Emily: The light-bulb moment that changed my life
People talk about having a 'light-bulb moment'. A moment when something switches on in your mind, a torch is shone in front of you and for years you haven't been able to make out the reality, until now.
I was 32 weeks pregnant with our now beautiful daughter, whilst on holiday with my husband and our sprightly two year old son. Although I loved my family dearly, I hadn't realised that I had been feeling quite so depressed throughout my pregnancy (and probably sometime before) due to the stress brought on by a significant relationship in my life. I felt exhausted, defensive and most days if I’m honest I didn't like the idea of getting out of bed and starting the day.
Then the message came through. Let's just say if you've ever been in a relationship that makes you feel guilt, shame, small, or anything similar then you'll understand. It was the same old stuff, trying to pile all their anger onto me.
Bing! Light-bulb. For the first time I said "It's not going to change is it? No matter what I say it's not going to be good enough. So if it's not good enough then does it matter what I say, and if it doesn't matter what I say then I could say anything, I could say whatever I want". In this moment I realised that if nothing I did was going to make a difference then maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with me after all, and I was actually, okay. Wow there's nothing wrong with me. I repeated this several times, this was a revelation. Finally I could see that I could step away and separate from the pain, from the negative energy surrounding this relationship. This had really always been my daily internal story, I am not good enough.
Through the following year I made a lot of small decisions to change this energy and focus on what I wanted and needed for me and my family. I went back into counselling and with a purpose this time, although I have to stress that you don't need a purpose to start counselling, this was naturally the next step for me after having been through several years of it in the past and through my counselling training. I started searching for a better understanding of myself, now I knew I was enough I never wanted to allow myself to feel anything less than that.
I worked with a fantastic counsellor, who happened to be a yoga and mindfulness teacher which suited me and we talked together about the patterns and messages that had repeated themselves and how I could look at them differently. However the big question, and she did ask me this directly was, “What do you want?” Pause, this is a lot more difficult to answer than you think! After a while I found the courage to work through my words and come up with what I really needed in my life, what was really important. She then asked me “And what’s stopping you?” Now if you’re really honest with yourself right now, what do you think the answer was to that? Nothing at all.
Opening myself up to the possibility that I was in control of my life, I was enough and I had the power to choose, released this ability in me to achieve.
Opening myself up to the possibility that I was in control of my life, I was enough and I had the power to choose, released this ability in me to achieve. My confidence started building, something I had so evidently lacked all my life. I could now trust who I was and that I was able to live the life I wanted. I started listening and looking out for signs and followed my intuition when I met people and things fell into place naturally. This led me to find the world of Reiki, and I started my personal journey of self-healing and my dream of starting my own business to help and support others in their own lives.
I am currently completing my Reiki II course and since I have started training I have created a daily practice of meditation and self-healing which has brought a huge amount of calmness and clarity into my every day. I tell myself ‘I am enough’ whenever I am faced with self-doubt, although I am proud to say that through self-love and compassion I have found that I don’t have to tell myself as often because it is a part of me. This has led me to find true, and strong purpose and meaning to my life. How awesome is that?!
Depression to me was a vicious cycle and depression when pregnant can bring with it its own fears of ability and not being good enough. The turning point is realising that you are enough and you can break that chain. Ask for help and find the courage to look at why, so you can understand and recognise if those feelings are re-surfacing so you can repeat the mantras, or call that friend, or go back into therapy, whatever the thing is that works for you. Don’t be afraid to talk, because there is someone out there who wants to listen. I firmly believe that in order to heal you need to love yourself first, love who you are, it starts there within your soul.
I didn’t realise until I started writing this how hard it would actually be to put pen to paper. However, there is a huge power in getting rid of stuff, letting it go, and moving forward and towards something healthy. There is a link between our minds and our bodies, numerous studies have been done, and quite frankly we do know this. We have to be brave and trust that if we treat ourselves well we will feel the effects both in our bodies and in our minds. I had a serious pain in my back for years following a major operation, every day it would hurt, sometimes it would go into spasm if I did too much and I couldn’t move properly for days, which with kids especially was so difficult.
However, since making the decision to take control of my life and put my needs and the needs of my family first and foremost the most amazing thing has happened. The pain has diminished significantly. I would say about 80% of what I had to deal with has gone. No more daily struggles, yes of course I’m not superwomen, if I pick up the kids too much or don’t take the time to rest and exercise properly then it takes its toll, but that is a really incredible change. When I was in my cycle of depression I thought I would be someone to grow older with chronic pain. In an instant that changed, I am healthier and stronger because of a mental decision that I made. I put myself first.
I feel proud to share my story and I hope it encourages others to feel that they are not alone and they too, can open up. I have worked really hard to understand why things have been and how I can help myself in the future. However I can’t really write this without saying thank you to my husband Rob who has always seen me as good enough, and although it took me a while to see it myself I may not have been able to, when I did, if it wasn’t for his unwavering acceptance of me and who I am.
Here are two of my favourite quotes that came from two women who wrote extremely influential books and that were a huge part of my journey. I am constantly saying them to myself.
You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging – Brene Brown
"I choose to see love instead of fear – Gabrielle Bernstein
And this is something I believe to be true within myself. Everything we are, is enough.