NB: Below is the intro to my new book The Impossible Dream of a Life Less Frantic and How I Made it Happen. If you would like to know what my book is about before reading the intro, click here!
HOW DID I GET HERE?
I remember the exact moment with frightening clarity.
Ant and Jaden, my husband and child, had left for the day and I was dragging myself around the house. Aimlessly tidying here and there, I contemplated my day and found little joy in what lay ahead.
I was about to enter the kitchen when suddenly I pulled up short.
A little devil had appeared on my shoulder and without pre-amble, whispered to me in a venomous tone:
Ant deserves better, you know. He deserves better than a sad-sack wife who is just existing her way through each day. Maybe it’s time you took yourself out of the picture. He’d be better off if you were dead.
I reeled with shock. I knew I was in a bad way, but I didn’t realise I was that bad. How on earth had I gotten to this level of hopelessness? To the point where suicide was presenting as an option?
I knew the answer, of course.
I’d spent my entire life following the well-trodden path of a type A personality:
Highly driven? Tick
Compulsive multi-tasker? Tick
Constant need to over-achieve? Tick
When I started running my own business six years earlier, the need to over-achieve became a killer. I couldn’t deliver anything at the expected level. I had to surprise people. I needed to hear them say, “Wow, no one’s ever done this as well/ fast/awesomely as you have”. Naturally I couldn’t keep up such a high level of delivery so I started to fail.
And I wasn’t just failing my clients. I was failing at being a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, boss, homemaker and person too.
And it completely did my head in.
Ironically, the more I failed and the unhappier I got, the more I took on. It’s always been my standard coping mechanism for any problem: do more. Try to be awesomeness personified for even more people.
The more I took on, the more life got out of control. The less control I had, the more anxious I got. Anxiety led to stress, stress led to depression, and before I knew it I’d spent the better part of two years firmly in the grip of this unholy trifecta, plunging steadily towards oblivion.
So how did I reach this point in my life where death seemed a viable alternative? And what steps did I take to bring myself back from the brink?
Well, it’s a long story. And it all starts … here.