I’ve always had big dreams. I had huge goals and I did everything to try and achieve them. I was like a robot. Yet at some point it felt like nothing I did was going to work. 

Everything in my life felt like it was going wrong and in my head I was constantly suffering. And this wasn’t just for a week, but it was for months. It almost led to a breakdown. At times I had suicidal thoughts about how to end the suffering; this constant analysis and chatter in my head.

It was the same thoughts and I was caught in a cycle of them over and over again. I had no idea how to end it…

 

My thoughts were mostly about self-worth and approval. I was a little shy as a kid. I was perhaps a bit calmer or slower than the others, so I felt a lot of pressure to live up to certain standards. In school I had to do things that I had no interest in and nobody could tell me why I should do them.

When I reached my worst, I decided to visit a healer. I cried for three hours. Then I went home and probably cried for a week more.

Slowly I started coming into contact with various books that helped explain the experience and I started searching for more. Before all this I really wanted to be the best. I had lots of discipline and curiosity for things. All these qualities transferred over into my own personal growth. I started systematically trying different techniques and I began journaling my experiences with them all.

I started doing Vipassana meditation and it’s a really raw form of meditation. It’s observing the impermanence of everything – your body, mind, and everything. You’re focusing and feeling your body and noticing how there’s always a rising and passing of sensations.

Today I’m learning to just enjoy the experience, whatever it is. Up, down, or however we call it, it’s all just an experience. I notice the feelings I have towards this experience. Nowadays I don’t really have names for particular emotions, but I ask ‘is it a tense feeling?’ or ‘is it a relaxed feeling?’

I still get ashamed, angry and afraid. But now I have the understanding that it’s happening in me and it’s not from outside. It’s not happening to me, but from me.

This helps me to wake up from it really quickly.

I think people are really afraid of being ‘just ordinary’. We’re so worried with success, approval and how others perceive us. We seek some kind of acceptance.

What message would you give to 20-year-old you?

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