I currently am doing a life coaching program (which means I and being coached, a lot). It has been a great way for me to reflect on my life. Writing these blogs also allows me to do this…which has also been very cathartic and self-enlightening at the same time.
For those who know me I have a very busy life (and Kim and I don’t even have children). That is not uncommon in today's society. Being able to reflect and look back at my life and see how I have developed and changed those habits, but all that time continuing the same “Bad Pattern” cycle.
There are 2 things I have done for many years that were a constant in my life. Playing sport and watching TV. Both of these were habits I formed from a young age, probably (definitely) since the age of 6.
One is a very good habit, my sport. This allowed me to get fit, learn about commitment, teamwork, how to win, how to lose, how to struggle and triumph and probably most importantly about hard work. I learnt that if you want to improve with anything, hard work and persistence is the only way. As a result of this, resilience becomes a part of my make up (and as you will read later – it probably allowed me to survive). I also gained many life-long friends along the way.
When I was training, playing or running for example, I was in the zone. I was focused on one thing and nothing else mattered in my world because I was lost in another.
Watching TV probably wasn’t the best way to spend my time. But I loved it. I still do. Movies especially. And I still watch waaay to much (I need an A.A. for Foxtel). It became a really bad habit that is still, to this day, hard to break.
The thing about TV is I became transfixed. I zoned out. Nothing else mattered in my world because I was lost in another.
As you can see both my sport and TV were the same tool in different formats that allowed me to deal with what was going on in my head.
As I got older and I played less sport I exchanged it for other crutches. This included 5 years of study, running a business, fishing (which I have always used as well since childhood), photography, woodwork, purchasing a property that needs constant attention. I filled up every gap in my life so I didn’t have to think.
Being in these “other worlds” as a child and youth allowed me to survive my childhood. They were tools that kept me alive…mentally. And though I didn’t suffer from depression until my early to mid 20’s, this habit of “keeping busy” allowed me to survive and function until I was able to deal with the issues I had to deal with. I believe they were there to help me get to the point when I was mentally strong enough to do so.
When my past started slowly bubbling up, it didn’t matter how busy I kept, I just couldn’t keep my mind quiet or ignore that past. That’s when the depression started to kick in. And the trigger was heartbreak. My heart was broken and I couldn’t juggle another emotional weight to carry, and it all came crashing down.
The façade I built up, the perception of me, was all a lie and deep down I knew it.
Then I had to face the REAL issue, the issue that caused me to develop all my patterns and bad habits. The patterns and habits that allowed me to survive as a child, but wasn’t allowing me to live as an adult.
It was all due to being sexually abused by a neighbor aged 6-7...on numerous occasions.
I managed to survive all those years by pushing it down, ignoring it, pretending it didn’t happen.
But it did, and my mind and body wouldn’t allow it to be ignored any more.
It manifested itself in depression. And though I had good days, good weeks or even months, there was always a black cloud hanging over my right shoulder ready to dump another shower of depression on me.
I went to counselors and psychologists over the years and each time they helped me get to a point where I was in a good space. Then over time the whole thing gradually went back to the old patterns. I tried all sorts of things that I hoped would be the magic bullet including mediation, self-help and essential oils. And they all did help, but only to a point.
Deep inside was still the little 6-year-old Brett who was betrayed and had his strength, power and childhood stolen from him. Living like that for 44 years became exhausting, I was unhappy and I was sick of it.
So you can understand why I am so grateful that I found a solution that worked for me. I found a process that enabled me to reclaim that little lost child’s strength and power back. I got my voice back. I could speak up and stand up for me for the first time in my life. The bright shining light that was 6-year-old Brett came flooding back.
I can now talk about my depression. I can now talk about being a survivor of child abuse. But what is really important to me, is I can now talk about it without shame, embarrassment or guilt. I have no emotional attachment anymore. For the last 6 months my life has changed around and it has been amazing.
And what’s been even better than that…
Life, all of a sudden, feels easy…
To the man behind the process (you know who you are), I will be eternally grateful. Thank you for enabling me to get my life back and allowing me to shine again.
And to my beautiful wife Kim, thanks for always being there for me during the dark days. I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know.
This is a photo of me as a 5-year-old. I don't think I had the concept you had to smile for photos at that time.