This is a personal account of my road to recovery, an ongoing road that does not have a finish line. A road that will have its fair share of ups and down, of smiles and frowns, of happiness and sadness, and of loss and of love.

December 2nd, 2019 was the day my life changed. The day I experienced, first hand, the severe and devastating impacts of mental illness. On this day I found my partner had taken her own life. Every day I still remember the exact feeling I felt at this moment. Or how when I’m in the darkness, or triggered, my body and mind go into the exact same response mode. Freeze. Flight. Panic. Anxiety. Sadness. Pain. Alone. Lost.

This, however, is not an account about that experience. It is an account about recovering and finding a way to move forwards in life, having been through something traumatic, and losing someone in a way that feels incomprehensible.

While there is devastation that can rock our world, it is the devastation and the unexpected that can open our eyes and hearts, give us the strength and courage to be open and share our vulnerabilities, and, importantly, reconnect to ourselves and others.

Reconnecting has been the most important part of my recovery and dealing with the trauma. It has allowed me to work towards healing. To love myself. To love others. To be more mindful of, and respectful towards, nature. To trust in spirituality in helping me find my way. To trust myself and others when opening up my heart to family, friends, and falling in love with my new partner – allowing them in to love and support me. Trauma can do all kinds of things to us – it can isolate us, make us lose trust in others, lead us to pushing others away by unhealthy projection, or create barriers that don’t allow people in. Trauma can also give us an opportunity to grow, learn, and love. We have the power to make that decision.

“I won’t let pain turn my heart ugly. I will show you that surviving can be beautiful” – Christy Ann Martine.

Dealing with loss and heartbreak forced me to face everything in my life head on. My pain. My emotions. My confidence. My self esteem. My trauma. Myself (who I actually am, the truest reflection of myself when I look in the mirror). Some parts of me I was not happy with. Some parts of me needed to mature. Some parts of me needed time to recover and process the emotions I was faced with. Some parts of me needed to be celebrated and accepted, just the way I am (especially any misconceptions I had around my imperfections). It pushed me into being outside of my comfort zone, to understanding that my uniqueness, like all of us, is not a downfall – it is who I am, it is what makes me special. It allows me to bring something to this world that no one else can… me.

It has been a long, long road and I still have a way to go. There are so many tools and coping mechanisms I have used along the way. Therapy, namely counselling and psychotherapy. Energy healing sessions. Self help. Self care. Exercise. Mindfulness. Creating routines and building healthy habits. Sharing my story and vulnerabilities with others. These have all played a huge part in who I am today, sitting here writing this.

Recovery for all of us is different. The tools we use and the different types of help we seek are accessed and used in our own ways. There is no timeframe on recovery. There is no right or wrong way. You have as much time as it takes. You have the right to focus on yourself. The right to say yes and no to what’s best for you. You have the right to make mistakes and to learn and grow from them.

All you need to do is start. You don’t need to set huge goals and milestones. Just start and the rest will follow. Forward is forward no matter the pace.

“There is no timestamp on trauma. There isn’t a formula that you can insert yourself into to get from horror to healed. Be patient. Take up space. Let your journey be the balm” – Dawn Serra.

In my mind there are common themes that have helped me on my own individual road to recovery. Connection. Acceptance. Understanding. Time. Openness.

Anything can happen on any day in your life. Live each moment to its fullest.

Much Love.