It's October 19th. One day before what would be mine and my exe's 3rd anniversary.
October 20th we went for coffee...well, rather, he came to my office and hung out in the lounge with me while he talked incessantly.
I usually hate over-talkers, but this one had a charm I hadn't yet experienced. We ended up moving in together not long after that first date.
In the interest of not gossiping and keeping others' personal matters, personal, I'll skip the juicy details and get right to the part when Cassandra has a nervous breakdown.
(You'll just have to wait for my tell-all book to drop to get the goods ;)
There's a slowness that develops when you experience a shock so deep and intense that you can't even try to resist...if you do, just like quicksand, it makes it worse.
I was in slow motion as I sent communications back and forth just days after the super fucking annoying breakup. I couldn't believe we went from 2 weeks away to moving into a beautiful new home with our family, to negotiating who got what in the linen closet.
I could feel the storm building...I knew that if I didn't gain control of my emotions my body was going to start to feel the impact of the incredible pain and emotion I was experiencing.
I couldn't get in front of it...no matter how hard I tried, the herbs, the tinctures, the oils, the breathing...it wasn't enough - it started to happen. I was unravelling.
My anxiety was uncontrollable...weight started to drop, I woke up at 4:45am every. single. morning. and all I wanted to do was listen to louder, harder techno aaaand workout. My cortisol was through the fxcking roof.
My nervous and endocrine systems were lifting heavy loads everyday. The pain was so overwhelming that I had to move through it how I needed to.
My obsession with workouts and nutrition was at its peak in years. My symptoms of past struggles with eating disorders were super casually strollin' on in carrying heavy bags of neuroses, saying "oh heeeyyy, it's been a while!".
I couldn't see it then but as I sit here now almost 6 months later in my calm, normal state I can admit I was completely having a nervous breakdown.
The dictionary describes a nervous breakdown as:
a period of mental illness resulting from severe depression, stress, or anxiety
ooohhhhkkkkk yea. We'll go with nervous breakdown.
The aftermath has been insanely difficult. Just because I'm a practitioner, a coach and a leader (in my humble opinion), doesn't mean I'm immune to relapse.
The reason I'm as good of a practitioner as I am (please don't mistake confidence with arrogance) is because I was so fucked up. I've fought like hell to be where I am and everytime I slipped...every relapse, every embarrassing, heartbreaking regret I have, taught me something.
I've asked so many questions along the path of my healing journey. I've never stopped trying to find beautiful, sweet, soul quenching healing. That curiosity has led me to heal my gut, heal my brain, my nervous system...I met the world's absolute best business partner and friend (for realzies, she's the fxcking best), opened an academy centred around helping others heal from their chronic health issues, too
I've learned so much about endocrine health, women's health, personal training and holistic weight loss, body dysmorphia, eating disorders...the list goes on.
I know all this stuff about all that stuff because I went through all that stuff, too.
My pain, my childhood abuse, my being abandoned by my own mother, the drug abuse, addictions, mental health issues - ALL of it have been gifts.
My recent breakup...I wouldn't even say my heart was broken, I stopped talking about him and missing him not shortly after we split...it was more the shock of everything being gone in a matter of days. That partnered with the shock that someone who you've been nothing but supportive, patient and loving to could be so heartless and cold...that made me question my own judgment...to be honest, I'm not even close to trusting her again yet.
You know, we all talk about #letstalk don't we. We all post on Facebook about how a cup of coffee can be on in minutes and we're always here for others to talk to about anything, though how often are we actually talking about our real-life struggles and mental health?
I know it's uncomfortable and scary. No one likes to hear about crazy shit, no one likes to think they're crazy and who the fxck even likes the word crazy?? I mean, sometimes it's useful, but most often it's suuuuper annoying!
I'm an experienced health coach. I know what I know because I'm a person and I've lived a lot of life and instead of letting life kick me down I use it as fuel to grow a roaring fire. And thankfully she's gaining speed again.
Anyone who expects perfection of me isn't my people and I have no problemo whatsoever waving goodbye as you walk your ass far far away from me.
We are all in this together...we really are. And the more we stop pretending that we're all perfect and everyone should act perfectly, and lead perfect lives the happier we'll all fucking be! By now we all know that Instagram is the highlight reel of our lives and not an actual depiction of what real life is like for us - right?
We need to talk about the extremely difficult struggles we have as we move through our lives. We need to talk to each other. It's in the talking that awareness develops. And when awareness develops we can take appropriate action to begin to see our behaviours change, then lives improve. Without awareness, how can growth occur?
This summer I had a nervous breakdown. I've done a ton of work and have a lot of tools, even still, the work seems to be continuing. Which is fine - I always take so much from each chapter in my life, the good and the bad.
If I could attribute one thing for my ability to let go of perfectionism and practise self-empathy, it's my work with Joelle Anderson as my mindfulness coach. She taught me how to observe a thought, a behaviour, a pattern without judgment. Then create the space to assess and make decisions from a calm, objective place. It's not always perfect (I wouldn't expect it to be), but it's definitely helped <3.
I know I'm not supposed to tell you I had a breakdown and got sick from it. I'm supposed to be a perfect beacon of health - or at least that's what Sandy, my bitch of an inner critic has told me for years.
Now I tell Sandy she can go fuck herself and then I'm 100% myself.
Sandy also told me for years that I'm supposed to move through pain, grief and loss in minimal time cause that would mean I'm a badass. My inability to allow myself the time necessary to heal, 6 months, 2 years, it doesn't matter - Sandy, fuck you, imma move through this shit how I need to and right now I'm still in it...and that's ok.
So, instead of feeling afraid of what everyone will think, I choose to share, connect, be brave, act from love for others and their struggles, too.
Humanity is beautiful. It's multi-dimensional and simple yet so fxcking deep. There's no way to know we're on a perfect path. All we can do is try to learn as much as we can, experience as much goodness as we can and negatively impact others the least amount as possible <3
If you are struggling...are continuing to struggle...aren't sure what to do or where to go next - just start asking questions and walk the path where the answers lead you to. The difficult times will get less and less and you relationship with self can really blossom during that journey.
Be well with hope,
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