I fell in a hole. Then I crawled back out.
It’s 35 days since I touched down on terra firma. Jet lag’s done and dusted, the big adventure receding into once upon a time status, and I’m settled back into normality – taking for granted the luxuries of my pillow, my car, and our pristine drinking water. Yet for most of those 35 days, my mental health has been really shit.
I tried pretending otherwise – attributing moodiness, exhaustion, and erratic behaviour to post-holiday come down. Then things deteriorated and I had to acknowledge I’d relapsed. All the tools I’ve learned in three years – and frequently share with others for their struggles – flew out the window. I felt my feet straddling an invisible line – one side pulling me into recovery, and the other dragging me into dark places, despair and ultimately – death.
The lure of the dark side is nauseatingly appealing.
I have a desire and willingness to invest in the mammoth task of recovery, while simultaneously desperate to return to the rock at the bottom of the hole. That rock bottom so often talked about, but desperately misunderstood.
A week ago I was hanging by a tenuous thread. Self-harm rearing it’s ugly, seductive head. My eating schedule ancient history. Breakfast and lunch fell off the menu when unsupervised, before eating us out of house and home when my husband came home. Purging returned. Anything to numb the disgust festering in my belly, next to the endless bowls of muesli and nuts.
Unsurprisingly, my weight escalated. Erratic eating equals erratic weight – usually in an undesired direction. The more it escalated, the worse I felt. Consumed with shame, self-loathing, fear, and overwhelming hopelessness. How did I get here – again? Will it ever end? What the fuck is wrong with me?!
Last weekend I mentally tallied all my medication.
My single tenuous hold on life when I feel that overwhelmed, is dad. My 85 year old father is the most powerful reason I cling to life. Having lost two children already, I can’t bear the thought of him burying another. Then another day passes, my head feels clearer, and my golden rule, never make a permanent decision based on temporary emotions proves very wise.
Now I’ve fished out my big girl socks and crawled out of the hole. My friend confiscated my tools of self-harm. I have locally sourced vegetables delivered every week. I’m cooking with the beautiful produce. I’ve even started occasional housework. But above and beyond, I’ve written and recorded my vision.
I’ve been listening to Bob Proctor’s Paradigm Shift. While the seminar’s primarily focused on financial wealth, changing mindset paradigms is just as applicable to warring voices in my head. It was suggested we write a Power Life Script. Horrid title…. I’ve called mine a vision. I recorded it and popped it in my playlist. The vision shows me a future I’d love to live in and I confess it’s made a big impact on my state of mind.
To finish on a happy note, here’s my vision.
I’m at peace. My spirit’s strong, with the fortitude to face all that life spills onto my path. The warring voices in my head are silenced, while the voice of courage and wisdom nestled by my heart fills me with hope. I have deep-seated contentment resting within me, cushioned in the knowledge I have all that I need – loving connections, material comfort, and purposeful contribution.
I know acceptance of mind and body. My body is home to all that I am, have been, and all that’s to come. I’m grateful it can withstand the onslaught of illness or abuse, and thankful for the three fat babies it nurtured and fed. I’m grateful for a body that takes me into nature – near and far, high and low – to experience the joy of the natural world. I accept all I am and have ever been – the magical opportunities afforded in music and teaching, and the gift of writing now quenching my intellectual and creative thirst. I’m grateful for the blessings of good health, curious intellect, and empathic awareness.
My newfound peace and acceptance came through spiritual awareness. A willingness to be open and receptive to faith, hope, prayer, and God. I reap the rewards of stronger connections, belief in myself, and a deep sense of purpose in being.
My relationships with family and friends are anchors that steady me through stormy seas. My husband and I have a deep and abiding love, founded in friendship, respect and open communication. Our boys fulfill their dreams, with loving partners by their sides, ready to bring children into the world when the time is right. Grandchildren I adore, snuggled to my breast with nostalgia for the profound love and peace I felt as a new mother. My closest friends remain pillars of strength and love. A circle of six graciously sharing their lives with me – love, loss, laughter and levity. The sisters I choose to have by my side.
My routine is familiar – eating regularly, going to the gym, and maintaining my home. I luxuriate in a full nights sleep and make time for self-care. I’m always writing – in my blog, latest book, articles. I contribute financially through freelance writing, editing, and supporting my friend’s business. I’m immensely proud of my memoir and the lives it touched, and I’m reaping the rewards of the app my son and I developed.
Our house is vibrant with fresh paint and new floors. Every room complete and purposeful, furnished with memories from the last five decades. I blissfully soak in our new bath, loll in the sunshine on my daybeds, and nourish body and soul with fresh delights prepared in our brand new kitchen.
My life is filled with people, places, purpose and peace. I travel and write. Spend time with those I adore. And balance work, rest and play, rewarding me with a life well lived and loved. I’m thankful for all I am and all I have. Finally – I am enough.