psychotherapist . counsellor . coach . mindscaper . navigator . facilitator

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Turning personal hell into hope (and making it to 33 years old in the process)

Posted on 26 July, 2016 at 22:25

This is my first ever blog entry and it's something I've been wanting to get involved in for a long time....I now realize that it was because the timing wasn’t right. There were some things I had to move through before the message could be laid out, and so I could revaluate the intent and message I wanted to convey. Intent and timing are incredibly important as I have discovered over the years, and I often ‘check in’ and reflect on both. What is my intention here? Is the timing right? The thing about timing is that the right time is always the time you have chosen and it could never be anything other than perfect. But you can ask the question to see how you feel about it anyway of course. I’ve come to realize that life is all about timing in one way or another…

 

So now is the time to do so. It’s a chance for me to lay my story out in one go (but in 3 parts because it’s quite long) and not have to tread back to the places I’ve come from and don’t wish to travel to again, other than to contrast and reflect on the learnings from those ventures. After the laying out of my dark spaces I will then be focusing on the posting tips, strategies and articles on different areas of wellbeing which I find particularly important and which have helped me get to the point to where I am now. Also because I’ve discovered that you need to focus on what you do want, rather than what you don’t. So it’s actually a miracle I’m even alive to write this blog years later because I certainly had no plans to be. I’ve described this journey often as ‘From Self Loathe to Self-Love’ or ‘From Disastery to Mastery’.

 

So why only go into my story once? Because when I traverse those dark corridors too often and put my attention on them, I tend to become them. To me there’s a reason people don’t wish to have to go to those places constantly and I believe it’s always about where you are going moreso than where you have been. Where attention goes, energy flows right!? So if you are constantly reliving those states then how is that going to benefit you long term?

 

I think it’s why I find the ‘let’s continue to talk about your deepest and darkest times over and over ad nauseum so you totally identify with them and play that story over again until one day in the distant future, we may see a resolve’ idea to be a completely backwards way to hope someone will heal. For contrast sake or learnings, then of course it is helpful to acknowledge it and learn from it and move forward. But you cannot drive a car looking in the rear view mirror. If you do then you are in for some serious accidents and you will spend your time trying to navigate the things that have already passed you by and will miss your entire journey and cannot make new memories in a new phase. Your history does not have to be your destiny! Though having said that, all of those negative experiences have made me the person I am today just as much as the positive ones and I am eternally grateful for all aspects of my human experience....but that has had come from a lot of deep insight, reflection and forgiveness to balance, harmonize and equilibrate. That took me a very long time to get to that point. When I stopped blaming everyone and realized they were just doing the best that they could, things changed.

 

So I believe that story and narrative make up a huge part of people’s identity. Depending which identity or aspect of yourself you attach to, will determine the story/narrative you lay out and live by in each passing moment. I’ve learned that the present moment is the time to make fresh beginnings and different choices which aren’t governed by what’s in the rear view mirror. That can take some work, but is absolutely possible and there are things which I’ve learned and now practice which can help facilitate those changes. In my experience it’s the clinging to the problematic and negative story or aspect of your ‘self’ which cause you to believe you are still that person, or which someone (who may even be a professional) tells you that you are also ‘this’ and it keeps you from truly moving forward and drawing a line in the sand. When I hear people say ‘I am this or I am that’ then it is no longer something you are experiencing, it is you. To define yourself as your past experiences or be steeped in the past instances of your existence can be very limiting, especially when you’re running the negatives continuously. For me to constantly go into my past, it takes me into spaces that yes, have gotten me to where I am, but don’t define me and can hinder my current progress and future trajectory.

 

In fact the other day I was with my beautiful wife and she wanted to take a video of me being interviewed by her just to go into my story a little deeper for some future video content, and to see where I would go when being asked specific questions about my past….just taking myself back to those spaces internally caused my entire demeanour to shift as I traversed those very dark corridors. It’s something I haven’t witnessed as I am only viewing the world through my eyes, so although I’m very self-reflective, I can’t physically see all the changes in my physiology, energy or demeanour. It was an incredible insight into what I already know (but got to see video evidence of), which is that the places that you go internally have the power to shut you down, or lift you up in an instant. Check out a book called Power vs Force by Dr David Hawkins if you’d like to know just how much….

 

So as Eckhart Tolle said in his book The Power of Now: ‘I have no use for the past and rarely think about it’. For this reason I wish to only lay my story down once because I want people to have an idea where I’ve been, yet more importantly where I am at present and where it is I’m looking to go in the future. If it helps instil some hope in just 1 person who may be struggling with their present reality then it is worth it.

 

At times it felt like I was in a movie. In hindsight there were many things which weren’t all that healthy growing up, but when you are living in that reality and it’s all you know, you see it as ‘just the way things are’ and think ‘isn’t everyone’s reality like this!?’ You just assume it’s normal. You don’t always have the references for dysfunction when you are a child who is brought into an environment and raised in it without contrast of the other realities which exist at the same time. And even if you do, by that stage your reality is all you know, so even if you are in a dysfunctional environment, it is still comfortable, familiar and ‘home’. Other’s lives may look unhealthy to you, simply because they aren’t yours and differences can be confronting and scary. But everyone has their own idea of what functional is so it’s going to look different for everybody.

 

It also takes time to build you own individual code by which you will now move through the world and conduct yourself by what is acceptable and what is not in your worldview. However what can also happen, which did to me, was that I was viewing other people’s realities and being envious because they had what I didn’t and what I wanted wasn’t what I had. I’d stay at friend’s houses and want to stay forever. I became restless for a different reality at a very young age. Since I was a young lad I have always been reflective about myself, others and the immediate world around me as I tried to make sift through, structure and make sense of things just for my own benefit. Still now though the constant analysis of ‘what does this mean?’ or ‘where does that come from?’ does my head in, which is why the practice of no judgment (or analysis), quiet reflecting and meditating is so important to my overall wellbeing. I have ‘lived inside my head’ for as long as I can remember and the deep thinking and analysis was overwhelming at times. Most never knew though, because I wouldn’t verbalize it. Sometimes though people would notice my external behaviours and patterns and then question them. That made me hide it further.

 

So after years of fluctuating periods of ‘normalcy’ and ‘dysfunction’ I went through the deepest and darkest period of my life a number of years ago which took its toll on me in many ways. I refer to that period of my life as being in hell.....I was as broken and damaged an individual as I could possibly be. Self-loathing, self-destructive and praying to not have to limp around in this vessel on this planet for too much longer, I wondered what I'd done to deserve this horrid existence. This period lasted for about 8 years from about 15 to 23. Some days were good, most were horrible. I had grown up what I thought of as a fairly happy child other than a few instances of restlessness as I said. I was incredibly shy and quiet at times though and sometimes couldn’t look people in the eye while conversing.

 

I was without a dad for the first few years of life until about 3 years old when my step-dad came onto the scene. It didn’t seem to affect me until the later years where the crisis of identity and separation of family would creep in more and more, because my conscious mind had blocked out the first few years. I had ‘not known’ my step-dad was not my real dad until I was 26 years old. That caused a lot of issues but helped explain a lot. I’d always felt slightly out of sync with my family. Little subtle things I would question and say ‘Why am I so different in that way’. I also questioned why I was treated differently by my step-dad compared to the others. At times he was so hard on me and my behaviour that I wondered why I even bothered engaging at all. So I guess my unconscious was trying to show my conscious mind the thing it knew to be true with subtle hints. I just couldn’t take myself there at that point in time because I wasn’t ready. This was crucial because I believe that our minds only show us things when we are ready. It’s self-preservation. Had I known this earlier there is no telling how much more destructive I would have become.

 

Tortured is a word I would use to best describe my being during these times. Many factors had bought me to this place as they had built up over time, but I would say that ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ was a destructive relationship in my mid teen years. Everything seemingly unravelled during this period of time and it left me asking the not so empowering, endless loop question, ‘Why me!?’

 

I wound up in a relationship with a girl who was very possessive immediately and who I later found out had targeted me, fallen in love with me and been stalking me in the year prior to us even speaking. We went to school together and she was in a year below me. I believe I was about 15. I felt totally pushed into that relationship by her as she manipulated the situation and she played on my ‘nice boy’ aspect and made it really difficult for me to say no. I also found out she had warned other girls off me as ‘I was hers’. She later also spread rumours about me that I’d physically abused her and went around telling everyone so, thankfully which no-one believed I could ever do that, but which a group of older dudes she was hanging out with did believe because they didn’t know me, and proceeded to jump me on the way home and attempt to beat the fuck out of me. These were some hard dudes yet I was able to take everything they threw at me and still walk home with barely a scratch. I’ve always been able to take a hell of a lot of punishment physically, emotionally and psychologically. I actually owe my life to being able to do so because the torment on all 3 of those fronts in my life may have killed anyone else.

 

So she was definitely a girl with problems and had had a fairly rough upbringing, which of course I empathised with and then was sucked into a vortex of which I was forced to confront many learnings, not without some horrible times first. I felt sorry for her and that was part of her plan. I don’t allow that so much anymore as I’ve set my boundaries but it’s been a habitual pattern over the years and I’ve been burnt many times. More learnings until I finally get them as is how I believe these experiences are for everyone. Learn from it and do something different or keep facing it until you do.

 

So we would wag school, I would miss band practice when I was playing trumpet in the school band and missed other commitments because I was spending all my time with her and everything else just started to go to shit. At one point she even threatened suicide when she saw I was starting to have enough of the relationship and wanted out. I don’t know of any more horrific way to guilt someone into staying in a situation they don’t want to be in any longer. That is an indication of her reality at that time. She wanted me to ‘save her’ from her life and she was destroying mine at the same time. Eventually I ended it, after going through hell during that short period together. That was when the rumours about the abuse and the constant intimidation and warning to other girls to stay away from me began again. She tried to ruin my character with everybody she could and then make sure I suffered. And I did. I was harassed but it was to no avail. Also, for an analyser, talk about analysis paralysis! I analysed that period of time for years.

 

So obviously I was scarred by our ‘relationship’ and stayed away from ever engaging in one for years because of it. She also achieved her goal of cutting me down so badly that I limped around as the most worthless, useless and unlovable human on the planet. And my thoughts and behaviour reflected this. That is something I’ve had to work hard on and still sometimes slip up when my guard is down if someone says ‘that girl was checking you out’ and my first response is ‘why would she!?’ or ‘the manager’s love your work’ my response is ‘why would they!? I’m not doing anything that great’. I sometimes catch myself unconsciously responding this way and then have to pull myself back up on it.

 

Around the time this going on I was also struck down by glandular fever. I would sleep so much I couldn’t even go to school because I was falling asleep I class. So much of school was missed that I took the back half of the year off and then had to repeat a year. The choice ultimately was mine because the school had said I was more than capable of being able to go up a year even though I’d missed 6 months. But I made the decision I made and that’s all that could be said. I also developed a severe case of cystic acne which dermatologists referred to as ‘the worst case I’ve ever seen in 30 years of practice’. Not exactly what you wish to hear when you already have self-esteem and confidence issues. My face, chest, neck and back were covered in the acne which was so painful I would have to cry myself to sleep just laying on it and having to change shirts in the morning because of the blood. I also developed a staph infection in my back and needed immediate intervention to ensure it didn’t become even worse. I tried literally everything to help it without the very brutal medication at the time as the side effects were massive. Over this time I sank into a huge hole, went inward and basically shut off the rest of the world. I wasn’t attending school because I couldn’t stay awake and when I did I would get a whole lot of attention, by that stage which I wanted none of because it was all negative. I became a shut in at home and isolated myself further and further. I lost friendships and even venturing out into the world was difficult because people aren’t exactly the nicest or most secretive when it comes to appearance.

 

After years of this I finally went on the medication which had really severe side effects but by that stage I didn’t care. If one of the side effects was death then I would have gladly taken that. The medication did work and I wished I had have taken it sooner. However I wouldn’t have learned what I learned and I believe that timing is absolutely everything. The past is what it is, it’s what you do now that is important. I couldn’t change that so needed to focus on the present. The present was still totally torturous though, as the damage of a lifetime worth of issues which hadn’t been dealt with crushed me to dust. I had finished school and had zero idea of where I wanted to go, who I was or what I was ever going to do. I had no idea what this life even was or why I was even here. This lack of purpose and low self-esteem turned into further self-loathing and I despised myself. Once alcohol was introduced it became another tool of self-destruction. Then drugs came onto the scene and I got to experience joy for the first time in a long time. However the days following were some of the hardest days of my life....

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