The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
I thought I had it all.
I had a job that paid well and all the perks that went with it. I drove an expensive car and rented a spacious (but overpriced) apartment well-stocked with the latest modern conveniences.
I had a circle of equally high-flying, workaholic acquaintances, and we’d spend what little free time we had downing expensive drinks together in fashionable nightclubs and bars.
Fully occupied with my busy schedule, I never looked up long enough to realize that a cloud of discontent followed me everywhere I went. I also didn’t realize that chasing material excess was simply my subconscious attempt to outrun it.
When the mind discovers that you are no longer afraid of its content, it will leave you alone.
There I was again — lying in bed paralyzed by emotion. Constant noise clamored for the attention of my awareness like an uninvited circus.
Calliope music screeched a cacophony of self-criticism as lions roared and circled below me, eagerly awaiting my plunge from the high wire after losing my delicate balance between safety and self-destruction.
What could I have done to deserve this?
I lay there, unable to move physically, but tortured by a violent mental fight that raged within me. My mind wrestled with intricate contortions in an attempt to keep its balance when what it really needed was stillness.
My consciousness kept trying to put out fire with fire, to silence thought with more thought. But these were only flames of a different color.
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.~Paulo Coelho
If you had said to me at the peak of my suffering that it would be the best thing to happen, I would have thought you were mad.
If you had told me then that it would transform my life, change the direction of my career and enhance my relationships with my children and loved ones I would never have believed you.
But this is exactly what happened. I was stressed, highly anxious and thoroughly depressed at my worst. I never realised that this experience was a blessing! Up until this point I had been sleep walking through my life and it was the wake-up call I needed.
Since the start of this year, and for 8 months following that, I have been battling with feeling depressed. And even though I thought I had overcome it during the first few months, its devastating effects lingered and haunted me in subtle ways.
It wasn’t until a series of personal struggles and more episodes of emotional breakdowns that followed, did it eventually “crack” me and had bring me back to a place of serenity.
This is a slice from that story.
I have been writing and rewriting this article on and off for several months, each time exposing different details and insights. With every version, I would allow self-doubt or excuses to over take me, I would then scrap the piece and start over.
Truth be told, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I was ashamed at who I had become. I felt lost. I was struggling with everything and I had to “stand up” again.
Then it occurred to me that, sharing my struggles with you is a good thing. It exposes my own battles, the techniques which help me overcome them, and what I have learned through the experience.
It also shows you that all of us are in this together, in that we all dip into the pit falls of life’s turbulence, but we always recover, and often as a better person.