A lifetime quest to finding the key to my mental wellness.
Ever since I was born, I have always felt different than most. My mind was in a constant state of chaos and noise with thoughts racing across my mind as if in a mental race against each other to gain my attention. My childhood had been one that occupied family toxicity at levels that could make the sturdiest of systems weak at the knees. The layering of conditioning that took place during those early formative years filled my heart with fears and my mind with ideations I could not understand most of the time. I often felt like I was standing over the edge of a precipice where I could easily tumble into at any time. I was a nervous child, a sensitive soul, a creative that lead my mother to a psychologist at an early age wondering where those “deep thoughts” I was having were coming from. She was worried I might have “mental issues”.
My early childhood was riddled with violent episodes caused by my father’s alcoholism and drug addiction. There was abuse veiled in complicity and denial which did nothing for me but reenforce my inner fears that not much could be controlled in the life of a child and that when the ones who are titled to be caretakers suddenly become your perpetrators, it does something to your psyche that often takes a lifetime to replace into correct perspective. The mind of a child is like a sponge that absorbs not only the words spoken but also the touch, the smells and all that is visual and stores them away into neat little files in their tiny little minds for safe keeping and unravelling at a later date.
Whether we understand it or not, whether we are conscious of it or not, we begin to imprint every single sensation, perception, visual and spoken cues as well as reinforced behaviours as soon as we make our way out of our mother’s womb. Surroundings, events, and people begin to build our outer layers. As we grow, those layers thicken and multiply with every person we encounter and every experience we have. Those layers, with time, begin to weigh us down. They start isolating us from ourselves…till one day, we wake up and feel completely disconnected from the world we believe we belonged to.
I have been on a lifetime quest to discover what it was that made me feel so disconnected from myself and from the world around me. I felt I did not belong anywhere and with anyone. The land was foreign and so were its occupants. I played the role assigned to me depending on who’s presence I was in. Each person in my life had different expectations of me and being the people pleaser that I was, I refused to rock the boat and disappoint and therefore learned to quickly assess other’s projections of me and acquiesce to their beliefs of who they thought I should be in their play of the moment. Doing so only created more chaos in my mind and made me feel not only disconnected to my surroundings but even more so to myself. I became fragmented.
Until I lost my brother to suicide.
That one event rocked my core to such a depth that it rendered me completely devoid of the desire to live.
I had been plagued my entire life with a feeling of disconnectedness and ideations of disappearing but suicide was a distant thought that would transverse my mind only on occasions where my outer world became so chaotic that it filled me with the fear I had no control.
From the moment I realized my brother was gone, as I lay on the hospital gurney next to his frozen body, suicidal thoughts took permanent residence inside my mind. The pain was just too much to bear. I could not fathom a world without him in it. He was my lifeline, my buoy, my silver thread in this world. Without him, how could I even exist?
From that moment, I felt everything. This newfound intensity was something that had been completely foreign to me until then. I had lived most of my life as an observer and the shock of losing my brother to suicide had propelled me into my own life as a participant to this nightmare of an existence. I thought about suicide every second of every day. I became obsessed with the idea and there was a complete break in my psyche that made me hit a crossroad.
I was in mourning for almost 18 years.
During these many years of grieving, I researched, experimented, explored and studied numerous techniques, tools, findings, religions and concepts to try and understand what I could do to overcome this darkness that kept growing inside me. I felt limited, caged, held back and muffled. I had to find a better way to deal with my loss than to follow suit. I began to go inward.
Since there were no answers that I could find “without”, I decided to take my journey “within”.
I knew that I had to approach my mental wellness in the same way as I had approached my battle with cancer (one that I had vanquished through the use of nutrition principles and visualization) back in 2007. I had to see my mental turmoil as a “dis-ease” of my mental state and mindset.
I had to use what I had learned and put it to work to repair, resolve and renew my mental wellness.
I used a trifecta approach that I had come to know well and felt would bring me the results I yearned for. You see, for me, I believe the being is composed of 3 aspects. The physical body, the mental conditioning, and the essence of the spirit, that elusive energy that never dies. If I could get this trifecta working in synchronicity, I could basically conquer anything this life threw my way.
Increasing physical resilience
My first goal was to get my physical body back to a healthy state. I needed to feed my body the nutrition it needed to thrive, the water it needed to hydrate and the rest it needed to heal. I used an alkaline based dietary approach to increase my physical resilience. I ate mostly vegetables and a bit of protein. It was a 70/30 ratio. I drank at least 2 litres of water per day and used meditative sequencing to bring my mind to a delta state so that I could begin to repair my body with deep sleep sessions. Only once I had conquered this aspect of the journey could I move on to the next.
Conditioning the mental muscle
Once my body had recouped its strength to the point that I felt physically strong, I put all my focus and energy towards the conditioning of my mental muscle. I used meditation to quiet down the monkeys in my head that were continuously trying to derail my plans of getting better with their negative discourse and self-talk. I tried many different meditations created by Dr. Joe Dispenza that were individually designed to address specific issues a person might be trying to overcome. Some dealt with the balancing of the Chakras (inner energy centers), others with the quieting of the negative self-talk and some were simply designed to help one create a meditation discipline using short morning and night sessions.
The next tool I used to condition my mental muscle was the powerful use of affirmations. This repetitive daily ritual has been the one thing that has completely changed my life and the thing I do religiously every morning and every night. I often say that it is in these moments that I create the next chapter of my life. I have so often proved this statement to be true for myself that it is no longer a doubt or something I consider magic, it simply works…every time.
As I advanced in this aspect of my journey towards mental wellness, I could sense my ego losing its grip on my being. I could feel the fear, the pain, the anger simply dissolving and the void slowly filling with light.
Once the light was greater than the darkness, I was ready to embrace the last part of my journey towards a limitless mind.
Healing the broken spirit
At this point, my physical being was strong, my mental state had embraced a calmer existence and even if the monkeys still hosted parties in my mind once in a while, they no longer had permanent residency in my daily life. What was left was to heal was my broken spirit, my aching heart.
Every year around my brother’s death I would either have a panic attack, fall deathly ill or my back would simply give out and I would end up in the hospital or on the table at my chiropractor. It always felt like my heart was imploding inward. The first few years it happened; I did not connect the dots. After years of recurrence though, my chiropractor started pointed it out to me as the dates began to get closer and closer to his death’s anniversary. He just came out and stated “you’re heart sick Klaude. Your heart has been subjected to such a trauma that as the event date approaches every year, it triggers your heart to have a similar reaction it had that day. You may not remember how you felt that very day because of the adrenaline that was flooding your body, but your heart remembers. Now, when the date appears, your heart recreates the physical pain but because the adrenaline is not flooding your body like it did that day, you experience the pain. There is nothing wrong with you physically, it’s your heart and soul that needs healing”.
I was stunned. I later researched this on Google and found story after story reiterating my chiropractor’s assessment of my case. It was true. Some sort of PTSD…but at the soul level.
Well, for me, there was only one way I could attempt healing my soul and that was through prayer. I needed to reconnect to my divine source and surrender myself to its will. I would simply sit in silence and speak inwardly to God. I would ask for his help, his healing, to wrap me up in his unconditional love and heal my spirit. I started journaling with intent. I would write to my inner self, the wounded part of me that needed love, support, forgiveness, and understanding. I realized there was much that I needed to reconcile with myself. I had to shed years of conditioning, layers after layers that belonged to others than myself and that I needed to let go of. I felt the need for authenticity, truth, and the dissolution of my fears…False Evidence Appearing Real.
I was FREE.
Once I came out of the last tunnel and felt my spirit break free from the weight of the loss of myself and my beloved brother Walter, and could soar towards the light, I knew it was time to share my story and journey towards my limitless mind with others of this world that needed me to be their lighthouse in the storm and bring them safely home.
I started writing “Suicide Kills”, my first novel, a memoir, in early 2019 and launched it in April of this year. It is a book about the journey I have just shared with you in this article. It is an amalgamation of true stories of some of the most difficult times in my life. It is meant to inspire others to transcend their darkness and make their way towards their own inner light. To awaken their own giant within and believe that they are not alone.
What does it mean to develop a limitless mindset and why is it the way to empowering your mental wellness?
It is the shedding of a lifetime of programing and conditioning that inadvertently happens as we live and mingle with the world. It is the inward quest to find our most authentic selves so that we may live a life that is true to our spirit, our God given talents and it is the empowerment and the awakening of our sleeping giant within that dissolves the fear we have of trying, the fear we have of being, the fear we have of living our most authentic life with total abandon and disregard for what others might think.