How I'm Dealing with Grief and Depression

How to Deal With Grief

I’ve experienced grief before, but mainly as a child. I’ve also experienced depression before. It lingers constantly above me like a rain cloud. Some days will be fine, I’ll laugh and see things clearly. On other days, my thoughts will be persistent, my mood will darken and that rain cloud will have grown into an inky, swirling storm.

In January, I received the most unexpected news. My father was in hospital, unconscious in the intensive care unit. It was thought best that I make my way there as soon as I could. After the worst 48 hours, he passed away.

It still doesn’t feel real. How could something so unexpected, so totally out of the blue happen to someone so laid-back and dependable? It seemed incomprehensible. I couldn’t get my head around it.

While I was asking myself how the universe thought it was OK for this happen, I carried on. I was moving on. It took a few days to realise this was happening and when I realised I couldn’t work out why. Grief was something that broke you down completely, wasn’t it? Why hadn’t I fallen apart by now?

I still felt that unearthly emptiness. I wasn’t sleeping properly. I burst into tears at the drop of a hat. I was irritable and it was as if someone had taken the colour out my life. But I was used to all of this. These are the hallmarks of depression. Had I slipped back into a depressive episode? Or was this normal, just grief doing its thing?

I became preoccupied with working out exactly why I was experiencing each and every emotion. But it turns out that trying to do this, whilst experiencing a tirade of intense feelings will eventually come to a head. I just needed to accept these feelings.

I’ve learnt to deal with grief in the same way I do with depression. I’m working my way through ALL the self-care lists on Pinterest. I’ve reached out for professional help, I’m exercising more and I’m totally OK with spending an afternoon in my pyjamas watching Frozen if I need to!

5 Things to do in Boracay | Mini Travel Guide

Boracay is a tiny island in the Philippines famed for its beautiful white beaches. I travelled there in January for a wedding and thought it was about time I shared my favourite things to do whilst I was there. This was my first time travelling to South East Asia and it totally blew my mind. If you’re visiting the Philippines, I’d certainly recommend adding Boracay to your itinerary. Here's my top 5 things to do on the island.

WATCH THE SUN SET ON WHITE BEACH

White Beach is Boracay’s busiest destination. With its 4km of beautiful white sand and crystal clear water, it’s no wonder that it’s frequently listed as one of the best beaches in the world. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also a brilliant spot on the island to watch the sun set. Make your way to either Station 1 or Station 3, where it won’t be so crowded if you want to take photos.




CLIMB MOUNT LUHO

From Mount Luho you get a 360 view of the whole island. We caught a tricycle from our hotel at Station 1. Then it was just a climb to the top. Definitely take your camera and selfie stick! There are great viewpoints and other visitors are generally more than happy to take a snap for you.




GO PARAW SAILING

Paraw sailboats are traditional Philippino boats. We rented one for island hopping on the penultimate day on the island and it was the highlight of our whole trip. Paraw sailing is completely different from anything I’ve experienced before. You sit on netting rather than in the boat. You feel like you’re riding a magic carpet just above the surface of the water.




We chose to visit Crystal Cove Island and had about half an hour to wander round. There is a walk way around the whole of the island and two coves to explore. There’s also a mini museum and a restaurant.




Our final stop was Puka Beach, which has a totally different vibe to White Beach. The sand is a lot coarser owing the crushed Puka shells and everything is a lot more relaxed. I really enjoyed the secluded paradise atmosphere. One thing to note is that food and drink is quite a bit more expensive here.




WATERSPORTS AT BULABOG BEACH

Although you can partake in various water activities along White Beach, the wind is stronger on the other side of the island. This makes it perfect for windsurfing! We didn’t give it a go, but walked over to that side of the island and sat for a while watching everyone from complete beginners to more seasoned surfers.




ENJOY THE NIGHTLIFE

White Beach transforms itself into the ultimate party destination after dark. Head to Station 2 and you’ll soon find yourself ordering drinks from a Happy Hour menu! On a couple of nights, we started with a meal on the beach at Epic (try the tuna steak) and waited until it transformed itself into a club! Our paraw sailing guides also recommended Red Pirates pub at Station 3. There’s truly something for everyone; whether you want a few quiet drinks and live music or are up for dancing ‘till sunrise!




I loved my first time in the Philippines. I’m usually a package holiday girl but this trip has opened my eyes to the joys of independent travelling. My wanderlust list is growing everyday – Palawan, Bali, Thailand… Have you visited Boracay? I’d love to hear your favourite SE Asia location!


2017 Resolutions | #BeInspired

Every year, I intend to be more creative. I imagine myself painting everyday, watching brushstrokes become birds, leaves and landscapes on the paper before me. And every year I paint maybe once or twice.

But this is something I want to do. I’ve always wanted to create. Cass Art challenged me to create a piece of art about what inspires me. And I’m challenging myself to create an illustration every week for the whole of 2017.

Cass Art Be InspiredCass Art Be Inspired Watercolour Challenge

The lovely people at Cass Art sent me some art supplies to complete their challenge. I received a Windsor and Newton Watercolour Set, a fantastic lightweight sketchers box with 24 brilliant shades.

My bag of goodies also included a set of 5 Cass Art Sable Brushes and a pad of Cass Art Jumbo Smooth Hot Press Paper. There was also a pot of Ecoline Liquid Watercolour in the shade 545 Red Violet. Although I've used watercolour paper before, I've always used the heavily textured variety. Painting on smooth hot press paper is a dream! I'm certainly a convert.

Cass Art Watercolour Challenge

I always look to nature for my inspiration. There's somthing special about capturing the movement of animals with a medium that is as fluid and etheral as watercolours. I especially love creating the texture of feathers and that's why I chose a cockerel and a hummingbird for these two pieces.

I laid down washes of colour, each layer becoming brighter and more vibrant. This allowed me to pick up a smaller brush and use simple mark-making techniques to create the texture and pattern of the feathers.

Watercolour Painting Hummingbird Catherine Braithwaite Blog Watercolour Painting Catherine Braithwaite Blog

I'm looking forward to the next 52 weeks of personal challenges. It's going to be amazing to have a collection of art to look back on - and hopefully track some progress! Be sure to see how I'm doing on Instagram.

There'll be more challenges from Cass Art throughout the year. Keep up to date with the #BeInspired hashtag! I'm excited to see what a creative 2017 will bring!