Out from the shadows

Many of you would have read my blog post from earlier in the year “How can you be sad in paradise?“. For those of you who haven’t, feel free to go back and take a look before reading on – in short, however, this earlier blog post details my struggles with depression over the past year.

The responses that came from “How can you be sad in paradise” were both touching and overwhelming. I start receiving Facebook messages from friends and emails from readers whom I have never met. It was so interesting to me that something I wrote out of sheer selfish self-therapy, was so openly received and welcomed, both by those who had suffered from depression, to those who had forwarded my blog post onto someone who had. I also received a copious amounts of communication from those who could relate to using martial arts as personal therapy, or those commending me for speaking out so openly about my struggles. (I say commending for lack of a better word.)

If I take a moment to think back at the time when I wrote that post – to now – my life is so terrifyingly, yet wonderfully different. I am not longer in a committed relationship. I am no longer home sick every day. I no longer struggle at training. I no longer suffer from depression.

In a way, I count myself lucky. Lucky that the type of depression I was suffering was a direct result of my previous work environment. While it took me a year to really move on from it all, it is not something I fear will always lurk and come back to haunt me.

Moving forward was an interesting process, especially in light of the break up with my partner back home. The way we split was highly undesirable and followed a very emotionally gruelling month of limbo.

I was still taking anti depressants at the time of the split and was still suffering from anxiety attacks. I wasn’t ever really anxious about anything in particular, just every now and then I would notice it. The more comfortable I became here in Thailand, the lessor the attacks.


I have always been a homebody, and always home sick when away from home, but I also found that once I found my groove here, things really started to pick up for me.

When my partner and I split, I threw myself into my training. Muay Thai has always been my safety net and I found that being in a place where I felt safe and loved, made a huge difference to me – as did being able to hit pads as hard as I possibly could!!!!

Unfortunately Muay Thai only took me so far this time and I found that after physically wearing myself down, my mental status followed.

By this stage I had weaned myself off my anti depressants (as per my doctors instructions back home). I began to have those nights where I sat and cried. I wanted to  go home but I didn’t want to go home. I was lost again – after working so hard to feel comfortable in my own skin. I had mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed but they quickly went away.

I was fortunate enough to be thousands of kilometres away from my ex and to not have to see him helped me move forward.

I began training and fighting again and took some time to re-assess my life and what I really wanted from my time here. What I discovered is that being left behind in someone else’s life meant that I could really take charge and move forward in my own life. (Another wonderful little self discovery I have made this year). What I wanted is more time – more time to put into Muay Thai – more time to become the best fighter I could be – more time to become me again. This is what this gave me.

As a final moving forward stage, I proceeded to have a Neuro Lingistic Tapping session performed on me to dig into my subconscious to see what was really hiding down there. It was interesting to see the things I had dealt with and the things I had not. I had already moved forward from my breakup, despite still feeling sad and missing my ex, I had found a peace amongst it all. I had found a calm in amongst all the drama happening here on the island and I had really dealt with someone major things from my past.

What I have realised now, is that for the past 6 weeks at least, I have been and felt happy EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is not something I take lightly.  After experiencing such extreme lows, you sometimes wonder if you’ll ever pick back up.  There have been many times where I have wondered if I would ever be myself again.

I am so grateful, every day, for the extreme, ridiculous, child like sense of joy I get to experience day by day and I could not ask for more from my life right now.


I am an ordinary person, living an extraordinary life.

Sometimes a change really is as good as a holiday!


  1. Louise Whitton · · Reply

    Hello there my dear cousin! It saddens me Gem that you have had such a rough time. My hearts goes out to you big time!!
    On the other hand I am so SUPER proud of you! Look at you! You are doing what you love and from what I can see are very good at!
    I am 100% certain your parents would agree with me and are looking down on you thinking how well you have done!
    I had to chuckle to myself thinking back to those days are Trungley Hall when Brent and Paul would be stirring you up!! I bet they would not be game now!!
    Let’s keep in contact. I would love to hear about your adventures!

    Take care of yourself – your a wonderful girl with loads of spunk!!

    1. Hello dear cousin!!!

      Long time no speak.

      Don’t feel sad for me – I’m probably the happiest I have been in my entire life – and you know me – I have survived worse.

      Thanks for your kind words – I don’t think “Pro Fighter” was what Mum and Dad had in mind but I hope they’d be proud anyway 🙂

      FB message coming your way!!! xxx

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