Browsing Tag

mental illness

Self Worth

My Darkest Hour

September 2018

Surprisingly NOT my two attempts to end my life..

In the midst of a very unhealthy relationship for me, with my heart broken by the same man over and over again..  (why do we women put up with men who don’t value us?) I decided that I once again couldn’t cope with the depression and suicidal thoughts.  This time however I was not looking for a fast track escape route from life altogether, I actually wanted help from professionals.

Having the deep seeded belief that I was broken, emotionally damaged and that something was seriously wrong with me I voluntarily checked myself into a private clinic for depression.  Surely this is the place that had the answers to my misery..?

As soon as I arrived I didn’t feel comfortable.  Here I am in a small facility that had maybe 12 patients and we were all being treated as mentally ill…?  Not sure why I believed that it would be any different??!!  But as my fellow inmates had actual physical signs of paranoia, anxiety, utter despair, and the like, I quickly realised that I actually was not as bad as I thought I was!

My emotional issues were will hidden.  I had trained myself to function at a socially acceptable level.  To look at me you would have thought I had it all going for me.  This was not the case for my new friends.

I couldn’t cope with the group sessions as a result.  So I didn’t go and just sat in my room either reading or staring at the four walls wondering what the hell I had got myself into.

I was given different anti-depressants than the one I had been on and immediately taken off all the natural supplements I was taking to support my physical and mental health.  From experience I know that psychiatric medication should be a gradual increase/decrease to prevent adverse reactions.  In addition, I was given nightly tablets that knocked me out cold for at least 10 hours.  (I actually loved that part of it!)

But I just knew I didn’t belong there and so I asked one of the nurses if I could go home.  I had voluntarily checked myself in, I had actually paid for the privilege of being there; surely, I was able to leave when I wanted…?

Apparently, that is not how things work in these private facilities.  You actually forfeit your rights on check in.  I was not free to leave unless a doctor gave me permission to leave.  But the doctor is not in until Friday..  two days away!  So I go back to my room and stare at the ceiling wondering what the hell I had got myself into!

Within an hour two paramedics appear at my door.  “We are here to escort you to a public ward.”  Say what?!  Why am I being taken to a public ward?  I have private health insurance and I have funded my share of the stay here.  I am told to pack up my things quickly and am escorted, complete with my arms being held by each, to an ambulance waiting out the front.  WTF??!!!

I sit in the ambulance and ask the paramedic what is going on?  She produces a court order (!!!!!) that I am to be transferred to a public ward.  Under the mental health act I am not able to discharge myself from a private clinic.  Which I can understand is appropriate in some cases but I was no danger was I? I hadn’t packed my bags, showed any signs of physically leaving, threatened anyone; I was sulking in my room!

We arrive at the public hospital and I am left waiting in a room for two hours for a doctor.  By the time he arrives I am visibly stressed an agitated.  Of course!  I am assessed and striped of all personal belongings and anything considered dangerous.  For example; nail scissors, nail files, tweezers, belts..  They also take my phone and my wallet..

I am put in a room by myself and am immediately given medication.  Take this it will calm your nerves they said.. Being the addict that I was I downed them without question. For the next three days…  that is 3!  I come in and out of a drug induced haze.  I can remember very little but do remember my ex-husband coming to see me to tell me he can’t get me out and neither can my brother.  The only way to be discharged is with parental consent!!!!  I am 38 years old..  I had not told my parents how bad my depression was or that I had checked myself into a clinic for depression…

My mother is away on holiday.  My father has to fly up from Melbourne to secure my release.

What could have happened to me if my parents were not alive?

What could have happened to me if I did not have people who cared enough to visit me in this psychiatric ward and see the situation I had got myself into to?

How is it that someone with depression and has no history of violence is drugged to a state of incoherence?

How is it possible to cure depression in such a clinical, foreign, drug induced, threatening environment?

How is all of the above even legal?

I walked away from this experience realising I was not only a very lucky girl and I was not nearly as bad as I thought I was.  But also with a deep seeded fear of the medical profession and vowed to never turn to doctors for help with depression again.

My depression continued however and I go on to a second attempt on my life at the age of 41 (the first was at 35) interestingly this warranted only over an overnight stay in hospital, no change in medication, and I was discharged the very next day to the care of my ex-husband.

It takes me another 9 years before I declare myself fully recovered.  Discovering bodybuilding at the age of 45 was the beginning to the end of my demons.  I have written a book about my journey of beating depression which you can read more about here.

To say I have turned my life around is understatement!  A journey that I am truly blessed to be given.  And I am still young enough to be able to enjoy the rest of my life!

If you are suffering from depression please reach out for help but please make sure you inform loved ones and that it is the right help for you!

Self Worth

How I Beat Depression! My Top 6 Tips

August 2016

I have spent a lifetime obsessed with my weight and appearance, a lifetime chasing the white picket fence dream, and a lifetime suffering from depression!

My life has been littered with addictions, heartache, broken relationships, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and insecurities. I have been in and out of therapy since the age of 16. I have had two attempts on my life, been hospitalised three times, on and off medication and I have searched and searched for the answers to my misery in books, therapists, healers, courses, diets, pills, jobs and relationships.  And while I did have periods of, what I thought was happiness, they were always short lived. I had no real clue as to exactly what my issues were despite all the therapy and my happiness was always derived from the external; people, circumstances and material things. 

If you ask any therapist or self-help guru they will tell you that to get over any emotional issues it all starts on the inside.  Happiness is an inside job right…?  I always thought that statement was a load of crap.  Happiness has nothing to do with your body or appearance…?  How can I possibly be happy when I am too old, fat, ugly…? When I don’t have the man, job, kids, house, money…?  Where does this incredible pressure on women come from?!  And gees; I was slim and reasonably attractive so why the hell wasn’t I happy?!

After missing out on having children and plunging to my lowest point to date which was closely followed by the sudden, suspicious death of my mother…  I suffer an injury that sees me having to completely change my gym routine.  One of my many addictions was cardio/aerobic exercise (to ensure I stayed slim) so weight training was not something I had done previously but was now the only exercise left available for me to fuel my dependence on my body and appearance.  Isn’t weight training what fitness models do…? And once again, I find an avenue to reinforce my need to derive happiness from my body and appearance only this time I get to show it off on stage?! Surely then I will be happy…?

Driven by vanity and low self-esteem (that I was completely oblivious to) I took on the ultimate attempt to satisfy the ego by becoming a fitness model and competing on stage at the tender age of 46. It wasn’t until I was well past the point of no return that I realised I had completely over committed myself. What was I thinking?!  With all my issues I was, of course, very shy and introverted despite mastering the art of covering it up. How was I going to get up on stage and fool the world, like I always had, of how broken I really was? Was I crazy?!  It is through this intense journey that I inadvertently stumble across the answers I had been searching for my entire life. Ironic isn’t it? I started down this road for all the wrong reasons and I ended up on my spiritual journey and curing myself of lifelong misery! So here are my top 6 takeaways of how I have managed to beat lifelong, debilitating depression:

  1. Diet. A funny thing happens when you start to feed your body with nutritious, whole, organic food, drink lots of water, take premium supplementation, give up binge drinking/eating, substance abuse and junk food..  All for the sake of vanity and achieving the perfect female form I had to treat my body with respect; like the temple it actually is.  Not abuse it and take it for granted!  After a life time of self-neglect, being under weight and under nourished my body began firing on all cylinders!
  2. Strength Training. Exercise is not a new one as far as elevating depression however having only done cardio I was very fit but not strong.  And quite frankly I didn’t think as a woman I wanted or needed to be physically strong and anyway didn’t lifting weights make you big and bulky?  This is a myth!  As I started to lift heavy weights my body became more defined and shapely, with more muscle I could burn more calories while resting but what affected me most of all was the physical strength.  It is so god damn empowering!
  3. Lifestyle. The bodybuilding lifestyle is extremely disciplined. There is no room for partying, lack of sleep, eating on the run, skipping meals or the general disarray that was my life.  I had to start cooking real food from scratch, take my food with me wherever I went, get up really early and be organised for the day ahead, sleep 8-9 hours a night and follow a routine that was very foreign to me!  To obtain results, consistency is critical not just with the diet and training aspect but with every facet of life.  It truly is a 24/7 commitment.
  4. Mind. After managing to adjust my lifestyle for the training and diet the next, what seemed to be insurmountable, challenge was to find the courage to strut around on stage in a bikini. I was having nightmares about it!  I knew I had to work on my confidence and I knew I had none! I started seeing a hypnotist and then followed my own nightly routine of meditating, affirmations and visualisations.  I started feeding my mind on all levels with positivity, inspiration and nourishment, blocking out the media and anyone or anything that had a negative influence on me.  I had heard about all these self-help practises before and had always thought it was a load of hooey.  But my vanity was surging through my veins; I would try anything!
  5. Mentor v Therapy. I have seen dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, therapists, psychoanalysts. All traditional therapy based involving talking about, dissecting and rehashing painful events of the past to establish my misery of today.  Clearly it wasn’t working after 20 odd years of going over the same ground.  And although I had deviated and tried alternate healers it wasn’t until my journey to stage I engaged with professionals that supported me in a way I had never been supported before.  And while the goal was not to cure my depression (they weren’t even aware of how broken I was!) they actually believed in me, respected me, they lifted me higher, they moved me forward in life.  Far more positive!  Having a mentor or coach is a relatively new concept and yet you will not find any successful person in the world who doesn’t have one or even two or three! I now believe this is the best way to change your life if you are stuck.
  6. Passion. While my recovery truly is a combination of many factors if I had to pick one it would be this.  Finding my passion and purpose in life has me jumping out of bed, without hesitation, at 4.30 in the morning, has given me the strength to adhere to the discipline that most can’t fathom, has seen me enduring incredible pain and gives me a feeling of personal empowerment and reward like I have never known.  We are all here for a specific reason and I had searched and searched for mine believing it was hiding behind that allusive picket fence.  But your passion in life has nothing to do with others, has nothing to do with your family or relationship.  It is all about you and the unique gifts that we all have to offer that are just waiting for you to discover.  Life is too short to not live each day with passion and purpose.  I spent 46 years of my life in mediocrity and misery; what a waste!

I now fully understand and appreciate the incredible power of premium health in body, mind and spirit.  And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to work this out!  The lessons I learned and many of the habits I adopted can be easily incorporated into anyone’s life without the extremity.  I have now dedicated my life to supporting women to sparkle with that inner glow that comes from the heart, to find their passion, to reignite that lost mojo that too many of us trade in as we try to fulfil the many roles that society expects of women.  It truly doesn’t have to be so hard!

If you would like more details of my journey and how you can incorporate all I have learned into your own life please click here to purchase my newly published book! Alternatively, please contact me as I would simple LOVE to support you on your own journey of self-discovery. And if you have your own experiences of overcoming emotional issues that I have not covered I would love you to share and leave a comment below.  Lets all help and learn from each other!