“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much…” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
In 5 days time, it will be exactly a year since my first breakdown. Although the last 12 months has brought more than one of those, this was the significant one. This was the one that turned my entire life as I understood it on its head. And in realising that it has also been some time since my post, despite my well meant intentions to the contrary, I figured this is something that would be good for me to talk about.
I wrote, quite openly, in a previous post about the deep night that had consumed me a year ago. Crying myself to sleep became so familiar, I often couldn’t sleep at all until that hollow exhaustion claimed me each evening. Every morning on my way to work, I queued up trigger song after trigger song on my playlist so that I could cry myself out on my hour-long commute, in the hopes that I would make it through another working day without crumbling or lashing out. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes I would lose my shit in the middle of the office. Sometimes I would have to go for a walk or hide myself in a toilet at various points in the day to work through some of the unfathomable pain I felt in my heart.
A year ago today, on the cusp of me finally reaching out for help, I was busy pretending I was okay to the few people I still let in close. Most people I had already cut off or pushed aside to make room for the swelling agony that leeched the sparkle from my soul, but to those that stuck with me like glue, I was full of fake smiles and fake assurances that I was fine. I had no idea that in just a few short days, a minor hip injury from training too hard would lead to my complete collapse in front of my doctor.
There are few things in my life that I am or will be prouder of myself for than 30th July 2018.
I spoke up and asked for help.
I acknowledged that something was extremely wrong.
I admitted what excruciating pain I was in.
I confessed that thoughts of taking my own life consumed me daily.
The shame and the fear of saying these things out loud were gone, and a longing to do whatever it would take to make it stop were all I could focus on.
Fast forward a year and I stand before you today a very different woman. Change rarely happens quickly and obviously, it is more often the accumulation of small adjustments over a period of time, which can trick us into believing we’re stuck in the same old humdrum. Although the worst of the slog has happened in the last year, it’s only now that I realise that the decline was happening for a good couple of years before the obvious symptoms began to show. I couldn’t tell you when I last truly felt like myself and no matter how well you know me, I can guarantee you haven’t met or known the real Loz Margetts-Bullock if you’ve had any part in my life for the last 3 years.
With that said, the last couple of weeks have been illuminating on a whole new level, and for the first time in who knows how long, I actually feel good about where I am and who I am.
I repeat: I ACTUALLY FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF!
Yeah, I said it and I meant it. When I look the mirror, I actually like the person looking back at me. I see the smile in her eyes, I hear the song in her heart, I witness the shimmer of her soul.
Does this mean I’m “fixed”? Hell no! There is no cure for mental health problems and my hard work doesn’t stop here simply because I’ve reached a positive milestone. The changes I’ve made to my lifestyle are permanent ones that will need constant nurturing as well as the understanding that sometimes I won’t quite meet the mark and that’s okay. But what I hope you’ll take from this post is that by taking small steps in the right direction, at your own pace and with the support of your loved ones, you can change your entire life to be one that is healthy and manageable for you.
I’m not the sort of person that likes to sit still for very long. I’m constantly busy, always moving, always thinking, and so to have spent a good 8 of the last 12 months hiding away, letting my body recover from the physical and mental exhaustion was a challenge, but it was what I needed to do. By letting myself heal over time, I have finally reached a pivotal moment in my life.
I said right back in the beginning that my blog was going to be a sort of diary for me to share my thoughts with those so inclined to read them, so I want to record my successes here. The next time I have a little (or big!) wobble, I will have something to remind myself of how far I’ve come. I encourage you all to do the same, whether it’s publicly as I have done or something within your own solitude, but our successes should be celebrated, however great or small.
– I’ve lost half a stone (and a dress size!) at the gym in the last 2 months, hitting my goal weight, leaving me with a little toning up left to do, but feeling better about myself physically than I’ve felt in years.
– I finally introduced veganism into my diet, alebit shakily and not 100% of the time just yet, but enough to soothe my soul.
– I landed the full time spot in the band that I really wanted join.
– I have weaned off my anti-depressants.
– I landed the lead female part in my local theatre group’s next show.
– I am finally picking up the dance routines in the show and I no longer look like a tangle of limbs rolling round the stage.
– My makeup business is gaining momentum.
– And the cherry on top? I finally started writing again.
I hope today you are able to measure your own successes against the path you have travelled to get here and find the beauty that lives in you, that lives in us all.
It’s good to be home…
Love and light,