Dear Tigerlily…

January. I wrote this first post in January…but the fear got me. Fear that I didn’t have anything of importance to say. Fear that people would judge me. Fear that it’d be a one off post and my blog would become obsolete straight away. So that’s what happened, I was right of course and I deleted my blog before I’d begun. But now I want to do it anyway. Because if one person is helped by this then I’ve succeeded and it’s been worth it. So I’m doing it. In strength. And in doubt. 

Before…

‘A snowflake: an individual, a one off, a creation unlike any other, delicate, appearing simple yet complex – you, me, together a blanket of astounding natural beauty. A collective wonder. And whether you know it or not…your part, your vison, your dream, is as important as anyone else’s and as powerful.

Recently I bought a book called Start Where You Are, a Journal for Self-Exploration. So I’m going with that. Here’s where I am…

I’m beginning this ‘diary’ on a crisp January morning (feels a little like snow) in England with numb hands albeit nothing so beautiful as a snowflake is falling from the sky. Sitting here, coffee in hand as the circulation in my fingers improves and the feeling returns, in our new bare and cold yard yet with a fire in my soul that keeps me warm. In reality I embarked on this particular journey at birth or even before, as did you – totally unaware of the adventure ahead and the twists and turns that awaited me at least at a conscious level.

I’ve pondered starting this blog countless times and even started it during a handful of those with different names and ‘personalities’ only to be abandoned or deleted more or less immediately for one reason or another. But now is the time it seems. When you know you KNOW. Something that’s really important to me. The knowing. Still and sure. Secure and wise. An owl. A black leopard. A forest. A feeling of Truth and Security. Unshakeable, authentic.

It wasn’t always this way. The certainty and strength within. The newness is refreshing and at the same time somehow I’ve always known it’s there beneath the fear. Keeping me going through this life.

So I’m writing this with a vigour that propels me forwards. With no procrastination. No expectations. No cares as such. The only vision or plan I have is to be true, to share my story and to see what happens.

I hope some will read this, of course. But mostly I hope that if you are reading and spending this time with me that it’ll be of some use to you, in whatever way. Whether it’s because it feels familiar and resonates or even just because you’re a little bit interested.’

Ad Astra,
Astraea Sage ⭐

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I went AWOL…

To those who read my blog, sorry for going AWOL but things were a bit much for me and putting figurative pen to paper wasn’t possible. I even abandoned my precious daily journaling practice for a while there. Note to self: don’t do that again, it sucked.

So I’m back and I have a lot to tell you. For a start I never went into any detail about part of the reason for my struggles. What’s actually the matter and all that good stuff. So in my upcoming blog posts I intend to get you up to date. I havent struggled, just because. There are always reasons. We aren’t faulty. None of us are faulty.

This is a short one but I’ll be back soon with lots to say, some juicy good bits and some less so. Perhaps I need to get over the fact that by saying all of this my gremlins come out of temporary hiding and tell me what a bad idea it is – how everyone will judge me, laugh at me, roll their eyes and just generally think I’m a total loser. If anyone reads this at all that is. Shame has a way of diminishing me in innumerable ways when it rears it’s delightful head.

I’ll be back…thank you.

Ad Astra
Astraea

What Contributes To Our Health?

Dear Tigerlily: It’s safe to tell your story. Your truth is important…be the Light xoxo

With all this talking on here it’s not easy to spell out what I’ve discovered just like that. I’ve found it hard to put out there but now it’s important to me that I show you some possible answers. Because contrary to my previous belief my struggles aren’t rare and I’m not such an Enigma after all. My story and what’s potentially led me to where I am is unique, just as your life has led you to where you are now…but there are common factors. Below are some of the things I’ve discovered and in further posts I’ll go into them individually. These contributing factors in our lives are huge in my experience and I want to put emphasis on them because as I’ve said in recent posts mental health and physical/chronic issues are endemic in our world and we need to address this because it’s skyrocketing in a ridiculous fashion.

Without further ado and in no particular order these are (the major) things that have contributed to my health and life experience…not things to be taken lightly, they form a true holistic picture:-

  • Epigenetics: Yes we’re handed particular genes by our parents (thank you) but our ‘environment’ is far more important than this simplistic (more often than not negative) fact
  • Childhood: The way we are treated as children totally forms the way we see ourselves and Our World
  • Trauma: Relating to the above generally, this isn’t something that we can write off and pretend it didn’t happen although most people do whether consciously or not AND trauma isn’t always what you think
  • Biochemistry: We’re all different which is why there isnt one ‘diet’ or one way of exercising that suits everyone for example
  • Thoughts and Beliefs: Yes this is huge and they’re formed in childhood but we can alter them
  • Lifestyle: Related to all the others really as how we live impacts massively on our health whether that’s what we eat and drink, whether or not we exercise and how, time spent being creative etc 

The question for me is…what comes first? Chicken and Egg issues. Always. Correlation vs Causation.

Does Childhood Trauma lead to epigenetic changes that mean we’re more sensitive to external factors than others or have we been effected by trauma more because we’re born sensitive?

Does having Genetic Predisposition towards mental health issues mean that you will manifest them and can you heal regardless of this vs taking a drug?

Does having a label re. your dis-ease or symptoms help or hinder?

This has been on my mind and I don’t have an answer as such. I like to question, perhaps you’ve noticed. Feel what resonates. For me I Know that my struggles have been exacerbated by how I’ve treated myself in one way or another. I know that if I’d have created a more nourishing world I’d be in a very different place. I’m no victim here and there is no blame, they’re mere facts. I’ve done my best with the knowledge and awareness that I’ve had. We all do. No point feeling guilt about that although I do occasionally before I catch myself. Turns out I’m human after all.

I take responsibility for all of this…in that I’m able to do something about it. Crap genes or not. Painful childhood or not. I can thrive so I’m sorting things. Simple.

If I eat junk I feel like junk. If I think junk I feel like junk. Same same.

Perhaps like me you’ve had a painful childhood (due to your parents own painful childhood, yep) and a lack of awareness about that. Perhaps you don’t realise that this has had a gargantuan effect on you. You just accept it.

Perhaps you just think it’s ok to be unsure of yourself, to feel annoyed by others, to feel like you don’t quite measure up, to feel angry but deny yourself that emotion and feel resentment, to hold huge grudges, to have physical or mental complaints and just take a drug (then another and another as the years go by), to work and work and work in order to feel worthy, to feel like you’re going through the motions in life but never feeling true joy, to feel fear about speaking up for yourself and about our scary world and the people in it in general, to watch tv and go to the pub and gossip and compare yourself to others but never truly live, to eat cake and feel bad about yourself, to feel restricted, to wish you were someone else because you feel inadequate even (or particularly) after touching up your seflies…ad infinitum? 

This is an overview but it involves a lot more and in my next post I’ll go into more detail about the ‘diagnosis’ that changed things for me as well as some of the other revelations that help me today.

I’m so happy that I can change things – empowering myself is a huge factor in healing. Feeling like a victim pitifully viewing the ‘all-knowing professionals’ up on their pedestal as our saviors isn’t the answer for me. My intuition serves me and I find the answers that I need when I ask.

I wish the same for you – and that’s a big deal. I want you to question why you are the way that you are. Don’t accept a simple ‘yeah you have xyz, that’s just how it is’. Dig deeper. Yes it can be painful – in fact if it is you know you’ve hit on something when it comes to self exploration.

Know that there are others out there who feel the same. Know that your struggles are telling you something. Know that your body creates symptoms to alert you to an imbalance in whatever way. Please listen. You’re important so don’t ignore what you’re being told. 

I know it’s hard sometimes but you are not alone.

Ad Astra, Astraea Sage ❤🌟

I Crashed Out (again)

Dear Tigerlily: I know that you can do this. I will never abandon you. You’re feelings are valid. You are safe xoxo

Wednesday 9th August 2017

I start this blog with such vigour, vision, intentions…then Crashed. Again. I won’t give up.

The thing is I know why. It’s two steps forward and one step back right now. But at least I’m on track. I’m healing.

It took years of searching and questioning to get where I am today. I’ve lost friends along the way because they don’t get it. Or didn’t even try in many cases. Perhaps I didn’t let them. It’s far too multifaceted and crazy to dump on someone else, so I don’t. You’re welcome.

Because I’m the one people come to for help. For answers. I’m the one who listens. I’m the one helping people with their mental health issues, their parenting woes, their children’s struggles, their diet, spiritual issues etc. Perhaps it’s because I’m passionate about it and appear to have some answers, so be it. I don’t profess to know it all. Never have. And when I’m unable to be there, to be a shining beacon of light. They disappear. Not always but some. It’s my pattern and believe me, I’m aware of it.

The thing is I’ve decided that if someone’s a real friend they’ll be there no matter what. They’ll see a bigger picture. And those who are asking, I tell. They know that I struggle – that I’m Highly Sensitive. They know my past. And they’re the type of people who get it. If someone doesn’t ask how I am and just continues to tell me their problems, it won’t last. Yes I’m eager to listen. Yes I’ll always help. It’s just who I am. I want to help. So if the dynamic isn’t right…

But I’m tired. I’m frequently treading water. Desperately trying not to sink. Because that’s how it is when you’ve had lifelong anxiety and depression with adrenal fatigue. I’m so grateful to myself for never giving up. I’ve seen others choose to sink and I refuse to.

And no Dr. Denial, this is not a time to tell me to consider medication. It does not work. It does not heal. Take off those self imposed blinkers. I refuse to mask this. I do not need to learn simplistic coping strategies. I’m not seeing the glass as half empty. I’m the one who shows others the opposite. I’m the one who always sees a bigger picture. I’m the one who says stop judging yourself and others. I’m the one who can see that under the external facade there’s hidden pain. So no I don’t need to be more positive! I appreciate your perspective, it just doesn’t fit.

It’s funny that I’ve never seen myself as someone who’s sick, ever. That isn’t me. I haven’t labelled myself as someone with anxiety or depression until now. I just thought this was me. And it’s only now that I’m using these labels because it’s the only way I can get my story out there to help others. People relate when they see those words. They can identify. Just like Broken. Faulty. Those words. Those hidden ones.

So I’m writing. To whoever is listening. And if you find me it’s because you’ve asked. Consciously or not.

Ad Astra
Astraea Sage ❤🌟

Artwork copyright Bonnie Van Dyke

Why Am I Broken?

Am I Destined To Struggle Forever?

Why Is Everything Sooo Difficult?

Why Am I Different To Everyone Else?

The main reason for this blog is to share my story in order to help others, simple as that.

I KNOW that I’ve been assigned this Mountain so that I can show others that it CAN be moved. There is hope. I know you can heal.

We have a serious issue with mental health problems reaching endemic proportions right now as well as more ‘acceptable’ physical dis-eases in this world and it just isn’t something that I can ignore now that I’ve found my own answers. They’re all interlinked and I want people to really see that. To feel that.

If I were to put what I’ve battled with basically, it’d be this list – and over the years things have escalated with more symptoms manifesting due to mainstream medicine missing the issue and refusing to take this seriously.

  • anxiety and chronic depression since childhood/teenage years
  •  suicidal ideation (never seriously considered, rather the only answer I could see to feel better)
  •  inner tension
  •  digestive issues
  •  headaches/migraines
  •  seasonal/cat allergies
  •  joint pain
  • heart arrhythmia
  • tinea versicolor
  •  menstrual issues
  • food sensitivities
  • stretch marks
  • gum problems
  • muscle pain and nerve issues
  •  thyroid problems
  •  adrenal fatigue/exhaustion, bedridden with insomnia and panic attacks
  •  night terrors
  •  secondary infertility
  •  weak nails
  •  thinning hair

Yet with all of the above…apparently there was nothing wrong with me. No label the doctors could produce to explain what was happening. Years ago as a teenager I was given anti depressants, namely Fluoxetine (aka Prozac) and told by my family GP that this would have to be taken for the rest of my life because of my family’s mental health history. Firstly, I’m sure he shouldn’t have been discussing that detail with me and secondly…what the heck?! He was also quite relaxed about the fact that I trebled my dose when they didn’t help me. I didn’t feel better on 20mg, or 40mg, or 60mg. I felt numb and unable to feel anything like happiness yet at the same time anxious and defeated with extreme reactions when I self medicated with lots of alcohol which I’d done since I was 15 years old (over 20 years ago). I remained on this treble dose for 9 years as at the time I trusted the experts and didn’t know what else to do. When I say I’d never commit suicide I really mean it. No matter how low I felt. It was and will never be an option. My steely determination about this is partly due to my childhood. My dad attempted suicide more than once that I was aware of when I was younger and in the end did so successfully when I was a teen. I will never go there. I don’t see it as selfish. I get why it happens. I just know that it isn’t the answer. I’ve always felt there’s more I can learn. More I can do. And that no matter what my challenges have been – there’s an answer and when I find it, I’ll help other people to heal too.

So these doctors. Let’s just say that they don’t resonate with my views. I know there are open minded, more holistic approaches out there but so far I’ve never met one of those doctors. My experience has been on a very in/out factory based set up when I’ve been in desperate attempts to find answers. Yes I’ve had testing but nothing more than simple blood tests to see if I’m low in Vitamin D etc.

Them: Ok now let’s just stop looking for a reason for your ‘illness’ (inverted commas due to the condescending tone and facial expression showing total suspicion of hypochondria) and deal with the symptoms.

Me: So you’re saying I need to ignore the cause, forget about healing myself and just mask the symptoms with an antidepressant?

Them: Yes.

Wow…flabbergasted. This isn’t how I work and in my experience mainstream medicine doesn’t like it. I appreciate that GPs don’t get long with their patients so can’t get a true picture of who the person truly is and what factors are affecting their mood/body/life etc but this horrifies me. And it’s why I see a homeopath (note to self, you haven’t seen one in an aaaage!) It’s why I trained as a homeopath myself. It’s why I believe we need a serious shift in how we approach medicine and healthcare. I’m not interested in suppressing my symptoms. I’m interested in true healing.

There are so many people suffering as I have been. And if you’re one of them please stay and continue to read my words – it’s all coming. What I found out. What I’ve done. What’s helped. Anything I can think of that helps will be posted here. Little by little. I’m not totally well yet but I’m out of absolute despair and that’s enough to get me writing.

Ad Astra, Astraea Sage ❤🌟IMG_20170317_093851_790

Artwork ‘Joy and Abundance’ copyright Bonnie Van Dyke

Why It’s Taken Me So Long To Start This Blog

I thought I’d post about what’s taken me so long…why I’ve procrastinated about writing this blog and sharing my truth.

It’s been really hard to get myself to a place where I can share this with you so blatantly and there are several reason why that’s happened.

I wondered whether I should just start where I am or whether I needed to write this as a chronological story. If I merely decided to dive in talking about the person I am today it’d be too flat. Too shallow. To plain. It wouldn’t make sense to the outsider. To you.

The thing is the reasons are complex. Because I am complex. In the nicest possible way. Like a sculpture or a layered painting there is so much that’s gone into this piece that is me. There’s my childhood, one of some trauma in whatever way – quite usual in our world I’ve found. The thoughts and beliefs I’ve claimed as my own since I was born. As well as those of our society. There’s my genetics and what my ancestors have passed to me. There’s my life experience as an adult. So much.

So where to begin?

I was born into a family of obvious sensitivity. There are mental health issues on both sides of my family. Undiagnosed as a rule. Chronic dis-ease that everyone has seen as separate from the bigger more true, holistic picture.

I’ve spent most of my life to date feeling broken. An alien. It wasn’t until quite recently that I gained some (life changing, will post about that later) clarity and that was after years of intense research within and without, questioning what I feel and what I have seen, soul searching and much more…never accepting that things were so bleakly black and white. The dichotomy of feeling different yet knowing that I’m the same. Knowing that what people project outwards is usually not their reality. I know it hasn’t been for me in many ways.

Confused yet? One of the factors in my procrastination re. putting myself out there is that my brain works in this bizarre way thinking 11 things at once. They say we can’t think more than one thought at the same time (time isn’t linear so that’s nonsense straight away) but I swear my brain isn’t that simple! I’ll be reading something to someone and have an inner conversation with myself at the same time about something or some things that appear to be totally random, then struggle to explain what I was thinking because there’s too much to put into words. So I’ve found it a challenge to know how to post here simply, in a cohesive way for you. So be it.

I’ll stop there and explain what I’ve been dealing with and what I discovered in my next post because otherwise this post would be super long and far less easy to navigate!

Ad Astra,
Astraea Sage 🌟

Perhaps to lighten things up you’d appreciate this photo of my amazing unicorn with glitter poo keyring…

You Can Do This

I know that you’re struggling and you feel broken. Please don’t give up. Focus on this tree – grounded, secure, safe, wise, knowing. You have the strength and power inside you to do this. You ARE able to heal. To feel better. I know this because I was where you are. I understand. My challenges have almost totally broken me many times but I stand here now stronger and wiser. Please know they you can move mountains. You are MAGNIFICENT. One step at a time. You can do this. I believe in you. Together we can smash this mental health stigma to pieces. I won’t accept that you’re destined to fail as I haven’t even during many dark nights of the soul.

Ad Astra, Astraea Sage 💜🌟