A journey from self destructive, narcissistic, body dysmorphic alcoholic- to Zen AF earth witch.
It's a Cliché, I know, and it sounds like click bait for a holistic therapy book. But I promise you my faithful followers, that this is the real life tale of my transformation from red faced, self destructive, alcoholic, eating disorder; to glowing, flowing, bouncing, ball of energy and love you see today.
We all have struggle years, mine just happened to last a little longer than most. Admittedly a lot of this was narcissistically fuelled self loathing, crying for love for complete lack of it, and complete denial of my part in the whole problem. In hindsight, self loathing and begging for love isn't a look that attracts anyone really worth having. As you can imagine; I learnt this the hard way.
But if there are any troubled teens reading this, thinking; "There's no hope for me, I'm a failure at everything and no self riteous blog post can change that." Well chaps, I'm afraid to tell you that your first problem is right there, in your self doubt; but we'll get to that later.
As you can imagine, fuelled by my self loathing and need for escape from the hell that was my brain, I used to drink. A LOT. And heavily. And what happens when we drink? We make bad decisions. So as is life, I made a lot of them. But I suppose one thing I can take from that time is I learned a hell of a lot about people, life, and how shit both really can be. I convinced myself that life was just far too boring and mundane without alcohol, and I couldn't imagine a life, even as my skin was exploding with allergic reactions, and my body was crumbling under the toxic strain, without drinking daily.
Because of my heavy drinking, my skin was horrendous. My face was covered in deep, painful acne, and I had to paste on my makeup in attempt to hide the evidence of my debauched life from my friends and family. My body often failed me. When once I was a healthy child with an immune system like an Ox, I started getting sick every month. I caught a number of virus's, the worst of which being shingles, which I remember vividly being akin to having hot, sharp knives dragged repeatedly over my skin, blistering and ripping it open. I suffered from manic depression, most days I believed the world was against me and everyone hated me. I had the thought to kill myself at least four times a day, and every set back would just be one more reason the universe was giving me. I didn't have a lot of friends, and the ones I did have were mostly disloyal or two faced. Looking back I can't blame them; I wasn't a very nice person, I didn't respect myself or others, and my regular drunken antics meant I was often difficult to be around. I haven't kept many of my friends from around that time, because I realised years later that I hated the person I was, so anyone who claimed to have liked me as I was then probably wasn't actually very nice either. My life was a huge mess. Dedicated to constant self indulgence, overeating and purging, heavy drinking, promiscuous behaviour, socialising, and finding some way or other to get so entirely out of my mind that I could forget who I was for a second. A life of debauchery doesn't leave much time for adult stuff, like job hunting, progression in your career, cleaning, bill paying, and other mundane but necessary things to function as a human being. I knew my life was in pieces; and I had made it that way, but I didn't care, I wanted to die anyway.
The turning point for me, unexpectedly came when I lost my job. Everyone around me expected me to go off the rails, have a giant meltdown and spiral completely out of control, but it changed something inside me. I had been living and breathing a stagnant environment, with toxic people who saw nothing but my flaws and had little respect for me. The harder you try and gain respect from people like this, the less they respect you. They had seen every shade of my weakness and self absorption, and it didn't matter if I came into work one day in a great mood and handing out cupcakes; they would always only remember the times I came in drunk or hungover, which set the tone for how they treated me. It's almost impossible to make changes within yourself in a stale environment, because If people expect you to act a certain way, they will still treat you like that person. As soon as I left that environment, even though it wasn't willingly, I felt a huge sense of relief; like I could finally breathe again. I had an opportunity for a fresh start to become whoever I wanted to be, without being laughed at, or bullied or undermined. Maybe it was this high that managed to win me a job within 48 hours, or maybe it was just the path I was destined for, but it changed me overnight. I stopped drinking myself to sleep, I stopped overeating and purging, I was happy and friendly and nice to people; because people were nice to me. Some people don't realise that most of the worlds hostility is grown from hostility, and the only way to diffuse it is compassion. Because I presented myself as a confident, hardworking person, people expected me to be so, so I acted so. It really is true that telling yourself and others something you wish to be true, materialises it. But this change was only the start of my physical, mental and spiritual transformation.
The years that followed were not straightforward, and by no stretch easy, but it became a learning journey which I can happily admit I am still on. But life is a journey, and anyone who says that they know everything, know's nothing.
The first, most important change that I made to myself was self love and respect. I started to appreciate the things my body has done for me, the ways in which it hasn't failed; even when I gave it so many reasons not to, the ways in which it is perfect and unique and makes me who I am. The love you give yourself allows people to understand the kind of love they should give to you, and When I started to love myself, other people followed.
The next change I made was to stop wasting my life on self indulgence and self absorption. There are 7.4 billion people in the world, most of whom don't know I even exist, and believing the world revolves around my destruction and self loathing is nothing short of narcissism. I started spending more time helping others, going out of my way to do favours for people, and made the effort to try and make at least one stranger smile every day. I spent more time reading, learning, teaching myself new skills, writing, drawing, singing, playing piano and rediscovering who I was before alcohol. I sold my TV, bought a new camera, and started filming. I realised I wasn't too bad at it, so I applied for jobs, and eventually got one working as a content creator, filming and taking photos for a media agency.
The final change I made was to stop caring about how I looked or came across to people, and focused on being healthy and well within myself. I used to obsess over my weight, count calories religiously, restrict my diet to 500 calories a day (often leading to lack of concentration or general rattiness), and sometimes overeat and purge. I could never seem to get the right balance of how to eat, and was never happy with my size. After an especially heavy weekend of Christmas partying, I caught tonsillitis and it was one of the worst, most vile illnesses I've had to date. I made myself a ginger, Manuka honey and turmeric smoothie and I remember feeling momentary relief from that familiar swallowing gravel feeling. I started researching other natural remedies for tonsillitis, and stocked up on fruit, vegetables and supplements. I was prescribed antibiotics and told they would take two weeks and lots of bed rest to work, but remembering the effects antibiotics had had on me the last time I had a kidney infection, I had my reservations . I went through every natural remedy on the Internet, ate nothing but fruit and vegetables everyday, and I was back at work within six days. I didn't take a single pill. This was the beginning of my realisation that natural remedies are more powerful than I could ever imagine.
This realisation sparked an interest in nutrition, and I threw my diet book out the window in favour of properly nourishing my body. I stopped eating meat, cut down the amount of dairy I consumed, and focused entirely on nutrition and vitality. Food became my drug, and I used it as a weapon for getting what I wanted out of the day. And the funny thing was, once I stopped caring about my size; I became the size I had always wanted to be. Maybe it was really because I no longer cared how I looked, I looked at myself in a better light, but I started getting compliments everywhere about how "well" I looked, and I felt even better. I finally realised what had been missing from my diet my whole life- happiness and acceptance. Because being thin is nothing if you're miserable and lifeless.
I suppose you could say that, in a nutshell, is how I changed my life. By no stretch am I at the end of my journey, and I certainly cannot claim to be some sort of wellness guru; I'm just doing the best I can with what I've got and constantly seeking to improve that. If you're reading this drunk and thinking I sound like a patronising hippie, this blog is probably not for you. But if you're stuck in a dark place with no hope of getting out, my experiences could be valuable to you. The first step is to love, and the next is to learn. We cannot grow as people if we refuse to love ourselves and others, and we can't learn without the help of others. I hope that in my following posts I can teach others with the same afflictions I had, to love and let go of them, and move on to happier ones.