My journey: A little bit more about how I got to this point

It’s been a bit of a mountain to climb, a journey of a lot of plot twists, and we are all constantly changing and evolving, but I feel it is important to give you some context. So here goes!

I got to the point where, I was so frustrated with myself and I was in a dark place; to the point where I was so anxious that I would get in the shower, and my mind was in such a frozen state that I would forget to wash my hair. 

This was a pattern for me, a cycle that I couldn’t stop, even if I did recognise it a little bit, it was usually too late to stop. Avoiding it and carrying on was fine for a while, but it didn’t solve it. I just repressed and tried not to feel.

I cried inconsolably every day before work and to get myself out of the house was such a mental challenge; this was all before 9AM. Doing this every day meant that it really took its toll on my mind, my body, and actually my soul too.  It would then get to a point I would mentally burn out, couldn’t continue, and would crash and my body would shut off.

This lead to days, weeks, months of depressive state. I would feel so lost; so broken.

If I had had the right support before it got this bad, it would have been a hell of a lot easier.

That support is here. I learnt to break this cycle, and so can you. 

You see, it’s a lot easier to maintain mental health every day, like you drink water every day, like you try to get exercise every day, a walk every day. You keep yourself on track. It’s not normal to starve yourself for weeks and weeks and then wonder why you don’t feel good! So, it is an exercise and for that reason you work on it every day so that you don’t get to the point of crisis, or breaking point, or completely crash.

When we live like this for such a long time, we have to learn to reprogram our minds in a manageable when. When you ignore these feelings, all the feelings, and repress them it because then it is a whole mountain to climb and it is really hard. Like, really hard.

If you maintain & check in on your mental health every day you keep a more controllable level and the ups and downs, anxiety and mental struggles, daily life – is all easier to manage. 

When I say ‘mental health’ I mean, how you FEEL inside.

And what I have learnt is that if you don’t deal with things NOW, they will keep popping up and ruining your peace and happiness. So I chose to deal with it; and you can too. It’s a choice.

My Story

Okay here goes, where do I start…

I had my first severe panic attacks in primary school. Like, times table tests when I was 7. Severe panic attacks. This developed further during primary school, with the pressure to be the best, to get the best grades. The thing is, I got amazing grades, and I wanted to achieve a lot, so I created pressure and struggle for myself from an early age (other stuff contributed to this too).

Skip a few years and things really started to show up for me when I was about 14, and I was diagnosed with ‘generalised anxiety disorder’. Quickly put on medication, and a waiting list for therapy. And that was it really. I didn’t know anyone who I could talk to, and all I had was 10 minutes with a GP. 

Fast forward again to University where, after my first year I jetted off to Thailand for the trip of a lifetime; which it was…

Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

The thing is, when I came back to reality; I was floored by chronic depression. Or so I thought. I don’t know now, I just remember thinking that I had such an amazing time, I didn’t believe I could be that happy again.

I didn’t really know what was wrong with me, but after spending a year in bed, retreating for all social activities; I stopped attending University and I didn’t talk to anyone.

After 9 months of being in bed and struggling to even shower or eat, my mum took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with depression. I got some help from a lovely doctor at the student medical practice and somewhat made a recovery. I did an ad-hoc year and completed my degree in 4 years instead of 3.

However, the help I received was only surface level. Although I was on waiting lists again for therapy, I seemed to get lost in the system

So, from University, I did a few internships and I went from university 4th year final exams to – within a few days – packing up my life in Yorkshire and moving to London. I got a job in New Business, working for a huge Digital Marketing Agency on Brick Lane.

To London

This life change happened in the space of 3 days.

From Leeds student, living in a shared house with my best friends, to London professional – in 3 days.

I packed my little ford KA and drove to London to start my new life. You may see a pattern forming now, but it was all too quick, and I couldn’t deal with it all. It was like an overload of my system mentally.

I was smack bam in the middle of this whole new exciting world and it was so amazing and awful at the same time.

Exhilarating and exhausting.

I was barely sleeping, I was excited and terrified pretty much all the time. I sat on the same table as the CEO of a 700 people company working on huge marketing pitches all hours of the day, and night and how I was living wasn’t sustainable. I left the house at 4am/5am and didn’t get home until 8/9pm. My life was work. I lost myself and burnt myself out after just under 2 years in the job. 

From Stylist Mag 2015

From that I went to the next job, and I needed more, not knowing what that was, I thought I needed more progression. I wanted that success and growth and fast because I felt I needed to earn more to do more to have the best life as soon as possible.

It was all too much, I needed comfort, and I needed home.

Next came Media planning jobs, and Agency sales jobs. I was cold call, and I mean 300 cold calls a day, chained to my desk. Various soul destroying work company cultures and, bit by bit, day by day, month by month; I lost my belief. I lost myself and my happiness, and ended up having an existential crisis.

Existential crisis

[eg-zi-, ek-si-sten-shuh l krahy-sis]

An existential crisis is a psychological episode in which a person questions the meaning of their life and of existence itself. Also known as existential dread, are moments when individuals question whether their lives have meaning, purpose, or value, and are negatively impacted by the contemplation.

But, I didn’t rest …

I wanted the house, I wanted the lux flat, I wanted the best hair and confidence and ‘instagrammable life’, the ‘Made in Chelsea’ life. I didn’t think I had any other options other than to ‘Carry on’ to ‘suck it up’, to ‘keep going’ ‘keep pushing forward’…I didn’t give myself a break.

I opened up and let the wrong people in, I didn’t ever get the right support, I never dealt with those building insecurities and anxieties until my body just told me I couldn’t carry on.

Breaking point

Again, fast forward a few more soul destroying jobs and hustle and I was at breaking point, but in my mind I just needed to get through the day and push and carry on. I thought that rest was a luxury I didn’t have.

It was at that moment I met my first COACH.

One session and she told me to:

“take my foot off the pedal”

Take foot off the accelerator pedal.

Basically, If I kept going at full speed with no control, what will happen in a car?

You will crash.  I was crashing.

I had lost control of my life.

I wasn’t creating the life I wanted, I was living a life I thought I should want and have and I wasn’t listening to myself. She told me to take my foot off the accelerator and I still have a reminder in my phone every day at 1pm to take my foot off the pedal, with a balloon, to remind myself of that. The problem was; I only got 1 session.

I needed continuity.

It is scientifically proven that it takes 28 days to develop a new habit, to break habits and make change; I believe it takes longer.

Hell, there were 28 years of ingrained habits to go into, and I’m a bit stubborn too so I wasn’t that willing to let them go! 

Shortly after, I met another coach who came into the organisation I was in at the time to do a session on morning rituals.

He spoke about fizzy drinks and if you don’t deal with stress and build up and those inner negativities that you keep telling yourself every morning “you look tired, you shouldn’t have said that” and try to push it aside, repress, and just keep shaking the stress bottle and feeding it, when you finally open the fizzy bottle what happens?

When you open it, it explodes.

However, If you calm yourself bit by bit, and open up the fizzy bottle slowly, every day, when you do open it it will not explode. This is your mind, and the importance of calming your mind and practicing gratitude. Your mind needs to be managed every day. 

Through this realisation my body basically shut down, and I had what felt like an allergic reaction and I ended up in hospital unable to breathe, with no energy, leading me to be medicated and, as the cycle permits,  fall into a depressive spiral again.

The feelings of depression and anxiety have gone hand in hand for me like ugly stepsisters.

Fighting and taking over when I don’t look after my mind and my body.

The change

Anyway, things were changing. The Coach I’d met I reached out to, and he had a company training people to be life coaches. I’d always wanted to help people, to work in mental health, but didn’t see how I could transition to a new career until he told me how. 

I trained to be an accredited Transformational Life Coach, and through that training I was coached. I met beautiful inspiring people and had the most beautiful mentor; Cameron Murdoch.

I also invested in my own coaches – I quit all the jobs that I was clinging on to. The jobs that left me having panic attacks and crying all morning to then force myself out of the door. I transformed my limiting beliefs. I changed my quarter life crisis to be a beautiful transitioning period, resulting in me changing the course of my life for the better.

I now have a community of people who are ‘my people’ and I have the support I needed all those years ago, the support I had in parts, but not really fully. 

My future plans…

I will always invest in self development and re-learn positive habits and rewire my brain. Investing in yourself is so powerful, and i’d read all the mindfulness books and self help books out there, but having a coach truly saved the course of my life, and positively impacted all my loved ones too. 

This wasn’t a short term “mind diet” for me- this was a complete lifestyle change and I cannot tell you how much my life has transformed. My confidence and self-sabotage (acne & so much more), my trauma, dealing with so much I didn’t realise had built up.

I now am the CEO of my own flourishing business helping my beautiful clients do the same. Find CALM, get CLARITY and enhance their CONFIDENCE. 

I am attracting more and more good, light and opportunity. Being more free, creative, calm. I am excited pretty much every day.

How I feel now

I wake up every morning and know, whatever ups and downs, I have control, I have tools, techniques, and I know my mind to be able to sustain things. I know life won’t always be perfect, but I know now that whatever happens, I have the tools, support and strength to get through it.

I am the most content, the most authentic, the most true to me I have every been. I have a supportive network, all over the world. I am connected, I am strong, I am a leader.

I do not suffer with mental illness; as Lucy Spicer taught me, I am the master of my own mind.

I am not an anxious person, I experienced anxiety based on situations I was in, and learnt behaviour as a result of those situations.

You may agree, or disagree with me here, and that’s okay. We all have our own journey.

Flashback

I remember my first session with my coach where I genuinely said;

“I am the person who cannot be helped”

She said, “what percentage of you believes that?”

I said 85%.

She said, “well Ellie , I don’t care about that 85%”

I care about the 15% of you that believes you can.

The mindset and perspective change was just the start.

And I am so excited to take you on this journey too.

I’ve been on countless waiting lists, I’ve been waiting for that letter for an appointment, that email and it just never happened.

I know my stuff guys! And I know that if I can go from rock bottom, puffy eyed, exhausted, can’t eat, no energy to speak to Badass Business Woman CEO, who goes for a run every morning and practices yoga then you bloody can too!

Now, you might think that’s a lot.

I’m honest. I’m true. I’m unafraid now. 

As Jessica Paul taught me; My vulnerability is my strength.

I will teach you how to take that foot off the pedal, and it’s so cliche, but, to slow down to speed up.

Post by Andrew Johnson
January 2021

All my Love

Ellie

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