When I was 32 I snapped. My therapist called it an emotional breakdown.
I didn’t see it coming because it was brought on gradually and caused by a lifetime of mounting frustration and unhappiness.
There were people in my life who saw I had a problem and said I needed help.
I denied it, insisting I was fine.
Oh, I knew I was obsessed with how I looked but I didn’t think that was a big deal. I knew I liked to exercise (like 4-5 hours a day!) and I was obsessed with counting calories… and after strictly restricting myself all week I binged on brownies almost every weekend, and then felt super disappointed in myself for not having more self-control.
And I knew I was in an unhappy marriage. And I knew I had five kids and often felt inadequate as a mom. I knew I felt hopeless and helpless a lot, and I often beat myself up and felt like a failure.
I did know all of that…. But I didn’t think any of it was a real problem. I thought I was handling it.
Then a series of things happened that began to majorly trigger me and I spiraled out of control and felt like I was FAILING, even more.
Finally I completely lost it and was admitted to hospital where there was a program to help people recovering from addiction.
During my six-week hospital stay I regularly met with a handful of therapists and attended dozens of group therapy sessions, and I came to realize that:
1. I was addicted to starving myself and numbing myself with exercise.
2. I was a control freak about food and exercise because everything in my life felt so out of control, that being thin and fit seemed like the only thing I could control.
3. The reason I denied I had problems is, they felt so big and painful that I was afraid to face them. I felt helpless to make things better.
4. When you ignore your problems they don’t go away; they just get bigger and more challenging to deal with.
5. Fear can be spelled False Evidence Appearing Real, and when you think it's scary to face your reality and get to the bottom of unpleasant emotion, the fear you're feeling is an illusion. The truth is facing and dealing with your fears is the beginning of being honest and responsible so you can turn your life in a positive direction. And once you've done it, you will look back and wonder what you were so afraid of!
Number 5 was really important for me to understand!
You have to get real about what’s going on inside your subconscious brain (where all your past memories are stored) and RELEASE stuck, painful, repressed and nonproductive emotion before you can truly move forward!
So here’s the DIY tried and true therapy piece I learned in the hospital that’s become my number one tip for breaking free, so you can create a life you’d really like to live!
What you’ll need is a Spiral notebook, a Pen, and a Quiet private place, and here's how to do it.
When something has set you off and your emotions are running high (this is the BEST time)…. Take your notebook and pen and go to a quiet place (if you live in a noisy house, bathrooms and walk in closets will work fine) and start to write…
Write I FEEL_______________ (close your eyes and identify the emotion you’re feeling) BECAUSE_______________(write down WHY you’re feeling it)
Keep writing the same sentence over and over again and filling in the blanks each time with whatever words pop into your mind. Write WHATEVER COMES UP without suppressing or filtering it in any way—this is not supposed to sound good, or nice, or make sense. It’s just a safe and responsible way for you to bring up painful and icky feeling blocked emotion and get it out.
Keep writing until there are no more thoughts or words. When you can’t think of anything else to write and you don’t feel an emotional charge anymore, that’s how you’ll know that you’re done.
Then, this is super important, tear out the page (pages) and shred or rip it. As you throw it away CHOOSE TO LET GO and RELEASE all the emotion you’ve just brought up.
Now breathe in love and light and FEEL a huge burst of fresh bright energy filling your heart and soul.
This energy clearing chakra opening exercise is bomb and you can do it as often as you need to. I’ve done it a lot over the years and it’s helped me more than I can say. It’s helped me go from victim to victorious. Do it, I think you’ll find it super empowering too!
Here’s to all of us taking charge and clearing out all the junk that’s been holding us back, so we can freely step up and be victorious in our lives!