Mental health is an issue close to my heart. For decades it drove me to the edge – and into darkness. And I suffered with no real understanding of what was wrong with me.
My doctors notes read depression anxiety and alcohol abuse from the age of 14. I continued on a downward spiral in my teens and had already had two suicide attempts. I self harmed and my emotions ran wild. I was obsessive about certain people because I feared abandonment. At 16 the stress of it all caused my hair to fall out. At 19 I was hospitalised with suspected schizophrenia. There was never an official diagnosis.
My alcohol abuse got progressively worse into my twenties to the point of chronic alcoholism.
I destroyed everything worthwhile in my life and wound up at rock bottom on the other side of the world in New Zealand. In the last detox for alcohol I was diagnosed by a doctor with Borderline Personality Disorder. It explained my unstable emotions and obsessive behaviours. But I didn’t pay much attention or do anything with the information I got. I just carried on drinking. Stuffing down the memories and emotions that played havoc in my head.
I was diagnosed again with BPD when I returned to England. Id just like to note that both times I was diagnosed was were periods where I wasn’t drinking. You can take the brandy out of a fruitcake you still got a fruitcake. And dealing with life sober became a real issue for me over the next 6 years.
My mental health suffered badly in the last few years of my drinking career. I was medicated on anti-psycotics. My life became driven by the obsession that I would one day control my drinking. I had to drink to deal with the destructive thoughts and suicide ideation. My head was a dark space. One that sober, I would have to manage. I was riddled with resentment and fear. Marijuana helped to keep me out of lashing out but alcohol no longer worked to quieten my nerves. I did eventually discover permanent sobriety age 36.
Dialectical behavioural therapy was intense, but I gained a lot from it, and I got a better understanding of my condition. Meditation was the mainstay I took from DBT. And to this day I meditate every day without fail. It has helped regulate my emotions and quietened the negativity. I still have destructive thinking but I am no longer ruled by it Meditation was my saving grace. Especially in sobriety. I have learned to deal with life with faith and the principles of love and tolerance.
Through meditation I was also freed from lifelong depression and anxiety. Since developing a pain condition from a car accident in 2018 my mental health and wellbeing is even more Important. There is plenty of temptation to fall back down the rabbit hole but the pain is getting more manageable, so it’s just a case of being mindful each day. And keeping out of my thoughts.
So if you are reading this and are struggling. Make it your mission to search for ways to improve your situation. Whether it’s adopting a meditation practice or taking time out for yourself each day. There is always hope for us and in the light we will find that we can manage our emotions and lives. That we don’t have to be bonded to darkness. We can be free to be who we really are – and know that we are enough.