9 Aug 22

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

As beautiful as it looks have you ever seen the heavy grey fog that settles in the valley of the blue mountains?

That valley was my head. I couldn’t see a fucking thing. A cold wet mist, clouding my brain and crippling my existence.

In reflection, it’s scary just how quickly you can unravel. Especially when the emotional becomes physical.

I woke up at about 3 am for several weeks straight. I couldn’t sleep so I got up. I lost my appetite and rapidly lost weight. My tummy was in knots, my digestive system was shot and my brain was soup.

Twisted thoughts. Dark places. Confusion. No relief.

Sleep deprivation and malnourishment are a recipe for a mental asylum.

I wanted the ground to swallow me up and dissolve me. Ashes to ashes dust to dust.

I think I’m back though.

It’s amazing what you get in return when you shake the black cloud. Your posture corrects itself, people smile at you on the street, your ears like music again, new business opportunities fall on your lap, and nature and the world look magical.

While my head is through the fog and I can see the beautiful mountains, I have a long way to go. Especially identifying why I got so tangled and most importantly how I can mitigate future mental health regression.

I’ve worked so hard in the past week to generate a breeze and push that fog into another valley. Any valley but mine.

Desperate to achieve a positive mental state, I fell back on the theory, applications and specific learnings acquired as an Australian Institute of Sports Athlete over two decades ago. The goal setting, the discipline, the commitment, the desire, the accountability. What it means to win verse lose.

While the first week of concentrated recovery is only the start, I did mention in the last post that I would share the effort I have put in. 

SELF-HELP ACTIVITY DIARY! (I have removed some personal commentary)

  • Omni Vel Nihil 
  • I need a massive amount of focus in the next seven days to get me heading in the right direction
  • I’m going to do all I can for a week, use every single spare minute,  and then continue the momentum……
  • I don’t just want to heal, I want to be a better person for it
  • I want to do it for myself, my children and everyone around me
  • A future of greatness 

Friday 29 July:

  • OT
  • The first big conversation about my current feelings (with Meg)
  • Cold Swim
  • 1 hour in sun + lots of water 

Saturday 30 July:

  • Had an ok sleep, the best in weeks anyway 
  • Moto ride helped
    • Rode several of my best lap times today!
  • Explained my current situation to Jimmy
    • It’s really good to say things out loud and get feedback and support 
  • Documented a plan to get better 
  • Some writing + a blog post to unpackage thoughts 
    • + diarise learnings/plan/action
    • Wrote down all my feelings
      • Why did I get into this rut?
      • Events/triggers 
      • Observations – about us  
      • Positive things to develop
      • What I want help with 
  • Read the first four chapters of “Letting Go” by David R Hawkins
    • An instant massive help. Potential game changer already. One of my goals is to finish this book within a week and start another…
  • Cold swim in the pool (11 degrees feels like 5)
  • Tried to see my GP but she is away for two weeks so assessing other options
  • 1 hour in the sun + lots of water
  • Dinner with Jon and Elysia to let them know everything, to talk about it, to get advice and support
  • Stretching session 
  • Sleep Meditation 

Sunday 31 July:

  • I was able to control my negative crippling feelings (thanks to David Hawkins)  for the first time when I woke up during the night. It almost felt peaceful at some points to control the noise in my head. I was able to return to sleep without a big delay
  • Longest sleep I have had in 40 days 
    • A massive fog has lifted and I am already seeing things differently
  • Most normal crap I have taken in a long time 😂
  • Writing
  • OT 
  • Purchased and started taking a weight gain supplement to put weight back on 
  • An hour in the sun + lots of water today
  • Stretching session 
  • Chopra Meditation 
    • For the first time in many days, I could align with the mediation and associated centring thoughts and messages 
  • Long convo with Bear to tell him all my issues 
    • Letting friends know where I am at
  • Bodyweight exercises to failure 
  • Cold swim in the pool 
  • Another four chapters of the “Letting Go” book
  • Big day of eating 

Monday 1 August  – New Month New Beginnings

  • OMG. I had close to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep last night 
  • I had a really busy morning so I could get away for a ride
  • It felt like my super fast mental recovery progression plateaued a little. I had lots of negative thoughts trying to get at me and it was a little harder to let them go during the morning
  • 30 mins in the sun 
  • Pretty good moto ride. Super windy and the new track layout was challenging so I felt a bit unsafe and had to take it a bit easier.  Good therapy regardless. 
  • Seven chapters of “Letting Go” 
  • Some writing + put a timeline together of where/how it went south
  • Chopra Meditation 
  • Sleep Meditation 
  • Ate a reasonable amount of food but it was a bit of an effort to eat today

Tuesday 2 August 

  • Woke up twice in the night, and managed to get back to sleep pretty quick the first time and a bit slower the second time. I would have normally gotten up the second time so good that I could get back to sleep for  a couple more hours
  • I feel a sense of courage that I can fix myself 
  • Ocean swim. Beautiful sunny morning. I felt the world’s energy. 
  • Liesy asked me out to breakfast at Bathers  – to support me and the kids – just to be there – good to talk 
  • Psychologist session (first ever)
    • Great start to working on the source of negative emotions etc 
    • A really good way to unpackage everything I can think of with a professional 
    • Hopefully the start of something good with some therapy
  • Created some plans for work
  • Chopra Meditation  – another good day of connection 
  • Sun 30 mins + lots of water 
  • Writing 
  • Bodyweight exercises to failure + core
  • A chapter of “Letting Go” 
  • Sleep meditation 

Wednesday 3 August 

  • Seven hours of close to uninterrupted sleep!! 🕺🏻
  • OT
  • Cold swim in the pool 
  • Working from the city today 
    • Choose to be with other people  that are positive  – get that transfer of positive energy  / get a transfer of ability 
  • A chapter of “Letting Go”
  • Writing
  • Only 10 mins in the sun + drank lots of water 
  • Sleep Meditation 

I saw some amazing gains today in my mental health. Waking up > seven hours after falling asleep was bliss. Finding myself singing (and dancing) in the car was a subconscious milestone I didn’t expect to achieve so early in my commitment to healing. Having really positive feelings about relationships and the coming days/weeks. Feeling connected. Finding myself super hungry mid-morning for lunch was a very welcoming feeling. 

I was on a pretty big natural high this morning. It seemed to wear off around 2 pm and I started dealing with some negative emotions. I had a busy day with work along with several associated meetings so it’s hard to balance and let go of certain feelings when the schedule is busy. 

Some shoulder and back tension coming through. 

At the end of the day, I was tired but happy with what I have achieved in such a short period of time. 

Thursday 4 August 

  • It was hot during the night with the outdoor temperature increase so I woke up a couple of times. I was able to get back to sleep nice and easy. It was nice to lie in bed for about 30 mins after waking at a reasonable time with limited dysfunctional thoughts. 
  • Outdoor gym/resistance exercises 
  • Ocean swim 
  • Into the city to work
  • Lunch with Lachie
    • Good to know he’s in a much better place than his lowest points himself  
  • Massage 
  • Two chapters of “Letting Go”
  • Chopra meditation 

Apart from first thing in the morning, I had a close to normal appetite today which is positive. 

Friday 5 August 

  • >Seven hours of sleep
  • Stretching session 
  • Ocean swim
  • Outdoor bodyweight exercises 
  • Soft sand run (4 lengths Bondi – sun 7 min a lap. 
  • Ocean swim – long one 
  • Two chapters of “Letting Go
  • >one hour of sun + lots of water 

Had FOA coming and going today. Had a few surges of feeling really good. I was really intuned with nature/environment, particularly near the ocean.

Saturday 6 August:

  • Ocean swim 
  • Sleep meditation 

Super busy day. A little flat, maybe a mental step backwards. . Had a lot of socialising to deal with. Most of it was positive. Mentally drained by the end of the day. 

Sunday 7 August:

  • Woke up for a while after a few hours of deep sleep. Managed to get back to sleep without too much trouble. A little restless after that
  • Underlying FOA 
  • Ocean swim 
  • Talked to Tim about the situation/feelings
  • >hour in the sun + all day outdoors + lots of water
    •  Nice day with the kids – giving them lots of attention after being mentally absent
  • Chopra meditation 
  • Finished the “Letting Go” book. Loved it
    • Went back to some market chapters  
  • Writing
  • Guided meditation 

Monday 8 August: 

  • Ocean swim 
  • Mountain bike ride and big verbal download with Dougie
    • The talking really helps
  • Writing
  • Revised a chapter of “Letting Go”
    • Wrote what I would like to say for a video on the mechanism of letting go
  • ………….
  • Crashed out putting Noah to sleep which was nice……

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