In January I turned the big 5-0! Things were going well and 2020 was going to be the best year ever.
I was “living the dream” of being my own boss and realizing success in many ways.
After decades in the hospitality industry, I had grown accustomed to working 60-80 hours a week, traveling all the time and being away from my family. This had become the norm… always catering to everyone around me and never willing to take time for myself. Years of not knowing how to say no or having any boundaries in place to protect my own health.
For years I was exhausted and never slept through the night. Successful events were more important than eating right. Making sure my team had time off and got paid were the highest priorities.
When the world came to a halt in March, I learned quickly that work had been my coping mechanism since I was a teen. The fact that I always kept too busy to be alone with myself was not a mistake, it kept me sane. I thought the work was madness, but really my mind was the problem.
Depression is a silent killer and masks itself in the form of exhaustion. It makes you think you are crazy; it makes you feel like you are not enough.
Once all business was wiped out for the year, I had to focus on something. I could not possibly sit around the house with my own thoughts all day. Once again, I threw myself into creating work for myself… starting a new business and a non-profit to help others with the same struggles.
This crazy year that we are in forced me to deal with something I had buried for years, my failed suicide attempt in 1997. After losing a friend about a year ago, I could not stay silent anymore. So, you see COVID gave me the time to process my own journey and learn how I can contribute to the new purpose in my life… suicide prevention. We can make a difference as a society by abolishing the stigma and having the conversations.
Self-care tips that have kept the madness at bay for me:
- Create a daily routine that involves time for yourself, by yourself.
- Exercise and eat healthy as much as possible.
- Journal daily.
- Meditation. Apps such as Headspace, Calm, BrainTap, etc. could be covered by your insurance.
- Explain to your family / friends how you struggle and what they can do to support you.
- Seek help if you need it, medical or therapy.
You matter, you are worth it, and you are not alone.
If you are ever feeling hopeless or suicidal, call the suicide hotline in your area.
- In the USA, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- You can find more of my story in this blog for the Realize Foundation: https://www.realizefoundation.org/post/i-woke-up-in-the-hospital-realizing-i-was-still-alive