The past decade has been a tumultuous and life-changing one for me. However, if I had to pick a single set of experiences that shook me to my core, it was when I was involuntarily hospitalized for postpartum psychosis, released, relapsed, and sent to see a psychiatrist for a year.
There was a time in my life that I can only describe with a visual of picturesque hut on the beach with a thatched bamboo floor. I found the perfect romantic partner, laid the floor one twig at a time, and felt ready for whatever life brought our way.
But then, life brought with it a series of challenges that we hadn’t proofed our house for. It ripped us apart in ways I could never have imagined. It was filled with devastating floods, financial loss, near-death experiences — and that was the easy part. However, losing my mind? Not knowing who I was anymore? If I was even sane? If I was worthy? I wasn’t even aware that that type of pain and confusion was possible.
The hardest part was having to put on a smile and pretend everything was okay — that I was still just the straight A student who had everything together. It was too much.
Thankfully, I sought out help — gobs of it. I began seeing a therapist and a life coach regularly. I finally become a regular meditator and a regular exerciser. I re-committed to a healthy diet. I got more sleep regularly. I started to practice mindfulness. I began to practice yoga.
Today, I love tweaking my daily habits. I have been a self-help junkie for some time now. I learned that you can recover, but it is a life-long process. You can find yourself again. Change is just part of the natural cycle of life.
Of course, there are still many days when I get terrified, but I’ve learned to not take that fear so seriously. I know that I’ll get up and try again. I strongly believe, more than anything else, that I’ve changed my mindset. I try every day to be kind to myself and to others. Sometimes, I skip some of my healthy habits, or I catch myself being mean. But I practice little steps each and every day. I live them in each and every moment.
I recently stepped out of the day to day operations of my family business to spend more time with my daughter. I still work plenty of hours each week, but my career will never again be all-consuming. I try not to be afraid to make changes when my heart tells me to do so.
I am truly grateful for the pain I experienced, because now I can say with certainty that I will never give up or think about priorities as an afterthought. As I’ve found with so many endeavors in life, it is more about the journey itself than about reaching the peak of the mountain.
Wherever you are in life, here’s what I can tell you: Prioritize your family and friends. Remember to take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to seek out help. It’s not shameful to do so — and there are many resources out there for that exact purpose. It’s never too late to get started.
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.