Do you ever get a niggling feeling that your mind and spirit need a little TLC? Perhaps behind the scenes you have a feint awareness but so far you’ve managed to fairly successfully quieten the alarm bells with distractions of one kind or another? If so, please take a moment to pause. Just here, just for a minute. I’d like to speak to a very special part of you, the part that’s been waiting to be acknowledged.
Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect time to take stock and ask ourselves some deep and meaningfulls. Here are a few I made earlier, to start you off:
How well do you really know yourself, your wants and your needs?
What percentage of you is the person you’re proud to be?
Is life as you have it fulfilling the things that are important to you and do you feel good (for most of the time) as a result? Are your relationships healthy and nurturing or difficult and painful?
Are you aware of your patterns, triggers and wounding?
What will make you happy, fulfilled, inspired?
There are no right or wrong answers. There is just the knowing whether you’re in the emotional and spiritual place you want to be, or not. My own breakdown was my breakthrough to the rest, and by far the best, of my life. It was almost 20 years ago and led to my insatiable thirst for learning about the human brain, emotions, psycho-spirituality and the mind-body connection.
I transformed my own deep scars and wounding into grit and grace, creating a life of audacious goals and achievements which I am proud of. I now have a pretty, but not perfect, happy and abundant life helping others illuminate their patterns, wounds and path to healing. I do what I love and love what I do – most importantly (and I never thought I’d say this!) I really like me and who I have become………….But it wasn’t always like that……
At just a smidgen over 40 my life looked very different. Desperate for help, I booked myself into The Priory, West London, a well known head hospital, specialising in breakdowns and addiction. It was also known as ‘the rockstar’s rite of passage’. At around £10k a week, it was famous for helping infamous people kick their well known habits, before they screwed up and became non-famous again. I have to admit, the addition of a few celebs at this time of mental madness did brighten my stay. After all, there’s no leveller quite like losing your marbles.
Memories of my monumental melt down are vivid. I recall having tea in the Priory Common Lounge with my Birth Dad. I was adopted at a very young age and had tracked him down just a few months earlier, which was doubtless a catalyst for the catastrophic crack in my armour. I couldn’t stop crying enough to drink my tea! The guy next to us, dressed in blue stripy pyjama bottoms and a black tux, offered me an endless stream of tissues. Even at the time I remember thinking how surreal the whole thing was. I don’t think I laughed, I don’t think I had a laugh left in me. I was done with laughing and I was done with living too. A suicide attempt serious enough to scare myself, made me pay attention. The GP offered a referral to some kind of nurse who ‘might’ be able to help me….. in around two months. I knew I wouldn’t make it.
My life fell apart over just a few weeks, it all seemed to creep up so quickly. In hindsight, of course, it had been coming for years! I was pretty adept at ducking, diving and avoiding the signs. I’d had warnings and alarms aplenty but just kept running, very fast, in another direction.
Somehow, despite my internal crisis, I was successful at work, as a Blue Chip Sales Director. I had a full private life and party-stamina that’s been known to make grown men cry. Luckily I took my job, and career, seriously enough to keep me functioning. I had worked ridiculously hard and crazy long hours to get where I was, I wasn’t planning on giving it up any time soon!
So weirdly, nobody was more surprised than me to find myself on an extended vacation, with a full-on residential visa.
Initial admission to The Priory had me on 24/7 suicide watch, it was reassuring to know I couldn’t hurt myself, even if I wanted to. Of course I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to cry, to make the feelings I could no longer avoid, stop. I hadn’t been able to cry for as long as I could remember, I was uncomfortably numb. I knew the hospital mind-meds would further disconnect me from my emotion, therefore opted out of legal drugs and went about missing the illegal stuff that had helped get me here in the first place!
So, fuelled by an A-Class mixture of desperation, terror and courage, I threw myself into the busy daily schedule laid out for me. A psyche smorgasbord of therapy, art classes, drama with intricate role plays of painful family systems. Childlike expression was encouraged, along with other creative ways to explore who I was and what the hell I was trying to kill inside of me.
Emotional defrosting was a very difficult and painful journey.
Lasting much longer than my three week stay but the shell had cracked and this Michelle was about to begin her emergence.
Despite being in my early 40’s, I had no idea who the hell I was. The breakdown had me rocking backwards and forwards, staring into space for hours on end. When I got out of The Priory I began medication and remember walking up the downward escalator in Kingston Shopping Mall. Other times I would be paralysed, like a rabbit in the headlights, totally overwhelmed by the sensory overload coming towards me in the supermarket. One time this happened, I recall being driven home by the manager. A kindness I will never forget.
I was scared, really scared. I didn’t know how to be emotionally out of control and nor did I know how to be a not-put-together me. Having pushed life’s envelope in pretty much every direction and for the most part done pretty well, this one came from left field and I was completely unprepared.
I know, from the inside out, that mental health can be a minefield. Few of us really understand what it means to be human. Can you imagine the benefits across the full spectrum of your life, of having your own personalised self instruction manual? Most of us, however, are pretty well versed at our methods of self destruction!
These days I work with clients who are committed to being the best version of themselves. I travel the world learning powerful, cutting edge healing processes and have recently become a speaker and writer. In late 2017 The Real Fairy Godmother was born!
I am not able to take on new clients currently but if you would like to plug into this incredible work, please come find me on Facebook Live over the coming week. Please join in, ask anything, no question is too deep or too dirty. I would dearly love to help you understand and connect to the best part of you, whoever that is on the day!
And if you’re female and fancy plugging into a day renowned for immersive growth, learning and healing – please find the ticket link here
Let’s put mental health firmly at the top of our agenda. For good!