Wow, what a year 2019 has been! The year started with severe depression and attempting to make some changes. My mental state had deteriorated to the point where I was contemplating suicide on a daily basis because I just couldn’t see any possible way for my life to improve, I honestly just thought that life just wasn’t my thing and that I would be living in a constant state of depression, which there was no point to. I was unable to sleep, getting an average of 3 hours a night which was making it really hard to function.
I started trying to make drastic changes to try improving both my physical and mental health hoping that I may find a reason to want to continue living my life. After finding myself paralysed yet again after an attempt at physical exercise I had enough, I was not going to accept being bedridden or needing a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I quit drinking for the month of January, started seeing a therapist to help me with my mental state and started seeing other health care professionals to start dealing with my physical health issues.
I decided to go vegan after watching a documentary about animal products and its impact on the human body. In the documentary I saw a lady who needed a walking frame to move anywhere and was due for two hip replacements due to arthritis. After going vegan for just two weeks she was able to walk without her frame and after two months I think it was, she was able to actually go for a walk, rather than just moving short distances within the house when required. This completely blew my mind as I was told I had arthritis in my spine which was contributing to the issues I faced, so I immediately turned vegan without a second thought.
I started seeing a therapist about my mental health issues, which brought up a lot of things that I had supressed for a very long time. I haven’t been able to cry for years on end because I wouldn’t allow myself to feel emotion. This had a lot to do with my childhood and other things that had happened throughout my life. He helped me to work through issues I had, however he was unable to see me frequently due to his popularity. Sometimes it was 7 weeks in between appointments, which would always see some other drastic change I had made when I would visit, which took up a lot of our time.
In February I told him that I had quit my job and had planned to leave the country. He found me to be quite erratic and spontaneous without clearly thinking things through, but I didn’t have time. I was so quickly running towards the finish line that was the end of my life. We started trying to quickly work through a number of my issues, but we just didn’t have the time. We spoke about suicide, about the abuse I had endured as a child, the issues with my mother, the issues with past relationships, rejection of any kind of intimacy, unhealthy work life, substance abuse, inability to forge new relationships, inability to deal with or acknowledge any form of emotions and my constant feelings of inadequacy.
In March I decided that I needed a break and went to Japan for two weeks. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I found things that I enjoyed doing like go-karting through Tokyo city, in with the local traffic without any kind of helmet or protection. I started out a little nervous, but after a while I had my peddle to the floor and my arms out above my head just screaming out to the world. I also went snowboarding in Hakuba which was so beautiful, however again saw me unable to walk for two days.
Because I was unable to get in to see my therapist frequently, my mental state became much worse having all these issues brought up and being unable to get to the root of the cause. I started to pull out the back of my hair whenever I became stressed or uncomfortable, which lead to my hair starting to fall out. I had a beautiful friend convince me that it was time to push my pride aside and start taking medication as a last resort to try and avoid the impending suicide that I was now freely speaking about with my close friends.
When I started the antidepressants and Valium, things got so much worse. I was in a haze for days, not even realising that a friend had moved in with me. I was a complete robot void of any emotion, who’s only ability was to keep working the insane hours I was doing. I have no idea how I was able to drive or get to the places I did, but somehow I managed. Although I was a robot, I was still crazy depressed and unable to sleep, even with the Valium, but I had stopped pulling out my hair so that was a positive. I was also now able to cry, often not stopping for hours.
Things with my physical health just seemed to be getting worse and worse the more I investigated. When I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 19, I was told by numerous doctors that I would either need to have surgery or have pain killers the rest of my life. I told them all that was ridiculous and I would not be doing that. I would find my own way to work through the pain and I was convinced I would get better. 7 years after having stuck my head in the sand, I thought that perhaps the 19-year-old me was naive and had no right in telling a trained doctor what was right and wrong.
I went to see an orthopaedic surgeon, as I had started trying to investigate an actual resolution rather than continue to see the chiro, osteo, physio, remedial massage therapist, exercise physio and myotherapist that I was seeing twice a week just to be able to move. The orthopaedic surgeon I saw sent me for a full range of tests as well as doing some physical tests on me as well. He established nerve damage was apparent and my scoliosis visible. The results came back that physically, other than the scoliosis, there was nothing wrong with me. He believed that I had some kind of neurological disease, likely MS which was causing my issues.
Then began the hunt to find a neurologist before I left the country in a few short months. There was only one available between then and April 2020. After having met him I can understand why he was the only one available. He was exceptionally arrogant and unhelpful. He told me that I didn’t have MS and sent me for tests just to confirm it, but that wasn’t the issue. He was unable to offer me any other alternatives to what it could possibly be, other than the obvious fact that I had nerve damage.
It seemed that things were popping up in my life just to mess with my head. One weekend when I had planned a going away event, I had an abusive ex-boyfriend contact me saying that he had moved to Melbourne and had a new job at a place in St Kilda, which just so happened to be the exact place I was having my going away event that day. The escapist in me was in full form that day, taking a cocktail of drugs and alcohol that should have killed me, it should have killed anyone, but I just got emotional and cried for hours. While I was at the event the ex-boyfriend in question called me which sent me over the edge. I remember parts of this, but not a lot. This was a standard weekend for me at this part of my life.
The following weekend I received a text from my mother, who I had barely spoken to for the last 14 years. She said she had heard I was planning to leave the country with no intention of returning and thought it would be a shame to leave with so many issues I had unresolved and had invited me to see her. I cried for a solid two hours after seeing this message as words from my therapist kept ringing in my head “I see a girl who would have had so much potential if she had have been lucky enough to have a different family.” I resented my mother for what she had done to me but accepted her invitation to see her in two weeks. I figured there was nothing to lose by getting everything off my chest and perhaps having some kind of closure.
Surprisingly I was able to work things out with my mother and get on somewhat comfortable speaking terms. She had put in a real effort, cooking a 4-course vegan meal for me and crying a lot when I explained to her the mental torture she had put me through as a child. I was no longer angry at her, she had no idea how to be a parent. No one does, she was just trying to manage what she was able to and no one can be aware of future repercussions that unknowing and unintentional mental abuse can have on a child throughout their life. I came to accept that this was just something that had happened and something that I would need to work harder on to accept myself as I am and to be proud of that. I do not need to find justification in my life through other people and not feel the need to prove anything to anybody.
I found myself inviting her to my final farewell with my family, extending an olive branch, just has she had. I now have a comfortable relationship with my mother, who will message me every few weeks or months and I will actually respond to her willingly. I am really glad that I was able to overcome that hurdle in my life and am starting to learn what it is like to have a mother as an adult.
Finally, the day came where I moved to India and said goodbye to the life I had known. I set goals for myself, having one month of yoga teacher training in an attempt to help my physical issues, become sober and to get off all my medication as soon as possible. I completed both these things in the first 3 months of being in India, where I spent in Rishikesh. I think this is why Rishikesh will always hold a special place in my heart, I was able to achieve things here that I hadn’t thought possible.
Since moving to India, there has been only one day that I have been unable to walk, and I credit that to yoga. I now have a healthy relationship with alcohol and can have a drink socially rather than to escape my world. I don’t live in a nightmare and I don’t think about suicide daily. Some days I have bad days, but they are far and few between.
I met this amazing person who said something that has stuck with me as it rings so true, “You can’t expect to grow if you are staying in the same place and socializing with the same people.” I would never have found happiness if I continued to stay in Melbourne doing the same thing every day and every weekend. I am quite proud that I found the sense to make a drastic attempt to change my life, which has turned out much better than I had anticipated.
I have learnt so much both about myself and life in general and would never have expected myself to become the person I am today. If you had asked me at the start of the year where I thought I would be now, I guarantee that where I currently am is something that never would have crossed my mind. I am now affectionate and able to listen to people and help them now that I am no longer being suffocated by my depression, and that is a really nice feeling. Being able to repair relationships with family members and being willing to explore my emotions. It's been all in small steps, but it's quite incredible how far baby steps can get you within the space of a year.
The life I am living is absolutely incredible! I am a digital nomad with the ability to travel the world with just my laptop needed to fund my expenses and have been lucky enough to start painting again. I get to paint hostels and hotels and express my feelings through creative paintings that leave a mark wherever I travel to. I have met some of the most amazing and inspiring people that will forever hold a special piece of my heart.
Going through a years’ worth of photos and narrowing it down to 45 to post with my blog has given me a rollercoaster of emotions, however mostly happiness and pride. I have achieved so much after having my world turned completely upside down. I am enjoying the rollercoaster that is my life and I don’t want things to settle down anytime soon. Finally I have started to really live.
All in all, 2019 started out terribly, but is ending in the most beautiful of ways. It has been the year of positive transition and I am very excited to see what 2020 will bring to my life. What country I will choose as my home next year and the new ways in which I will grow are positive mysteries, just the way I like it.