I was going to dive straight into writing all the mentally expanding, individually challenging, spiritually comforting stuff I want to write about but realised it’s probably best I introduce myself at least a little first. This way we break the ice between us and get to romanticise the initiation of my writing on this platform!
I think it best I start not from the beginning, but from the
catalytic event that went on to significantly alter the rest of the course of my life. Which means we’re going deep, fast. So strap in ‘cause you’re about to know me really well.
The catalytic event was this: a (much needed) mental breakdown I had a few years ago; triggered by the (much needed) dumping I received at that time. Like where all good mental breakdowns start.
Sadly, up until this relationship, my back-to-back romantic experiences had solely consisted of abuse and/or toxicity. And so by the time I met this kind, compassionate and safe ex-partner of mine — I was far too incapacitated to be able to receive their healthy love. Nothing broke me more in fact than somebody trying to love me with a healthy love when my deep unconscious did not believe I was worthy of it.
“You know you’ve had a really tough life, right?” my partner one day told me. …I didn’t know this, no. The abusive relationships I’d suffered were of course fucked up, but that was about as far as my historical reflection went. My life had just been my life — I had no other to compare it to. But then when I paused and really thought on what my partner said… I came to remember just how alone, misunderstood and neglected my child self had been. (Was it really any wonder I grew up drawn towards unhealthy relationships.)
That brief yet vital moment of validation from my partner turned out to be the thread to unravelling the entirety of my trauma-informed make up.
Along with the pulling of this thread (and the hard-truths that came with it) came my rapidly deteriorating mental state. I crumbled into volatile and distressing depths of depression. Which, up to this point, I had no language for, let alone any personal acceptance or awareness of. I was raised within a religious community (some would say cult) which neither empathised with nor endorsed ill mental health or its psychological terminologies. So I had no idea what was going on for me. All I could identify with was that I was “fucked up” and ashamed.
Without tools to help navigate me through this turmoil, the turbulence soon too affected my partner’s own mental wellbeing. Which, what with them being the healthy person that they are, meant that it was time for them to walk away from the relationship. Not for lack of love, not for lack of compassion. But for want of self preservation. And to be quite honest, how amazing is that. How amazing is it that this person values them self so much that they’re able to walk away from the source of their pain in spite of the love which exists there.
That is power. I wished I had that.
At first I fought the break up. Terrified I’d never meet a safe partner like them again. Terrified I’d be left for dead to the bounty of abusers that are out there. But as he held firm in his decision, eyes giving away no waiver, I intently settled my mind and turned inward. Where a quiet voice consoled me that this wasn’t only best for him, but it was what was best for me.
All my adult life I had never taken a breath between relationships, going from one traumatic experience straight into creating the next. Unconsciously hoping that the reality of my trauma will never catch up with me. But here was my partner giving me the opportunity to stop this cycle. The opportunity to heal. He’d shown me what healthy love and what a good relationship with oneself can look like. And maybe most importantly, he’d shown me that I can have it too. But I am going to have to work for it.
This moment, this break up and acceptance of the fact was the catalyst to my mental breakdown. Everything else up till then had been a crumbling.
It was now time to allow my trauma to catch up with me. If I was going to heal or understand myself or become responsible with my mental health — for my sake and for others’ — then I was going to have to feel through all the trauma and pain I had been so incessantly evading.
This breakdown was a surrendering.
And so began my relationship with therapy. A gruelling and unforgiving — yet entirely forgiving — process. Unforgiving in that therapy will never allow truth go undiscovered or un-confronted. And forgiving because it will extend to you undying compassion for self. It was in therapy where I learned validation to be one of the most healing tools anyone could ever use or receive. Without therapy, without this validation; I would never have been able to look at my past through my lens; free of distortion from parental feelings, egos, and fragility. This was a space where I was safe to discern and nurture how I felt.
In all honesty I thought I was going into therapy to talk about the abusive relationships I’d endured. I was sure they were the reason for all my internal damage. And don’t get me wrong, they certainly contributed — generating for me mental health conditions I never had prior; like anxiety and PTSD (depression had already been with me for a very long time, I just didn’t know it yet). But ultimately what I came to learn through my therapist focusing on childhood was this:
The conditions to my troubled adult life — were symptoms of my neglected child life.
A very tough pill to swallow. But one that would open the gateway to robust healing, self-compassion, self-awareness and authenticity.
Excavating through my past and understanding the conditioned yet malleable wirings of my brain has today entirely transformed the way I move through life. Not only do I now have an endlessly deepening compassion towards myself, but my mind nearly never stops intellectualising, learning (and un-learning), and bringing the unconscious to the conscious. (To the point this is probably tipping over into its own unhealthy obsession — intellectualising emotions rather than feeling them… But an article for another time!)
During the course of my therapy and expansion to my awareness, a spiritual awakening had been gradually integrating itself also (unbeknownst to me for some time). This was completely unintentional and unexpected. Considering my past dealings with the religious/cult-like community I grew up in where I was warned* (*scared) off of any ideologies outside of their own, I tended toward rejecting anything new. Partly because they wired me this way, but more largely due to (as at this point I had left the Church a long time ago) fearing falling to the trap of any more cult-like communities or mindsets.
But this spiritual awakening was experiential and deeply personal to me.
As it turns out, spiritual awakenings aren’t at all uncommon for individuals who have hit their personal rock bottom and committed to their healing.
With expansion of awareness it seems inherently too will come enlightenment.
Which brings me to today, dearest reader, and why I am here. Having created this better existence for myself, the old no longer resonates. My priorities have changed. As have my circles, industries, values, beliefs, interests, conversations, investments, attractions, lifestyles, connections, relationships — life looks very different now that I can live from a place of authenticity and no longer dictated by my trauma.
But if I am completely transparent with you.
I am currently floating purgatory.
Between old life and new.
I dunno what the fuck I’m doing.
Not yet anyway. Or not entirely. I may have no plan but I certainly have a direction. There are conversations I want to have and communities I want to build. I’ve insight to share and comfort zones to push. And I know with exploration on Medium, my purpose will become clearer.
You gotta start somewhere.
So here’s me, taking my first steps into my new life.