Lockdown Freed My Mind

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It’s been just over a year since the world was changed forever.

Lockdown impacted everyone differently, but I wanted to take some time to write down my personal thoughts and feelings about the last year.

Before lockdown, in the spirit of being brutally honest – I was suicidal. I truly saw no light in my life, and I seemed to be going from bad years to worse.

Before lockdown, I couldn’t hold down a job, burned bridges of every house-share I lived in, and I saw no point. I was living in a hotel, and was ready to call time on my life. Something stopped me – something always has, I have toyed with the idea of death since I was a teenager, and frequently attempted to hurry up the process. But, for some reason, I think “What if?”

What if everything changes?

So, I carried on. I went back to bar work, which was (unknowingly to me at the time) seriously affecting my physical health. I used to be able to work 14 hour bar shifts no problem, but now I could barely walk after 4 hours. I was later diagnosed with fibromyalgia (chronic pain condition) and hyper-mobility (EDS). But, with the physical stress of the job, I turned to alcohol and both prescription and recreational drugs to self-soothe. I hated the job, I was in so much pain, so I would buy myself a bottle of gin and pre-mix it in my water bottle so that I could get through a shift without having some sort of breakdown. Self-sabotage used to be the only way I knew how to cope with being at rock-bottom.

So, when lockdown came – you would think I wouldn’t give a second thought about staying alive, right?

But there it was again – that little something – telling me my life IS worth living. And, quite frankly, the thought of my death being completely out of my control shook me to my core. “I don’t want to die”, I thought, “I just want the endless pain to stop.”

Lockdown forced me to finally confront the shadow parts of me I’d been hiding – I’ve always been embarrassed to tell my friends the whole truth about my state of mind, I would keep it all to myself, convincing myself that they wouldn’t care anyway, that it’s just a burden to them, or they might think I was lying for attention. My truths would only spill when I had too much to drink, and couldn’t hold it inside anymore.

I started to write down my thoughts daily, starting with WHY I wanted to change. Why…so that I can break a generational curse, so that I can go on to have children of my own and be able to show them all the things I was denied – love, attention, care. Because I want to LOVE MYSELF. I want to show MYSELF that I’m worth it. I’m worthy of all the things that I watched everyone around me receive, but I always seemed to come up short. I realized that I can give them to myself, now.

Utilizing this shift I felt within, I began to take the steps into fixing the mess that had descended upon me. For me, this meant referring myself to therapy, exercising regularly, eating healthier, daily journaling, and of course – controlling/quitting my alcohol and substance intake. The essence of healing my mind was getting to know myself again.

What is it in life that makes you smile? What do you want to do with your life? How do you want to be remembered?

The one collective thought in my head was that the person I had mistakenly morphed into could not answer any of these questions with true intention. So, I had to face some hard truths about myself, my past actions, my mistakes. And, I also had to forgive myself, because I am only human. Human is all any of us are – and we all deserve a chance of happiness.

The healing process has not been easy. My life has been a series of traumas from birth to 26. I’m 27 now, so I have a LOT of stuff to work through. But now that I actually want to change – I am willing to put in the work, implement new thought patterns and habits, and learn to love the world and life again. And even though I may cry at night, when I remember the darkness and misery, my newly discovered light will always shine brighter.

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