Trigger warning: mention of drugs and alcohol abuse, car accidents, depression, anxiety, panic attacks & suicidal ideation.
This guest feature has been written by Tori, creator of Tori Therapies on Instagram (you can also visit her website by clicking here). Tori’s incredibly raw story is one of change, disruption and toxic relationships as a youth, and how all of these elements continued to influence her into adulthood – that is, until she sought help from both traditional and non-traditional sources.
“I don’t remember receiving much nurturing from anyone“
My journey has been one of not fitting in.
So many things changed in my life: moving areas, schools and friends, and even different relationships in my mum’s life – none of which were ever discussed with me.
I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my friends when we moved, and my animals would be given away without a word.
I had a whole second family on my Dad’s side, and I don’t remember receiving much nurturing from anyone.
I always had to act a certain way to please everyone; otherwise I would get in trouble.
When I was 12 years old, I was sent to boarding school to be out of my mum’s way. There were countless arguments and bad words said to me about both my dad and I – so much so that I was often scared to see him because of what my mum had said.
“[I was] suffering from depression and unable to make sense of the world”
I built high walls around me as protection, and I stopped letting people in.
I started using drugs and alcohol to take me away from this world. I would even put myself in dangerous situations, all whilst the arguments between my mum and I got worse, and our relationship became increasingly toxic.
All of this carried on over the years. I would play out the same patterns in my life at home, in relationships, and at work. I managed to hold down jobs but would change them frequently. I was also involved in 5 car accidents between the ages of 13 and 28 years old, caused by both myself and others behind the wheel on the various occasions.
Suffering from depression and unable to make sense of the world, things took a turn when I was 28 years old. My mind was so lost – I was experiencing a breakdown with panic attacks, disabling depression and anxiety. I eventually went to the doctors, as I didn’t know what else to do.
I was put on medication and waited for CBT and physiotherapy, which took a few months. Whilst the medication helped with the dark thoughts I was having, it was numbing me out, and I would still have panic attack-inducing flashbacks.
“I finally felt in control of my life and my emotions“
One day, I realised that I needed to change my life if I wanted to start feeling better. So, I broke off the relationship I was in and moved back to my mum’s until I bought a house and found a less stressful job.
Around the same time, I picked up my old notes from my counselling and holistic therapy training, and I started meditating and doing yoga and breathwork, as well as walking in nature. I also underwent paid therapy for a while.
I started to build better relationships over time. I had a heart-to-heart with my dad about things, and we have been great ever since.
Life started to look up: I didn’t need my medication, I felt like I could breathe, and I was no longer having panic attacks.
After lots of journaling and deep self-reflection (as well as attending a 2-year shamanic practitioners course, which supported me to let go of more layers and study psychology), I was feeling the best I had ever felt. I finally felt in control of my life and my emotions, and I began to realise that I had a choice as to how I wanted to live my life.
I started dreaming about the life I wanted, which is the same life that I have now manifested. I live in a quiet place, surrounded by nature and the sea. I love myself, I am in a loving relationship, and we have a dog, all living off the land together. I support others who are struggling, and I’m so honoured to be a part of other peoples’ journeys towards recovery. Most of all, I receive life’s ups and downs with compassion and acceptance.
People are amazed by my transformation. I always hear them telling me that I look so good and happy, and that it’s so nice to see me enjoying life and being present with them. A few of my close friends who knew what was going on at the time are so proud that I didn’t give up, and I have even supported some of them since.
“Make sure to find a way to let go of your conditioning and live the life you want”
My top tip is to make sure you don’t give up.
If you aren’t happy with your life, or something in your life, then it can be changed. Yes it takes time and dedication, but there are many tools out there – it’s a matter of finding the ones that best work for you.
Here are some of my quick happiness tools:
- Go outside in nature
- Walk barefoot
- Dance and sing
- Go swimming outside, or take a cold shower
- Scream and shake out any strong emotions
Remember, life is a gift. Make sure to find a way to let go of your conditioning and live the life you want – after all, it’s what you are here for, so enjoy it!
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