The ten year anniversary of my second mental breakdown is coming up in a few weeks, so it seems fitting to share this post for World Mental Health Day. My first breakdown happened in 2002. It was triggered by a silly decision, which led to falling out with a lot of my then closest friends.
Over the next four years I unravelled in the most spectacular of ways
My finger was firmly attached to the self-destruct button, and my mental state slowly deteriorated. Cutting ties with my entire family in 2005 took me to a seriously dark place. By November 2006 I properly fell apart, and truly hit rock bottom.
As the anniversary approaches, the date has been playing heavily on my mind. In the last ten years I have fundamentally changed as a person, and have become the type of me I could only dream of being prior to 2006. It took a lot of hard work, but once I was determined to turn my life around, it was clear what I needed to do. I wrote about the entire journey in my book Become the Best You.
Here are the things I wish that I’d known between my two mental breakdowns
Don’t doubt him. Ever! He loves you more than you allow yourself to believe could be true, and he will give you a wonderful future if you let him. Marriage, kids, the whole works. You don’t think you deserve him, and that kind of life, but you do.
Real friends will not care that you’ve screwed up, they will love you regardless. They’ll forgive your drunkarn mistakes, offer a shoulder to cry on, and be there in your hour of need.
Blood isn’t always thicker than water. Tough decisions will be made, and you’ll come to realise that walking away from the people who are supposed to love you the most is the only way you will get to be the person you want to be.
The first step of moving on is making peace with the past. No-one drinks themselves into oblivion or takes shed loads of drugs just for sh*ts and giggles. Behind every addict, or person with a drinking problem there is a story. To truly forget the sins of the past, you have to face them head-on, and make peace with them. Unless you do this, they will haunt you forever.
Eating well really does help. Cutting out the junk food and refined sugar will do more for your mental state than you could possibly imagine. Changing the way you’re eating sounds scary, but once you get started it’ll be just fine. Gone will be the brain fog and wading through treacle feeling, and you’ll have proper energy for the first time in your life.
No amount of booze or drugs will make you forget. They might do temporarily, but when the hangover and/or comedown kicks in you’ll hate yourself even more. The answers will never be found at the bottom of a bottle, or in a strangers bed.
Counselling costs a lot, but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. You’ll get over the money as soon as you see how much sense Nina talks. That woman will be sunshine on a rainy day, and you’ll be eternally grateful to her.
What you need and what you want are NOT the same thing. Once you learn to distinguish between the two, and separate them, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement to your quality of life.
Making yourself look good won’t guarantee happiness. Losing weight, fixing your teeth and having a perpetual suntan might occasionally boost your self-esteem, but you’ll learn that there is much more to it than superficial looks.
Self-help books are awesome, but you need to be ready to take the information you’re being given on-board. It’s all well and good reading these enlightening, inspirational books, but you also have to be in a position to implement the advice afterwards.
No-one else can make the changes for you. No man, or woman will save you. You need to make the agonising decisions, and not be afraid to jump in head first, and have the courage of your convictions. A brand new, much happier, life is there for the taking, but you need to really want it, for it to become attainable.
Sending love today to anyone who needs it 💗