My Story (short version)
I was born 1984 in Lithuania. Even though I thought I was happy as I was growing up, I have never felt a true sense of belonging whenever I would go. Externally, I seemed like a perfect child, who is always happy and never creates any problems, but on the inside, I had this feeling of sadness and increasing emptiness. Even when I hit my teenage years I didn’t feel like I had a right to ask for anything, rebel against anything. Instead, I kept a perfect surface with perfect composure. Looking from the outside my life was looking good: strong friends circle, active participation in extra curriculum activities, I was liked and encouraged by most of my teachers and my marks were good – everything seemed to be lined up for a perfect happy future ahead. The things started to go "wrong" once I finished my high school and moved to Vilnius to study for my degree. My decided dream profession was architecture but since I didn't pass the entry exams I had to take the next "best" option, which according to my calculations was Real Estate management. It would guarantee me a pretty prestigious and safe future I thought. Of course, it didn't…
Moving away from my hometown (small village) has exposed me to the environment that I was not familiar with and pressures that I was not used to. I got involved in questionable relationships, I have put on some weight and I started a self-hate cycle. I have failed half of the subjects at university and I needed to re-take exams for it. I have never failed before… In the past, if I did fail at something, I have to manage to cover it up and keep my face straight, unaffected, happy. This time I felt, that I was about to crack – I needed to get out.
This was the year 2004, the year when Lithuania has joined the European Union. At that time, a very popular thing to do was to go abroad, live there for a year and get back home with a good pile of saved up money. I thought that perhaps if I were to go away, I could sort myself out in a year and then come back feeling “normal” and could continue my life as per plan: perfectly in control, perfectly happy. So after considering my options, I have chosen to go to England (UK) as it was a country of knights and castles and other miracles and opportunities (or so I though in my mind). Of course - it wasn't…
My first year in the UK was very hard: I have arrived there on my own, with bare basics of English language, I felt like a Cinderella with no skills, no confidence, no friends: the only difference was that there was no evil stepmother. I think at that point I have internalised "the evil stepmother" in me. Since I was far away from everyone I knew, my suppressed shadows started to come out and I ended up in a cycle of depression, self-hate, bulimia, and powerlessness. I had some very good people around me, supporting me, however internally I was in hell. I still thought I can sort myself out and go back to Lithuania, but I never did.
The next 9 years were various cycles’ of emotional lows and highs, depressions, abusive and manipulative relationships, financial struggle, working hard to survive, supporting myself through studies. At the same time I started discovering things like power of the subconscious mind (introduced to me by my younger sister), self-hypnosis (relating to self-love, confidence, and self-esteem), the power of positive thinking, wealth mindset, miracles and of course the Secret. I have gone through tones of self-motivational, self-help, positive focus books, audio records, and exercises, I was writing affirmations, gratitude journals, visualisations and vision boards, even emotional feeling “as if” exercises. I really tried to change myself, I really tried to be better and most of all – I really try to learn to control how I feel, because how I feel and my feelings always seemed to come in the way and ruin the life I was planning for myself. Then I discovered the power of now and being in the present moment and I thought that was it: I thought that was the solution to all of my problems. But it wasn’t…
When I was going through different healing modalities and schools of thoughts, I was applying recommended practices on myself with the hope that I will find “the one”. I was in search of the magic pill, the ultimate philosophy, the miraculous healing. I wanted to become a better version of myself and my definition of that was the ability to control my feelings. I have failed every single time. I thought that perhaps I am not working hard enough, maybe I'm not applying principles on myself strong enough, or perhaps I was just not capable to focus positively strong enough to make myself feel better. To me, it was better to think that I was not doing something right rather than accept a possibility that maybe this ultimate state of enlightenment and living in a constant joy with zero negative emotions don't exist. Most of the spiritual teachers were selling the idea that it is possible. I wanted it to be possible. It had to be. As soon as I get rid of all the parts of me, that are trying to prevent me from what I want, and as soon as I learn to be in total control how I feel, and also once I’m able to selectively chose what I want to feel and what I don’t want to feel, I will be able to achieve all of my dreams and live in a happy, blissful peace, right? Wrong.
At the age of 29, I hit my final defeat. While working in a corporate world I secretly wanted to express myself, and I decided that the best way to do it is via creative expression. Since back in school I was actively involved in drama’s clubs and was very good at it I thought that probably acting career is my ultimate destiny and recipe for happiness. So, I have chosen to take on a foundation course in professional acting. I thought I had it perfectly sorted out this time: I was going to continue to work full time while at the same time in evenings and weekends I will study for a qualification in acting and then I will transition smoothly in my new profession like voila! After just first term of doing that I realised that this schedule is not sustainable. I started to feel physically exhausted and also my motivation dropped down a lot as I started to understand the reality of working as an actress and what it takes to succeed. I became disillusioned. This plan was my last hope, last and ultimate plan to be happy and live a life without pain. I had a feeling that I needed to do something, and that if I don’t get away, something irreversible is going to happen. I was trying to hold myself together telling myself that I can find a way to escape this pain, but I think a big part of me knew that it is not going to happen. So in January 2014, I stepped in the darkest night of my soul that I have ever experienced: I had a mental breakdown.
“My life is an act. Everything that I do is an act. The things that I say I want, I don’t actually want. The things that I do, I do only because I think I should be doing them.” When I looked at my life, I realised that there was not a single thing that I was doing just because it felt good or because I wanted to do it for my own reasons. Everything was perfectly scripted, but there was no heart in it. I was doing my life not the way I wanted to do I, but the way I thought I should be doing because that's what society (mum, dad, friends) expected of me. I had zero joy and 29 years of acting experience… I did not want to live anymore. Nothing really mattered. I felt that I was really trying hard to do life, and I had no energy to continue. I decided that if I will die now, it will be OK, because living is just too hard, and I cannot do it anymore.
Persuaded by my friend at work I decided to take some time off and to fly somewhere away to have some time to rest. As I was climbing up the steps to the plane I remember myself thinking “must breathe in, must breathe out – I need to keep my heart beating, I don’t want to die on the plane”. Before entering the cabin I looked at the sun and I thought that maybe that’s the last time seeing it, tears flooded into my eyes, but I was feeling peaceful.
Once I reached the hotel in Morocco I was so exhausted that I went to sleep. I was sleeping more than 24 hours that day. At one point I woke up feeling very strange and I was outside my body. I didn't realise then what was happening, so I just thought that maybe that's how dying feels and went back to sleep. When I woke up the second day I felt strange. It was like there is this veil between me and reality – everything seemed so strange, I didn't remember many things about my life, it was as if I actually died and now was experiencing everything else from someone else's perspective.
What has followed was more than a year of psychotherapy and years of shadow work. Coincidentally (or should I say synchronistically) I have discovered Teal’s work a couple months before my breakdown. I watched all videos I could find, I did all exercises for shadow work I could get my hands on. I started exploring alternative healing techniques, learn about metaphysics and I have opened myself to believe things that I would have never believed before. But most importantly, I have discovered myself. I have discovered my own emotions. I have stopped running from myself and started looking inside of me. After doing this major turn I started finding things within me that I didn’t know I have. I have found my heart. I have found my emotions. I have found my inner child and other aspects of me. I started developing deep connections with people. I started developing a connection with myself. It was super painful, slow and tedious process, but my life gradually started to feel more real and rich. I started to feel more real and rich. I started to feel more stable. Looking back at the breakdown I can say that it was the hardest thing that has ever happened to me, but it is also the best thing that has happened to me. I got a second chance at life.
My progress is not finished yet. My healing is not done. But along with the painful experience of getting myself back to me over the last four years, I have discovered a new desire. I have discovered a passion to help others. I want to help people to learn how to help themselves. I want to help people to understand themselves. I want to help people to develop compassion for themselves and those around them. I want to help people to learn how to validate themselves and how to hold space for themselves and others. Life is too hard. It is not sustainable. The expectations from ourselves are so high that we are leading ourselves towards a breakdown, we end up in being totally disappointed with ourselves, or even worse – we decide to be done with life. I believe that we have the power to change things and I want to help people to empower themselves.
Now I feel precious. My heart feels precious. My life experiences and opportunity to continue participating in life feels precious. I have chosen to continue with this life and I have chosen to dedicate my life to help others to continue with theirs. But this time - with love and compassion.