My real journey started when I left my husband even though for the longest time afterward I felt as if I was wading through quicksand. I crawled out of that marriage at the beginning of 2009, set myself up in a dingy little flat with my boys and pressed the self destruct button. Ever since I was in my early 20s whenever I was miserable I drank to numb the pain. On the outside I was a happy party girl, but I was dying on the inside. The first time this happened I was about 24 and had just split up from my long term boyfriend. I was absolutely devastated as I was completely crazy about him and as we had the same group of friends when we were around each other I drank so I could deal with it. In my mind at the time it made things easier, and it was a pattern that I would continue for many years and at this stage in my life it seemed like the easy thing to do. I felt like a complete failure, my marriage had failed and I lived in a shit hole with a woman in the flat beneath me who regularly didn’t take her medication and used to run around the garden naked…not exactly the best place to have that healing experience!
I moved house in March 2010 but mentally I continued in much the same way until the end of that year when I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Being me and never being one that does as I’m told, I didn’t take the anti-depressants even though the doctor told me that there was no way I was going to be able to partake in any therapy unless I took them as I was too deeply entrenched in it. What I did do was reach out to a friend of mine who I knew suffered from depression and asked his opinion. He told me about Pema Chodren and her book ‘When Things Fall Apart’ and that introduced me to the world of meditation. That one thing changed me for life. I went to a retreat down in Brighton and threw myself into it, which lasted for all of about 10 minutes when I got back home. However, every so often I would come back to it again for about a week, usually when I was trying to quit drinking but then it would fade away again. The depression became easier to deal with and I was able to carry on with life in a relatively ‘normal’ way from all outside appearances.
Then back at the beginning of 2019 the relationship I was in broke down. It had been one of those relationships where we never really should have never started anything and just stayed as friends from the beginning but at the time that we met we were both aching for that connection with someone else and that is what drew us together like magnets. Needless to say it didn’t work as neither of us was really emotionally available to the other one. At this point my drinking had increased to a bottle of wine a night along with a few gin and tonics to finish off the evening. However something had started to shift inside me. I began to notice that my voice inside my head which had always been so critical had very slightly changed…I was starting to be more loving to myself. And when I noticed it, that was when I started to nurture that shift. I started with positive affirmations (I had tried them before but it had felt a bit fake and I didn’t stick with it) but this time they stuck. I started visualisations and I began to meditate again. And by the July I liked myself enough to actually quit drinking. One day I went into Tesco on the way home from the school run and I went to the drinks aisle fully intending to get me my daily fix but something made me stop. Finally I loved myself enough to let it go. Instead I bought the non-alcoholic version and the rest is history.
At that point I thought all of my problems would be over and I would start to blossom, however that was as far from my experience as you could possibly get. The depression which I’d never really dealt with came back to rear it’s ugly head and this time I had to deal with it. And that was when the meditation really came into it’s own. By really becoming aware of the thoughts I was having through meditation and not just doing affirmations to gloss over the top I was able to peel back the layers and layers of heartache and pain that I’d pushed down over the last twenty five years or so and start to rebuild again. Don’t get me wrong affirmations are great tools to use, I do all the time, but sometimes you need to go deeper first. And that’s what I did. By the time the pandemic hit I was really starting to come into my own power again, and then the world went into lockdown.
To begin with I started to slide downward a little, but I decided I needed something to aim for so in May I signed up to walk 100km during the course of the month and I did it…just about. Then in June I signed up for Brett Moran’s ‘Meditation and Mindset Teacher Training’ and straight away I knew this is what I wanted to do. I know how much meditation can completely change your life and that is why I am so very passionate about it and why I want to teach it to as many people as I possibly can.
So that’s how I got to this point. Am I still a work in progress? Most definitely. We all are. And I will continue down this path because I know this works. A couple of weeks ago I met up with a friend who I’d not seen in a long time. He said he couldn’t believe how much happier I was, and I am. Because all of the time I am aware of my thoughts and I’m not running on auto pilot I can change them to positive ones should I need to. It has been totally life changing for me and it can be for you too.