Breaking down and building up

Sometimes in life everything just stops.  Something happens and you just stop living.

At the beginning of February, something happened in my life and overnight, I stopped living.  I suffered a breakdown and needed weeks off work and time away from all aspects of the world.

I lost myself.

I wanted to use those weeks to get better but instead didn’t leave my house for days at a time.  I wanted to go running, eat well, spend time with friends and read; all the things I felt I needed to do to put myself back together again but I barely had the energy to even speak.  No song sang the words I wanted to hear, no movie captured my emotions and no written words could tempt me to read them.

I was broken with no idea how to fix myself.  But I was still fighting.  Fighting in something I believed in:

My principles.

Too many people in the world forget they have them and that they have every right to defend them when they’re being questioned or ignored.  Fighting for justice and what I believe in almost broke me and I wondered if I could keep going but I wasn’t prepared to lay down and give up.  I wasn’t prepared to settle.

inner peace

With thanks to Kelly Angard from Flickr

There are not many things in life we can truly control; if there was, life wouldn’t be called an adventure.  There is something we can always control, however; self.  We can control ourselves.  We can choose to lay down and die when the fight consumes and overwhelms us or we can choose to fight with every fibre of our being and die trying.  I fought.

And I won.

After almost 11 weeks of having my reputation, integrity and honesty questioned, I won the battle, yet I can’t feel truly happy about it.  I may have won but at what cost?

When I was home, days slipped by in routine mist and nights crawled through time waiting for the inevitable thoughts that would keep me awake crying until dawn.  I had no energy to lift a fork or will to open my computer.  I ignored friends, avoided family and hid from both the online and real world.

So am I happy that I have won the battle?  No.  Am I happy that I suffered so that I could stay true to myself and hold my head up high at the end of it?!  More than I could tell you.

Staying true to yourself and fighting for what you believe in is something that you can never give up on or have taken from you.

In my darkest time, I had my first tarot reading.  I went in with an open mind and broken heart and came out with a sense of peace and determination to continue taking my life in the right direction.

My cards affirmed everything I had been going through; that my ‘world had collapsed’ and that I was betrayed by people I called friends.

They told me that I was in one of the darkest periods of my life.  And then they mentioned new beginnings.  A LOT of new beginnings.  They talked about travel too.  And then they produced the final card; The World.  The signal of the end of bad times and the beginning of good ones and the most strongly positive indication for longterm travel.  I knew then that I was taking my life in the right direction and that Australia is going to happen because I’m going to make it happen!

I found my inner peace again.

And whilst I continued to fight at this point, I knew that what the cards were saying was true; that it would come to an end soon and I would see the light of my new beginnings.

But then I realised that the cards weren’t right; I was.  Believing in myself and fighting for the very principles that make me who I am are the reasons I won.  When I was broken, I had no control over how I felt or how I stopped living but I did have control over whether or not I gave up or continued to fight.

I’m not happy that I’ve won; I’ve made too many sacrifices and it’s cost me so much but whilst the outcome of winning may be grossly under-valued in comparison to how much I gave up to win, I can hold my head high knowing that I did everything in my power to be heard and that I never gave up on myself.

You can’t always control the outcome but you can ALWAYS choose to fight.

Leave a Reply


  1. Jen

    This is such a beautifully inspiring and honest piece Toni – I had tears in my eyes reading it, but not because I was sad or sorry for you, but because I was so proud of you standing up for what you believe in and not giving up. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to things, to accept the behaviour of others and give up – what takes real courage is speaking out for your own morals, whatever the cost. Its those experiences that make us who we are, those struggles that make us stronger. So proud of you my lovely – brilliant post!xxxx

  2. Sam

    heartwarming post Toni – without a doubt one of the most beautiful articles I have ever read – stay strong xxx…

  3. Glad you are back! AS a friend, I have been concerned for you, but I knew you would pull through because you are a strong person and can accomplish anything you set you mind to.

    Good work- Now full speed ahead towards your future 🙂

  4. Dave B

    When you get to the point you can look back, the price you paid will be small compared to what has been acheived. You maintained and reinforced your self esteem and have used it to spur you on to the future.

  5. Jen – Thank you SO much for the lovely words sweet 🙂 It’s been a long fight but it was worth it and it meant a lot to have your support along the way! I think that’s a lot of the problem in today’s world…too many people are prepared to turn a blind eye and allow others to treat them wrong; this is only lady that isn’t happy with it 🙂 xx

  6. Sam – Rendered speechless by your kind words; thank you 🙂

  7. Erik – Thank you for your support; I treasure it. You’re right – full steam ahead… *woot woot* 😀

  8. Well done my love, what an inspiring piece. I don’t know what happened in your life but I’m so glad that you found yourself again and can look forward to everything that YOU’RE going to make happen in the future.

  9. What an inspiring piece love! I can honestly say I missed seeing your positive energy all over my timeline, and I thought about you often. I’m so glad that things are on the mend. You are such a kind and sweet soul, and I know that the world has AWESOME things in store for you!

  10. Alex

    Wow! This gave me goosebumps ! I haven’t experienced this but it felt personal to me too. We need to keep dreaming and keep fighting but sometimes I get caught up in mundane daily life that I forget these things!
    Your writing is so honest and heartfelt it is inspirational. Go get Australia!!

  11. I was wondering where you went! I noticed you’d disappeared from Twitter and hoped you were ok. Glad to see you’re back and doing better – I missed ya! 🙂

  12. Wow. That was a very moving piece. Glad that you’re doing better now, Toni 🙂

  13. Beverley – aww thanks chick! I’ll make things happen in life and hopefully bump into you along the way 🙂

  14. Sheryll – it’s lovely to know that I’ve been missed 🙂 You’re making me blush with your lovely words. Hopefully one of the awesome things in store for me is meeting you both again 🙂

  15. Francesca – Nice to know I was missed 🙂 I’m still working on getting myself better but definitely feel like I’m on the mend (thank goodness) 🙂

  16. Alex – Lovely to know that you connected with my post even if you haven’t been through it yourself. Yes, unfortunately routine can help you forget sometimes that you need to fight for what you want! Thank you for your very kind words about my writing; truly appreciated 🙂 Australia here I come…

  17. Aradanielle – thank you hun! I’m sure it will be a long process but yes, doing much better 🙂

  18. Dave – I definitely hope to get to that point one day…I’m sure in the future I’ll be able to look back at this time and realise that any payment is worth fighting for what you believe in 🙂

  19. Andi


  20. Definitely a great message to be who you are without compromise regardless of what may come. If you make decisions that compromise who you are and things don’t turn out well, you will always question yourself. If you stay true to who you are, you are always confident and content in that regardless of the circumstances.

    I am not sure all that happened here but I think you discovered the true lesson that you need to learn, despite all the hardship.

  21. Andi – Amen to that 🙂

  22. Jeremy – Thanks for the supporting words. I definitely think that above all else, if you can say that you are always true to yourself, you never have to question your beliefs 🙂

  23. A moving story, I felt your pain. It takes a lot of courage to write about something that debilitates you like that, and I commend you for finding the strenghth to do so. 🙂

  24. Sarah – thank you for your lovely words…honesty with my readers is definitely a big thing for me! 🙂