By Kai Simmonds
These days there is so much peace and joy in my life. For the first time in my life I am achieving so much with out being burned out - but things weren't always this way.
Two besties: anxiety and depression
I've spent most of my life being depressed or anxious. When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with depression after hurting myself. I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to therapy early on and got through it in a few years.
But Anxiety is tricky, you see 20 years ago Mental Health wasn't something that wasn't understood. Although, I went to therapy I hid it for a long time and was embarrassed by it even though it helped me so much!
So I kind of just threw my anxiety under the rug for a bit because at least I wasn't depressed and hurting myself anymore!
Just because you hide something or shove down into a deep dark hole thinking you'll look the door and never open it- that's not how it works.
My roaring 20s
I was always an ambitious kid, and at 18 had big dreams to move to New York City and never look back on Hawaii, and I did- sort of.
I spent 2 years studying in New York and playing basketball, 1 year studying abroad in Prague and the last year in Hawaii before moving back to Madrid for a year of living abroad teaching English. This whirlwind of events keep me pretty busy, distracted and my anxiety hidden.
But not for long.
When I was 24 I moved to UAE alone to become an English teacher. It was just me and my cat moving to the other side of the world, alone not knowing anyone or having been there before- this alone is already a stress bomb in itself.
Moving to the UAE made me have to face some things I had been hiding for a long time. Imagine, moving to a foreign country alone + starting a new job/career in a foreign country + unresolved wounds + anxiety + living alone = disaster.
I was a lost soul.
I remember one day in the middle of class I had an overwhelming cloud of negative thoughts that consumed me, I couldn't breathe, I got scared, I couldn't breathe, I ran out of the class to a colleague and honestly I don't remember much after that but waking up in a nurse's office asking what happened?
A panic attack.
That's when it hit me, I'm not okay.
There was something wrong.
My Burnout Bill
After that moment, I realized I needed to make a change, I needed help. However, I had no idea where to find it. I was so lost and confused.
I looked for help everywhere. I thought it was my job- I changed jobs and moved cities. I thought the answers where somewhere else so I traveled , I went to Thailand, Bali, Thailand again, Malaysia, home.
I was so confused, so lost - but at least now I was trying. I was reading books, asking questions and then one day I found a breadcrumb.
At this point in my life I had 0 awareness on Mental Health, Wellness or even Spirituality in fact I thought all of that stuff was nonsense, and it wasn't until my boyfriend dared me to go to a Yoga Class that I experienced a sense of peace I had never had in my life.
After 90 mins of a gruelling hot yoga class, in savasana for a few moments my mind shut up, and once I tasted this I chased this high like no other.
Throughout these years, I spent a lot of money and even more time trying so many things and trying to figure out what was wrong me.
This is a rough estimate of what it cost, to be honest I'm pretty sure I spent way more than this.
what i wish someone would have told me sooner...
to love myself
One of the major breakthroughs in all of this was when I was 29 years old sitting in a therapy session after another burnout and she told me "You're burned out because you don't love yourself."
Honestly, I was like " What the f*ck?" Of course I loved myself, I bought myself whatever I wanted, I was outgoing, I was friendly and easy to talk to.
Then she broke it down for me.
She explained how I was constantly trying to please others and be perfect so that I would be loved and accepted and that I only saw my worth through others.
I defined my worth through my weight, my accomplishments, how many people liked me instead of believing that I am worthy because of who I am.
I am worthy without all of that.
I resisted this for a while, but here I was 29 years old having lived all my life not loving myself, damn that hurt.
So that day I decided, "I'm going to love the f*ck out of myself."
And to be honest I wasn't very good at it at first, it took a lot of practice and time. I had spend most of my life hating myself, judging myself, saying I'm not good enough so I really had to work hard- but I was worth it.
to my younger self
And to anyone who can relate to this...
Know this, you are worthy.
You are worthy of being loved, you don't need to earn it
You are enough, without your accomplishments
You deserve joy, love and peace.
Put it down, the heavy load, the people pleasing, the perfectionism, the comparison. You don't have to carry it, and you don't have to do it alone.
You are so loved, dear one, so loved.