A short while ago Stephen recommended a book to me - "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. This blog was supposed to just be a book review, But Stephen was gracious enough to give so much more. Thank you.
Who are you?
I’m 24 years old.
I’ve Been working in retail and as a part time musician for 5 years.
I’ve played in wedding bands, Two pieces, and as a solo singer/songwriter.
I enjoying various types of physical exercise such as running, swimming and boxing.
Completing dozens of half marathons, 5k’s 10k’s around Northern Ireland.
On my down time I love spending time with my nephews and Goddaughter and going out for coffee with friends, Hiking, and seeing some live music.
What mental health difficulties have you experienced?
In my teens I’d always struggled with anxiety fitting in and low self worth, I stopped drinking at 18 years old because I didn’t like the person I was when I was drunk.
From there I embarked on a spiritual search buying various spiritual books, going to Buddhist meditations, spiritual workshops to trying to fix my own inner person.
I’d always been a very deep thinker, at 18 I became obsessed with finding out the meaning of life, why are we here? whats it all about? Reading books on physics quantum mechanics, Astrology, spiritual teachings, Buddhism, Hinduism you name it. Unfortunately this led me deeper and deeper into myself locking myself away isolating from friends and family in my own bubble convinced I was special, at times I even went so far as to believe I'd had come from I distant galaxy, that I wasn’t meant for this world (LOL!)
By the age of 20 I had completely overloaded my brain, at 20 years old I had a nervous breakdown, (Or what I like to call it, “A nervous breakthrough”) After years of being wrapped up in my own thoughts something broke. At first I had to be sedated and put on antipsychotics,
Home crisis mental health team had to be called, I couldn’t eat, I had so much fear running through my body I thought I was going to pass out. Mental health were fantastic but the only way new i was going to recover was believing that there was some sort of “higher Power” or “force in the universe” and talking to people who had come through a similar experience.
In my mental psychosis and despair something shifted inside of me, I’d woke up to reality and to love, my whole perspective and perception of life changed dramatically,
When I truly thought “This was it” this is the end of my life, all I could think was “I love my family so much” My dad, my mother my nephews a niece. That’s really is all that matters! The only reason I wanted to live was so that I could simply embrace the life I’d taken for granted! We only "think" we want more! Spending time with my goddaughter and nephews and just giving my time to them, “Self forgetting” even when I felt absolutely awful at times through “adding too the lives of others" I experienced a deep peace I didn’t know was possible.
What is your favourite book and why?
“The Sky is always blue behind the grey clouds” In Eckharte Tolle’s book after years and years of suffering with severe anxiety and depression in one night of absolute despair he came to the realisation “I cannot Live with myself anymore”
He realised what a profound statement this was, “I” cannot live with “Myself” any longer” Maybe only one of them is real? Who was the “I” and who was the “Self” I cannot live with? "The power of Now” points us to the peace that already exists within us! It teaches us, not to dwell in the past or project into the future, peace can only be attained in the present moment. The book teaches us not to listen to the chatter in the head and realise we are perfect, complete and at peace in this very moment! I am not my thoughts I am the observer of my thoughts.
What do you do to keep well?
In my recovery I needed strict structure and routine, “Action is the magic Word” I had to work extremely hard for the first 2 years, working full time, exercising daily, running and competing in half marathons 10k’s 5k’s, I started boxing training, I went back to college and finished a course in music,
I started playing music in pubs, I travelled to Slovenia and New York. Today it’s important I try not to take myself so seriously, I still have to work everyday to keep out of my own head, I have to try and keep active, try and maintain gratitude by attending support groups. “You can’t think your way into right living, You can only live your way into right thinking!” Love is the answer!
*If you want to purchase the book that has meant so much to Stephen please scroll to the bottom of the blogs page. *