Twenty years ago I had a breakdown. Jobless, broken and on the floor. I rocked backwards and forwards, staring into space as the world closed in around me.
They called it ‘Burnout’ but we all knew it was a breakdown. I had pushed myself too far, whilst hanging on to old wounds, untended. I didn’t want to be alive. The perfect storm for a mental health meltdown! I spent three weeks in The Priory and another three months fit for nothing. I medicated and felt hopeless. But this was my foundation for understanding the human condition and unwittingly learning to coach from the inside out!
JK Rowling is someone whose depression is another example of a springboard for great change. It pushed her out of her comfort zone to achieve something way greater than her ‘holding it together’ persona would have managed. Divorced in 1994, Rowling was on government aid and could barely afford to feed her baby. Suicidal thoughts were swirling and she finally sought professional help and was prescribed cognitive behavioural therapy, which uses counselling to help patients control negative thoughts. This was just three years before the first Harry Potter book was published. She was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the first 90,000-word novel, so she manually typed out each version to send to publishers! Eventually, it was picked up and she is where she is. She battled through and came out the other side.
We may not aspire to the dizzy heights of JKR’s success but we all deserve a shout out. To every one of us who has fought the demons, battled with depression and has the scars to prove it – don’t hide them. They are a testament to who you are.