My siblings have always ment the world to me. When life and the people in it was unfair, we always had each other. While I admit that being a part of different generations sometimes makes it difficult to connect and stay connected, they are important in my life.

In Denmark every third person considers themselves next of kin to someone with a mental health illness. 61% feels the psychological burden.

Bedre Psykiatri, 2018

8-9 years ago, a lavine began that became impossible to stop. What normally would have been considered young people having fun turned out to be self-medication. Self-medication became psychotic incidences. Psychotic incidences developed into memory loss after treatments, suicide attempts, visits to the psychiatric department, even one time where the police was called to ensure hospitalisation.

How many families is it normal to have a record over how many attempts there have been?

It is difficult being the sister nothing new, but still. It seems to me, with mental health illnesses that there’s never really a way out. It’s always there luring under the surface, threatening to come out and break the quiet moments with hurricanes. At one point we can talk as adults and the next I’ve done something wrong and fire comes down.

Standing on the sideline, watching the circles of denial they almost have to walk before realising where the help might actually be, eats me alive if I allow myself to become a part of the circle-walking. Bottom line is, no one can force help down any one’s throat before they want to be helped.

No one can force any one to stop their destructive behaviours before understanding the ruination of it all.

But where does that leave me? When we find ourselves in between a system that has all the professional help but doesn’t seem to listen and a sibling that seems to not see the issues where does that leave me as the sister?

Sometimes it seems that family is left doing the job society have educated professionals for. A job the family is not equipped for professionally or emotionally and it feels like being left behind figuring out what others are spending years to learn at universities.

The thing just is, when you are family, you are already involved. You are already deep in all the dirt that is a family. But when are you so involved that it is okay to step in and overwright the story being told by the people involved? When is it time to step out of the way, recognise that everyone are adults and should get a chance to go their on their own?

In the end, you don’t learn how to cook by being served the finished meal.

Some cheasy quote someone once made up, but quite fitting for the purpose
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Warning. This blog may have been written under angry frustration realising my bloodsugar was way too high after consuming a relatively normal-sized, non-sugary breakfast (because somehow most people will propably think I ate some sugary serial that I should’ve taken into consideration (can you feel me sighing and almost see me rolling my eyes?))

A friend and I were on our way home from an event and I was letting out steam about people who talk as if diabetics can’t eat anything and misunderstands being a type 1 and type 2. It comes down to being informed and you know what, that’s okay! I just find, that I cannot take peoples comments or statements serious when its about something they don’t know.

The thing is, that it’s sometimes not the sugary things that’s my pitfall – it can just as equally be the food that is considered healthy. Some mornings, my body responds in one way to a bowl of oatmeal and other days I arive at work way too low after eating something that yesterday needed to insulin-supplement. In some seasons I need more of one kind of insulin, in others I’m getting waaay too much. Sometimes stress can have an impact, and other times I can be presured beyond extremes and my blood sugar responds as it should. Sometimes I can run 6 km and do a half-an-hour hard physical workout as well other times I can only walk a couple of hundred meters before needing to adjust my sugar.

What most people think is that I can just pinpoint my bloodsugar levels down to what I eat – and yes, that has an influence. But it’s not an exact science. Sometimes it’s presure. Stress. Exercise.

So what can you do? Don’t assume you know. If you see me eat cake, don’t even let it cross your mind that I can’t have that. On a daily basis I’ve been nice, trying to explain.

But I’m tired of being met with the same misunderstandings and outdated scientific results. So, quite frankly; It is absolutely none of your business. How your family member chooses to handle his or her diabetes does not necessarily fit me.

And one last thing. In Denmark, the old term for a diabetic was that he or she is suffering from “Sugar-illness” (direct translation), can we please erase that term from existence? I am concerned about ALL CARBS not just SUGAR! So no, I do not suffer from “sukkersyge” – I am diabetic… Astronomic difference (Maybe not, but I’m pretty pissed at this point).

Oh. And allow me to apologize if I’m offending anyone. I know you mean it as a well-meaning advice. But if I shouldn’t advice others in areas I have no experience in, then let me just assume that goes the other way around as well. Please, consider, if you are offended by this. Maybe it’s because you think you are being a good friend.

Sometimes being a friend entails one listens, supports and asks questions. Nothing more.

Oh, maybe just a hug!

And no, I am not always good at staying within those lines myself but always try to.

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At a meeting, in a badly airconditioned conference room I realise what I thought was a pretty a-okay preparation should’ve had a different direction. The meeting was not what I initially thought it would be about but I still decide to go for the creative, new-thinking direction I prepared for.

Thoughts like, “I’m such an imposter, when will they call me out? Why should my word have such a big impact? When will they know?” are running through my mind

As I begin expanding my thoughts, research and results, slowly but steadily, I see minds changing. I notice how I’ve manage to point in a direction they never even thought of possible. After, as I was de-breathing (pon intented) at my desk, I just couldn’t stop smiling.

I get such a rush out of knowing and experiencing how the knowledge I dug up, can guide others in a completely different direction and maybe even end with a better outcome.

After 2 years of applying for jobs, freelancing and temporary solutions after University, with an aditional year being in a job-position that was okay, but never challenging, I finally got a chance getting my first Uni-applicable Job. I ended up somewhere creative, flexible and open for new opportunities.

Everyday, I find myself committing to “fake it till you make it” and every day, I somehow manage to leave work with a feeling of having contributed to something. Done something.

Slowly, from not believing that anyone could ever need my services and abilities, to the fact that I now more than ever trust that if not in this – maybe even more in the next.

This journey has been one amazing learning curve. I’ve learned so much about myself, the work-environment I thrive in the most, and what I can do. I’ve gained competencies, I just a year ago never dreamed I vould achieve (and btw preparing me for those applications I never had a shot at straight out of UNI).

But most of all, I’ve learned that dreams are rarely lived out from the moment I decide it to. It takes work getting there. Sometimes it’s the weirdest way one gets to be prepared for the one thing one wants to do.

I still want to go to the Middle East. That is still in my scope, and while I in the beginning couldn’t see how I would get the competencies I seemed to need, now I’m in a very different position where I might have a shot!

To me “faking it” meant realising I had no clue, speak out that I didn’t know but would love to learn and act on it.

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At the end of a day, my mouth would have its own mind and literally send signals to my brain on how bored it was. Why no candy? Why not that icecream from the freezer? OH OH OH, Look at that lemon-marengue pie? But a couple of days ago it basically said, Kat, you simply cannot watch more TV without one of those crusty rolls you bought for the weekend. It is simply not possible.

And you know, like training a dog as owners rewards the dog for the desired behaviours, I may have rewarded my mouths desires with all four of them.

It was a surprise to me how big an influence something so seemingly innocent as sugar can have and how dramatic my body can seem to be. After 2-3 days of headaches and 8 days of cake alternatives, I actually made it to the other side of all the drama-tantrums – sick of almonds, despite them being a regular in my household.

Now I have 20 days left and I can feel my body being a-okay (now I’m not talking diabetes wise, because that is another story for another day). I still miss my friday-night candy and I do want that Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer, but I’m not being that dramatic about it anymore. I’m simply okay going without.

Fasting from something is breaking with something that seems to have too much power over you.

I never actually thought I’d get to this point, where I would be okay with not entertaining my mouth with whatever cake was at my disposal. Learning, that it’s okay to be bored, and that it is literally unhealthy to give in to whatever need I have. But also breaking with a potential “comfort” before it got out of control and I had to fight other health-related issues.

I’d rather get a healthy, comfortable relation to the things that can create so much havoc in my life than to look back and wonder why I didn’t deal with this when I could.

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As I was laying in bed trying to wake up, I wondered how to get around this idea or commitment I made the night before. Actually, I’ve tried to find loopholes all morning. How can I at some point in the nearest future eat that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream I have in the freezer? How can I justify buying my loved candy? And then it just dawned on me: I have a problem. Sugar in all forms unhealthy has an unnatural grip on my life. It takes a focus it shouldn’t have and for that reason alone, this is important.

Now, I’m diabetic. Type 1. So sugar will always in some form be a natural remedy to my expected lows. Many believes that I am sick because of sugar, but that’s not how it is – and that is why it is important for me to underline that this journey I’m sharing right now has nothing to do with my blood sugar. Now I expect that this choice I make the next 40 days will have an important impact in this area, but I do not choose not to eat sugar because of it. I believe that with the medicine we have today, a diabetic can live a normal life – and besides it’s all carbs that is an issue, so you can’t really live safe being sugar free – popcorn can make your blood sugar rise just as much as candy can. Maybe not as dramatically, but it will happen.

No, I am making this choice, because I do not want to be that lady who cannot control my need for sugar to function. I want to be able to have Cake-fridays, and then choose healthier options throughout the week. I want a healthy body, because I believe that it can be a journey in a healthier God-life as well. I do not want anything binding me, letting me become someone I am not intended to be.

So this is it. Day 40. In my fasting from sugar. The rule is I can eat fruit, and food with sugar in it (such as honey) but not the good processed sugar, candy, and things with processed sugar such as icecream and cakes.

This is my manifestation. This blog is supposed to keep me responsible. And this is me trying train some strength into this area of my life, where I unfortunately has a wormy-backbone (we say “en rygrad som en regnorm” in Danish).

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Something dangerous about a woman;
Content with how things are;
In acceptance of the season she is in.

Loving what is today
Knowing that, accepting a season
does not make it permanent.

Change is happening
In all spheres of life;
some just quicker than others.

Taking away all distractions
Allowing her to focus on the reality
Seeing the possibilities for the future.

Possibilities not distracted
by norms of others.
by what she is ‘supposed’ to do.

But having true freedom
to feel, deep down;
“What is my God-spoken way of life?”

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During one of my “seasons of sorrow”, yearning for the circumstances I didn’t get to experience, I found myself reading Timothy Kellers book “The Meaning of Marriage”. I wanted to figure out what it that marriage-thing actually was and why I wanted it so badly. As I reached the end it dawned on me: As much as I did want that kind of marriage…

I just didn’t want that right now.

Suddenly, I found myself in a new situation. What do I do when that one thing I’ve been yearning for and in sorrow of not having for so long, is the one thing I want at some point in the future – I’m just not ready right now? In this season of life, everyone around me seems to settle down, can it be socially acceptable as a Christian to not want to get married and have a family life at this moment? Would that mean that my chances would pass and never come back?

And, so began my first season of acceptance. I remember it not being a walk in a park, but it set me free from a lot of expectations I had. It gave me space to actually feel and not try to feel what I thought everyone expected me to as a single believer at the end of my twenties.

Just because I accepted the state of things right at that moment, it didn’t mean I wanted it that way. It didn’t mean I was okay with being single. It just meant I found the ability to love life and accept it. I found the ability to accept the road I was on.

Loving single life doesn’t mean that it is set in stone that I will be single for the rest of my life… And thank God for that!

A year ago I found myself at my mom’s wedding. I chose to love the irony of attending my mother’s wedding and that she got to experience while I was still waiting for that first time around. Despite this, pretty much every member of our distant family gave me “much needed advice”. One told me not to grow too comfortable. Another, to get moving.

That did not make me go home feeling cared for and comfortable enough to jump at any chance of a date. It made me go home feeling uncomfortable, unloved and wrong.

The thing just is, that you can do everything right and still not hit jackpot. Finding someone is a miracle on it’s own. And yes, we do need to do what is natural in order for God to pull his overnatural, miracle way.

The thing just is, that I don’t want to settle for less. I want to be with that God-chosen one. And that takes time, work and a miracle.

At the end of the day, I’m the one who has to pull myself up every time yet another one has a band on that “leadership finger”. Yet another one turned out to have a girlfriend. Yet another one wasn’t interested in me like that. Yet another one found my boundaries too much. Not you.

And that is why I made a rule of acceptance in my single-chronicles:

Accepting life never makes any state of life permanent. It just makes it liveable. And a whole lot more fun to live!

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“We’re not gonna be able to be really with people if we are not able to be real about where we really are and say ‘we just really need you, Jesus'”
– Bob Goff.

Once upon a time, in a church in Denmark I was sitting in the choir. I had committed to singing that specific Sunday morning. I don’t remember why. But I had one of those moments where I just felt life sucked. I remember sitting almost up under the roof where the organ was, listening to the priest, having a moment with God just saying to myself “Ok. This sucks. So, I don’t believe in you anymore.” I don’t remember what the priest said. But I do remember having this clear feeling just moments after, that “huh, God. You just really love me. ” And my few moments as a non-believer passed.

It was almost as if God whispered to me, “but Kat, I just love you. ” And that was all I needed. In that moment.

I have never hidden to any of my friends – believers or not – that I don’t always agree with God. Actually, one time, at a wedding, I shared in a private moment with the bride, that God and I were fighting. We had a disagreement as to where I was supposed to be in life by now. She shared with me that she’d always wondered, why I kept holding on to my faith, when it seemed to be so hard sometimes and go against what I wanted. And I remember answering;

“because I know God’s the one being right in the end. I just need time to get there”.

The thing about faith is that people are watching you. Not just when things are going well.

It is so easy to point to God and tell your friends about all the things that are happening when things are going well. Just as easy as it is for people in a relationship to tell singles to “not waste time not enjoying singleness. Because once you get in a relationship…”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe God can use every sphere his children are in, in his mission to bring people back to him.

But, I’ve learned that my faith tend to be the one thing people can’t stop noticing, when everything in my life just sucks, and I am still on my knees, praising God.

I may not remember a moment in life without God. I don’t have a crazy “coming to faith”-story or a story about how God’s healing during baptism.

God has been a constant companion throughout my life, as long as I can remember. What I believed and did back then may not necessarily be what I believe and do today. And, I’m not perfect. I am a sinner too. I may not have always been faithful to the road he is leading me towards, but I’ve always been loyal to it.

The thing just is, that there is just as much power in the story of a lifelong journey with God walking the road he’s leading me towards as any other faith-story. Because people notice.

A friend told me, that it was people like me, who kept holding on throughout their entire lives that led her to believe and trust, that, that “God-thing” might actually be true.

So. Don’t ever doubt that God isn’t using you. You may not notice. Sometimes it isn’t when you are pointing towards him, but when you are living your life trying to pass whatever bump your facing on the road of life. It may not always be the masks you let people see in public that makes people wonder. But it may be when you let the mask drop that they notice that you act what you preach.

In the end, we do not have to do anything but getting out of the way. God is in control. No matter what, walking with Jesus, people will notice. And I pray that, my actions will point them to him and be a light in their darkness, making them wonder.

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I’ve heard life compared to seasons. That spring-feeling that spreads through you when love takes every thought, every action hostile. I know about parts of life being compared to a dessert. Every step is taken in agony – yet, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.

Personally, I’ve always found life to be like a hallway. Some you rush through like a wind, others you’ve been camping in for so long that you know every detail of that one room. Sometimes you find yourself in more than one hallway at once. At work things are flying, while in your home-life-hallway you may find every door locked or barricaded.

We’ve all been there. That one barricaded hallway where there seems to be no breakthrough.

To me, that “all to familiar”-hallway is my singleness. I know every surface of that room, every colour, every detail. I even try to splash things up a little, brigthen it up, making it home.

Every once in a while, I try to push through to see if ‘now is the time’, but the doors in this one hallway always seems so unnaturally barricaded. Every once in a while something happens, but I always end up back in that room, counting the boards in the sealing, waiting for the extraordinary.

I don’t understand why. I don’t understand why I can’t, when so many around me gets to. But I know how it feels when it’s a God-timing.

Though, my heart is not there yet my reasoning, mind and senses knows that Gods timing is the one to count on. I know how it feels when God wants something in my life.

Sometimes God scatters opportunities in front of me, sits back and watches me take up the pieces, studying them and choosing. Other times, it is like I don’t even have to push any door open. It will be opened for me and I will be forced through, kicking and screaming like the kid in a supermarket not getting that one candy bar.

Over the years, I’ve learned that change doesn’t necessarily happen because I do something extraordinary. I can prepare the circumstances. I can even try to prepare myself. But in the end, God is the one doing the extraordinary, and if he doesn’t think it’s time – it won’t be.

The hardest part is not waiting or going through the process of the wait. It is not trying to believe it will happen in my own life or to someone else. Having chosen him to lay the road before me, I can’t know when, where or with whom neither in my life nor for the people around me. While the wait is hard, the hardest part of it is the fact that we are waiting for his timing. Not mine.

In the midst of it all, taking desires and life-wishes off the table, the ultimate hardest part is praying ‘Thy will be done’ and trusting that no matter what, the road laid before me is the best road taken.

I don’t know why I’m single. I don’t know why you are. I don’t know whether I’ll ever not be. But I trust that God knows what he’s doing. Even if my fleeting heart doesn’t always agree I know that the process he is taking me through is the best for me. Though this road is narrow and less travelled, I choose to trust the one that can do extraordinary things instead of my own abilities to create a destiny.

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Photo by Art_of_ROSH on Unsplash

Photo by Art_of_ROSH on Unsplash

Life took a drastic turn for me and my siblings when our dad died 7 years ago. He passed away while on a holiday in Egypt – a holiday my very generous brother had given him as a present. Little did we know how this one loss would start an avalanche of events in all of our lives.

You see, me and my siblings are three very different, yet on some levels similar people. Thus, we also had three very different ways of taking care of our grief. And while we also had to learn how to make grief a part of life, mental health issues started to surface in my siblings lives as well.

The past seven years we’ve had to deal with a lot of different terms of way they act and find explanations to those that did not necessarily fit the people my sister and brother were and are. Because, sometimes it is not my brother or my sister acting, but that something inside them telling them to go against their common nature. And on that note, one thing is fighting against things your body is physically trying to express, another thing is, when you can’t seem to trust your own mind and psyche.

In all of this, my siblings are growing to become two very strong, independent people who in their own ways are handling whatever is thrown at them with grace and dignity, knowing the strength of asking for help and getting to know when is it themselves acting and when is it that mental illness inside of them speaking. Seeing these two people grow up with seemingly all odds against them and still becoming the best versions they can be is an awestriking experience knowing that their fight against themselves along with everything else.

But here am I. The healthy one. And it’s not that I don’t love my family or that they could do anything different. But when everyone around you are fighting battles against themselves and is in need of extra attention due to their mental wellbeing, one thought has started to surface within me.

What about me?

I am healthy, yeah. And, yes I am strong enough to carry a little bit extra. But sometimes I am looked towards as if I don’t need the extra attention every once in a while. I am being put in the – “She is healthy, so I don’t need to ask how she is or check up on her or compliment her”-box.

Yesterday, I was calling my mother – who in her own way are trying to find a way to be mentally and physically stable in all the storms she finds herself in at the moment, and I threw a rather “on the edge of being cruel”-joke. “I guess, I have to invent a mental illness to get people’s attention in this family. ” followed up by the laughing comment whether this one joke was made “too soon? ”

But if I for a moment have to look past all the social conducts, how I am supposed to think about it all and the expectations of the strong elder sister, I find it hard to overlook the feeling of being so much alone.

I feel like standing very much alone on top of Mount Everest not knowing who I can count on to catch me? I find myself moving in the shadows of my siblings illnesses trying not to be in the way of them getting the help and attention they need.

I know one of my siblings will hate reading this, because this one already struggles with the seemingly need of getting all of this attention in order to become a healthier version of oneself. And I’m not trying to destroy this process.

However, I can’t help but wonder, when the unthinkable, unrelatable crisis hits a family – who takes care of the healthy ones?

I thought I had learned how to create boundaries between it all. Where my role as the big-sis comes with a strong mind, understanding and a shoulder begins and where my life as a human being who has needs as well gets a role too.

But sometimes the two intertwine and get mixed-up. Sometimes I have to be the stable, understanding Big-Sis without being any of it underneath it all. It can get overwhelming having to surpress one’s own needs in order to hold another ones.

When is it okay to step back to gain stable ground again? When should I be the stable, understanding family-member without showing the chaos on the inside?

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