It is a very dangerous place to be in. For the first time in my life, I found myself waking up and falling asleep to the thoughts of giving up. I had break down after break down and honestly felt like I was completely depleted. I was also trying to process the idea that I had spent so much of my travel savings, not travelling. The thought that I was now having to work to save for travel all over again, only made the daily struggle so much harder. To top it all off, my ex-partner and I had tried to rekindle things again on my return from South America.
We had gone our separate ways when I left, but had both kept the thought in the back of our minds that maybe the space and distance would be just what we needed to realign our lives again. With the intense mental and emotional battle I was fighting inside myself, adding another person into the mix was one of the worst things I could have done for myself.
In the midst of all of this, my ex-partner and I tried to plan a trip together. He had finally agreed to travel with me so I wanted to make it happen as quickly as possible before he changed his mind. Everything was in place and ready to go on a practical level, but mentally and emotionally I was still no better. I had tried to channel every piece of me into planning our trip and it had drained every last ounce of energy I had left. In the week leading up to our departure date for our trip to Indonesia, I was riding on a high of stress, anxiety, excitement and nervousness.
I was frantically working to earn as much money as possible while also researching and planning constantly to try and make our trip as good as it could possibly be.
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I was also trying to balance out all of my other family and personal commitments. The scary part was that I was doing all of this while still skating nervously on the edge of my suicidal thoughts. I had tried to put the thoughts to the back of my mind, but it was only a matter of time before it all came crashing down.
Three days before our flight I reached the fourth night in a row of little to no sleep and was deeply feeling the effects of my mental state. It was like I was bursting from the inside out.
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My chest was so tight, my skin felt like it was crawling and I honestly thought I was going to explode. It was like all of the hopelessness, sadness and feeling of complete emptiness had built into this all-encompassing feeling that it just all needed to be over. On this day, three days before my flight, I had a complete mental and emotional break down. It was one of the most traumatic and difficult days of my life.
I was standing there in the car park of a recycle centre with my mum and my brother, bawling my eyes out, screaming, wailing and doubled over trying to fight the urge to step in front of the oncoming traffic. Every piece of my being no longer wanted to exist.
I had reached that pivotal moment where it was just all too much. I began thrashing my arms again and again on the wooden coppers log fence on the side of the road. I needed to feel something, anything. And I needed that pain in my chest, in my soul and my heart to stop. I just wanted the aching to go away. I wanted it all to go away.
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Eventually once I had given up and fallen into a heap on the ground, my mum and brother loaded me into the car. We were all in shock and were headed to the hospital. I clearly needed to get some help. As it turned out I broke my own hand that day. And quite severely. I had a pretty severe break, sprained my wrist and did long-term damage to the tendons around my fingers and knuckles.
It has taken me until recently to process the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences of the last year, that dark period in my life, and that day. Admitting to myself how I broke my hand was difficult. I was at the very bottom of the barrel in my life and had done it out of sadness, pain and frustration. It was a bitter pill to swallow to know that I had reached this point.
At the time, it seemed like one of the worst and most inconvenient situations that could have ever happened to me. The recovery time was estimated at 6 — 8 weeks, and in the end, it took almost three months of ongoing therapy to heal, with several more months of limited use.
Having to cancel my trip only days before leaving, being unable to drive for such a long time, and having to spend even more time at home than planned all seemed like a disaster at the time. While all of this was happening, it also became very clear that my five year relationship with my ex-partner was officially over. There was just no way forward for us. With so many enormous parts of my life suddenly ripped away from me all at once, I was left with what felt like nothing.
Looking back now, this was the catalyst that forced me to make the changes in my life that I really needed. It was this catalyst that lead me to where I am now in this moment. Realising that there was no-where else to go from that point made the path to positive health and well-being so much clearer.
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Being at your lowest point allows you to actually start from scratch. And that is exactly what I did. This is when the really difficult, but extremely beneficial self-healing took place. This was when my personal growth journey really happened. I decided to give seeing a psychologist another go, despite having very little success in the past. I needed to find other plans that I could put into action to get myself headed in the right direction again. I needed to search within and face the hard truths about myself, my life, my past and my future.
The psychologist helped me initially put a lot of things into perspective. During those initial sessions we also realised that I had never really processed all of the emotional scars I had obtained during the two years I spent helping my brother through his own battle with depression and suicide.
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I had never actually dealt with the fallout of that incredibly taxing and draining time in our lives that had taken place before I headed off to South America. Leaving on my enormous, and freeing solo trip had merely delayed the recovery process and had put the lasting effects of that turmoil on the back burner. I had been gliding by on the adrenalin of being in a constant state of hyper awareness for so long that when the adrenalin ran out, I came crashing down, red hot.
I gave myself the time and space to process all of the fear, anger and sadness that goes with helping someone through suicide and depression. I started to realise how incredibly depleted I was following that period in our lives and how incredibly grateful I was to still have him in my life. This was such a therapeutic process for me that I never even realised I needed or gave myself the opportunity to consciously think about.
During our discussions I also realised that it was ok for me to walk away from my five year relationship. She made me realise what I already knew, that we were different people who were holding each other back and causing each other stress and frustration.
We needed to move on from our relationship and in a very real and permanent way with no secret reservations or hopes that we would one day reunite again. Cementing this idea in my mind that it was completely over, made processing the loss and grief of that relationship so much more real. It allowed me to properly deal with my emotions and to finally move on mentally and emotionally from that part of my life. Then began my own self-improvements. I found and implemented such a large number of tactics to help me fight my way back to the fit and healthy person I wanted to be.
Working extremely hard, I began to reshape my thought processes and patterns. I put in the ground work to ensure I had tactics and mechanisms in place to encourage positive growth as much as possible. I had never been a fan of journaling and hated the idea of just writing down my daily happenings. Then I found a journaling process that really worked for me.
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