Surviving The Storm & Keeping Sight Of The Shore.
A little over 12 months ago I had a complete breakdown.
Like a serious mental breakdown. I was paralyzed on the kitchen floor, where my 3 & 5 year old daughters were witnessing me balled up not able to breathe, crying & thinking I was going to die. Enter my best friend, who barged the door down, got my girls distracted & tried to calm me down & off I went to hospital.
I was convinced I was dying of something. I had been for checkups over & over again, only to think the doctors were missing something. And all I could think about was not being around to see my daughters get married or have babies of their own.
Not too many people are aware that this happened to me. A couple of close friends who were my saviors through it do - but the thing is when you are on your own so much, you do really find out who your friends are. Lots of people say "oh call me if you need anything". But the thing is we dont, and then they dont bother checking on you either so around & around it goes.
But anyway... I am able to talk about it openly now......
It was by far the most terrifying, life changing experience. After a couple of hospital visits, some doctor appointments & a hundred & one sessions with my psychologist I was deemed sane (YAY!) but completely & utterly exhausted. I spend 6 months of the year on my own with my girls while my husband works away & have been doing so for 14 years. I have no family support here, I am stubborn & do not ask for help, I had moved house, dealt with a couple of deaths & some terminal illnesses of people close to me, a move interstate & a million other things. The doctors & psychologists agreed I was completely burnt out with a severe case of health anxiety. Because I cannot control that, you see I am a complete and utter control freak.
My Mum flew up to stay with me & look after the girls as Josh was away. Once he returned she left & so the too-ing & fro-ing went for a few months. I just couldn’t bear the thought of being on my own, I was not able to look after the girls properly & all I wanted to do was sleep & breathe normally again.
I know this is the part where some people will think “oh pfffttt…. That’s not even a reason for a break down.” And you’re right. This was one of the worst parts. I felt immense guilt for being the way I was. I kept saying I have no right to have a break down – I am ok. I have a good life. What the fuck is wrong with me!!
Yet I couldn’t help it.
This was the beginning of life lesson #1 for me. I need to let go.
I need to stop. I need to completely change my train of thought every day & basically reboot my brain.
Walking with my dog helped the uncontrollable crying & breathing problems. The feeling of 100 bricks on my chest was unbearable. I started journaling again & getting some more sleep. I started to be a little bit selfish again- like taking a nap if I wanted or not feeling guilty for not doing house work or washing.
I also realised I was bored. I love my husband & my kids, but it was time for Mum & Wife to pop to the side line for a while now. Kirsty needed to shine again.
Enter Emma & E is for Eggplant.
We had been friends for a little over 7 months & I started going to help her with her market prep. She worried it was too boring for me carding up those 100’s of earrings but it was actually when the magic started to happen within me.
Emma asked if I would like to help out at a market with her. So I gladly accepted & had the most amazing time. I met wonderful people, had GROWN UP conversations & even though my anxiety (I pictured him as Mr Messy from the Mr Men books, so that is what I called him!) was still very much at the fore front of my mind, I started to do new things – and new thoughts started to process through my brain. Emma started teaching me how to craft & create the amazing things she does & before you know it – she agreed to merge her business with this Crazy Ol’ Lady.
My panic attacks started happening further & further apart. I was sleeping better again and Emma constantly made me laugh. You know those giant belly laughs you have? Yeah. Those.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much being treated & monitored & supported closely by my doctors & family – this is something that I do not think will ever completely go away, but I am a different person now.
Part of the old Kirsty died that day my mind crossed that threshold & I am still slowly learning to “Not Sweat The Small Stuff” (great audio book by the way!)
I guess what I am trying to get across, especially for anyone with depression & anxiety is that ‘YOU WILL BE OK’. Once you can breathe again, learn something new – I learnt to crochet & then learnt lots of handmade tricks with Em.
Emma has her own reasons & drive for our business & the shop but for me, merging E is for Eggplant & Vintage Poppy saved my life. It really did.
It has changed me for the better. The impact it has had on my life will last for all of eternity. Even Josh & my parents have noticed how much it has changed me. The positivity & excitement was just what I needed – for me!
The shop is going to be a true reflection of the past 12 months for me & I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it. E&P has been my lighthouse through this god awful storm & now the shop is my shore…… I am so excited.
Everyone has daily battles. Even though they look calm on the surface, they could be paddling profusely under the water. Remember that. So always be kind.
And to my fellow anxiety battlers & those with depression or just having a shit time…..
Breathe. Be selfish. Sleep. Swim. Journal. Go to the beach. Stare at the ocean. Do something with your hands. Knit. Crochet. Bead. Cook. Sleep. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. And you will be ok.