The Story of Join The Circle. Part 4: When I broke down, and how I built myself back up.

This might not seem strictly related to Join The Circle at first glance. But stay with me.

In September 2016 I had a mental breakdown and ended up being hospitalised. Warning. I'm going to get quite personal with my own experience so if that's not your thing or you might get a trigger from this kind of thing, it might be best to skip ahead to the next part.

I was in a bad way mental health wise - without euphemism, I was suicidal and was hurting myself regularly and to the point of blacking out. I was hearing voices and hallucinating and staying in touch with the real world was very difficult. I tell you this so you know how bad things got. So that if you're in a similar position, you already know that there's a happy ending (happy middle..) coming, and that it'd possible for you to have one too.

I know it might seem like all is lost, that there is no hope, that no one loves you and you're a burden to the ones you love. I know that reading this you might think 'well it's fine for her, but it doesn't apply to me. I really am unfixable, unlovable and a hopeless case'. I felt that way too. In fact I felt trapped by the people that loved me, I knew that me letting go would hurt them but didn't they realise that in the long run they'd be happier without me?

I went into hospital a wreck and I came out in a similar way but with the added knowledge that I never wanted to go back to that place again and I would do anything to avoid it. I committed to therapy, to taking the prescribed drugs and began to think seriously about my life and what I wanted to change.

One of the biggest changes I made was to quit the acoustic duo. Neither of us had been happy in it for a while and I knew I wanted to do other things musically. I hadn't quit up until then because I knew it would have a big impact on the other half of the duo financially and it felt incredibly selfish of me to want to step back from it. But with a clearer perspective on life, I quit.

I had 3 months off from all work. This included running dance sessions. Luckily, all my homes were incredibly supportive and they continue to be now if I ever have to 'take the day'. But it got me thinking about the reality that there was only one of me and that if there were more people running the sessions then my homes could have been covered whilst I was off. Once I got that far, it was a short step to realising that if I could train more people, then my sessions could spread all the way across the UK. And that was something to get excited about!

Just to note, now, today, I'm doing much better. I'm still having therapy, I'll probably be on the drugs for life, but I'm in a place of hope and positivity and reality. My sessions have really helped me to realise that I matter and make me feel like I'm making a difference in the world. Which is something that is great to hold on to. I do still have days where I'm not in a good place. But doesn't everyone?

ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you’re struggling and you need help, I can recommend going to Mind. They were amazing for me. I went in to their Southend branch, and all I said was that I needed help. I was in tears. Someone was available within the hour for me to talk to and it got the whole process started. It’s embarrassing, you might feel ashamed, but the more honest you are, the better the help that you’ll receive. Good luck.