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How did the hell did I get here?

About 6 years ago, I found myself being everything to everyone… except myself. Working full steam ahead with little thought for my own self love and self-care I put others needs before my own. Soon enough this began to manifest in terrible insomnia, where even if according to my Fitbit I ‘slept’ for 8 hours I would wake feeling exhausted, heavy and drained. And yet day after day I just kept going and thinking to myself “it will get better I just need to push through this phase”. Now not only was my slept dramatically being affected, my nutrition and food intake was also suffering.

Often I went without meals because

a. I wasn’t hungry and

b. I just couldn’t be bothered making anything.

Starting to see a pattern here? I wish I had earlier. Funnily enough I didn’t lose a lot of weight given how little I was actually eating (not that I did so to lose weight). When I did eat it would be snacks that let’s just say weren’t the most nutritious for my body.

Next came the endless tears, and often for no apparent reason. Anything and everything would set me off and there were days I just felt like I would never stop crying. More exhaustion then followed. So, with terrible insomnia, less than desirable nutrition and overwhelming sadness I finally hit my brick wall (which is different for everyone).

A little on my back story

For 3 years I was bullied at work by a manager who saw fit to overwork me to the point of exhaustion and overwhelm, combine that with a relationship with a toxic partner which ended with him moving 5 hours north (telling me after he had done so) and about 5 months of nil to little sleep.

Now don’t get me wrong I had choices within all of this (which I now recognise) and with the benefit of hindsight I would have gone about things a whole lot differently. Still here I was out for coffee with my parents one day and found myself crying uncontrollably in the main street of Penrith. I needed help and I needed it now!

Looking back on those times there were blindingly clear signs I was not ok and my mental health was in steep decline, all classic signs as I have now come to know:

  • Feeling anxious all the time
  • Feeling depressed and unhappy all the time
  • Emotional outbursts (crying for me)
  • Sleep issues (hello yep that is me)
  • Appetite changes (little to no eating meals)
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Problems concentrating
  • Feeling disconnected from reality
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness

What did this feel/ look like?

For me this felt like a heavy weighted blanket covering me all day every day. A darkness that never shifted and if anything became all consuming. Crying, insomnia and lack of food became my norm and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankfully substance abuse and self-harm never factored into my headspace although there were times I have to admit where I would have been quite happy not to have woken up in the morning.

I was blessed with a friend who saw the signs of me crashing and would call every night and ask me what was good about my day and what was for dinner. While this was a lovely gesture, at the time it did little to help me out of my darkness. I gave what I thought were the right answers and then I did the opposite (which I could do as I lived alone).

So on that day crying in the main street of Penrith, I made a choice for me, a step that led me on the path to healing and self-discovery. I chose to seek professional help.

My hope in writing this, is that if some or all of this resonates with you, know that you are not alone, you are not crazy and help is available. And most importantly you are worth the time and energy to heal you x

Where to get help

If you’re concerned about a friend or loved one, ask them how you can help. The first step for a person with symptoms of a mental health disorder is to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.

If you need more information and support, visit Head to Health or Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) for resources, helplines, apps, online programs and forums.

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