Life is what’s happened

by Melissa on March 14, 2016 · 4 comments

It’s been pretty quiet on the blog front. Normally, I would apologize and feel as though I would have to give my reasoning for what’s been keeping me from blogging, but to be quite honest, the answer is life. Life is what’s happened and I’m not going to apologize for that. Since my last post, I’ve been to New Zealand to watch my best friend say “I do”; I went to Las Vegas to celebrate my 3 year anniversary with my boyfriend; I’ve pretty much completed an online course in web design & web development; I’ve been taking any opportunity I can to take my camera out and practice shooting people (an area of photography I’ve never felt fully comfortable with) and I’ve been working hard at healing myself after a deep depression.

New Zealand

I spent 6 glorious weeks in my old home, New Zealand’s Far North. It was exactly what my soul needed. It was so amazing to get back to a place I love and to find that not much has changed in the 3 years it’s been since I lived there. It was incredible to take part in my best friend’s big day – I played stylist, makeup artist and photographer. I celebrated Christmas and New Years on the beach. I played photographer at another wedding – of a couple that I set up while I was living in New Zealand in 2012 on my working holiday. I cherished the much-needed girl-time with my bestie, poured my heart and soul out to her, and honestly – in the first time in nearly 2 years started to feel more like “me” again.

 

90 mile beach at sunset

ahipara, new zealand

pohutakawa tree in bloom

Las Vegas

While New Zealand was incredible in every way possible – I missed my boyfriend terribly, and the feeling was mutual. To be honest, I think going away on my own, when I did, for as long as I did, is exactly what we needed. About halfway through my trip he invited me to join him in Las Vegas while he went down for a work conference about a week after I was to return back to Canada. I jumped at the opportunity. Not because I was terribly inclined to go to Vegas, but because it would be a great time for us to reconnect and have a new shared travel experience. It was also our 3rd anniversary, and our fourth trip abroad, together. Las Vegas – while fun in some ways – overall, is not my cup of tea. It demonstrates everything that I don’t like associating myself with – excess, waste, greed, and no concern for the environment. It irritated me walking down The Strip and having promoters every 5 feet smacking their “whore collector cards” in your face. It also irritates me when people are so fake and try to be something they’re not. Despite this complaining, I’m glad I went and got to see what the hype is all about, but I have a feeling that it will be a long, long time before I go back.

neon sign boneyard

bellagio fountain and paris hotel

Web Design Course & Photography

In November, on a whim, I purchased a Black Friday deal for an online web design course. Web design and development has always fascinated me. I’ve loved that there are people out there – like my own lovely web designer, Hannah, from FurtherBound – who have managed to make a living for themselves being creative, making beautiful websites, and thus having the ability to be location independent. Photography has always been a passion of mine – which I’ve thoroughly displayed on my site, with photos like my photos from Africa, Western Australia & New Zealand’s Far North (and others of course). But I’ve always been afraid of shooting people. I lacked any confidence and figured it was something you either had, or you didn’t. After my best friend gave me the opportunity to shoot her wedding, I surprised even myself with what photos resulted. I was asked to shoot another wedding for my friends Kaye & Gray, a business lifestyle shoot, and a newborn shoot for my friend Lindsay’s new baby Selina. I have a lot to learn, but I’m excited to learn. I have a new business venture that will combine both the web design & photography and I am excited to reveal it all to the world soon!

bride and groom embrace on beach

bride and groom in meadow

Healing after Depression

While I haven’t made my depression terribly public, there have definitely been mentions of it here and there that keen observers may have noticed. Last summer and fall was incredibly tough for me. When I quit my job as a travel agent, I had no plan. I was honestly so lost and so far gone, that it was really tough for me to figure out my next moves. I decided to “take the summer off” and try to do a bit of soul searching. However, during this time, I was constantly being bombarded with questions of what I was going to do next. Was I applying for jobs? What did I want to do? Was I going to go back to school? etc. etc. etc. And for someone who has been dealing with severe anxiety, feelings of being inadequate and depression… it all became too much. I saw my friends excelling, succeeding and moving forward up their respective ladders and down the aisle; and I was stuck in a mindset of comparing myself to them and feeling like I just wasn’t measuring up. I felt as though I was nearing the end of my twenties and was back to square one and didn’t know what the fuck I was going to do with my life.

My breakdown came at the beginning of September. And the only thing worse than feeling at the end of your rope, is feeling completely ostracized by somewhat important people in your life. It took me going on anti-depressants and spending lots of time and money with therapists to finally be able to feel like my head was starting to screw on in the right direction. It’s taken a lot of personal development, self-care and love from family and friends, for me to get to the point where I am now.

I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to share this with the Internet – but I figured, it’s me. It’s who I am and if telling my story can help just one person reach out for help when they’re at the end of their rope, then my job here is done. My amazing friend Toni from Reclaiming Your Future has been a constant source of inspiration to me. She’s suffered from severe, debilitating depression for most of her life and shares her stories – the good, the bad and the downright ugly- on her blog. She’s had the courage to stand up and give mental illnesses like depression and anxiety a face. And as someone who has lived through it, I thank her for giving me the courage to get the help I needed.


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So like I said before, I’m not going to apologize for neglecting my blog. At the end of the day, it just is what it is. I do think of it often, and sometimes find myself at a crossroads with if I should continue writing it as a travel blog, or if it should branch off and just touch on various things that are of interest to me (and hopefully you). We’ll see what happens. All I can say for sure is that 2016 is looking to be a much better year than 2014 or 2015 and I can’t wait for everything else that the next 10 months (and beyond) have in store!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin Marie March 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm

So, I think us creative types are prone to anxiety and depression, it’s just part of the process for us. I was a mess May-July until I quit my job, and even after that I needed time to heal – India fixed me, haha. But, I know it’s always something I’ll have to take care of, anxiety and depression can sneak back into our lives if we let them. Glad you’re not apologizing for neglecting your blog. Sometimes you just need to do you! Loved following your NZ trip, and I agree with you on Vegas…not my cup of tea either. xx
Erin Marie recently posted..Wanderer of the Week: Amy Baldwin of Pure PleasureMy Profile

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Anne March 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Have faith and everything will fall into place.

You are on the right track with all the support you have received. Hold your head up high. You are a wonderful person inside and out…. Don’t let anyone or anything make you think differently.

Love Ya always. Mom.

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Daring Donna March 15, 2016 at 3:13 am

Go Mel so cool xxx

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Amy April 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Melissa,

Thank you for sharing this. It takes courage to open up about depression, but I know you’ve helped many others by doing so. Lets people know they are not alone.

Take care and much love!
Amy

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