Having had a brain-break in 1999, I sometimes wonder if I will ever be free of the effects of this event. Will I ever be 'normal' again, will I be free to work as hard as I used to without fear of going 'mad', will I always be worried about what others think and say about me, will I ever be totally ‘free’?
The answer is, as it is with most things, yes and. Or as we say in New Zealand - "Yeah nah!"
I learnt a lot when I went through my event. I learned that I have to look after myself, I learned that I should never have worked 12-hour days continuously for years on end, I learned that the mind is just as fragile as the body and if you mistreat it your brain will break just like the body, and I learned that I am not indestructible after all.
Going through my recovery was one of true discovery. Everything went from dark to light, opaque to clear, hazy to bright, cloudy to sunny. It didn’t happen overnight, it took a few years, three-to-five as they say. But it was a wonderful journey of discovery.
I discovered that the brain is more important than the body, that it never rests, that it makes stuff up, that it exaggerates the negative, that it will get away on me if I let it, and that it is me who ultimately has control of my brain.
I also discovered that I must take care of my brain, I must rest it when it is tired, that I must exercise it when it has been dormant, that I can work as hard as I want provided I don’t do so for years on end, that I must stop (over) reacting to my negative thoughts, that I must trust my gut instinct more, that I must listen to my brain when it is in slow mode and ignore it when it is sprinting flat-out.
I find now that I am more emotional than I ever was, I am more connected with those around me, that I am more caring about what others think and say, that I should try and help others as much as I can, that how I behave impacts on others without me ever knowing it both positively and negatively. I am more sensitive than I would ever have thought a person should or could be, and that’s a good thing.
Mostly what I learned is that I have been to a place that many of us have been to and recovered from, that I am not alone, that what I went through is normal if you don’t look after yourself, that I should have listened to those around me who had ‘been there and done that’, that I am human after all. And I wouldn’t want to change any of the effects for anything, I am living life to the fullest.