Although it would be fair to say I had always dabbled in the realm of spirituality by leafing through my mom’s old Tarot books, reading up on astrology and calling the odd psychic, I never took what I called ‘Woo-Woo’ very seriously. Eventually, however, life led me to an impasse: I either had to get real about changing myself for the better or accept a life that was starting to look pretty fucking bleak.
A Charmed Life
In 2011 I was an American living in London, working in a high-profile job as a personal shopper, quite literally to the rich and famous. I had a fabulous salary, lived in a gorgeous neighbourhood in West London, and led a very glamorous lifestyle: weekends in the South of France, jumping off and on super yachts, hobnobbing with the global elite. All the likely suspects of materialist rewards were there: shoes, bags, expensive holidays, champagne. I even had a pretty hot boyfriend that everyone at my office fancied, and we completely adored each other, much to the chagrin of anyone within 15 meters. Me and my business were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and the Huffington Post, to name just a few. Having grown up in a distinctly average middle-class family in the backwoods of rural America this all felt truly exceptional. I felt I had arrived.
It was a completely charmed life.
I was totally fucking miserable.
I had huge self-esteem issues that paralysed my ability to enjoy life. I always felt like a fraud waiting to get caught out, and had no control over the destructive thoughts that repeated through my brain again and again. It was not unusual for me to destroy relationships, holidays, jobs and other opportunities because of the amount of self-hatred I held inside of me. Depressive feelings were a given, and I just tried to do the best I could, every now and again checking out of life to spend my weekend under a duvet, crying my eyes out, intentionally watching sad films to give the emotional purge that extra ‘je ne sais quoi’.
My dad used to call this ‘greasy fingers on the slippery cliff’. I spent a lot of time on that cliff.
No amount of love or affirmation was ever enough, whether that was in work, family or love. While my bosses were considering to make me a share holder, I feared intensely they wanted to fire me. While my boyfriend spoiled me rotten with gifts and romantic gestures, I was convinced that he was interested in someone else. My moods swung wildly all over the place, and my health suffered. I had migraines, weird reoccurring fevers and flu, stomach problems, persistent acne. I ate poorly, rarely exercised and loathed every inch of my body.
My life in London wasn’t a complete wash: I did have great friends and a fun job. But something was definitely missing. And so there I was: 27 years old, living miserably in a foreign country on my own but determined not to return to the States.
Things were not looking too great.
Art by Toshiaki Uchida.
Does any part of my story resonate with you? Have you also struggled with depression, anxiety and self-loathing? Tell me about it below in the comments.