Four years ago I reached a breaking point which marked a new chapter in my life. One therapist said I narrowly avoided a nervous breakdown, but retreated to Bali in a subconscious attempt to save my own sanity and begin the healing process.
There were many stressors in my life at that point. I was in a job I disliked, in a relationship on a downward trajectory, and was struggling with anxiety and depression. The most disconcerting part, was that I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. I had done everything I was supposed to do: I did well in school, got a great job that paid well, and found a loving, successful partner – yet I was deeply unhappy. I had a sinking feeling that perhaps I had been following the wrong path in life but it was too late to turn back now and change course.
Eventually though, I did change course. And I did it drastically. I felt that if I didn’t do something major, I would lose my sanity. So I dropped everything, and set out to discover what was going inside me that had left me so disillusioned.
My search lead me abroad, primarily to tropical surf towns in Asia and Latin American, where I could rest and reflect. And after years of psychotherapy, and years of introspection, I was able to unearth details of my past that had been repressed deep within the recesses of my subconscious, and begin to put some puzzle pieces together. Three different therapists diagnosed me with PTSD. There were traumatic events that went on in my early childhood that left a huge impact on my psyche. I was left with very low self-esteem, general distrust in people, huge fear of abandonment, and lots of latent anger which I often took out on others.
As a teenager, I experimented with hallucinogenic drugs to find some answers as to why I felt so lost. On one occasion I had a bad trip on LSD which resulted in a terrible accident sending me to the emergency room. My mother, coming from very traditional values was crushed to find out I had been taking drugs. I was 18 years old at the time, and she figured I should be fully responsible for my own actions. She said I’d need to cover my own hospital bills and pay for my own college tuition moving forward. At the same time, my close friends cut me off because they were fed up with my volatile behaviour. These events were critical in cementing in my belief that I must be deeply unlovable and that people would always abandon me. It also lit a fire under my ass because I knew I needed to get my life in order if I were to survive.
Fearing that I might wind up homeless on the streets, I dedicated myself to my studies and worked diligently to earn an income while in school. I was determined to prove to my mother that I wasn’t worthless, and could make something of myself.
I became punishingly disciplined, and as hard on myself as my early childhood had been on me. Eventually I graduated in the top 10% of my class and began a successful career in tech.
After years of work, and many successes in the conventional sense, I never did reach the fulfillment I thought was supposed to come with it all. Then finally, after years of soul searching subsequent to the near breakdown I mention in the opening paragraph, I could summarize this as the reason:
I wasn’t living for myself. But rather, I was living to counteract the fear of worthlessness I felt. I was living to prove myself to someone else and therefore had shaped my life according the ideals I perceived them to have. I wasn’t living according to the inner voice inside myself that told me what I enjoyed, what I loved, and what lit me up inside. There wasn’t any time for these joyful things because I had to dedicate all my time to proving my self-worth to others.
These discoveries were monumental to me. It allowed me to begin letting go of the trauma of my early childhood and begin listening to the inner voice. I was finally able to give myself the permission to follow my bliss and create a life based on my imagination, creativity, and ideals. Moreover, I found ways to manage my anxiety and depression naturally, holistically, and healthily. One way is through meditation with affirmations. This helps to reprogram the subconscious mind to let go of limiting patterns and replace them with empowering ones, such as feelings of being loved, feeling secure, feeling whole and complete. Through self care, I’m finding my path of healing and personal growth. And through travel, I’ve found a lifestyle more wondrous than I could have every imagined. Each day begins in awe at the limitless possibilities this life has to offer.
The video below contains a 30 minute guided meditation with affirmations set to beautiful aerial images of Bali. I’m currently using this recording every morning to get my day started on a positive note, and I hope some of you out there will find it beneficial as well.
If you’d like to get a free MP3 download of the guided meditation, please enter your email address here.