I’ve had many breakdowns in my life, but there is a particular one that shifted my life into a completely different direction. It was a workday and I had called in “sick” once again. It was the third time that month. I felt like I was losing my mind. I can’t exactly pinpoint what drove me there, but it was a combination of things. I was reaching a peak in my career and accomplishing amazing things in my startup business and real estate investment venture. It was all that I always wanted, but why was I so miserable? Was something wrong with me?
The answer is yes.
I was addicted to overachieving, perfectionism and self-destruction. I got a high from doing more and more. I had successfully pulled it off for years. However, I was not 21 anymore and my body couldn’t handle it all any longer.
I’ve suffered from some sort of depression and low self-esteem since I was young. To cope with this, I became an overachiever and a perfectionist. It became that to validate my self-worth, I needed to achieve the next thing and get to the next level. It always felt like I was one step away from reaching happiness, but the more I accomplished, the less satisfaction it brought to my life.
- Once I find my dream job, I will be happy.
- Becoming an entrepreneur is what I need to finally be happy.
- I’ll be happy once I lose my fear to speak in public.
The list goes on. My happiness depended on whether I accomplished these milestones. So, I HAD to accomplish these things. If I didn’t, then I was a failure and not worth living.
Here is what happened…
I had created a multi-step life plan of all of the things I needed to accomplish to have the life I always wanted, be the person I always wanted to be and live the life I deserved.
I am a naturally shy, quiet and soft-spoken person. That didn’t coincide with my idea of the successful person. Look at Grant Cardone or Gary V, they are not shy, right?!
This was on the top of my list to address.
As I began my venture into entrepreneurship, I started attending workshops and reading books on how to be a successful entrepreneur and leader. “You have to create content, make videos, network more, become a storyteller, learn the psychology of people, etc.”
I became really engaged in Instagram because that’s what every business should be doing to be successful, right?! If you followed me then, you probably remember @moonstonepros. The idea of becoming a leader in my industry by being different was my new thing. I began implementing and doing a lot of the techniques I learned by creating content, videos, and email marketing, etc. My hard work was finally being recognized and I was thrilled. The overachieving addict in me needed to do more and better. Instagram became a full-time job pretty much, but I was finally getting the validation I deserved. Then one day, I found myself hating all of it. It was just so tired and drained from all the work. I felt like I was betraying my true self by doing all of that. While people complimented my work, all I saw was a sad girl trying so hard to fit in by doing what she thought she had to do to be happy.
This is just one of the examples of the many things that drove to my rock-bottom point. I had once again fallen into my own trap of who I needed to be or what I needed to be happy. I was the accountant, the business owner, the real estate investor, the financial coach, and the to-be Instagram influencer. But, who was I really and what did I truly want?
After I let it all out and cried my eyes out that day, I realized that it was finally time to address the core issue. I could no longer ignore the fact that I was sick, and I needed help.
Mental health is a just as important, if not more than physical health. However, we’ve grown to think of it as a taboo subject. It opens us to vulnerability, and it is scary.
Until this day, I still find it difficult to openly discuss that I struggle with mental health. I have hesitated to share this post for days. What would people think? What if they think I am crazy?
I’ll tell you what is crazy:
- Putting everyone ahead of us and ignoring our needs
- Not setting up boundaries
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Trying hard to become someone you are not
- Sticking to something that does not make you happy just to please others
- Working towards goals that make you miserable and sticking to them because you think that is what you should do
- Not taking the time to take care of ourselves
I could go on and on about this subject.
To conclude my story, it turns out that I have what they call Bipolar Disorder Type 2 which is a milder version of what we normally think when we hear Bipolar Disorder. This means that I experience hypomanic episodes generally followed by depressive episodes.
Honestly, if I had not started therapy, I would have never thought of it. My hypomanic episodes are just a hyped-up version of my usual self. I have more energy than usual, get really excited, talk more and become super motivated to get things done. I start new projects and come up with great ideas. Probably 70% of my great ideas come from a hypomanic episode like writing a book, starting a blog, a new business, etc. Because they are not so pervasive like the manic episodes of Bipolar Type I, they seem like business as usual. It was only when I started therapy that I noticed the patterns.
Hypomanic episodes are a bit like being caffeinated and when the energy fades away, it’s like a caffeine crash. The “lows” or depressive episodes can be anything from irritability, anxiety, sadness for no given reason, suicidal thoughts, fatigue and just simply lack of interest in anything. It varies from person to person, but that is what I can tell from personal experience.
The concern is not really with the hypomania, but with the depression. The higher you go, the harder the fall and when you fall, you fall. Hence, my 2019 breakdown. The picture below accurately describes the core issue with this disorder.
After a year of therapy and medication, I finally feel like I am in control of my life. Yes, there are still bad days (or weeks) and I am nowhere close to repairing all the damage I have done to myself throughout the years, but I am working on it.
In order to avoid rock bottom, living a balanced life is a must. Hypomanic episodes can be great, but they come at a cost.
The hardest part of my therapy is SLOWING DOWN and enjoying life. I have had to take a few steps back. I was working so hard to accomplish the goals I thought I needed to be happy and accepted by others that ignored the fact that I had everything I needed to be happy right then and there.
Today, I am embracing change and realigning my life with what I truly want. I am focusing on doing less of what I think I should be doing and more of the things that bring me joy. I am no longer proud of the hustle, rather I reward myself when I manage to do nothing. It’s the little things that matter rather than the big accomplishments.
This blog is an example of the things that I enjoy doing because I am being 100% true to myself. Even if this means putting myself in the most vulnerable place ever!
If you are interested, a couple of books that have helped me throughout this new journey and that I highly recommend are:
- I thought It was Just me, but it isn’t
- The Four Agreements
- The Four Agreements Companion Book
- The Gifts of Imperfection
- The Art of Self Love