Ciara writes about “Then & Now”

See Change ambassador Ciara reflects on 364 days of living by the mantra “A man is at his strongest when he is willing to be vulnerable.” 

Read the original blog entry here:

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“Rock Bottom became the Solid Foundation on which I rebuilt my life”

I haven’t wrote here in a very long time, I guess I’m not the best at putting my thoughts and feelings into the best words that suit them best, but today I want to try.

This time a year ago, I was lying in a hospital bed, attached to a drip, a drip that was pumping all sorts into my body in order to rid it from the poison I had fed it a few hours previous. I had attempted to suicide earlier that day , 364 days ago, I was shell of the person I am now. I was being mastered by my mind, which constantly told me I was worthless, useless and good for nothing. I was being mastered so much that i felt trapped and unable to escape the thoughts and the feelings that I was surrounding myself in. Everything was black. Everything in my life was falling apart, and somehow I couldn’t find the small ounce on strength to stay alive for another day. The pain I was feeling wasn’t easing, it was only becoming worse and worse and heavier as the days went on. And as more things in my life began to fail, I was left with no option that to just Surrender to it. I had completely given up, I didn’t want to fight it anymore. I wasn’t able to think of another way I could try and beat it. This blackness was destroying everything in my life. Yes, there was times I thought I had could beat it, but it showed my time after time, through beating after beating that it had control over everything. My relationships had all completely fallen apart, my work life seemed so horrendous and my debts were getting bigger and bigger, everything was slowly being destroyed and the weight of everything became heavier and heavier and I couldn’t fight it anymore. There was no other option anymore than to just surrender to the blackness and let it take the control it was seeking.

That day when I attempted I was so broken that I could actually feel it. I was so sad and this time it was so much more than being sad, this time I could actually feel it. I was so lost in a body I could no longer call my own. Do you ever feel like you didn’t belong, not only in this world, but actually in your own body??

This time a year ago, I didn’t want to live in the world I had endured for too long. Everytime I thought I would be ok, the Blackness came along and told me that it was still there and it would come back when ever it felt like and hit me harder and harder each time.

So this time a year ago, I was being pumped out, in an attempt to clear my stomach of all the poison I had overloaded it with. I survived, by seconds.. I was alive because, by only a matter of minutes, I was found. I was saved. At that moment in time, I still didn’t want to be there, I had been there before and I felt worse then than i had felt before.. It was only getting worse. But I was surrounded by my family, surrounded by the people who had been there for me time after time. They were the people I had pretended with for ages, I had lied to them every time I told them I was Grand. I hadn’t trusted in them that they could help me. All I knew was that I had put them through so much pain and anguish, Again and that made me feel even worse. How long could I let them endure this for?? How many more times would I do this to them?

I didn’t want to hurt them or let them down, yet again here i was hurting them and ripping their lives apart. But I couldn’t talk to them, not only out of the shame I had put on them but because I knew Id never find the words to help them understand why I had done what I did. I lay alone that night and I was completely alone, with only the sound of the drip working its way into my body. I told the time by the amount of fluid left in the drip. I was left with my mind yet again, and that scared the absolute shit out of me.

But the morning came, and with it came the people who cared about me again. Today I tried to find the words to just make small talk. When I got home, I lay yet again hidden away in my room, away from anyone who would ask me any questions. But it was here I read something that would change my life;

“A Man is at his Strongest when he is willing to be Vulnerable”

This one single statement began to change my life in a way Id have never ever imagined. I was at rock bottom now , I was so low that any movement i made, would only lead me in an upward direction. So all I had to do was try. I did something I had never done before and I opened myself completely up and promised myself that if i did anything right now, that I would allow myself to be vulnerable. I was alive and anything I did from here on in all I had to do was make a tiny step, but no matter how I looked at it, it was a step forward and upwards. I was baby stepping myself out of rock bottom.

So when the time came where I had to open up and talk about my feelings, my thoughts and open all the issues that made me vulnerable, I went for it and embraced the fact that the more vulnerable I was, the stronger I was becoming. The more I spoke about everything , the clearer my thoughts were becoming and I became to see things in a totally different way that i had never seen them before. This was allowing me to make sense of my demons and help me understand that the only reason they were controlling me is because I believed everything they were telling me. I was putting myself into situations over and over again because for one, I hadn’t learnt from it and secondly because I thought this is what I deserved. I allowed people to make shit of me, because I felt so hateful of myself. It was almost as if I was allowing them to assure my thoughts.

I surrounded myself with people who allowed me to make them happy, and never returned the gesture.

My thoughts changed , and within 6 weeks of being vulnerable, my life began to change Drastically. I no longer felt rock bottom and instead of taking tiny baby steps, I was climbing my way to a better life. I began to spend time understanding myself, and learning to be in my own company. I became stronger than I ever was before, Because I had done this for me, I wanted to change and I wanted my life to work.

Within months, I began rebuilding all the relationships I had damaged along the way , I began repairing the relationship I had with myself. Then my family and my friends. Some are still taking time. But patience is another attribute I have learnt in my journey. I started sorting my life out and even thought there were some things I couldn’t fix immiedatliy I took the first step. I dealt with things the best way I could, but this time with an open and willing mind.

Its a massive, overused cliche when people say nobody can love you until you love yourself. Its a cliche, but its true. The more you dislike yourself, the more people you will allow into your life that will ensure those feelings for you. You will let people use you, abuse you and you’ll take it because you’ll think its what you deserve. But if you love yourself, you will only accept the relaionsips that value that. The relationships that will treat you right and will lift you higher and you will walk away from anyone or anything that treats you differently. You begging to stick up for yourself because now you realise that you matter, as do your opinions.

When I started to value myself, things started to change, I was attracting people who were positive and uplifting. I was creating chances for myself and my life was taking a turn and for the first time in a very long time, I smiled, and I felt the happiness that was associated with it. And btter still for the first time in my whole life, I was so glad I was alive.

A year later, I have it all; I am an Ambassador for SeeChange , who allow me to help spread my story and hopefully influence so many more people to do the same. I have a great network for family and friends and an increible partner who makes me feel safe and loves me for exactly who I am, who i was and believes in who I will be. I have held 2 successful runs and completed two college course. And today I have Completed an ASIST Course, which now allows me to have the tools to help people who were once like me. I spent two days learning, not only about how i can help someone who is suicidal, I have learnt so much about life and to remember to keep it simple. To ensure I make time for life and to not get caught up in the things that worry me, or bring me down. I have learnt to not only listen to someone, but listen to myself and to life..

Within a year, 365 days, I have gone from wanting to end my life, to being qualified to help people. That to me is going from being so weak, Where I can’t bear another day, to being strong enough to relive all the memories I have and be strong enough to use them in order to learn how to help other people who were once in my position. It was a hard year, there are days that still make me sad, like today, where I remember where I was. There are days where I feel sad and the blackness likes to pay a visit and remind me its still lurking about, but this time Im in control and I can give it two fingers and send it on its way. And I can make sure it doesn’t control me enough to knock me again.

So, tonight I take the time to try and express my feelings into words, in order to influence someone who might be considering surrendering today or tomorrow, to STOP. I want you to just breath and read this story again, and again if you have to, because if i can do it, you can too, Life is so wonderful and once you take the courage to be vulnerable, life will reward you with happiness. Isn’t that worth fighting for?

Remember to be vulnerable, and be willing, because these two tiny steps, both of which are incredibly brave steps to make, these steps will transform your entire life and all your thoughts. There will be days that don’t work for you but keep trying, if that doesn’t try, try something new. Don’t stop until yoou find something and someone that works for you.

I urge you to open up and speak to someone about al that your thinking and your feeling. It is the most bravest, most increible thing you’ll ever do. Once you do this YOU CAN DO ANYTHING..

Keep fighting, you’re a warrior, so fight.


Ciara is a See Change ambassador. See Change understands that there is a complex multiplicity of perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change, funders, or partner organisations.

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