How the Hell Did I Get Here?

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    Have you ever walked into the canteen at work, seen two colleagues at the table sharing conversation over lunch and, with spaces at the table, chosen to go sit at a table on your own because its just easier that way?

    Did you ever feel like you have made such a mess of the life you’ve been given?

    Have you ever run a 3 hr marathon but never considered yourself to be good enough to join an amateur running club?

    Have you ever been in the presence of your own parents and felt like you didn’t belong?

    Have you ever been in a relationship living with your partner and felt too scared to leave because you don’t feel you would be make it on your own?

    Did you ever wake up one day and ask yourself ‘How the Hell Did I Get Here’?

    Did you ever feel so low, so down, so trapped in your own head of emotional hell that your body became paralysed and couldn’t walk you in the direction you know you need to go?

    Did you ever look into the eyes of strangers and just assume that because what’s in your head must be written all over your face and that ‘they just know’?

    Did you ever stand in a group and the conversation dry up and blame yourself because who would want to talk to you, right?

    Did you ever wish you could just go back……back to a point in time where you started to feel this way and take a different turning?

    Did you ever just look at a happy, smiling face and just be so envious of how someone could find such pleasure and fulfilment in life when for you, it’s a bloody, emotional fight every day just to get out of bed?

    Did you ever think to yourself that the best thing for all concerned would be for me to hide away, inflict as little pain on myself and others and just get through a point when…..whatever…?

    Did you ever find yourself in place where you’re just hanging on because you couldn’t bear the pain of hurt to someone you love if you weren’t around anymore?

    Did you ever just wish you could be the you that you could have been. Should have been. Before all the pain and hurt and hatred got in the way?

    Did you ever just think ‘am I the only one who feels this way’ ?


    Hi Neil,

    I am wondering how much better you might be feeling now that you have raised so many heart-felt questions.  I am guessing that most people could relate to some if not all of your questions and might have had similar experiences at some point in their lives.

    The only time you have is NOW and dwelling on the past will not help you out of whatever situation you are in right now.  Very few people can tell what you are thinking just by looking at you.  It is just as easy for you to put a smile on your face as it is for anyone else.  You can build your self esteem by focusing on all your good characteristics and reminding yourself how special you are – no-one else was born to be you and it is up to you to polish that diamond.  You can join that running group today – you don’t have to be the best.  You don’t have to mess up your entire life.  You can learn from your life’s experiences and choose a more positive direction in the future.

    If you keep doing what you have always done, you’ll keep getting what you have always got!

    Have you ever marveled at a beautiful sunset, been in awe of all the stars in the sky, been stirred by the enormity of mountains and their timeless element?  Have you ever looked at a new-born baby and seen the miracle of life?  Have you ever read some beautiful words or listened to some beautiful music and been moved to tears?

    You choose!



    Hi Peggy

    That is an amazing response and made me smile out loud.


    Thankyou 🙂


    Yes i hear you. I have similar thoughts….
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Did you ever reach out for help and open up about not coping because your deperate for someone to understand or care but then you feel worse because you feel guilty for burdening others with your misery?</p>
    Did you ever feel so guilty that the only logical step is to disapear from earth because you think your a complete waste of space and everyone would be happier if you didnt exist?

    Did you ever wonder why people say you should love yourself and not care what others think etc yet on the other hand they say that as humans we need to feel connected to survive, then realise noone really loved you and noone ever will so you just feel crushed, stuck and broken?

    Did you ever feel ignored and forgotton from loved ones at the time when you need them the most but they dont even see it so you feel even more hopeless and scared?
    Then at the end of the day you feel like an egotistical selfish jerk for being stuck in your own head and being a burden to others who just want to be happy and you cant make them happy so you worry they will abonden you eventually like everyone else has?






    Hi Neil,

    Glad you liked it.  Hope Daydreamer 100 can take some good cheer from it as well.

    We are all connected through our own planet, Earth, through the sun, moon and stars that are common to us all, through the air that we breathe, through the design of ourselves.

    There are always opportunities to share our love with someone else, to lighten up someone else’s life, to be greeted by a smile from someone we have helped, to give ourselves value and to make our lives count for something.

    Unburden yourself from yesterday’s sorrow – it’s just temporary – it will pass.  Share with me without guilt.  Logic tells me you have a place in this world, why else would you be here?  How can you know that no-one will ever love you – this is where self love becomes so important.  Love begins with self.  Polish that diamond and show off that rare and precious gem to its best advantage.  There will always be contradictions in life and you’ll never be able to make anyone else happy – they have to do that for themselves, sad but true!

    No-one else can know what is going on in our heads and it’s easy to feel ignored and forgotten by our loved ones.  You’ve communicated some of your deepest fears by admitting to feeling guilty, hopeless, scared, worthless, crushed and broken.  I wish I could send you some big hugs and tell you to live courageously, with hope, love and belief in your heart.  I wish I could tell you in a way that you would believe it that your broken spirit can soar once again to heights you haven’t yet begun to imagine – I wish I could find a way to make it your truth.

    Light and love to you both. XX






    Hi Neil,

    How did I miss this amazing post of yours?

    Did you ever wish you could just go back……back to a point in time where you started to feel this way and take a different turning?

    Yes, I wish I could go back to the exact point in time when life became more serious than it was the moment before, but I can’t pinpoint exactly when that was. I remember being more carefree, adventurous, curious, but I feel that those things started to slip away at some point. I wish I could go back to that exact moment and not let it happen, take a different turn.



    Hey Brandy

    I hope you are well. I can’t believe it’s a year since our correspondence….where did that time go?

    I read back all our messages and reacquainted myself with me from a year ago. It’s such a powerful thing to do and one of the benefits of a site like this; a recorded transcript of what you thought, felt and said but not just that, also a conversation, albeit with a faceless voice in the dark, where my thinking was shared, reacted to and hopefully touched another.
    So I have a question.
    In the year since we spoke, what has your life been? What have you done? How have you grown? Has your life been fulfilling and enriching? What one word could you use to describe that time and, if your reflection is less than satisfactory, what will you do?

    When I look back, there’s a word that instantly comes to mind : survival.
    I need to thank you for replying to a post I placed about a month or so ago. I didn’t reply for my own reasons but that was a trigger to reflect on our previous messages. In that reflection I drew some very meaningful conclusions.

    I reflected that in a year, I had been hiding from difficult decisions, swimming against an unbeatable tide of insecurity and had been one half of a loveless marriage with myself. I had come to realise that in my desire this time around (because of lessons learned) not to make life changing decisions in times of emotional unsettledness, is actually made no choices or decisions at all. I looked back over the past year and identified that things had not healed or improved with the passing of time but I’d simply grown a suit of armour to protect myself from the symptoms instead of addressing the cause.
    In short, I have come to realise and accept that this is who I am now. This state of mind and perception is too real and has been for too long now. It’s a fundamental part of who I am and to go on expecting things to click back into place miraculously is just futile and the only person who can change that is me.
    Before the turning I took, I was so happy- I just didn’t see it. I loved life, had passion, ambition and valued the important things. One day I took action on a choice and it was the catalyst for the man I am today- a version of me I no longer wish to share my mind and body with.

    In accepting who I am now, I have reached out for help. I have been diagnosed with severe depression and am taking medication now and have been doing so for the past two weeks. I’m going through the joyous stage of the physical symptoms but I know they will pass.

    So, I have to thank you Brandy, from the bottom of my heart. You reaching out has potentially saved me and the few close to me, pain of the most unimaginable kind. You should know that just the time you took to put finger to keypad on whichever device you used, has changed a life. I can’t at this time validate for how long or how deeply, but know that it did so enough to make a difference.
    I wish I could know more of how you feel and what it is that is different for you since your ‘turning’



    Hi Neil,

    You are welcome. I’m so happy you are okay. I was concerned that maybe you weren’t.

    Gosh, anyone reading your posts can see your many gifts. Do you see them too? I really hope so.

    Thanks for your questions. My life has been busy. How does that happen that life gets so busy? I’ve been consumed with all the things that each day brings — making a living, ensuring that kids (now young adults) are set up for success, keeping up a home, attending to aging parents, being a loving partner and good friend —  it’s a constant juggling act that so many of us have, and some days I feel totally at peace while others leave me overwhelmed. I think that answers your “What have you done?” question. How have I grown? I’ve learned to better accept what I can’t change. You know how it goes — there’s so much pressure in raising kids nowadays, guiding them without controlling them, celebrating with them when they achieve their goals and supporting them when they don’t (ie, college acceptance letters, etc.). Realizing and also accepting that there are things we wish we’d done differently. Next question: my life is fulfilling and enriching every time I witness the people my kids have become. The one word I would use to describe this past year would be “humbling” and yes, that is satisfactory for me. I will keep at it, keep doing my best, knowing that I’m not perfect, learning as I go.

    Since my “turning”  I would say that I’ve gotten weighed down by the seriousness of life. I read somewhere that life really isn’t as serious as we make it out to be, but I’m not sure I agree with that. It can be pretty serious if you ask me.

    One of my kids is experiencing a recurrence of a physical illness that is worrisome. My husband and I and our family are taking it one step at a time.

    What I find is that when we help others, we help ourselves. Thank you for letting me know that I’ve helped you, and you have helped me.



    Hey Brandy

    Thankyou for your prompt reply and thank you for your honesty and answering those questions. I asked you those because I think it’s so important in life to keep checking in with yourself, asking yourself how you are, making sure you’re ok and that if you’re on a run of crap; that it’s only temporary and just one part of a bigger overall picture. We have to take time out, turn around and take in the view back to where we came and just give ourselves that permission that despite everything not always going our way as we would always like, we continue to grow towards our destiny.

    Giving yourself permission to not be perfect, to make mistakes is giving yourself the humility to learn and grow and after all, what are we doing if we’re not growing?
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I have a strong belief that the way we feel, react, think about any given subject which affects the way we view or feel about ourselves comes down to one simple word: expectation.
    I feel that we all have an expectation about how any given subject or situation will play out or end and when that expectation is not met, we adversely react. This might show itself in how we feel we have been as a parent, a partner, a friend, a daughter; whichever role we play at any time. I think you, me, everyone sets out in life with an idea of what the outcome or journey will be and when we don’t the results or feelings we expected, wanted or thought we deserved, it’s so easy to look inward for blame or the answers. Sometimes it’s just not fair to do that. It sounds like you have had your share of challenges this year but I can tell through how you talk, the words you chose and how you normalise that period, that you are a strong, confident, caring, protective and compassionate woman.</p>
    The seriousness of life. I think it’s unavoidable! The choices we make along the way inevitably invite responsibility and accountability into our lives; as does the choice to live with compassion and conscience. To choose to be caring and loving whilst brings the most euphoric reward in the sunshine has a flip side which can be equally painful, tiring and demoralising. But isn’t that the beauty of life? The low of the lows contrasted with the high of the highs? We can only ever know the rewards of the highs because we’ve felt the lows.
    Your humbling year will be rewarded with the opposite feelings you have experienced this year in time.

    I hope your situation with your kid works out. I can’t understand what that is or how it’s having an effect on you both but I’m sure all of your strength is being summoned from the experience s you’ve had so far in your life.

    I’m not sure I know what you mean about me having many gifts and being able to see them? I have so few people I can or dare to connect with that I welcome the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings from the safe distance and if a reply or the opportunity to just help a little presents itself, well, it makes me happy

    Thankyou for treading again


    Hey Neil – I’ll need 24 hours or so to get back to you. -B


    Hi Neil,

    Your many gifts: talented writer, excellent communicator, marathon runner, intelligent, compassionate, grateful, practical, logical, sensible, plus all those gifts I don’t even know about.

    And I’m guessing you are also a pretty nice guy.

    You say that before you took your turning you were so happy, loved life, had passion, ambition and valued the important things. And then came the choice and everything changed.

    Neil, think back, could it be that in addition to the passion, ambition and love for life, something was off, even back then? I mean, obviously, in comparison to how you feel today your life was better, but could it be that the reason you made the choice at all was because you saw it as a way out from your pain?

    People do all kinds of things to escape their pain. And at the time of your choice, you had no idea of what was to come.

    When we know better, we do better.

    If you find yourself crawling under those massive regrets that have been crushing you and all of your wonderful gifts, and if you would like to post about those feelings, I will listen. I consider you my friend.

    How are your daughters?



    Hi Brandy

    Thankyou for your kind words and for being so observant ?. I’m not sure I’d agree with all of those qualities but I’ll take them for now.
    It takes a special kind of person to take the time out of their lives to offer out help and support to a stranger and I appreciate the friend comment- I feel like we have a connection too in how we feel and see life. It’s good to know there’s someone else just as crazy out there!

    My daughters are great thanks. They both have a lot of positive stuff going on in their lives. I spent a day down in London this weekend with them and albeit only a short visit, I view every minute we have together as gold dust and memorable. I did find myself listening to my thoughts when I was with them this weekend and I have to come to realise that I self sabotage the time we have because I find myself constantly on the look out for signs that they are ok and that the guilt I feel is not being manifested in how they are. I don’t know if that makes sense but I know what I’m trying to say. I’m always on the look out for signs of approval or disapproval which I know is related to guilt and my pain (which is ultimately their pain I assume) and I find it compromises me at times as the parent and the responsible father in favour of receiving their forgiveness, respect and love. I know that sounds ridiculous and that a daughters love for her father is unconditional and that this is a reflection upon me and not them, but it’s just how it is. I do find that I spend and waste too much time in their company over analysing and not living in the moment and just showing them the real me enough. I guess to a point, all of the above is understandable in the circumstances but to go back to my last message to you; I have not met the expectation I had of myself in this role, this priority in my life and perhaps I’m over compensating trying to make amends. This shouldn’t be about ‘me’- our time is about them, their needs, the support they need and the weight of the burden of having a father who is pretending to be a gracious swan on the surface is like an emotional paddlesteamer underneath. They want fun dad, laughing dad, supportive dad. Their dad. I’m aware of it and I’ll do better.

    Your question about what was going on before the ‘turning’ is a question I’ve spent so much time and effort contemplating now. I see the life since that time as a series of consequences of actions and decisions which were as a result of a choice I made. I see the preceding years as where the cause for the action I took lies but also there are clues in how I think, feel and behave today. What I mean is, who I am today must have been part of who I was then but because my life was happier then- or I believed it was- it never surfaced.

    I can relate to specific elements of my thoughts and actions today from as far back as my early childhood. The propensity to self isolate when not feeling worthy or belonging, the need for security and safety, the need for time to myself alone and more, all present themselves today but magnified a thousand times because the difference now is I have responsibility, accountability and self-expectation.

    What behaviours and traits still show up in your life today that you can recollect from childhood? Do they serve you or hinder you?

    I hate to have regrets- I wish the size of the problem was such that I could call them lessons learned or experiences or tests; but the reality is the turning I took is a massive regret which cannot be undone- only mitigated through damage limitation and a phenomenal amount of effort.

    I also hate to talk this way. I hate being this self-pitying version of myself . I take accountability for my mistakes, I own them but of late, I feel the lid starting to burst on the can I’ve kept them contained in for too long.

    I love to hear of how you refer to your life now and how your focus is on your kids, preparing them for life, teaching and showing them the way. I picture it all happening under the security of the safe family roof and that whatever life throws at you, you have that as your haven. I make an assumption because I don’t know any better. That has gone for me; I replaced it with a continuous stream of hellos, get to know you agains, goodbyes and gaps until next times. It’s not what I wanted and it’s not what I expected of myself. But, you’re right. To create all that pain through choice had to have been by way of ‘escape’. I just can’t put my finger on what?

    i do know at the time I had been under massive self-induced stress at work. I occupied a role well known for breaking people and I worked for a company which would happily stand by and watch it happen. My significance driver was so over powering and unstoppable at the time that I got so much self-worth and value for my heroics that for the first time in my life I felt like someone that people could admire and respect.
    I also believe that once that job ended shortly after my ‘turn’, I sought my significance and worthiness in new relationships. I threw myself straight in to new relationships, over committed way too early and then had to undo all of that. The past 7 years have been a non-stop runaway train of bad choices after bad choices, temporary highs with lower crashes and decisions made in times of stress, uncertainty and instability.

    Im getting myself fixed this time. The decision to medicate is all about giving myself the chance to establish a foundation of clearer thinking from which I can make the right choices now. I’m waiting for the effect to kick in and am already preparing for what that might feel and look like. It’s exciting too. I have so many questions: will I find clarity? Will I find my old passions again? Will I find self love? Will I find peace?
    Ive read so much and seen so many people who get the most fulfilment out of life because of the most simple things. That’s all my dream is; to find happiness and to have the relationship with myself that I always wanted.

    I would love to hear more about you: how you are, how you are managing to keep moving forward, what you think and what you wish for the future?



    Hi Neil,

    What behaviours and traits still show up in your life today that you can recollect from childhood? Do they serve you or hinder you?

    I have never liked being the center of attention. I can recall having this feeling at age 5. I’m not shy, and I’m generally confident, but still, don’t throw me a surprise birthday party! I’m not sure if this serves or hinders me, it just is what it is, I suppose. I’m also on the analytical side which means my brain automatically tries to find solutions, look for patterns, connect dots, all in an effort to gain better understanding. I did this as a kid too. This hinders me in that I won’t rest until I’ve solved the problem, but it ultimately serves me because this behavior in part led me to the practice of mindfulness. I’m the only person in my family of origin with this trait by the way, and I am very good at math…haha. Lastly, I was and still am on the quiet side, I like to listen more than talk. This helps me in that I rarely put my foot in my mouth but it hinders me in my relationships with my girlfriends who want to talk about EVERYTHING.

    I would love to hear more about you: how you are, how you are managing to keep moving forward, what you think and what you wish for the future?

    I am doing well thanks. It’s like you said earlier we need to check in with ourselves, see how we’re doing, and I do that a lot. I close my eyes, take deep breaths, get centered, relaxed, and check in with myself. I’ve realized something about this process. The only way it really works for me is if I can see myself as someone I truly value, someone I have compassion for who deserves to be happy. I tell myself that there’s nothing more valuable to me at this very moment than me and my well being. And I put everything else on the backburner in order to look after myself for a few minutes. You ask what I think? I think that right now at this very moment life isn’t so serious anymore. And what do I wish for? I wish that I would always feel this way.

    Maybe you could think of yourself as the little boy you were at age 5, how much you love and value him, how much he deserves to be happy, close your eyes and send that little boy all the love he needs, then forgive him for the mistakes he’s going to make.

    I think all those things you mentioned…clarity, passion, self-love, peace…are within your reach.



    Hi Brandy
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It’s been a combination of being a little busy and also giving your suggestion a lot of thought and attention.

    5 is a great age to go back to isn’t it? I have such clear and vivid memories of where and how I was at that age and now, having given it much deeper thought, I realise I have so many connections to that version of me.
    Its quite uplifting and sad at the same time to take yourself back to yourself at a time where you were untainted by later life and ignorant to the weight of responsibility and learned behaviours, to revisit a spirit that only knew the purest of thoughts and pleasure derived from the simplest gifts this life has to offer and to re-familiarise yourself with the source of the core of who you truly are. It is only in doing so that I can see the layer upon layer of protection and armour that I (and I guess all of us) have built to deal with and cope with this ever changing world and how we fit in and survive.

    I picture myself sitting at a pre-school table across from my 5 year old self. My legs don’t fit under the table and the stool is going to give way at any time. Across the table is ‘little me’. The blondest hair and the bluest eyes, fair sunkissed skin and baby teeth all perfectly lined up. I’ve done this a dozen times for parents evening with my own girls but never with me.
    I ask my younger self what I like to do; what makes me happy. I answer- ‘looking out my bedroom window when its snowing, watching TV in the dark on a rainy Friday evening, playing with my friends, running in the park and playing football, when Dad is home on Sunday and we all have dinner together, finishing my schoolwork first before anyone else in the class, getting up and making Dad’s breakfast before he goes to work’
    I remember all these things I used to do and be at that age and more. I also recall how what I ‘felt’ at that age has shape my life ever since. I felt secure, loved and safe but at the same time always the need to be accepted and the feeling of rejection in the playground; that I had to try all the time to be seen and that just me alone was not ever enough. I don’t know where that came from- maybe an unconscious response to something before I have re-collective memory- I don’t know. But what I do know is that those traits and emotions have stuck with me for all of my life and in some way, I’ve always been dealing with every situation with that as the environment I set for myself to live within.

    When I think of what you said about sending love to that version of me, it stopped me in my tracks. It made me think about what that little boy would think of me and if he would be proud and love me and my instant, gut feel reaction is that he wouldn’t. I think he’d be disappointed in me. And then I needed to know why I instinctively thought that. Maybe it comes down to self-love- or lack thereof? Maybe its because the closest version of him I’ve ever known is my own girls and how I feel about that situation is reflected in that reaction? Either way, it speaks volumes to me about how I view myself that I believe the younger and pure version of myself would think that way.
    Maybe that is my benchmark? Maybe my aim in life is to re-connect with him and make him proud? Maybe seek his forgiveness rather than forgive him?
    I guess the big question is…… do I do that?

    And what about you? What does little Brandy think about big Brandy? Is she proud to call her herself?

    You know what, whilst I was writing this I had a thought. It might sound like mush to you but I get what I mean so I’ll take a risk and explain.
    In thinking about who I used to be when I was young, I thought I would give anything to go back to that time in my life and be that way again. A clean, clear, simple blank canvas of opportunity and life just ready for a masterpiece to be created. That I want to be that version of me again, to think in that way and feel those things in that way again. We wish our lives away too quickly- always looking for the next stage; the ‘I’ll be happy when’ stage and we never realise we were just happy in the moment until the moment is gone. In childhood we want to grow up, do the things we see the elders doing and then, when we get older, all we want is go back and rid ourselves of the responsibility, the wrong choices, the turnings and mistakes we made which lead us to who we are today- normally light years from those little versions of us we once were.
    I believe home isn’t a place but is something deep within us that we feel. We can be anywhere in the world but as long as we feel deep down that we are safe, warm, happy and secure- we are home. Home for me is a place very close to that little 5 year old. He created all the feelings and emotions I experience today and he showed me who I really am and any time I act in a way that he wouldn’t approve of or that would upset him, I am further from home than I should be and shame on me if I’m not working on myself to be better for him.
    I believe that in life we are all trying to get back home. Maybe for me, its re-connecting myself to myself at a time when life was more simple than I’ve made it to be.

    Rainy, dark Friday nights and watching the snow dance in the glow of the streetlights are still my two favourite feelings in the world. That’s my home 🙂



    Hi Neil,

    No worries about the delay, and I feel I need one myself now in order to fully process your words; they’ve given me a lot to think about regarding my own 5 year old self. Thank you.

    Neil, have your daughters communicated to you (in actual words) that they are disappointed with you? Have your parents, siblings, ex-wife, girlfriends, co-workers, boss, or anyone else?

    I’ll be back on Friday. I hope you have a good week!


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