Seeking Counsel

Hi Internet! I know my last post was quite dark but I just wanted to finish up that topic in the next few posts before moving onto anything else. I’m well aware how scary it might seem going to see a complete stranger and talking to them about your problems because I was in exactly the same position a few years ago. It really boggled my mind how, even as a professional, they could possibly understand me enough to help me. I know this may be a common feeling among some of you so this post is for anyone who was in the same boat as me or is just curious to hear about my experience.

I first started seeing a counsellor in 2013 in my second last year of school. I couldn’t manage my own feelings and one of my close friends at the time recommended going to see a counsellor. Before that the thought had never occurred to me because I had been so accustomed to handling my own issues or pushing them aside and ignoring them. Seeing someone out of school was never an option for me because that meant I had to tell at least one of my parents but in that sense, I was extremely lucky. Not everyone has the option to see a counsellor at school and if you find you’re in that situation, there might be a teacher that you trust enough or online counselling.

I told Karin when I decided I wanted to start seeing a counsellor so she came with me to book my first session. It was during my Maths C lesson because it was the only lesson I felt I could miss without falling behind so I emailed my teacher saying I had an appointment and wouldn’t be in class that day. With that, after Morning Tea, when everyone else went to class I went to the counsellor. Finding the place was nerve-wracking enough because even the idea of being lost and late to an appointment makes my heart race.

The counsellor soon became someone I trusted and was comforted by. There were countless tears, I told her about my self-harm, my suicidal thoughts, about Chloe, my parents…everything. I completely opened up and it really benefited me because that allowed her to fully understand my situation. From this, she was able to guide me and give me ideas to better myself and be in a happier place. One example I can think of is that she suggested talking to Chloe to apologise so I could move on because in 2013 that was still a major trigger for me. I blamed myself for what happened and really was struggling to move on because even now, the idea of ruining my own friendship is one thing but to drag others down with me was something I could not forgive myself for doing. A year and a half later I did apologise to Chloe and like promised, it lifted a great weight off my chest because being forgiven meant I could move on, guilt-free.

Throughout 2014, I began seeing her less frequently as the workload from school was becoming too much for me and missing lunch, when I studied, or classes was something I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore. It really did suck (for lack of a better word) not having time to see her anymore but the study was keeping me distracted and I was doing a bit better than I did in 2013. It wasn’t until about October 2014 that she emailed me to tell me that she was leaving our school and arranged a time for me to come meet the new counsellor. After she left I didn’t know what to do because I really didn’t want to see the other counsellors and have to start from the beginning so that was the last time I saw her and my last counselling session.

I emailed her once at the beginning of 2015 when I was struggling and she helped me to the best of her ability through email but suggested I come see her at her private practice. That was something I knew I wouldn’t be able to do because that would mean I would have to tell my parents that I was seeing a counsellor and I wasn’t ready for that and although I haven’t spoken to her in over a year, she still holds a dear place in my heart.

I know this doesn’t leave you with a nice ending or really any ending frankly but that’s life. There’s not always going to be some fairy tale ending where all the bad things disappear but for the most part, I have improved and learnt to reach out to my friends and how to cope with the pain myself.

I hope this helped someone, even if you were just curious and I really do hope you all have a wonderful day and smile lots.

– Chan

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Undiagnosed but still real

Hi Internet!

I can quite easily say that this is most likely the hardest blog post I’m ever going to write because it’s something that is a huge part of my life and has changed me in every way: my mental health.

Just a disclaimer before I write anything else, my methods of helping myself are by no means clinically correct and I don’t label myself as having any mental disorders because, as the title suggests, I am undiagnosed.

In the very second I’m writing this I feel pretty good and I have been for the past few days but it’s still a daily battle for me. Okay, so let me start at the beginning. Prepare yourselves for a very, very long story because my story, like most others is by no means a short, simple one.

I was always a very excitable and chirpy kid. Around the beginning of 2011, when I was in Year 9, the low self-esteem and insecurities started to kick in and I found myself for the first time in my life really struggling to keep up socially. Soon into the year I became best friends with this girl who we’ll call Chloe. Chloe was already best friends with a girl I’ll name Anna. We became the closest of friends with Chloe and me soon becoming closer than she ever was with Anna. That was until Chloe and I went on school camp and I fractured my wrist. I decided to stay at camp for the fun of it but I started becoming extremely paranoid that I was annoying them and being a nuisance. This led to me becoming much more reclusive and eventually I cut myself off.

After camp Chloe kept asking me what was wrong and I thought it was best to lie – stupid idea, I know – and say I was fine when in fact everything was just starting to break inside of me. This continued for about a month until I wrote a status on Facebook. Chloe confronted me about it and I lied, again and said it was about someone else. Not even a few minutes later I felt like I just couldn’t lie anymore and I told her the truth. That marks the end of my friendship with Chloe and as a result our group of friends started to alienate me. This group of girls I would spend five hours a day with in class now wouldn’t speak to me, so you can only imagine what this did to me. At that point I really only had one friend…Anna. Anna stuck by my side the whole time.

Fast forward through the two months of summer holidays during which I spent every night crying myself to sleep because I ruined the best friendship I had ever had. But with the ending of that friendship the loneliness started escalating as I realised how few friends I had. For a while in 2012, during Year 10, I sat with other girls in my house and Anna and I grew even closer though I still blamed myself for ruining not only my friendship with Chloe but Anna’s too. A few weeks into that routine most of the girls we sat with moved to sit somewhere else but never told us. Now, not only had I single-handedly ruined mine and Anna’s relationship with Chloe, alienated my closest group of friends but these girls who I was fairly good friends with had left.

Being in a new class in 2012, I had to make new friends. We started sitting with them at lunch and I became really, really close with a girl we’ll call Chrissy. I opened up to her about my feelings about something that closely resembled depression.   I was still drowning in my own mind but every now and then I made it back up to the surface for a breath of air. It was probably in the middle of the year that I then became friends with my current best friend, Karin. We all went on school camp and Karin and I became much closer there to the point I could say I had two best friends; Chrissy and Karin. Something I think many people think is that in that state of mind you can’t ever have fun or maintain relationships but for me I know it was more the waves of loneliness and hopelessness that hit now and again.

It was one of these waves that really got me trapped and I planned my death. I had no intention of making it to 2013.

Alas, I made it. It was 2013 and I was still alive. I still had these urges and often I lashed out in harming myself. 2013 continued like that so I began seeing a counsellor at my school. But it was just a constant back and forth so once again, I planned another suicide on my 16th birthday (in 2013). I wrote all my letters and planned it down to the last minute. The day came and it hit me that I had my friends and brother with me who I knew I could not leave behind. You might all be thinking: “Isn’t there more to your story from 2013?”, “What else happened?” but the truth is, it was so empty and there was nowhere enough good to outweigh the bad so I don’t remember it.

2014: The year I put my foot down and decided I was 100% done with this bullshit. I realised that I was worth something and my death wouldn’t be at my own hands.  It was the year I was finishing high school and in the New Year I started a Happy Jar. My diary, once a place of mixed emotions, had become a compilation of my worst and darkest thoughts and as a very visual and logical person, the idea of being able to physically see my happiness really appealed to me. Before bed every night if I was going to bed happy then I put a star in the jar. I also wrote down especially good memories that I wanted to remember and on New Year’s Day I’d tip them out and count the stars and read the memories.

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– The Happy Jar –
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– internet friends xx –
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– one direction –
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– Youtubers xx –

The rest of 2014 still had the bad days, especially when it was cloudy and cold. On days like that, I really struggled to find the energy in myself to smile or talk to anyone, even to Karin or Chrissy. To be completely honest I’m still like that and so as much as I really enjoy the feeling of the cold and rainy days, they often send me back ‘there’. That said, my visits to the counsellor slowly decreased as my work load increased and I was cracking not only under the pressure I put on myself but the pressure  I also felt massively from my parents. Nevertheless, throughout the year I kept up the stars in my jar and with all the events and work I was able to remain relatively distracted.

In August I wrote Ma a letter about how I had been feeling for the past few years. My thoughts leading up to, during and after this are such a long-winded story that I’ll write a separate post about it.  Although it didn’t take the exact path I had wanted it to, at least one of my parents knew and just that lifted so, so much off my chest. From that point on there were no more plans to die, only to live this time.

In my last week of school I mustered up all the strength I had and finally properly apologised to Chloe. After all those years, when she forgave me, I could finally forgive myself and move on with my life. I was ready for a fresh start – the clouds lifted and I could be happy more easily.

2015 finally arrived and it was the best year I’d had since 2010. Things finally felt perfect and I was putting in a star what felt like every night. I made amazing new friends in 2015 and for those of you wondering what happened to my high school friends, just like I warned you, my story is extremely complicated so again, I will be writing another blog post to explain everything in detail. Until about October last year, I thought I was really over everything but then ‘it’ hit me again and although it was easier to handle this time, I was trapped again.

This time around I started feeling a lot more anxious and more regularly than I ever had before. Late November I experienced something that was so terrifying and new to me…I had a panic attack. I don’t really understand what happened. One minute I was bowling with my friends the next I started feeling claustrophobic and it felt too dark. I felt like I didn’t have enough oxygen or space so I left. On the walk to the bus stop I was really struggling to breath and once I got there, I was feeling so overwhelmed, I started tearing up but I only let a few escape but held it in for the most part. When I got off the bus I still felt the same but my arms had started tingling and the second I got home I just started sobbing. I was so terrified. Even as a naturally anxious and paranoid person, these feelings have become more frequent but now without proper reasons.

December was my hardest month of 2015 which is ridiculous to think considering it was my 18th birthday and one of my favourite Christmases. Irregardless (yes, I know it’s a double negative but I like the word!) the wave completely knocked me back and I was back to 2013; cuts and all. I wouldn’t smile or laugh genuinely for days on end, stopped eating as much (which for those of you who know me is absurd because I love eating), I was sleeping 10 hours every night plus 3 hour naps and I was still exhausted and the tiniest negative comment or remark would leave me overwhelmed and in tears. I went out with my friends after my 18th birthday a couple times and drinking was my escape. It was the only time I could let go of what was happening at home and in my head.

I started 2016 on a really bad note which is expected when you go to sleep at 11:23pm on New Year’s Eve on the verge of having a panic attack but after moping around on New Year’s Day I decided to stick to my ritual of my Happy Jar. I read the memories and counted the stars and my improvement revived me.

The End.


For anyone curious as to how my 2015 went: I had 259 stars compared to 229 in 2014 – one whole month’s worth of days that I was happier!

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– happiness from past years –
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– The Vamps Concert –
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– Meeting Short Stack –
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– My 18th Birthday –

So far, it has been such a huge success for me and if any of you try this method I would love to hear about how you’re finding it and if it helps.

My Goal? To continue learning from these experiences but to also overcome the negativity and to hopefully get to a point in my life where I have 365 stars because there wasn’t a single day that was so bad that I went to bed in a bad place.

If anyone is reading this and has ever felt the way I have and still do, please reach out to someone and know that you’re really not alone. I’ve even found so many of my friends have actually been struggling with similar issues and I never would have known.

If you don’t have anyone in your life you feel like you can talk to or you just don’t feel comfortable doing so:

  1. There are many suicide hotlines available internationally (link: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html )
  2. For general stress and anxiety management I’ve found the Infinite Storm app that really helps me. It just has different types of rain sounds which for some people can be therapeutic (link: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/infinite-storm-relaxing-stormy/id576664798?mt=8)
  3. Methods to resisting self-harm urges that have worked for me:
    • try and do something to distract you i.e. talk to a friend, family member or pet, watch YouTube, TV or movies
    • Releasing all your emotions in a healthy way i.e. writing it all down or painting, drawing, or any other creative outlet you prefer
    • Exercising
  4. Other ideas:

And as I personally feel that there is still a huge stigma surrounding self-harm in today’s society, if you are interested in learning more or hearing another person’s experiences, I found this extremely interesting: https://aeon.co/essays/how-self-harm-provokes-the-brain-into-feeling-better.

– Chan

Answers

What’s your name and how old are you? Chandra and I’m turning 19 in 2016

Where are you from? My heritage is Indian but I was born and raised in Australia

Why did you start this blog? See My “First Impressions” post

How often will you be posting new content? Hopefully every Friday but as a full time University student doing science sometimes they might be a couple days late. Apologies in advance!

What’s your dream career? To become a doctor because although there are so many careers that help people, the more hands-on experience and interactions with patients, seeing how you can impact someone’s life, is what I really value and hopefully one day I can live out that dream.

What are your passions? Spending really good quality time with the people I love and if food is involved…that’s even better! I also love meeting new people and the beginnings of friendships. Just becoming close with someone makes me so happy.

What are three words your friends would use to describe you? Me: “Karin, can you tell me what words because I don’t want to sound up myself?” Karin: “Eccentric, Empathetic, Enthusiastic.” (side note: is it not just so satisfying that they all start with E?)

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? So cliche, I know, but Europe. That place just looks so magical and living there for a few months is one of my biggest dreams. The idea of exploring the smaller, lesser known towns just makes me happy. Is it allowed to be my happy place even though I’ve never been there?


Beach or bush? Definitely bush (more forest because bush sounds gross)

Tea or coffee? Coffee (I like it with a lot of milk and sugar…don’t hate me)

Sweet or savoury? Savoury

Heels or flats? Heels (they hurt like hell but my legs good so I can’t deny my legs of that privilege)

Pant or skirts? Both…depending on the aesthetic I’m feeling that day

Split in half

Hi internet! Don’t know if anyone is reading this but that’s okay with me because I’m writing for my own enjoyment really.

This post is for all of you who have parents who are hella strict and when I say hella, I mean hella. That is, you’re of legal age but still can’t go out late and can’t sleep over and basically your parents still have a lot of control over you. I just wanted to write a little something you can read and just relate to because in a world so big with so many people I totally understand just feeling lost sometimes and feeling alone. Just so I can be a familiar face to you all, this is me from last night when I went out for a friend’s 19th, unedited and all because I want to be as open about who I am and if that means no filters, so be it:

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So I’ve been 18 for about a month now and before I write anything I want you all to know that I am writing about how hard it is trying to be a part of two different worlds. Even though sometimes I do go out drinking with my friends, my parents don’t know, and I still have to hide it from them. It’s so very hard because honesty is something I value so much and I really, really don’t like lying to the people I love ever and this is what it has come down to. I enjoy drinking because as a natural over-thinker and stresser I really struggle to ever fully relax and enjoy time with my friends and having a couple drinks helps me do that. Ma absolutely hates alcohol and I don’t want to be a failure in her eyes so I do have to hide this from my parents; one of many things I have to do just to keep that respect from them.

So there’s a bit of the back story but I just want to write about how hard it can be assimilating into a Western world when you’ve grown up with an Eastern background.

My parents are Indian through and through but as I said in my previous post, I was born and raised in Australia and so I’ve had a really hard time trying to fit in. I have friends who know I’m different in that sense and they don’t love me any less for it but, I guess as a loser for my full 12 years of schooling it’s something I’m really sensitive about. Finally in Uni I have this incredible group of friends that honestly I never would’ve thought I would have just because they’re the kind of guys that loser, high-school Chandra would’ve thought were a lot better than her. Everyday it really blows my mind to think that as I am, there are people in this world that actually care about me! Who would’ve thunk it?!

I have low self-esteem and I mean it’s hard not to but it’s something that makes me stronger as a person too I think. So the message I wanted to get across really was just that there’s always things that are going to hold you back in life and make you feel shitty about yourself but just remember that everything happens for a reason. Even though parents can be really hard – trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share of it – they do things because they love you and want to know that without them you’d still function as a good person and be just as capable your own human.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful day!

– Chan

First impressions

Hi to anyone on the internet reading this. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day and if you’re not, go do something you love to do because your happiness is the most important thing to me.


You may be thinking: “Why did you choose to start a blog?”

Well…from a young age, I’ve always really enjoyed writing but as someone who can’t stand being told what to do, the rules and word limits surrounding most forms of writing completely put me off. As well as this, as a very visual person, I have always loved taking photos (only on my phone – nothing special) and many selfies too but I found that most of them just stayed on my phone.

I wanted to find a way to share them but Instagram wasn’t the place for me especially because the ‘success’ of your Instagram was based around the number of followers and I didn’t want a number to define me. On top of that, I felt as if Instagram was less accessible to the general public and I wanted my photos and opinions to reach as many people who wanted to see my content.

Finally I landed on the idea of starting a blog and I’ve been thinking about it for the past year or two. So with the support and encouragement from my best friend, we both decided to start our own blogs.

And…here I am!


I just wanted to say hi and introduce myself. My name is Chandra and I’m a girl with a foot in two completely different worlds and, because of that, you might find me very odd. I am of Indian heritage and my beliefs are quite ‘indian’ in that sense but I was born and raised in Australia. This makes me quite an odd blend between the two nationalities.

I know all too well how hard it can be trying to adapt to such a different lifestyle to keep up with many around us and if any of you ever need support in any aspect of you life, hit me up!

– Chan