World Mental Health Day - Ecila's Story
On this World Mental Health Awareness Day, I have decided to mix tips with truth – and it is about making a start towards help - for I know that the people that have inspired me most in my life journey so far are the ones that have shown strength through vulnerability.
The ones who have not pretended to mask over what’s there with a happy smile and a fake selfie, but the ones who have shown tears, anger then laughter and strength through their determined will to keep going even when everything around them was crashing down.
The ones who raised their hand and asked for help and didn’t see it as a sign of weakness and especially the ones that used terrible things to propel themselves forwards and learn from them, with a new perspective and the outlook that everything happens for a reason even if we can’t yet see it.
I have realised from speaking to various people the effects of trauma on short-term memory, how many varied and awful experiences are thrown at so many of us and mostly how many people are suffering in silence - but that we can find comfort in thinking that no matter how hard you have it someone will have it worse and no matter how good you have it someone will have it better.
That every moment lived in joy is a moment to be treasured, because the tide can turn in the blink of a second, in one phone call, in one day.
So today I am going to tell you the story of a woman I know called Ecila and her journey over the last 8 years and who finally raised her hand for help when she realised she wasn’t coping.
It is my hope that by sharing her story it will inspire people to be more open about their own struggles, as it is in doing so that we allow for the people who need help the most to raise their hands and to be open to the help that is out there – even the unconventional newer holistic ways – especially in those ways.
For every single idea was once a new one, so we must embrace them and be open-minded, as that new ‘strange idea’ may at one point in your life be so standard it becomes boring.
For those that knew Ecila growing up, they will remember a very happy child, teenager, young adult, in a very blessed life. Things were easy, nothing was a worry for her – not health, not family, not finance, not friends, not relationships, not home.
Everything was better than it could be – she was extremely fortunate both materially and emotionally and most importantly she was very happy.
Then suddenly that all started to change.
When all of the main categories that were once joy in her life decide to take a U-turn, she started to question everything. She started to question how she saw certain people, how she saw herself, how she saw her future and how she saw her life.
If this was what it was meant to be about, a struggle? And would she cope? She had a sudden realisation that things really could actually be as cruel as she had watched in movies and hard circumstances be as drawn out in time as she feared.
Before Ecila knew it, she had gone from looking around in joy and ease, to standing in the mist of various waves of emotional trauma, that just seemed to keep on coming.
With that; people she thought were invincible, or that would look after and out for her forever in her life, no longer could. Things and security, she thought she would always have, so much so that she now says she sees she took it for granted, disappeared.
She saw a sister she loved be pushed by cancer to the point of ill health that she thought was only possible in films and she saw the rolling effects of grief on different people and how angry and debilitating they can be.
Most of all she experienced how truly painful it is to watch people she loved be in pain both emotionally, mentally and physically – when all she wanted to do was help them – but she either couldn’t due to circumstance, or due to them being the only one who could help themselves.
She remembers a time when she was scared to check her phone in the morning in case the news of losing her sister had arrived and feeling constantly drained with the pressure of the feeling of an elephant being sat on her chest the entire time.
She watched a most loved family member disappear in front of her eyes being taken by grief, veering to alcohol for comfort and swallowed by depression.
Finally, she says she experienced what it feels like to be abandoned by the one person you thought never would, just when she was trying to keep it together for everyone else or when she had just put herself back together, only to be knocked down again.
Her journey in short comprised of homes being sold, security vanishing, relationships breaking down, cancer killing, alcohol abusing, ongoing health problems, emotional weight loss, happiness vanishing, depression and love lost.
There were times over these years when she honestly wasn’t sure how she was going to get through a day without crying or remember what it was like to feel excited to get out of bed or to just get through a conversation with someone who she was smiling at but inside she felt completely numb.
Ecila realised from this, how many other people must be carrying pain around with them whilst standing in a room with people who are blissfully unaware – if she could do it, then so could anyone else.
But it was from this that she had a transformation and her eyes opened to the incredible options of modern day help that are out there for people.
That she realised that the only thing we ever have full control over is our self, so that is what we have to work on, our mind-set, our self, our reactions and our strength.
Ecila says: “The same conversation comes up for me with a lot of people that have suffered loss or circumstantial trauma, when the circumstances are what are causing the suffering – then sometimes you really don’t want to sit in a therapists office and go over and over the details of the same situation again – the outcomes always the same – why you felt that way or when, is now irrelevant to you. What you want is a way out, a way forward and not a constant replay of the past.
It is so incredibly important for people to talk - to put their hand up – to use what’s out there.
Whatever works for you is what matters – it doesn’t matter if John Smith is telling you that X is wrong because they don’t understand it, or that you have to do this the conventional way – no, what matters is what suits you, your mind, your wellbeing”.
Ecila put her hand up for help and started with therapy which led her to coaching.
She told her therapist what she was doing wasn’t working for her and her therapist told her about Reiki Energy Healing – for which she says she is forever grateful. She immersed herself in learning from mind-set experts, coaches, spiritual teachers, meditators and read and read.
Ecila is now a Coach and Reiki Healer and is trying to use her own journey, experiences and learning to help others navigate theirs – whether they are going through something or just wanting a better state of being day to day.
She says: “There are over 7.6 Billion people in the world and only one you – will all 7.6 billion react to certain treatments and help the same way? React to stress, trauma & circumstances the same way? Of course not.
So, what’s paramount is that we are open about our struggles and open to other people’s ideas, we don’t judge them, and we just try different things until we find what really works best for us.
The most important relationship you will have your whole life is the one you have with yourself. It is the one that will affect every single aspect of your life as a whole and it will be your most long standing – people will come and go, but start to finish, it’s you and you.
You don’t stand a chance of having other good relationships unless you sort the one out with yourself first and from this your relationship with life and how you handle what gets thrown at you. There really is a big difference between pretending to handle it and properly handling it”.
For her she says that being open to the world of holistic practices and coaching, has been the best shift she has experienced in her life – not just because it is what she has come to do – but because it gave her the tools she needed to change her perspective and be able to help herself when various things seemed to have no way forward.
Would she say that everyone has to do it this way – of course not – but what she does say is that everyone should speak up when they are struggling and then try different methods, outlooks and treatments until they find the one that helps them.
Equally and most importantly we should remember to not judge one another for the method they have chosen for themselves, as it may just be what saves them.
It was hard for Ecila to recall her story as she says it is the most open she has been publicly about why she is now coaching and doing what she is doing, but she said she wants to be open to people and help them to know that other people are struggling all the time, so it’s ok to put your hand up when you are. It’s important to.
It is my hope that Ecila’s story has inspired you to be more open about your own struggles and to understand that there are many different ways to ask for and get help – both the conventional and unconventional alike.
From Therapy, Coaching, Energy Healing, Mindfulness, Hypnotherapy to Meditation, the list goes on and the options are endless.
So, raise your hand if you are suffering from anxiety, stress and are struggling from loss or trauma – if you want help – if you want a way forward – if you want to better understand yourself and why certain patterns emotional patterns keep re-appearing in your life.
Just raise your hand and start somewhere, because wherever you start, if you just make the first step, you will get to the right destination for you in the end.
Ecila raised her hand and asked for help and it changed her life forever for the better – and I would know, as Ecila spelt backwards is Alice and Alice as you know, is me.