I was once such a chronic stress-head and so self-critical that it broke down my body’s ability to heal. I had gone through three different diseases, a disability, two nervous breakdowns and an addiction to painkillers.

The thoughts I was experiencing whilst living through this were encouraging me to end my own life. I thought that ending my own life would be best for everyone around me – to end their suffering.

It was when my thoughts had spun into a suicidal spin where I had the deepest realisation of my life. I had created every problem in my life from my own thoughts. My chronic pain was worsened from the stress. The stress was triggered by my thoughts – by thinking I was not good enough. And then the diseases I had suffered came from my body believing it was in constant danger. This weakened my immune system as it was never given the opportunity to do its job.

Basically, I had trained my body and mind to believe they were in a constant war zone. But the reality is I was just living an average life with average problems. You know, nothing that would kill me. Yet my body thought it was in danger every single day.

So how does this work?

If you’re in a constant state of chronic stress, your body believes it’s going through life-threatening situations on a daily basis. Your body, therefore, functions thinking it’s constantly in danger.

This is caused when your nervous system is triggered to function from the fight-or-flight response, where the body goes into overdrive, sending energy to deal with the threat. Your body wants to get rid of that threat. For me, the threat was “I’m not good enough” and “I can’t ask that question – they will think I’m stupid”. I would beat myself up for a long time about it – sometimes years – over one small mistake I had made.

At that time, I had no idea how stressed I was. I had always believed I was a battler – a strong confident woman. So did everyone else in my life. I had been living this way for as long as I could remember. I thought this was how life was for everyone. I believed it was normal so never questioned it.

But now I’m a changed woman. I no longer live with a disability. The diseases I endured have gone and my mental health is top-notch. I am very much that strong confident woman I thought I was years ago.

To help you really embody this concept, click here to watch the talk I presented in South Africa where 42% of their population suffer chronic pain.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel that you need immediate help, reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14.