Living With The Big D.
I was 14 years old on my first sun holiday, in Portugal. Met a lovely wee blonde Scottish lass named Phoebe. The sun was beaming down, life was good. Holiday romance! Anyway, she was going back home before me and so we never got to say goodbye to eachother. The morning after she left, I woke up early with my head welded to the pillow, with a feeling of emptiness, loss, and that nothing else mattered. I had never felt this way before, ever.
What happened that morning unfortunately woke a demon in me that I would end up battling for the next 17 years.
School became a chore. Disinterested. Unmotivated. In later years, alcohol and numerous drunken nights came on the scene, as was the case with many peers. But why was I drinking so much? Maybe to get to this high point where things seemed ok again. Some school weeks I would stay in bed for 2 or 3 days at a time, not shaving or washing. Just wallowing in despair. Nobody knew. When that demon raises its head, you can unfortunately turn to very dark places and I did. I wanted to end my life.
Since my teens, there have been multiple recurrences of those dark times. Sometimes it lasts for months or even years, reaching the point of thinking of the ways. Like a carbon monoxide, slowly killing yet nobody around knows. Caught in a loop of self destruction and despair.
In October 2018, that demon raised its head again. I had started making progress in my work life, with a great job of 2.5yrs in a great company, led by inspiring entrepreneurs, where I had also made many friends. I had had enough and basically had what the average Joe might call a panic attack or nervous breakdown in work. I walked out. And didn’t go back.
“Fuck, what now?” I thought. At that point, my peer group were making “progress” and seemed to have happiness and mainstream success (stable career, marriage, semi-D etc), which in a way added fuel to my fire. Because, let’s face it, we do compare ourselves to eachother at some level.
In Jan 2019, I decided to go traveling and spend some time with my thoughts to figure out my purpose and how I might turn my life back towards happiness, good health and success. 5 months of travel. I realised that traveling opens the mind to new possibilities. Meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and stepping outside of the comfort zone are positive ways for people to grow.
From September thru February and especially at Christmas time, it can be really difficult for people who battle with their mental health. I guess it’s the dark, cold days mixed with the irony of everyone around being so jolly and the materialism/face-value stuff at play.
Over the past 17 years, trying to deal with this thing started off with a concoction of anti-depressants, counselling and cutting down on alcohol, and then upto the more recent times of trying therapy, reading self-help books and meditating. Some stuff works a little. Some doesn’t.
I may not have a cent to my name, a marriage, kids or a house but I’m working on the number one thing, the rest will follow. This post is not a sympathy plea, but to help you to better understand that thousands of people are always at battle with their biggest enemy. Their self.
For me, travel & adventure have a therapeutic effect on my mental health and so I try to travel as much as possible and push out the boundaries of my comfort zone and would encourage those of you who may be battling to try out something new in your life. I think my purpose is to promote this approach to life and so Irish Bootstrapper was born, with it's latest addition being The Bootcast. Big plans for 2020!
Irish Bootstrapper Founder.
Become The Journey