Well I am a shining example of how not to go through a crisis until I finally went through the big one that forced me to find a better way. I very much learned the hard way and I had a very bumpy ride trying to transcend my own problems alone. Through the work I do now and the people I help, my intention is to be the person that I wish was available when I was trying to claw my way back out of the holes I had fallen into or been thrown into.
I went through a series of crisis events beginning in May 2013 when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I was living in London at the time and I was on the other side of the world away from my family and friends. The doctors were fantastic at treating the disease and getting it out of me and I recovered quickly. The psychological and emotional scars however ran far deeper and I spiralled into a tailspin of anxiety, depression and substance abuse. My life as I knew it had completely changed overnight and I was desperately trying to find my way back. I tried to reach out for help and I knew I was on a dark and slippery slope. However, all I could find were disinterested, clock watching counsellors and psychologists. The more I fell into my dark and scary world, the more people distanced themselves from me which fuelled my sense of despair and feeling of aloneness.
Finally utterly defeated, I returned home to Australia to attempt to put the pieces of my life back together. Unfortunately however, the accumulated compound stress was still lurking unresolved in my subconscious and resurfaced in crisis a few more times. There was a very tortured shadow self that existed within me who was desperately wanting to be recognised, loved and healed. There was more substance abuse and a couple of suicide attempts. Every time I thought I had found my true rock bottom, I found an even deeper one. Again, I looked around for help but quickly gave up as all I found were therapists who were more interested in their 50 minutes and getting paid than truly connecting with me and seeing how much pain I was in. That is why now I don’t care if it takes 50 minutes or 5 hours, I am not going to end our session until we have achieved what we need to.
My last crisis was the one that woke me up from the tortured, disconnected, solitary world I had been living in since 2013. It was in this crisis that I finally refused to go down again and fought back with a determination I never knew I had. I became insatiably curious about myself and I opened the door into the internal shadow world that I had denied for so long and that been the sack of bricks around my neck all my life. I embarked on a quest. A quest to truly understand myself, to get to the roots of my hidden thoughts and emotions and to clear all the unseen things that had been sabotaging my efforts to get back to my authentic self. I read many books, remembered my professional training and it was on this quest that my mantra became, Stop, Ground, Surrender, Trust, Believe. This mantra and the Joseph Campbell inspired ‘quest’ model became the platform for the work I now do to assist clients through their own crisis. It became my rock and my foundation and I wished I had this knowledge all those years ago.
I made so many mistakes on my own crisis journeys. I did it all the most difficult way possible and it almost killed me a few times. That is until I said ENOUGH and I came back swinging. I locked myself away for months and searched for teachings. I went on a deep exploration of myself through meditation, journaling and insatiable curiosity about who I was. I completely surrendered and followed my intuition. Slowly but surely, I found my way back to my true and authentic self and I said goodbye to crisis.
All these experiences were my training. My crisis journeys and the lessons learned are my gift to you and it is my hope that when you transcend your own crisis that you will pay it forward and help someone else. There is nothing you cannot conquer, nothing you cannot overcome, and no crisis you cannot transcend. All it takes is 5 simple steps and a decision to get back up off the canvas. You are invincible, you are fearless and you are on a quest.