My turning point: From depression to true purpose
My upbringing was generally happy; the shocker for me was when, aged 28, I found out my mum had a history of depression and mental illness.
I discovered this the day she went missing from her home in Kingston, Surrey, and a policeman, clutching her suicide note, asked if she had ‘done anything silly’ before? I answered ‘no’, but my dad said ‘yes’.
Growing up, my family was stereotypically British. The stiff upper lip ruled, nobody cried and emotions stayed hidden, which explains why mum was unable to process her feelings and silently suffered from bouts of depression – initially postnatally and, later, during a hormonally troublesome menopause.
It wasn’t until the day mum failed to arrive at a friend’s house, that dad revealed she had been hospitalised with depression twice: first a few months after I was born and, again, four years later, after trying to commit suicide following the birth of my sister, Anna.
The truth, though, was my mum wasn’t battling depression alone. By the time she disappeared, I’d also been battling depression for years.
THE HIGH LIFE
A highly successful recruitment consultant in the City, where binge-drinking – and later, cocaine use – was the norm, I was stuck in a work-hard, play-hard culture, where drink was just a way to escape from being unfulfilled at work and, like mum, I was disconnected from my emotions, alcohol conveniently numbed any feelings, especially stress.
Over time, I was pushing myself to the brink, physically and emotionally. Despite a few token sessions with a therapist, my lifestyle didn’t change. The penny didn’t drop until the day mum went missing and I found her slumped beside a river. She had overdosed.
As I sprinted to the ambulance, my body was heaving. I smoked, drank and was overweight and in that split second I knew my life had to change.
It sounds strange, but I felt like I was being guided by something more powerful, my Higher Self, and I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to live my life like this.’ I’d had a reading with a psychic not long before, who had told me things would get worse before they got better and, in that moment, I made a commitment to do something about it.
I went cold turkey on drink and drugs to break the cycle, sought counselling to combat my addiction and through The Yes Group, a personal development organisation for entrepreneurs, I made friends with people who didn’t drink regularly.
This made me realise I had become a product of my environment and so I quit my job.
Eight years ago, I set up the European division of the Association of Transformational Leaders, a non-profit network of inspiring people dedicated to transforming the lives of others.
Last year, I launched the Kitty Talks podcast where these change-makers share their journeys. The podcast shows people how to build a life in alignment with their soul purpose and is growing in popularity. So far, it has downloaded in 50 countries.
I’ve realised that doing something fulfilling truly makes a difference. I’m now a qualified neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and reiki master, which has also opened me up spiritually. I know I am here to help others grow and to show people they are more powerful than they have been taught.
My journey has changed my family too; we’re now open books of emotion. Mum has sworn she’ll never bottle up her feelings again.
I remember in my 20s feeling disappointed my life wasn’t how I wanted. It took 10 years, but I’m now clear why I’m here. My favourite quote is by the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: ‘Magic is believing in yourself.’ Do this and you can do anything.
Read more: Mental health stories — Why we should get talking