I have no doubt that many would view having a complete breakdown, and having your life completely dismantled would be the worst thing that could ever happen in a persons life time. I know. I thought it for a long time as well and I can remember as a child hearing about people that had had ‘nervous breakdowns’ and understanding at a very young age that having a breakdown was something I should never do. But I did. Insanity became my new norm, along with the deep desire to want to die. Now I know this fall is the greatest gift I have ever been given.
What must happen in ones life to believe that the only choice you have left is to take your own life? How many times do you have to fail and fall before you can take no more? To no longer want to exist in your reality, no longer feel the love, joy, and excitement that life is. To feel that nobody in the whole world needs you, understands you, wants you, desires you or loves you for who you really are, and to believe that you are nothing but a disappointment and a failure to the people closest to you. It is without doubt the lonliest place anyone could ever find themselves.
There were many reasons why I had a breakdown but there were also many reasons I made the choice not to take my own life. At the time I was literally losing my mind, I was also firm in my belief and knowing that I was being directed to something ‘better’. Losing my mind, my body, my health, my family, my career, and my friends within a short space of time pushed me into a darkness I never believed was possible. I had known depression before, and for close to a decade I had navigated, medicated and managed the rocky terrain of living, working, studying, raising children, re-building my self and my life all with the heaviness of depression continuously weighing me down. In contrast that depression seemed like a walk in the park compared to what I have endured over the past three years. Now I know that decade of depression was getting me ready to battle the biggest fall of my life – those years were the stepping stones that taught me how to rise, how to pick myself up again and again. The difference now is that I have learnt to rise with an open heart and to turn away from fear. I do this not because I believe nothing bad will ever happen to me again, but because I know I can now get through anything simply because I have come back to who I really am. I am firm in my belief that I am enough just as I am, I am no longer buying into the old sad story that the world is against me.
Today, sitting here writing this it almost feels as though it happened to somebody else..(almost!). I feel so well, I feel so free and I feel beyond blessed that I found my way through to the other side. This knowing that I am so supported, connected and loved by a force much bigger than myself could never have occurred otherwise. This turning from fear to love would for me otherwise have remained undone.
My breakdown was the catalyst for changing my life and essentially changing the person that I was. I can’t go back to living my life the way I used to. Working in a job that I didn’t particularly enjoy (but I convinced myself that it was fine because it payed well and there was a certain amount of prestige with it- hello ego!!), feeling constantly tired and fatigued and battling with health issues (and believing it was a normal part of growing older), always rushing and busy, overstretched (yet never feeling like I was doing anything well and never feeling fully present), struggling with money and always feeling broke (despite earning the most I had ever earned), and never feeling fully connected to those around me (I had shut my heart off because I was carrying so much pain and hurt from my past. It was easier to put my guard up and try to protect myself rather than open to others).
This morning I read this quote from Brene Brown and it resonated..deeply.
There is no greater threat to the critics, the cynics and fearmongers than a woman who is willing to fall because she has learned how to rise.
I read it and I felt it..the words resonating from deep within. I know I’ve fallen, and I know I’ve risen to levels I never thought possible. But the rising hasn’t just happened now, I didn’t wake up one morning and say ‘Yep I’ve made it, I’ve risen once again’. This rising was a slow and challenging process where it felt like I lost myself over and over again. Rising happened the moment I made the decision to not take my own life, it happened the moment I decided to confront and feel the pain I had been holding on to for a lifetime, it happened when I made the commitment to no longer betray myself, to learn to finally love and respect myself, when I made the decision to do whatever I needed to do to return to the me that I really am. I rose when I looked for the light amongst the darkness. I rose when I stayed committled to believing that the Universe has me cradled securely within its grips. Rising feels like strength, like truth and like real courage. But at the time it felt like nakedness and absolute vulnerability. Many times it felt like weakness.
I rise- not because I feel as though I have to prove myself after my falling but rather because rising for me means coming back to the truth of who I really am – who God intended me to be- and for me there is no greater achievement in life than that.
Every day I make the choice to continue to rise. Rising for me comes from the most basic of choices I make…the food I eat, the way I move my body, the way I talk to myself, the way I speak and interact to others around me, the daily choices that I make that will either benefit me or hinder me, the time I put myself to bed, the way I allow other peoples actions to affect me. Its all a form of rising. Its all a form of LOVE.