Yup, you heard me right – rehab for anxiety & life trauma – that’s what we’re talking about.
There is no heroin in this story, but there is addiction. There is no horrifically shocking event, but there is anxiety & trauma. There are no visits to The Priory, but there is a cottage in the countryside with a cat.
At the end of 2018 I was seriously struggling, my anxiety levels were crippling and the Christmas period was one of the worst ever. Since the trauma of my marriage ending nearly 4 years ago, swiftly followed by a year in bed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had been working hard on my healing and recovery. My nervous system was so strung out for so long (even before the end of my relationship), couple that with being an ambitious woman rebuilding my life from zilch/ zero/ nada and throw in a few more seriously challenging life events over the following years – and the result is a very messy, extremely anxious, struggling through each day version of me.
It was hard and it was horrible. I only really realised the extent of the spiral I had swung down over Christmas, so I went to my doctor in early Jan and asked for help – I wanted Diazepam (quick fix chill drug) and he said no (the correct answer, as it is very addictive). He also said come back in a month. Which at the time felt a little like I had been left out in the cold, literally, as it was the first week in January. Until I picked myself up, reminded myself I am an extremely talented and experienced Intuitive Life Coach with a huge box of excellent life skills & tools – so I embarked upon my own personal, self prescribed ‘rehab’ – and I am very pleased to tell you – it worked – a treat!
While my house in London was being renovated I moved into my Mum’s cottage in Oxfordshire = peace, time alone & space (not mention my actual Mum & Saintly Step-Dad) – perfect! I devised a programme to heal my hideous anxiety, build my physical fitness, feel good about myself & my life, develop much better boundaries & stop vaping – a little addiction I had fallen for as a much loved crutch through all the above. Now we are only 4 months on and how I was feeling, and my life choices then, feel like a lifetime ago – it literally feels like I was a different person, because in many ways I was. I was being overwhelmed by my trauma behaviours and a racing, fearful mind – whereas now I have shifted the balance so I choose how I feel, I choose what I do, I am the powerful creator of my life, not the helpless victim.
Here is a list of what my at home ‘rehab’ consisted of in those first few weeks and months:
- I stopped drinking alcohol for a period of time and read Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington – I had slipped into drinking regularly to numb my feelings – never a healthy place to be.
- I step-by-step reduced the nicotine in my vape until it was at zero, then I ran out of vape liquid one day and stopped completely. (This was over a period of months.)
- I created a very simple morning routine – starting small. The worst time for the anxiety was often in the morning, it would envelop me as soon as I woke up; thinking of all the negative & scary possibilities, what could go wrong and worries about the day ahead. I got into the habit of thinking from my Chronic Fatigue mindset – that I couldn’t get through the day, that each task was too big and tiring to surmount – and this was not my reality anymore, but my mind had not moved on from it – it was holding onto the pattern of trauma thought. My morning ritual allowed me to interrupt this habit & thought pattern and instead choose how I started each day. It included:
- 5 mins meditation
- 10 mins yoga
- 3 things I am truly grateful for (no lip service here – gotta really feel it)
- I had weekly therapy sessions with a counsellor – this was vital to understand what patterns of behaviour and thought had contributed to my downwards spiral – and the support and space to express my feelings with no judgement.
- I created some very clear boundaries around areas of life that had been draining my energy and causing more trauma and pain.
- I shared my ‘rehab’ experience by spending time with trusted friends and family members – the inner circle.
Sounds fun right?! It wasn’t that fun, but it also wasn’t that hard either, I had lots of support and took each step slowly, bit by bit. Very quickly I started to feel the benefits of committing to my at home ‘rehab’, I started to push past my comfort zone a little more, each step forward I took gave me a bit more confidence, a bit more energy and bit more lust for life.
I share this with you to be vulnerable and show you that we all struggle, even if we keep it private at the time. Also to show that we all have what we need within us to heal and create the life experience we most want. I happen to have had thousands of hours of experience and knowledge this area – so I could DIY-this-shit-baby – but maybe you need someone to help you set up your healing programme. And you don’t need to be ‘sick’, the Doc can even send you away and you still might need a whole heap of healing, love and care – you can give it to yourself & you can ask for it from others. If I hadn’t fully committed to this programme, and many steps after the list above ended, I would be no further forward than I was in January, and I would probably have been prescribed some medication that I don’t really need.
Now I am doing so well – I am finally getting back to peak fitness – going to the gym 5/6 times a week – eating clean – no vaping – loving my work – loving my family & my peeps – lots of fun & travel. I have taken huge leaps forward in healing from my anxiety and moving on from my trauma patterns – it feels like FREEDOM and it’s awesome.
Sending love xx