Yes, you read that right. I am glad I had a nervous breakdown.
A while back I entered the local business awards, and part of the process was an interview with one of the judges. We had a lovely chat about my business, my blog and my life in general. It made me think about the things in my life that have led me to this point. The truth is that everything I have right now is here because I had a breakdown.
The biggest and best thing in my life is being a mother. Having S helped me not only to get on top of my mental health issues, but also to find my “calling.”
If I had never found myself in September 2012, a single mother sitting on the sofa after putting my baby to bed, wondering what to do with my evening, this blog would not exist.
Without this blog I would never have rediscovered my love for writing, or learned how to use social media to successfully promote it. If I hadn’t done those two things I could never have set up a business where my main sources of income are writing and social media.
When I entered for the business awards, I had an hour to persuade the judge of how amazing I am. I told her about my stint presenting a weekly piece on Wave 105 radio; my column in the local paper; my appearances in national newspapers; my podcast; my appearances on vafrious local and national radio stations commenting on current affairs; the fact my blog had climbed up the Tots100 chart. I talked about my work and how I love the blogs and content I write for my clients, as well as the training I had recently begun providing.
All of these things happened because of my blog; my blog happened because I was a single mother in need of a voice and an outlet. I was in that position because I had split up with S’s father, a person who I believe targeted me in the first place because I was recovering from a breakdown. For me, all of this stems from my breakdown. And actually, I think I’ve done bloody well.
As well as this, I think that having been through something like that, I am stronger. People say I am “brave” to have shared my experience, but I feel very strongly that we should not be ashamed and trying to hide things like this. If you are ill and you don’t seek help because you are scared of being labelled as mad, or seen by someone walking into the offices of the local community mental health team, the chances are you will get worse before you get better. If I can stand up and say, Look at me; I went completely bonkers but I’m ok now perhaps someone else will see this and feel like maybe there is hope for them.
From great struggle comes great reward.
I reap my rewards every day when I look at my daughter’s face. I am one of the lucky few, and I remember that every single day.
When you have a breakdown, it can feel like you’re on a very slippery slope with no way of ever climbing back up again. I felt like my life had changed irreparably: You can’t go home again. There was no way “back” to where I had been before, and I couldn’t see a way forward.
As it happened, there was a way forward. And I did find it. Eventually.
And I didn’t go back. I had been suffering with a low-level depression for years, and actually “back” was not somewhere I would want to be anyway. When I eventually came out the other side of my illness, I found myself in a much better place – a place I believe I could never have reached without first going through the horrific experience of a massive breakdown.