Tell us a little bit about your story
After spending 14 years in the rat race binging on alcohol and taking drugs, I had a rude awakening in 2016 and realised life needed to change there and then. I chose to break free from everything I had known and live a life of freedom and self development. I was sick of experiencing chronic anxiety and bouts of depression week in week out due to the way I was living my life. I continuously numbed my self through intoxication and ended up having a few near death experiences because of this. This behaviour was seriously effecting all elements of my life. It got to a point where I began to feel incredible shame. I realised i was not taking care of my self and my needs and I needed to under go some huge changes. I basically decided to strip life bare and start working on old wounding.
What are some of the experiences you went through to reach depression
I come from a family with a history of alcohol abuse. I grew up around a lot of stressful and scary situations which conditioned me to live life as though I was on a big rollercoaster. If things were going well I would rush with excitement, get so high and happy and cherish every moment to the point that when things were not feeling so positive I would hit crazy levels of doom and gloom. Expect everything to go drastically wrong and constantly feel on edge. Balanced, neutral environments were unfamiliar to me and so if things started to feel balanced, it would feel abnormal. I'd get incredibly uncomfortable and either have to make the situation exciting some how or push for drama and stir emotions to get my fix of normality.
How long were you battling with depression?
I don't really look at is as a label of "depression" anymore. To me, the dark periods of my life were opportunities for growth. I would say collectively over the years I have been up and down most of my life although my most darkest moments were probably around the age of 16 to 20 after my parents had separated and I chose to live on my own. I was incredibly vulnerable and out of touch with my self and spent most of this period intoxicated, the sober days were always horrendous. So much self hate. I have huge black out periods from this point in my life.
What/how did you do to seek help?
In my teenage years I tried speaking with some CBT therapists but found these made me feel worse. My go to was booze and drugs as therapy. It was only just 18 months ago, in June 2016 I realised I really needed to work on my self. I first spoke with a life coach and started to take my self for long hikes in the country side to get away from my usual environment and reflect on the situation. I then went to an Ayhauasca retreat (this is a natural plant medicine) and EVERYTHING began to change. I soon realised there is a whole other level to 'being' that i'd been missing out on all along. Ayahuasca helped give me some very important messages and insights which I needed to work on with my self, alone. The real work occurred when I sold everything and hit the road, I lived in a car / campervan for nearly 10 months and this lead the way to some quality introspection time.
Seeking help can be a very important part of the journey however, most of the work needs to be done by you.
What was one of your biggest life lessons?
Wow. Hard question as I've realised I've been given so many. I guess it would be the realisation that alcohol should not play a part in my life in order to break a very destructive pattern that has occurred throughout most of my family in the past and still carrying on today... I have lost a family member and friends to alcohol and I have seen it destroy relationships over and over, to then destroy my own and create a negative ripple effect on everything I do. I see now, that is the universe literally screaming at me, NOT THIS! I don't wish for these patterns to be continued through to my children, my children's children and so on...
In the past year, on the few occasions I have drank, every time something has gone wrong. I've finally got the message.
How did you “find yourself”
Through months and months of alone time, working through old trauma, journalling, working with plant medicine to gain insights and then spending 10 days losing my mind in a silence retreat. I've found the real Becky, but now the hard part is holding on to her. She slips away from me sometimes as she's so used to her old ways. I'm getting there though... I am wide awake now and just need to stick to my new value system.
What do you do to help prevent yourself from sinking into depression?
OK, I am not going to call it depression as I feel this word has a real negative stigma attached to it. I think when we label it, there's a lot of assumptions that go with that, like we're in it for the long haul or it's the worst state you can be in... all those negative associations with the word depression can keep us stuck in a rut. I've learnt it is totally possible to consciously transmute this state of mind.
Personally, I now feel in to the low moments I have, I embrace them. Emotions and energy are there for a reason, they are not to be ignored. The body is trying to give us a message.
I now make sure that when negative stuff starts to surface, I let it flow through me. I give it acknowledgement and work with it by trying to understand where it's coming from so I can release it.
Life is Yin and Yang... there is no way it's smooth runnings for anyone and there's no way we should hold back or prevent our selves from having down days. It's how we handle those down days that's important. Flow is key. Saying "i'm ok" all the time or attaching it to a label such as depression, isn't allowing it to pass through you. This is why I named my page "Driven To Happiness" as happiness requires constant drive to work through the ups and the downs. I've realised there is no final destination, we need to keep moving with time and embracing the bumps and pot holes!
What inspires you?
My journey through life has inspired me to get to a point where I feel confident enough to hold space and offer compassionate help to those who may be struggling with a similar background as my own. I have a strong calling to be there for youths who are moving in to independence / adulthood yet come from troubled backgrounds and could be easily attracted to fall in to the same habit patterns they grew up around.
I believe that's why the universe actually makes us deal with a lot of bull shit, so we can learn and teach others how to grow consciously. It's time to stop history repeating it's self.
Russell Brand is my guru, just look at his journey and teachings? SUCH a powerful and inspiring being! Huge man crush.
Do you have inspiring advice you could give someone who is still trying to find “themselves”
I won't start off by decorating this subject with frilly shit...
Stay strong and determined. This is like opening a can of worms, particularly if you have have had a troubled past. Be prepared to feel incredibly confused and alienated from everything for a while. Finding your self is no easy feat! I am not fully found, I think it takes years of hard work and dedication. Learning about every element of your personality, your triggers, your passions and dedicating plenty of time working through the insanity that comes with shedding layers of conditioning has been scary and confronting to say the least. You will find those you are closest too may not like it either, they can feel uncomfortable about your decisions and try and convince you not to change. Don't let that put you off!
The rewards of working through all the scary stuff is SO worth it. I have to refer back to the feeling of fear / doom being a message from your body that you have to work with it. If you take the time and courage to do this, you will discover a new level of strength and pure confidence.
You will find you can be completely comfortable with who you are as a person, there is no longer a need to pretend about anything and you start to discover and embrace your true gifts and creative talents. You begin feeling pure unconditional love for your self and others around you. I have never felt love quite like it, real genuine human connection. I guess it's because I am not hiding behind a mask anymore!
If you're serious about this, I would highly recommend going to a 10 day Vipassana (silence) retreat to get you started. I have to say this played a HUGE part in alleviating a lot of my overthinking and anxiety. I will be writing about this experience soon so keep and eye on my blog.