HOW I BUILT BETTER MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Today on the blog, Alex, an OYOP delegate, shares her experience of life before and after OYOP, and how the programme had a significant impact on her mental wellbeing and enjoyment of life.
Alex’s story – an Optimising Your Own Performance (OYOP) progress update
What follows is an account of an experience that had a significant impact on my life for more than 10 years. The reason I’m sharing this relatively personal information is in the hope that it will lead to making a positive difference in alleviating the pain that other people feel and bring them more joy, freedom and understanding.
My early years
Until I became a teenager life had felt fairly unremarkable. Then, the unforeseen and sudden grief that came with my dad taking his own life brought about an unexpected and shocking change to my experience. I can acutely remember how this was profoundly highlighted the day I went back to school…
Walking to my first class, I look up from the ground to find an entirely new existence. The kids around me; the sounds of their joy and laughter; the smell of the canteen; the cold of a November morning and the location of the classrooms are all completely and utterly familiar. From that moment on I felt I had been ripped from the collective experience that all those around me were still living in.
Left feeling isolated, lonely and not interested in anything I continued with life because time dragged me along with it. Aged 14 at the time and grasping for anything that I thought might bring me some fulfilment, I focused on study and then work. I did things because I saw others do them, not because I wanted to do them myself. For a while, these offered a distraction and little or no real motivation. At 18 I found myself reaching out for just about anything that would improve my mood and offer a break from the relentless boredom and disinterest that had become my life.
The turning point for better mental health and wellbeing
This remained the situation until I was 25 when a friend of mine, who himself had made significant personal progress, recommended that I attend a Mental Fitness Talk with Ashley Bookman. Ashley spoke about how a sudden shock early in a person’s life often has long term implications for their mindset. He explained that conscious and positive adjustments could also be made through focus and training. Up until that moment, I understood that the opportunities I had to succeed in life technically meant things were going quite well, but I did not truly believe that it would ever be possible to be free of the underlying emptiness that plagued my existence.
At the prospect of making a change, I decided to go on the Optimising Your Own Performance programme, which by design aims to help people make more of their lives. Session by session, piece by piece the fundamental tools that help a mind to effectively function began to change my entire outlook. Simple explanations of what is undeniably true completely changed my mindset for the better.
I’ve progressively started to feel re-connected to life, and within a matter of 6 months, the engagement I have for living has intensified. Not only is my life now full of joy, engagement and purpose, I have also started to realise that making a real difference to the lives of others is perhaps the most significant thing that any of us can do with our time.
As a result of the warm, loving, honest approach Ashley took to everyone on the Optimising Your Own Performance programme, I no longer have any feelings of “I can’t be bothered”.
“I have also started to realise that making a real difference to the lives of others is perhaps the most significant thing that any of us can do with our time.”