It’s been just over a year since my break down and no one knew about it. I didn’t know I was having a break down but I knew something wasn’t right. I was delivering leadership programmes to high flyers for one of the biggest corporations in the world on one hand and on the other running to the loo’s during breaks and having panic attacks.
There were a number of things that contributed towards my break down, a supposed friend screwing me over with work, leaving me with little money to survive when I had just moved into my own apartment, coupled with worry for my mum and dad’s health. My dad’s dementia was deteriorating fast, my mum was telling she couldn’t cope anymore.
I often wonder how many others are in the same space I was. How many are suffering in silence?
Statistically one in four people will go through mental health issues at some point in their lives.
I didn’t tell anyone out of embarrassment, I even kept quiet during a situation, where I was verbal bullied by a ‘trusted’ colleague, who took great pleasure to weight shame me in front of a room full of colleagues, “my laptop weigh’s more than you,” she said.
I didn’t have the strength to be strong back, verbally address her myself and put her right.
As Joyce Meyer puts it ‘hurting people hurt people.’ At the time, all I wanted was someone to put their arm around me and tell me it was going to be OK.
I can guarantee that every person in their lifetime will feel lonely and in need of an arm, not words that dis-arm.
Lets look at what happens when you acknowledge where you’re at.
What you think you speak, when you speak out loud you’re framing your reality, so for example “this situation is really bad and I can’t see a way out.” Say that out loud right now, and notice how you feel. When I said those words to myself repeatedly all I could see was darkness and me falling into it deeper and deeper into it.
Now say, “there is light, there is hope.” How do you feel now? What emotions does this bring up in you?
One evening I marched over to my kitchen in floods of tears, another panic attack rising from my chest. My mind went into a realm of dark thoughts.
Another contributing factor was when I had plucked up the courage to text a close friend, a best friend with words of desperation and request for prayer. I did not get a reply back or phone call. In fact the next time we did speak there was no initiating of the text I had sent. I was lonely and embarrassed that I had shown such vulnerability, that I was burdening a friend who was probably trying to cope with her own stuff.
I couldn’t sleep or eat, going to bed angry, waking up angry. I’d have arguments with God, “why God why?” always met with silence. It wasn’t until one day I threw my bible on the floor in anger… silence again…During that silence I randomly went onto my Instagram to try and focus on something else and up popped a quote, I can’t remember the quote, but do remember the feeling it left me with. A small glimmer of hope. That day as I opened my empty purse I found a card with counselling services being delivered by a church that I had picked up years ago.
Several weeks later I was walking out of my counselling session having reconnected with hope and love, my counsellor helped me to re frame my reality and un-frame the guilt, shame and disappointment with myself.
Emotions are so heavily tied with our mental state which is why re-framing and un-framing reality is one of the main keys to freedom.
As for God, well it wasn’t until I went to church one evening straight after my session that someone came up to me and held my hands and said “God wants you to know that he see’s you and that when you cry, he cries with you.”
I spent the next 12 months sometimes weeping, sometimes sobbing. Releasing rubbish and pushing through the rabbit holes too see, feel and touch the light. I started to expect good things to come, slowly but surely they did. Slowly but surely I changed my diet to less coffee and sugar to more vegetables. Stopped watching TV altogether, focusing my energy on creating.
I love the whole process of creating, it brings me freedom and joy. So next time you find yourself down a rabbit hole, take into account these things:
- Connect with creating, create something new, think about an idea you have and visualise it growing, this will give you hope, expectancy and also change your emotionally state.
- Find a quiet space to reflect, that could be with nature or your home, a place where you have peace.
- Re-frame your reality, even if you don’t believe what you’re saying, say it anyway! Say positive things about yourself in the present. For example, I am amazing, strong and believe all things will come good.
- Reach out, you are not alone, trust me.