A story by Michael, Across the UK
Childhood depression, addictions, recovery.
Childhood depression, isolation, using alcohol and food to cope with feelings, breakdown and path to recovery finding art journaling as my first safe space to explore my feelings and sharing my wellbeing tool with other young people.
What challenge does this story focus on?
My story is about finally being brave enough to face yourself and make difficult changes to become the person I should have been. My depression and use of alcohol and my eating disorder got me my final rock bottom. This is when real change happened. I took away my coping substances and quick fixes and started to get honest and work towards changing my destructive inner chatter and patterns to rebuilding myself into a better person. It felt like a rebirth with me as the mother and child!
How has this challenge affected you?
I spent most of my life not really being me, in order to swerve emotional pain. Home life was not good and I was emotionally suppressed and brought up not to show emotions. As a child I was obese and depressed and stopped talking at home and as a teen I turned to drinking and bulimia to deal with more difficulties after a really acrimonious family break up. I wanted to be seen as capable and strong so I rebelled and was emotionally aloof. I never formed serious relationships or had a family.
What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?
After years of many different therapies, and small steps in the right direction I accepted that I am an alcoholic and that noting was ever going to change until I put down the drink. I walked into AA and have joined a group of people who are helping me with emotional and spiritual recovery. After a year of sobriety I went into a NHS food programme to start my recovery of 30 years of bulimia, I take my recovery one day at a time and am learning to be patient with myself.
What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?
I have learnt I have always suppressed my feelings and that recovery is a daily job. I am getting to know myself and learn that I am not a bad person and that I have good qualities. I have found my higher power having a spiritual connection, it’s good for the soul and I don’t feel so lonely. I am kinder to myself and have daily wellbeing rituals to take care of myself.
How do you use this learning in your life now?
I check in with myself. My morning ritual is fresh hot lemon, doing my AA and Compulisve Overeater readings, Thai chi stretches. I love my art journaling to unload and connect to a deeper sense of myself and unravel my messy head. Creating is meditative and empowering.
I pray to my higher power and look for hope every day.
What positive message would you like the reader to go away with?
If we reach out for help there are beautiful safe places. We have to work hard at change and breaking old paths of self-destruction. Learning and being honest with yourself gives yourself the same care you would someone else, inner and outer self-care. Every day try and again and be patient with yourself.
“You only fail when you stop trying.”
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