming to America was the right thing and if I’d be able to hack it. I figured that feeling homesick after 1 night away was a sure sign of inevitable failure.

After a good nights sleep I felt much better. As time goes on, I’m feeling more and more settled into my ‘summer home’. The people are amazing, the location of camp is stunning and the food is great. (A little too good…🐷)


I am happy. Very happy. Although camp is really tiring. It’s hard sometimes having to be so happy and cheerful and being around so many people all the time. The kids aren’t even here yet so I’m totally aware that it’s about to get an awful lot harder! It is great though. It’s like being in a big, positive, warm bubble. A very beautiful bubble. 💕🌈 You do so much each day that by bed time it’s like a week has passed since breakfast. It’s a weird but great feeling.

I feel very comfortable here. I’ve made lots of friends and my anxiety has remained fairly dormant which has been a welcome relief after the past couple of months! 👌🏽😊

I haven’t told anyone at camp about my depression or anxiety and how I’m still on medication for this, yet. I suppose the people I’m friends with on Facebook who read this post now know. Surprise! 😬😂 I haven’t tried to hide it, it just hasn’t seemed like a relevant topic because so far it hasn’t been much of an issue.

One of the girls in my high ropes team (who are all amazing btw) made a comment when I got nervous about something small about how confident I am and that I shouldn’t be nervous. That majorly took me by surprise because I’ve never considered myself to be confident in myself at all. It was the most wonderful thing to hear. It made me feel like a champ. ❤️😎 

All my baby steps are slowly adding up to become one huge step.

Camp was never something I actually thought I’d do; but look at me, here I am! 😮🇺🇸🥑

In short, so far we’ve done a lot of climbing which I have loved. I’ve completed my training and I’m going to be spending my summer up in the trees! 🌲🌳 This genuinely has to be the coolest job in the world! I’ve met some great people too. It’s funny how close everyone has gotten in such a short period of time. I can only imagine what we’ll all be like by the end of the summer. The weather in general has been really hot and humid. Although we’ve had one kinda scary storm already. I’ve played a lot of beach volley ball, laughed a lot and have been given the nickname ‘Avocado’. (It’s a long story.) 😂🥑😑😎

I’ve found it a little tough not being able to be in regular contact with all my friends and family but other than that my only complaint so far is that all the coffee at camp is decaf. 💔☕️

The kids arrive on Sunday so I suppose everything will all change again then. I’ve been given 6th grade girls, so about 10/11 year olds. I’ll be living in a bunk with them alongside 4 other counsellors and during the day I’ll be on the high ropes course. I’m excited.

I have photos and fairly lights stuck up on the wall beside my bed and I’m trying to make it feel as much like home as possible. ❤️🇺🇸🏡

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the summer and all the adventures it will bring. For now, I’m going to keep taking baby steps, keep having fun and keep my chin up.

Hope you’re all doing good at home. I love and miss you all dearly. 💛

Happy summer everyone! 🌞🍒🍭🍹🍻
Smile always,

Kimbo. X 🦋🌸💫🍇

Adventuring with my eyes closed. 😂🙋🏽🇺🇸🌻😁☀️🌅👒

So for someone who said the exams would be fine, it’s safe to say I was definitely being a little too optimistic! This semester’s exams were in no way fine! I was so stressed out! I ended up getting sick with nerves before a few of my exams and then in one exam just after I had been sick, I had a panic attack within the first five minutes. It was hard, it was tiring and it was embarrassing. But it’s over and now I’m just crossing my fingers that I scrape through.

It’s summer now though! 🌞😌 While I’ve definitely been having a lot of fun, I’ve also been anxious. I suppose maybe it’s just because everything is starting to change from now, what with Erasmus friends leaving and J1’ing and Caoimhe going to Scotland! 😮🌍💪🏼💔💖 ** cheese alert … I really, really love all my friends to bits and it’s hard watching them all go off in different directions; as much as I am super excited and delighted for them all! (😥)

But I’m trying to focus on the on the idea that change, although hard and super scary is usually a positive thing. Perfect example: college! <3📚

With all the anxiousness of the last few weeks I think that I have figured out and put to use some new coping mechanisms that I haven’t really properly tried before.

Lately I’ve been really trying hard to focus on slowing my breathing when I get anxious. It takes a few minutes but I’m starting to learn that when I take a few moments to just shut my eyes and breath, counting each breath, ( in for 4, out for 5) I begin to feel in control of my body again and then I start to relax.

Okay next thing is a bit of a weird one. This is going to make all my friends smile because they’re all about to realise why I’m always asking can I put this song on, haha.  So I stumbled upon this song by The 1975 that I love, ‘If I believe you’ and I don’t know what it is but I just adore the song! I think it’s just so beautiful and calming. I don’t even particularly relate with all of the words (it’s about religion, I think) but I just absolutely love it! It always gives me butterflies. 🌸

So in Bressie’s book ‘Me and my mate Jeffrey’, he talks about this coping mechanism where he makes an ‘O’ with his thumb and his index finger, squeezing them together and closes his eyes. Then he thinks of a really happy memory and pictures himself within the memory. Basically Bressie did this every night before he went to bed and then he began to find that when he was in an anxious situation that if he made the ‘O’ with his two fingers and closed his eyes the sensations of the happy memory he had pictured so often would begin to calm him down. I really liked this idea.

So now, I have started listening to ‘If I believe you’ whenever I’m at my happiest and most relaxed. The song just chills me out. So I make the ‘O’ and close my eyes and listen and think about why I’m so happy. (I know that sounds hilarious.)  I’ve also begun to listen to it when I get a little anxious or nervous now. Once again, I put the song on, make the ‘O’ and it’s like I’m transported back to the happy memories. It seems to take me a minute or so of listening to the song but it really calms me down and enables me to breath again.

I wasn’t really sure of the whole idea of mindfulness, but I have really begun to see the benefits, I think. There’s also a good App that I was recommended. It’s called ‘Headspace’ and it’s free. The App encourages you to take 10 minutes out of your day to just breath and be present. It can be done at any time of the day but it recommends mindfulness first thing in the morning. However, I struggle to get out of bed in the first place so I do it most nights before I go to sleep. I try to do it everyday but that doesn’t always work out, of course.

The whole mindfulness thing I have just found gives my head a few good minutes to slow down and relax once a day. I feel lighter and less stressed out and anxious after a couple of days of getting into the habit.

-Hopefully some of these ideas might be of some help to someone. 💛 Although I totally know that different things work for different people! 😌

So, I’m off to America in 9 days! Wow! 9 days. Ahhh. That’s kinda scary. Totally terrifying, but exciting. It’s going to be a mighty big adventure. One I’m really looking forward to. Scared for but looking forward to. Just don’t know what I’m going to do without Sally for the summer. 🐶😥💔 IMG_5960.JPG

Just going to put ‘If I believe you’ interrupted only with a little Westlife occasionally, close my eyes, hold my fingers in the ‘O’ breath deeply and slowly and hide for the first month lol. 😂👀 I’m sad that this adventure is ending but excited for the next one to start. I think. 😁

So, I think this is going to be the last blog post before I bop off to America. Not really too sure if I’ll get to write over there… hopefully I will. If not, happy summer everybody. Please all light candles for me and my adventures and pray that I don’t get lost or fall over too much. 🇺🇸

Keep being brave, my friends. I hope everyone has fun! See you all in August. 😁🌈🙋🏽💖

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X 🌸💛🌼🍄

Exams, Exams, Exams, Exams, Examsssss. 📚😖💧🌼💛

So, it’s exam time again! It’s kind of okay though because it’s sunny so I’m just not stressed out at all. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not? My exams start on Saturday and so far this week I’ve painted a Pink Floyd picture, sunbathed, played with Sally and complained about how awful studying is. Whoops. Once again, sorry in advance dad!

IMG_6599

When I wrote my last blog post I was stressed out to the max and not feeling too positive about life, but like I said it was just a rough patch. I am now definitely coming out the other side, which is kind of ironic given the timing. 📚 My course consists of a lot essay writing but all the essays this time around seemed to just come at once and I was totally overwhelmed and lost all motivation. I started falling into a slump and I struggled to pick myself up.

After I wrote the last post I got a lot of lovely messages from a lot of lovely people; both messages of support and messages from people telling me that they could relate to how I was feeling. I appreciated all the messages I got so much, as I always do! I’ve found writing this blog to be a super helpful coping mechanism. Even though I was feeling really rough when I wrote my last post, I felt an awful lot better after being honest about how I was feeling. The posts are sometimes almost a letter to myself to remind myself to be rational and take my own advice and that all will be okay.

When people tell me that they can relate to the stuff I talk about or even that they just enjoy reading my blogs it is such a comfort and a confidence boost. I’m not always the best at expressing what I feel I need to say using my voice, I suppose anxiety has a lot to do with that. So, by using words- by using my blog, I get to say everything I have to say without feeling nervous or scared. That’s why it means so much when people say that they enjoy reading what I write. I love that people who are struggling realise that they are not crazy and not on their own. When people tell me that they can relate, I also feel reassured that I am not crazy and that I am not on my own. So thank you to everyone who has been so kind to me in regards my blog, it really means the world!

After I wrote the last blog post, I got out of bed, had a shower and painted my nails. I didn’t feel like painting my nails but regardless I did it. After painting my nails I felt better about myself. I felt fresher. I then plucked my eyebrows and did a few sit-ups. Just those two hours that I took for myself and made good use of made me feel so much better.

I really struggled to get all my essays done and handed in but I had a few amazing friends that really stuck by me and encouraged me to get them done and in. I did it, like I said I would and I think I smiled for about 4 hours straight after I handed in my last assignment. It felt like such a weight off my shoulders and I felt such a sense of accomplishment for pushing through my mental boundaries and getting it done. I now feel like I’m done for the summer (the sunny weather isn’t helping), even though I still have 5 exams to get through. I think that exams are a bit easier to get through though. There’s like a sense of solidarity around exam time that everyone is struggling, but everyone is going through the same thing so everyone understands and comes together to support one another. Exams are more social that assignments, I have found so I have no doubt that over the next two weeks I will be just fine. It’s actually a little worrying how not stressed I am. Hey, better under stressed than over stressed… right?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to realise that I was setting too many unrealistic expectations for myself and I was getting so frustrated and upset with myself when I wasn’t achieving all my goals. I forgot to step back and still appreciate the small things that I was achieving.

I can now say that it was silly of myself to have gotten so caught up in how well I was doing. It’s easy to do though, to forget that you still need to take special care of your body and mind and not to let small things build up. I think my bad patch came as a very unwelcome reminder that I am not invincible and that I am not quite strong enough as of yet to take on the world by myself; I will be though, that is the end goal! 😂💪🏼🌍

I got asked a couple of weeks ago how I deal with the really intense, low thoughts that sometimes hit me. This was kind of tough question to answer because I don’t think I’ve really figured out how to deal with them properly yet. My body goes into  fight or flight mode and I just do anything and everything to get through the day. I break up my time and set myself small goals. Things seem much easier when instead of having to get through the next two weeks, you just have to get through the next hour and then the next. Obviously I paint. On my skin, on paper, on my walls. I find painting super relaxing and I always feel so much lighter when I have painted a picture instead of using other unhealthy coping mechanisms. I exercise a lot, there’s not too many bad moods that throwing in my earphones and bringing Sals for a walk can’t cure. I also use writing as a coping mechanism, I suppose. My blog, short letters to myself or just filling pages and pages in any and every notebook I can find at the time.

To get through exams I always find that I sort of team up with people, study with them or even just constantly texting or calling or even snap chatting them. It reminds me that I’m not on my own. It also just makes it a much more tolerable experience when you have a couple of people who you’re in constant contact with, supporting and encouraging you, and you them. Everyone’s in the same boat so we might as well all get though it together.

It’s a bit emotional finishing second year. This has definitely been one of the best years of my life and I have had so much fun, learned so much about myself and met so many incredible people. Next year a lot of my best friends are leaving on Erasmus for a year full of adventures. I am sad seeing them go but happy for them at the same time. Change is a pretty scary thing that I have always tried to flight but I’m beginning to see that change is often a great thing and that it should be embraced, as much as possible.

I am heading off to New York for the summer on my own for what will be my greatest adventure yet. I’m nervous but bursting with excitement and I am also immensely proud of myself for encouraging myself to take this step. I know that  last year even getting the train to Maynooth on my own was daunting, never mind moving to another continent for the summer! Life is good, constantly scary but nothing I can’t face. I intend to pass these exams, have the summer of my life and then return in September to finish my degree and move onto the next chapter what ever that may be.

I’m going to keep learning about and managing my depression and anxiety and above all, I am going to stay happy, positive and smiling.

That’s the plan anyway.

To anyone sitting exams, best of luck and don’t stress too much. If worst comes to the worst there’s always repeats. The end is near, this will all be behind us soon and remember, you are not on your own. We are all going through the same thing and we are all feeling overwhelmed and stressed, so chin up! You totally got this! We got this! ❤️

Best of luck and remember,

Smile always,

Kimbo. X