Most of you are aware of my mental health journey from the honest conversations I have during your physio session or the blog I wrote earlier this year. When my world fell apart in 2010, I found myself in a very dark place. Life was so painful and difficult that I no longer wanted to live. The only thing that kept me going was my two beautiful boys. For them, I had to find a way to out, they needed me.
So I began my slow steady journey to happiness. I had to take baby steps and deal with one thing at a time otherwise it was too overwhelming. I started with counselling to process the feelings I had of anger, resentment, shame, grief and failure following my divorce. This enabled me to see some light at the end of the tunnel and life didn’t seem so bleak. Even though it felt good to get rid of these negative emotions, I was still feeling anxious and not particularly happy.
So I decided to try mindfulness, after all it was what I was recommending to my clients. I did an 8 week mindfulness course, it was a huge ‘lightbulb moment’ for me. To learn how to switch off the voice inside my head was a revelation. I found a way to calm my mind and ease my feelings of stress & anxiety. To this day, I try to live mindfully by living in the present moment and not get caught up in my internal dialogue. Daily meditation helps to keep me present.
As a runner, I have always felt the benefits of physical exercise on my mental health. Running has always been my go to for relieving stress, getting rid of negative emotions and clearing my head. I didn’t realise that other forms of exercise could have the same benefits until I took up yoga. I remember taking yoga classes in my twenties and saw it as just an exercise class for strength, balance & flexibility. After doing my mindfulness course I started to appreciate the true value of yoga for mind, body & spirit. Now my yoga practise is as important to me as my running.
Through mindfulness and yoga, I became more aware of my body, my thoughts and emotions. I started to notice triggers for my anxiety and wanted to get to the root cause of the problem. This is when Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helped. CBT gave me the tools to change my automatic responses to situations and disconnect from my anxiety triggers.
By this time I was in a much calmer place. My mood was lifted, I didn’t feel depressed or anxious anymore. Yet I didn’t feel particularly happy. I knew it was up to me to make myself happy so I started to read several self help books and listen to podcasts about self discovery & happiness. I also sought advice from Suzanne our mindfulness teacher.
I found out so much about myself. My limiting and unhelpful beliefs which were holding me back and preventing me from having a happy fulfilled life. I needed to let go of these and just be kind to myself. I learned how to love, be kind and have respect for myself which was the greatest lesson of all. Finally I found my happy place.
I am so grateful for all the challenges life has given me, It has taught me so much about myself and life in general. It’s made me a better person, mum and therapist and for that I am truly thankful.