When I was 17, I thought I had the plan all sorted. I had already started university and had a fairly easy life in the quiet Sunshine Coast, in a smallish town full of young white families and retirees. You could say that I was kind of sheltered in my little existence, the oldest of five siblings, happily married parents, and a relatively comfortable lifestyle. I had nothing to complain about and plenty to dream about. I had my health, friends, a family I loved and a bucket load of dreams about being a successful career climber, wealthy homeowner and proud partner and the mother of 2.5 adorable children… at least somewhere down the line. I had a good head on me, knew I had a good grasp of history, geography and basic psychology. I’d read a lot of nonfiction books and felt my street cred was enough. Then I turned 18…
It wasn’t that I suddenly fell down a giant black hole and lost all my former motivations and aspirations. It was more of a gradual shift into an alternative, not ideal, reality. A realisation that I’d missed out on the experience of what my peers and former school mates had all participated in – partying. After all, I had never really had more than one alcoholic beverage; except for that one time at a sweet sixteenth. I was never invited to high school parties or associated with the popular kids. The idea that I could legally take part in something new was an easy hook for someone as curious and adventurous as I am. It didn’t help that my part-time job to support myself as a student was in the thick of it – hospitality. My new friends quickly educated me on what partying entailed. They demonstrated this very clearly the first time I was dragged out to a nightclub.
A nightclub is a very curious thing. Picture a dark room, intensely loud and hypnotic music, smoky vision and the smell of teen aftershave and sickly-sweet perfume mixing with pheromones and desperation. Now realise the room is packed full of sweaty, horny and recently legal teenagers and you have a very good reason to alter your mood with whatever you can find. It’s not exactly a peaceful, grounding and harmonious environment. Back when I came of age, every nightclub had a thick film of cigarette smoke to add to the mix of chaos. I would emerge from the “civilised” caves of the clubs into the early morning sky smelling like I’d been rolling around a homeless person’s mattress. It wasn’t pleasant or attractive – thankfully the friend’s I had back then also stumbled out in the same state.
My best friend was a bit of a leader in terms of experimenting with cutting edge rebellious teen pursuits. She was the first to introduce me to sneaking underage into Candy’s night spot, the first to convince me that smoking was sexy, the first to shove a dexamphetamine into my innocent mouth, along with speed, and the gateway drug, marijuana. She was also the first person to convince me that perhaps I was bisexual and that I should try it out for size just to be sure. I have to hand it to her, she helped me experience a lot in a short amount of time. It’s a good way to get it out of your system and then not look back.
Of course, I still had aspirations. I just had to party hard so I could then leave it behind and go back to the plan. Little did I realise that it would be over a decade before I would really leave this period in my life. Partying would become a big part of me for quite some time. Unfortunately, my curiosity would not lay down and rest so alongside the partying I would continue to try new things, new relationships and as a result, new ways to get my mind further into future trouble before it had really finished developing.
Whilst I was never one to be noticed, reprimanded or arrested, I did cause long term damage. All these adventures I had over the years deeply affected my mind. I learned habits and ways of thinking that were troublesome, traumatic and detrimental to my mental health. My mind soaked up information that reformed into limited beliefs and faulty coping mechanisms. My neural pathways were working perfectly, ensuring I was neurotic, sad, depressed, angry, fearful and riddled with guilt. It’s not that unusual for a teenager to come out of this growth period of curiosity with a skewed and dysfunctional outlook on life. I was no exception.
It’s taken a few years of deep retrospection, self-discovery and outside education and therapy to remove most of the faulty thinking I picked up in my youth. I know for a fact that not everyone has the fortune or even insight to repair their minds.
We are often told via mainstream media that our problematic thinking and resultant depression, anger, sadness, fears and guilt are a chemical imbalance that should be treated with pharmaceutical prescription drugs. I certainly went down that track for a good ten years. It did nothing but numb me – a band-aid is all it was; a waste of my life if I believed in regrets, which I don’t. I could talk about how big pharma is pleased with their business model of brainwashing the public into prescribing drugs. They would rather hide the fact that you can instead rewire our very malleable brains into healthy ones with healthy firing neural pathways. However, I think I’d rather save that conversation for another time.
I had a multitude of traumas that had to be rewired over the years. Trauma’s that resulted in limited beliefs and parts issues in my life. My health was a mess due to bulimia that had me unsure how to eat, obsessed with my weight and spending hundreds of dollars on food that went down the toilet. My finances were a mess as I had no idea how to be steady with long term stable goals for my future. My relationships were riddled with trust issues, jealousy and emotional abuse. I thought I could only rely on myself so romantic relationships were mismatched and doomed to failure. I had no form of spirituality and I had long abandoned my Christian upbringing that I thought had been a terrible childhood indoctrination. I spent all my time just coping and getting through each day eating, mistrusting, working, partying, sleeping. My family were far away because I always lived in another city – I could conveniently deny the existence of others that were like me.
I no longer had dreams or aspirations, they had long died after trying one too many times to stick to a course of study, career ladder or personal hobby to learn to master. If I did have a momentary idea, it would change every week. I shied away from anyone who could criticise my ideas and then I finally shied away from all new fulfilling ideas. I relied on mind-altering substances, including food, to escape my reality and numb the pain I felt every day. My friends would see a bubbly party girl who always seemed upbeat. The truth was the rest of the time I was a sad zombie, flying solo so as not to raise anyone’s suspicions.
Believe me when I say I did try very hard to dig myself out of my issues. The problem was that I had nothing but the government health system as a reference and I was surrounded by loving but ignorant people wanting to help. I continued to move from one antidepressant to another. I read hundreds of popular self-help books and went to a few 12-step meetings. I saw numerous psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors. One psychologist told me at the end of a six-month period that my condition was hopeless and there was nothing I could do. He added that I should not get myself officially diagnosed to avoid eternal judgement by healthcare professionals! Nothing worked.
One day I met a man who changed everything. No, it was not Jesus, nor was it the amazing partner I live with today. This man was Robb Whitewood. He was a very unassuming man, soft-spoken with soft hands and a reddish beard. He humbly sat waiting for me in a café in Sydney. I had all but given up on reaching a new chapter in my life, forever doomed to remain in my dark dog partying period, unhappy, traumatised and permanently damaged. He introduced me to a concept without actually naming it. He made perfect sense and disarmed me with this insight and ability to reach me. Seldom did I trust anyone, however, I trusted Robb. It was only just over an hour later when I walked out feeling lighter, different, joyful, even hopeful. Later I would learn that this was the first exposure I had to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a mind science that world intelligence agencies, the defence forces and high-profile leaders use to quickly remove faulty thinking and rewire the brain in your favour.
Fast forward a few months and I was enrolled in Robb’s course being held in a golf club in a leafy suburb called Pymble. It was a course that will always mark the crossover period in my life. I went from being a victim to being a creator almost overnight. We are taught that this is impossible in mainstream therapy and psychology. Not so!
I have since witnessed nearly a hundred people’s lives shift miraculously from being at cause to being at effect. From mediocre to a force to be reckoned with. I have numerous friends who can attest to this too.
Not long after my life changed I realised I had a special gift in helping others build and fortify their mind and shape it into the powerful computer it is, able to create personal fulfilment, a loving existence and long-lasting joy. I now spend my days recognising faulty thinking in others, quickly able to help show them via NLP techniques how to bring back their joy and build resilience in their lives.
It is always a pleasure for me to be able to share my story, raw and real as it is with those who can benefit from having a guide and mentor help them out of their deep and muddy puddle. Whilst this has been a very brief personal back story of my victory, I have plenty more to share with those that will listen and ask for my help.
A special thank you to Robb Whitewood who changed my life with such humble wisdom and love. Rest in peace, dear Robb.