Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual)

Standing beside my Perinatal Depression

As someone who has had mental health allowances for the past 12 years, I knew that my approach to pregnancy needed to be planned, specific and aware.

Before the first trimester was done and dusted I made sure I was referred to a Psychiatrist with Perinatal experience. I’ve never been one for talk therapy, but I do have a great appreciation for pharmacology and am acutely aware of the chemical sh*t-storm that causes the lows I experience.

I have previously written about my awful experience with the Mirena IUD and how toxic progesterone was for me. So I was worried that my inner demons were going to be on Spring Break once I had those pregnancy hormones pumping around!

That first trimester was a constant ping-pong game of joy and excitement v. apprehension and doubt. What was I doing? Who did I think I was bringing a baby into the world? Was I ready to be a Mum. So on and so forth. Then I would be with my Husband, planning for the future and everything was okay.

Being matched with my Psychiatrist instantly felt like having an experienced, professional and knowledgeable cheerleader on my side. I left my first appointment feeling empowered and confident. I had my doubts, as I had sought treatment from the same hospital (different Psychiatrist) who was a little too quick to (incorrectly) diagnose me. Which led to being placed on absolutely inappropriate (read: life damaging) medication. So to say I was gun-shy and hesitant is putting it lightly.

However my journey so far with my Psychiatrist has been wonderful. Even with the added uncertainty of COVID-19, she has effectively given me the tools and the confidence to manage my anxiety and depression while pregnant. There is a high chance I will end up with Post-Natal Depression, and I will cross that rickety bridge if/when it happens. What it means is that I am constantly having to assess the future, to try and prepare for something which may not happen. Knowledge (and even more so, acknowledgement) is power as far as I am concerned. So while some think I have a pessimistic view to the future, I believe that in preparing for the ‘worst’, then I’m taking some of the power away from the beast that is my anxiety and depression. I may be sharing my journey, mind & soul with my mental health – but at 34 and with several notable fights in the past with it – I refuse to take a back-seat.

Mental health is no joke, and it certainly is nothing to be ashamed of. Saying this out loud is one thing, but taking ownership of it and acknowledging it as part of your story is another. There are so many resources out there and other people willing to help you up. Don’t ever feel ashamed to speak, and always ask for help when you need it.

Courtney x

Australia · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual)

Week 32 – Why is there hair growing on my belly?

My belly is growing hair and it is freaking me out.

I also can’t breathe properly and I seem to be going to the bathroom every half hour.

My little babe is perfecting their excellent karate moves, and quite frankly the strength behind each move is kind of shocking!

I had my first Midwife appointment this week, it was a private antenatal class which was quite good. Most of the information shared was information I had read or heard about from my sister or Mum, but as my Midwife was talking about my experience with my birth and my baby it really hit home.

There were tears and quite frankly I didn’t see that coming. I don’t cry easily, don’t really experience the happy tears and certainly don’t cry around people I don’t know! Yet here I was, picturing the moment I will meet our baby and I was overcome with emotions.

Truth be told I missed a fair bit of the information because my eyes kept tearing up at finally meeting our baby! The emotional hangover I had after the crying lasted the rest of the day and I actually had to go to bed early. Emotional wreck I tell you!

It is wild to know that we will meet our babe soon, I’m excited but nervous. I have two more weeks of work left before I start maternity leave.

I guess it’s nearly time to start planning my hospital stay!

What were your third trimester saviours?

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Self Improvement · Wives, Husbands and Marriages

I made the mistake of not saying ‘No’…

A couple of years ago I decided that I was going to say ‘No’ more, stand by my decision and not feel as though I had to justify my response. It served me well, particularly in my personal life. Saying no to outings I did not want to go to, saying no to having people in my space, saying no to things that did not please me or make me feel happy.

Sounds tricky right? It isn’t, not really. Once you let go of the guilt or assumed expectation that you ‘better’ have a good excuse. Truth is, you do not owe anyone your time, or pieces of you aren’t willing to share.

A couple of weeks ago I was put in a position where I couldn’t say no. I wanted to, with every fibre of my being. I knew full well that I would come home feeling like absolute trash. I tried to trust the experience like maybe it was not going to be a complete and utter waste of time. That I would be left raw and exposed. Of course, it went exactly how I expected it to. I went in with the best intentions, tried to leave my suspicion at the door of the intention behind the entire thing. Within an hour I could feel the judgement being cast upon me. Which is always rich when it is coming from someone who would be better off minding their manner and attitude.

So I sit here a fortnight later, still annoyed. I still feel as though I was made to expose a part of me which I was fiercely protecting. I tried to go to this event with solidarity with my Partner and instead what I suspected came true. I was the commodity. I was not welcomed, I was judged and I left feeling as though I had put myself into a position of judgement.

I now feel like the life I have tried to hard to justify and protect was left wide open for the criticism of people who, quite frankly, mean absolutely nothing to me.

Sometimes we cannot put our foot down, we find ourselves in a position of compromise. When you are in a relationship and you love your partner, you can sometimes ignore your gut instinct. Just like I did. I tried to push aside my suspicions and that awful feeling in my stomach. I tried to embrace the potential for new connections and (heaven forbid) acceptance.

It would seem that even seven years on, I still let the opinions of nobodies and those who are so far removed from being important in my world, hurt me.

Next time I will say no, and I will be firm in my response. I did for so many years, was challenged and ridiculed for it. Yet, when I finally backed down, I ended up in a space of hurt and sadness.

So I ask you, what do you do to reclaim your space, your purpose and your self-love when there has been a speed-bump you have gone crashing into? How do you leave yourself open to your partner and new opportunities, yet closed to criticism or judgement from others?

Courtney x

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · personal growth · Self Improvement

Protecting your own Self-Peace & Energy

When do you stop farming out your own energy, at the cost of your own self-peace just to be hurt or to have it thrown in your face?

I spent my twenties spread too thin. Constantly trying to juggle the number of confusing friendships and competing priorities. Only to have most friendships dwindle away.

My thirties have always been about protecting those friendships which are precious to me. Regardless of where our lives take us. Marriages, travel, families, interstate moves, building houses. Whatever it was, it would never be enough to break these long term friendships up. However you long for your friends. You miss their cuddles and your heart just isn’t quite the same without their laughter.

Food for thought…

I watched my husbands younger family member Skype her friend and text her at the same time and I thought it was overkill. Then I realised how much I missed my friends. What I would have done to be with them and see their faces. It’s true that you can experiencing heartbreak away from those you love. I made a solid effort at growing my friendship group but mostly I just feel disappointed.

New friends rarely work out. Everyone wants something from you, some people like to keep you close especially if you’re life is complicated, or you’re a natural problem solver or in a position to help them. I’ve tried to fight those thoughts recently, but have ended up burned once again.

I’m sure it’s possible to develop new friendships as you age, but the screening process is so much more complicated. I find myself at the moment looking around at several people who a year ago I considered close and now I barely speak to them.

I can’t be everyone’s big sister. I can’t keep being the work mum.

My friendship is not one sided. I have needs as well. I’m consistently trying to help others. I end up a free and over utilised source of psychological counselling. Only to find myself turned inside out, feeling exposed and exhausted. Yet, because of the strong personality people are so prone to point out, I am very rarely asked if I am okay.

I am not okay. I am tired, I am worn and I am confused. I have stuff going on, my needs and wants are valid and I too need a listening ear.

As I approach my mid-thirties and race towards a massive change in my life, I’ve started thinking about how I can reclaim my space, my time and start putting me first. I still want to be a good friend, to those friendships that nourish me but I need to learn how to close the door on non-serving friends.

Any advice on how to do this effectively and kindly, while protecting my own space and peace is welcomed. Thank you x

Courtney

Contraception, Birth Control, Fertility...(and other such things) · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle

Toss the tampons, embrace your moon-cup.

P-E-R-I-O-D-S

I have debated back and forth whether or not to write this post. For most of my friends, we have entered a real phase of acknowledging that our periods are real and not something we should be ashamed of. For the generation above us though (strictly excluding any beloved hippy relatives), it isn’t something you speak about.

img_2965My mother freaks OUT whenever I mention my period. I speak quite openly about it, not at dinner or with my Boss – but I sure as hell am comfortable talking to my Husband about it (a taboo act, if you ask Mum).

Even though I knew I could talk to my Mum about this ‘change’, I still wasn’t ready for my period to show up. One day I was playing freely in the backyard, the next I was panicking about having become a woman, while saying ‘You’re a woman now, time to grow up’ in the mirror repeatedly (look, I wish I had made that up for dramatic effect, but it really happened).

In fact, I decided to just ignore my first period, a week of excruciating pain and bleeding and I just ignored it. I wish I hadn’t of ignored it though, Mum was well prepared, with a bag stashed away in her cupboard, filled with all items available to you in 1998. In terms of open conversation, however, that was the start and end of it. Mum passed the bag along, gave me a pretty thorough drill-down on the situation, on hygiene and that was it.img_2961

You’re looking at about six months for a tampon to decompose, and even then the amount of water and natural/man-made resources to do so is massive. Also, I f*cking HATE paying for them. 10,000 tampons at an average of $5 for a box of 16 organic tampons and I am looking at around $3,000 for single-use cotton tampons, packed in individual plastic each, and that estimate is grossly under what it has actually cost.

Little did we know that by the time I was 14 I would have the sort of periods which would disable me to the point I couldn’t go to school (thanks, Endometriosis), or that I would be in a constant state of panic in my school skirts. I have not been blessed with a polite, feminine period – rather I have the type of monthly event where it is clear my uterus is throwing a freaking tantrum at having not gotten pregnant for another month.

img_2963When I turned 32 I decided I was sick of tampons and pads and all of the plastic and just the whole show of it all. After 20 years of periods and roughly 6-8 tampons a day, with a 5-7 day period every 28 days (like clockwork, actually) it works out to be approximately 10,000 tampons I have used in my lifetime. TEN THOUSAND TAMPONS. Sure, I use the organic cotton kind but they still come wrapped up in plastic. Not to mention they go into landfill or down the loo (you can flush tampons, I’ve checked with my Plumber Hubby).

Providing you pick the right cup you should not need to change it more often than every 12 hours. That said, if you do experience heavier periods, than you may like to wear a liner on your heavier days. Ideally, the best/cleanest/most hygienic way to change them is in the shower. I have been using mine for around a year now, and only in a few cases of emergency have I needed to use a tampon here and there.

There is no shortage of brands out there, and I have no alignment to any particular product. When you are doing your research though, some of the things you might like to consider are the material, firmness, capacity, size, cup shape, stem design, air holes and quality and safety.img_2968

They can be messy (which is why the shower is my go-to), the fitting changes from brand to brand, getting used to inserting the cup can take a bit of practice and trial and error! (this goes for the removal as well), and you do need to maintain your moon cup and ensure you sterilise it correctly.

They’re easy to use, they are convenient, they save costs, there are the environmental benefits, there is no odour, there are health benefits, you don’t need to replace them as often, they’re quite comfortable and they’re movement-friendly!

Biome sells the Diva Cup, which is one of the brands I have used – you can find the link here.

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, and accessories.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

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Courtney Gaye

I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this.

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle · Love and Happiness (and all the fun bits in between) · Travel

Extreme Engagement, and why #couplegoals is toxic.

I treated Extreme Engagement the way I treat a packet of Tim-Tam’s, greedily, by myself and with audible exclamations.

Filmmaker, multi-award winning cameraman, journalist & television presenter Tim Noonan and United Nations award-winning reporter, producer, writer and news anchor together are the brains and (phenomenal) skills behind Extreme Engagement.

This show, which if you haven’t watched yet, get on it (!), premiered on Netflix this week and it is incredible. At first, I was a little worried I would be sitting down to some fluffy Bachelorette-typed love story with a couple swanning around to different destinations.

Wrong. There is no swanning. This is travel at its rawest and this is a couple who spent two years apart following their engagement. My husband and I were long-distance for around 18 months and when we were together we had struggled over small things. I can only imagine the volcano it would have been if we were in the middle of nowhere, struggling with language and not sure how to communicate with one another.

I know that I get the shits if he takes me somewhere he has been before, my mind kicks into overdrive – who was he here with, what memories does he already have here, why does he want to come back.

Sidenote: I am a far more jealous human being than either Tim or PJ, as is my Husband and so this 12-month experiment would have lasted approximately one week and I would have packed my bag and bailed out to the comfort of my home.

I think it is important to travel with your significant other. Not just on some all-you-can-eat, booze-infused trip, but head somewhere together where you are both out of your depth. This will challenge you to work together or work against each other. Take a deep breath before you lose your shit in the underground because neither of you speaks French and you can’t read the signs (me).

When I finished this show (and desperately wanted more), I realised that there is no such thing as #couplegoals, and there really shouldn’t be. We all have our own journey’s and our own adventures, arguments, highs and lows.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it was raw and realistic and I have never empathised with a couple more through the t.v. It affords you that very rare opportunity to see both sides of the coin and it challenges your beliefs, stand-point and any pre-conceived stance you may have.

IMG_2892When I was watching this it reminded me that fighting with your significant other does not mean we are compatible. It’s how you approach disagreements and troubles in your relationship that matters. Screaming and losing your shit doesn’t mean you don’t belong together. Choosing to work through it, work out your problem-solving approach and how you come back together after a disagreement is what matters.

I wouldn’t change my relationship for anything in this world, and PJ and Tim sharing their lives in this binge-worthy show only reinforced this for me.

I won’t offer any spoilers, but honestly, this journey was amazing from start to finish – I binged it over a Thursday night and finished it on my Friday lunch-break. It left me wanting more, I have the utmost respect for both Tim and PJ and I wish them all the happiness and love in the world.

Also, pretty sure my next holiday needs to be to Yanaba, immediately.

To watch Extreme Engagement click here.

x Courtney x

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

Picture credits: MEAWW / Netflix / Courtney Gaye

 

Australia · Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle · Social Media / Marketing

Organic Beauty Wipes – worth the hype?

I have long been the woman who uses her fingers to put makeup on, has the one brush for anything in powder form, and approaches skincare like a male farmer in his fifties (water and soap, right?).

I know that I should have started a skin-care regime years ago, lord knows my mother encouraged me too (sorry, Mum). Every now and then I have been somewhat committed but then, of course, I get bored with the whole thing. My bathroom is smaller than most people’s, the counter surface is minimal and the last thing I need is 50-thousand different products cluttering up the area, so anything deemed excessive or complicated gets the boot when I am cleaning.

Recently I decided to add to my collection of sewn products and try my hand at beauty wipes, and you guys I – AM – CONVERTED!

I have used these beautiful wipes for cleanser, exfoliant, toner, in applying and removing face mask products, I have even used them as nail polish remover pads.

If you are at all interested in making a purchase, I would be so thankful and chuffed! Free Domestic postage is available, Afterpay is available and $1 from each sale is going to Black Rainbow Australia for the month of June, I really want to crack my $100 fundraising goal!

x Courtney x

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Facebook

Pinterest

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post :).

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual) · Lifestyle

Lemon Delicious – my Paleo Lemon Curd 🍋 🍋 🍋

🍋 I adore Lemon Curd. Lemon Butter. Lemon Meringue. Lemon Tart. Lemon Water. Lemons. All of the lemon varieties.

There is just something alluring with the bitter + sweet collision any lemon desserts bring.

After consuming my body weight in homemade lemon butter before Christmas last year, I decided that I needed to find a better approach. I’ve tried other sweeteners, but I find the fake stuff to be too chemically in its taste and the natural sweeteners I find to be a little overwhelming with their taste.

So, I decided to try a few different kinds of honey. This has been a real trial and error process, but I can honestly say that my latest batch is my favourite. I was fortunate enough to be able to make this batch with organic lemons and organic free-range eggs from my brother and my Mum, which I think makes it even more special that this was the batch that finally worked!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest
  • .5 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 medium to large eggs
  • .3 cup of organic honey (you can use less for a more tart experience or more for sweeter. Remember that the honey is your only sweetener here so your taste will be quite personal)
  • 6 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil

Method

  1. Zest the lemons, placing the zest aside into one bowl
  2. Juice the lemons (trust me, you do not want to try and zest an already-juiced lemon)
  3. Place the eggs, honest and lemon zest into a small to a medium saucepan, whisk gently (be sure not to split the mixture, stir it gently and make sure your yolks have been separated)
  4. Stir mixture over the low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (the best way to test this is to lift your whisk above the pot and see if the mixture is slightly sticky as it drips)
  5. Once the mixture is a pale yellow and thickened (as above), slowly pour your mixture of oil & lemon juice in, one tablespoon at a time (a rough estimate from a pouring jug will be fine!), ensuring you continue to gently whisk the mixture.
  6. Continue whisking the mixture until it begins to gently bubble, this can take a while so no need to stir vigorously, just take your time and do not let the mixture burn.
  7. I like to can my curds, so if you are doing this, make sure you rinse any glass jars with hot water and sterilise in the oven before pouring your lemon butter into it.
  8. Make sure you strain the mixture before you store it, to ensure you have no cooked egg lumps or any lemon zest in your final mixture.

IMG_7420This mixture will last 2-3 weeks in your fridge, however, I am willing to bet it will be eaten before then!

If you try it, let me know!

Thank you for reading my post and supporting my charity-drives from month-to-month.

As mentioned on my Instagram, I am raising money this month for Black Rainbow Australia. This organisation is fantastic and you can read more about them here.

If you would like to donate to my fundraising cause for the month please feel free to donate through my PayPal account here:

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If you would like to be kept up to date on items for sale, new arrivals, special discount and updates on my fundraising you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

x Courtney Gaye x

Health and Wellbeing (mental, physical, emotional & spiritual)

Tired, Toxic & Stressed

At 33 to say I feel emotionally and spiritually congested is an understatement. I try to practice mindfulness, I read, I sleep, I stopped smoking, I eat relatively well. I exercise when I can but I still feel stuck.

I feel stuck in a way a car can be on soft sand not really able to go forwards or backwards (depending on the driver, if you ask literally any man near you). I feel congested. I feel emotionally and spiritually constipated. Which is a really feral way to word something but it is the aptest description of how I am feeling.

I want to feel clear, I want to feel light and I want to feel energised. I want to love myself. I know I need a detox, but of what exactly is beyond me.

I’ve tried massages and mostly just felt entirely freaked out. I went off the booze for several months and felt awful. I stopped eating meat four months ago and even that hasn’t made me feel any better. I just feel so heavy. I have no idea what would even work at this point.

This does not feel like a situation for a day spa, this is more…internal.

I believe in holistic help, I believe in Western Medicine, I believe in mindfulness, I believe in ghosts. I am really open to anything. So where do I go to seek assistance with my mind and my soul? I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a spa with indulgent procedures – my epidermis is not the problem here.

My pain is emotional, my spirit is disturbed and all of this comes out in physical ailments. I get sick, I get sad, my skin plays up, my hair falls out. There have been moments where I have nearly convinced myself that surely I am somehow possessed?

I have no clue where the source of the pain is, all I know is that this has been a long term drama. For the first time in my life, I am willing to push everything aside, drown out all of the naysayers and put my trust into someone who might be able to use some kind of intuitive healing or investigation into this problem within me. Is this a thing? Where does someone go for this type of help?

I am sure it is a combination of diet, exercise, inner cleansing, probiotics, massage, meditation, sweating or something but honestly. I cannot even begin to get my head in the right space to even try!

If you have any advice at all, I would love to hear it. How do I get my sh*t together when every method I have tried has not at all worked?

 

x Courtney x