To comprehend the person I have become and the work that drives me, first you must glimpse the life I once led.
Now, I have early mornings before the sun followed by meditation, yoga and eating nourishing food. All ready for a day of research and packing my mind with nutritional knowledge; to assist others on their own journey to living a healthy happy life.
Weekends are filled with family and friends, having conversations that encourage growth, celebrating, cooking and loving my partner. I feel energy pulse through me, my life is a live-wire of possibilities.
Back then, I was paralysed by anxiety and depression, staying awake all night unable to sleep the pain was unbearable. I kept on going, if only for the sake of what my family would go through if I were gone.
Aching from the inside out, even my skin hurt. I talked myself through each step to get through the day: one foot out of bed, open the blinds, open the door, walk to the kitchen, left foot, right foot. I lied to myself, promising if I could get through the day I could fall apart at night. Instead I found distractions to stay awake to the point of exhaustion until eventually I’d pass out, waking again the next day to repeat.
Weakened by destructive relationships and encouraged to binge drink, the cycle kept going.
I was living in a home of fear and alcoholism, surviving on caffeine and little food. Soon my weight began to dwindle along with my joy. The natural progression could have very easily lead to death, but that's not how my story ended.
What lead me from unbearable misery to a life of love and wonder? Rebuilding everything.
My mind, body, relationships and surroundings needed to change. First, I had to hit breaking point.
When you're that sick, people start to notice and will sometimes intervene, in this case it was my mother. With assistance from others and being fed up with the pain, I finally surrendered.
I thought I may as well try something new, ‘what's the worst that could happen?’ I was already in hell.
After the initial surrender, my resolve grew stronger and I became dead serious about healing myself. I knew it was possible for people to heal, I had seen these transformations in others.
I attended psychologist and dietician appointments and researched techniques every day, listening to philosophers, doctors, scientists, life coaches and spiritualists. Hitting it at every angle, these practices poked and prodded at my old beliefs, until my world began to mould into something new. With each toxic thing that was removed, I began to breathe easier. I became my true self, this pain I was experiencing existed only as a symptom of not living this truth.
I began to see myself as the opposite of what I once believed; a beautiful miraculous creation, and because of this I wanted to fuel my body and make every cell shine with light, to have every interaction nourish my soul.
Confidence began to build by educating myself every day. By practicing: meditation, yoga, eating healthy food and testing my anxieties. Each day, month, year that passes I carry out these practices and they have arranged themselves into who I am now, changing my world.
Now, my life and education is based around nutrition as a path to healing. I believe in its power to rebuild the body and mind, what you eat and why you eat eventually becomes who you are. Nurturing the body back to health, all the way down to the cellular level. Quality nutrition plays a vital role in mental illness, but I didn't need to dive into the research to know this, I've lived it.
Nothing functions on its own, I adopted many practices around this concept. Even so, the way these nutrients have fed into all aspects of my life, have empowered me to continue on this path.
I'm not here to give advice, but if I could say one thing it would be, ‘do not give up, your body and mind will fight against the changes you're trying to make.’ Some days have felt like I'm back at square one, but the next day I get back to ticking the boxes with the hope that the hard times will become fewer. They have and continue to.
I will never know where a life without mental illness would have lead, to imagine one without the magic that fills it now is too overwhelming to comprehend.
What I do know for certain, is that breaking apart has set me free.
- Lana Burns