In this episode, I discuss:
the very first time I noticed I wasn't okay and needed help
some of the struggles I faced in high-school and living alone at 14-years-old
all of the things I noticed when I finally opened my eyes to the dark place I was living
Welcome to the Mindful Soul Collective Podcast, a safe space for your healing.
I'm your host Shorina, a counsellor, well-being coach, multi-bus owner and mum.
I'm here to talk all things mind, body and soul.
You can expect conversations on mental health, mindfulness, mindset, healing and whole body wellness.
I've completely redefined my relationship to myself and to my life.
And now it's your turn.
Hello and welcome back to the Mindful Soul Collective Podcast.
I'm so excited to be in your ears again.
Today I'm wanting to talk about the first time I noticed that I was not okay.
So the first time that I really noticed I was in a dark place and that I needed help.
Growing up, you know, as a kid, I didn't really know much about mental health.
You know, obviously we knew that things like depression and anxiety existed, but I did
not know what that meant. I didn't know what it felt like. I didn't know what that was in the world. You know, there were just kind of words that I'd heard. And that comes from, of course, school, society. My mum didn't really speak about it very much. There was just nothing in my life that spoke about mental health or even kind of highlighted it in any way at all. So I really just didn't know anything about it. I didn't know how it affected people and how it felt until high school.
So throughout high school, I really learned a lot about how mental health issues can affect people. And as a 14 year old living alone, working full time, studying full time, I had to grow up pretty early on. It was really as simple as that. I had to be an adult at 14 years old to survive. I thought that I was maturing quicker than everybody around me. But along with that, it did bring up a pretty long list of struggles as well.
So throughout school, I found myself with minimal friends at school. I did have some beautiful friends outside of school, but you know, I spent most of my time at school. So that was a really lonely time. I partied and drank way too much for a 14 year old or for anyone actually, but especially a 14 year old. I was distant from my family. I ignored friends who were trying to help me. I worked way too much. I dated somebody for years who, you know, I thought he was my true love, you know, that forever love, but he wasn't.
He cheated on me a lot. He treated me very poorly and I was an incredibly toxic relationship with a lot of emotional abuse. And he manipulated me. He made me feel like absolute crap every second of every day. But at the time, you know, I thought we were meant to be. So I put up with it.
So things were really quite tough for me in high school. And the world was just seeming darker and darker each day. At the time, I just put it down to being really sad. You know, I was sad and alone in the world. And I just thought that that was kind of a typical teenage problem, you know, the stuff that you see in movies. And I just thought that it was normal and it wasn't anything to worry about. You know, it was just part of life. This was just part of my life.
I continued to live like that for years. I self harmed through high school in many different ways, which included things like physically harming my body. So I cut myself. I took drugs. I drank a lot. It was kind of the only way I could get myself to feel something. So by causing physical pain or something physical on my body, it made me feel, which was something that I didn't know how to do otherwise.
When I was 18, I remember waking up one morning to a friend knocking on my door. I just wanted to hide away and ignore her. I remember that feeling so vividly that I just wanted to be alone. But she kept trying. She kept knocking for quite some time. And for some reason, I let her inside, despite how desperately I wanted to be alone. And she came prepared.
She came armed with love and support. She came to change my life that day. And I don't know if she remembers it like that, but that's exactly how it was for me. She sat down with me and explained that she was worried about me and concerned about me. She forced me to eat. She forced me to shower. She forced me to go outside for something other than work or school. She forced me to live for that day. And at the time, I hated her. I hated acting like everything was okay when I was in such a dark place. I hated the entire day. I hated every second of her forcing me to do these things that I so desperately wanted to avoid. You know, she made me shower. She made me eat more than once.
She made me go outside in the fresh air in the sunshine. She made me live. And at that time, I didn't want to live. I didn't want any of those things, but she made me.
So at that time, I hated her. But that night, I went to bed and I felt different. I was still in that dark place. It was still not comfortable and it still felt wrong, but it was different.
I felt lighter in a way, but I also still felt full of darkness. It's a really hard feeling to explain.
And even now, as I say this and I'm talking about it, I can't put that feeling into words.
All I can say is that, you know, I was still in that dark place, but it was different.
The next morning, I woke up and I remembered the conversation with my friend and I remembered her concerns and the things she said to me. And I decided to just spend a little bit of time on myself, which was something that I had never done before. I wanted to spend time looking at my life and what I was doing each day. It wasn't out of shame or pride. It was kind of just like, okay, my friend came to me with concerns. I'm going to sit with them. It was just simply noticing what I was doing to myself and trying to see if I could see things from my friend's point of view as well. And with that awareness and that time, and I'm talking maybe half an hour to an hour, it's not like I sat there all day, but that small amount of time, I noticed that I was either eating 3,000 calories of pure junk or 400 calories a day.
I noticed that my house was trashed. I wasn't clean. There wasn't tidy. There was crap everywhere. I don't think I could even call it a home.
I noticed that the only time I left the house was to drink, party, work or go to school. And that's if I went to school.
I noticed that when I went to drink alcohol, it wasn't for fun or social reasons. It was to try and feel this emptiness that I felt.
I noticed that I cried a lot.
I noticed that I had pushed my friends and family away.
I noticed that I absolutely hated my job.
I noticed that my self-harming was making me feel worse long term.
I noticed that I had no plans.
I had no goals, no ambitions, no future.
I had absolutely nothing ahead of that moment in my life.
I noticed that my body felt empty.
I noticed that I didn't care about myself at all.
I noticed that I was struggling.
I noticed that I was not okay.
I was not okay at all.
I guess I kind of always knew inside of me that life wasn't supposed to feel like that.
I knew deep down that people who cut themselves or drank alcohol at school as a teenager or took handfuls of sleeping tablets to hopefully not survive. I knew that those things weren't okay. I did know that, but part of me didn't want to believe that. I didn't want to be seen as weak. I didn't want to have to ask for help.
But in the end, all that did was make things worse and made my life darker and my body
emptier and my heart sadder. That was a day that changed my life. I noticed a lot of things that I wanted to change and for the first time since being a kid, I wanted to actually do something, literally anything. I wanted help. I wanted things to be different. I didn't know what that looked like.
I had absolutely no idea where to go and the journey has been ongoing since then, but
I knew that life was going to be different for me. As I sit here now, I wonder what my life would have turned out like if she didn't knock on my door, or if I hadn't have spent that 30 to 60 minutes exploring everything. I wonder if I'd still be alive. I definitely never expected to be sitting here with two amazing businesses talking to a microphone that I know helps people. I didn't think I would have a fiance. I didn't think I would have kids. I definitely didn't expect to be happy.
And don't get me wrong, I've definitely had dark days since then.
Actually I've had dark months and at one stage an entire dark year. I've been in that dark place again. Life hasn't been perfect and honestly, I know it never will be. But things are different now.And when those dark times do come up, when I find myself in that dark place again, it's different. It might take a day. It might take a week. But now when I notice I'm not okay, I do something about it.
I take action to make sure I don't end up in that incredibly dark hole again. I talk to people, I ask for help, I do the things that support me. I take care of myself. I know that this story can be upsetting to hear, or maybe even triggering for you. But I wanted to tell it because I was in a place where I truly never thought I would live this long. I never thought I'd achieve the things I've achieved. I definitely didn't think I'd be talking into this microphone to you guys over a podcast. I never thought I'd be happy with kids and business and a beautiful life. I never thought I'd be here.
So there's hope for you as well.
I'm not special. And I've said this before on the podcast. I'm not special in a beautiful way.
I'm not any more special than you are. So if you're in that dark place, or if that dark place feels familiar to you, if this episode sounds like a time in your life or where you are now, just know that there's hope for you as well. Because I turned things 100% around on my own. I didn't have support. I didn't have people around me holding me up other than that beautiful friend. I did it. And so can you.
I'm sending you all my love and all of my support. And of course, as always, if you need support right now, you know, a deeper support, then reach out. I do have spaces for one-on-one clients, including after hours appointments as well. So please feel free to reach out if you are in that dark place and you need personalized support right now.
So lots of love. I will talk to you again next week. Bye!
With love & support,
Shorina | Mindful Soul Collective
Counsellor & Wellbeing Coach