Chrissy B

How I Found Light in the Tunnel

By Mirela Sula

Chrissy B aka Christoulla Boodram, is an ambitious young woman, fun-loving and friendly person who’s been through quite a lot in life but managed to turn everything around and she is now passionate about helping others. She genuinely cares and wants to help people. This guided her to start an exclusive TV programme dedicated for people who need to learn more about wellbeing and mental health. The Chrissy B Show on Sky Channel 203 is the only programme in this field in the UK. Chrissy gives us a deeper insight in this exclusive interview for Global Woman magazine, revealing her challenges in her personal life and how she overcame them, turning everything into a big advantage for her. Today she has reinvented herself and is even more connected with her life purpose.

 

Your life is like an open book – how do you remember the first chapters of this book that is called LIFE?

The first chapters were really good. I grew up in a loving family – I was born in London but my family are originally from Cyprus. We were always close and I remember having lots of fun as a child and being surrounded with love and affection. I was however quite a shy child and often liked to hide away.

chrissy-at-wembley-3

You have faced many challenges in your path to become who you are today – can you tell us about the depression and the panic attack that you have experienced and how did you overcome it?

When I was 16, I developed a phobia of death which brought on panic attacks and depression. A lot of people develop issues because of some sort of trauma they go through. But I had it all, a great family, a nice house, financial stability, a good education – there was no apparent reason for me to have these kinds of problems but depression isn’t fussy, anyone will do. I will never forget the day I had my first panic attack. Only someone that’s been through it knows how awful it is – it’s worse than a horror film. I was left shaking uncontrollably and screaming for dear life. I developed so many complexes and at one point gained a lot of weight and hated the way I looked. My poor parents tried to help me as best they could. They took me to my GP who said I was too young to take anti-depressants so I was referred for counselling instead. But I didn’t get much out of it at the time as I felt my counsellor didn’t understand me and couldn’t offer me the solution I so desperately needed. So I lied and said I was better so I wouldn’t have to go anymore.

My journey to find happiness began. I tried all sorts of things – night clubbing to have ‘fun’, religion, candles, incense, spiritualists and when all that didn’t work, I threw myself into weight training and spent a lot of time ‘pushing’ weights and doing aerobics classes, sometimes one after the other. I became so strong that I was even approached by a coach to be trained to lift weights for competitions. I became incredibly fit, the weight dropped off, I had no shortage of guys asking me out, but inside, I was the same depressed, insecure person. One of my worst moments was when I had a terrible panic attack and burst into the living room where my parents were watching television. I ran straight into my father’s arms, shaking and sobbing uncontrollably. My dad held me and sighed and said, “I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to help you.” His voice was so sad, so desperate. In my mind I was thinking, ‘If my own dad who had always been there with the best advice, who always knew what to do, who had always protected me, didn’t know what to do, I was doomed.’ I knew I was causing my family so much pain and though I loved them so much, I withdrew emotionally, I became distant. Though they were desperately trying to help me, I didn’t want to cause them any more pain.

I used to look at other people and actually be jealous that they would be smiling and laughing – yet my smiles were fake. Inside I was a mess.

I went through college and University and I didn’t tell anyone about my issues apart from a close friend. I genuinely thought that I was the only one going through those kind of problems. I used to look at other people and actually be jealous that they would be smiling and laughing – yet my smiles were fake. Inside I was a mess. When my friend told me that her brother, who was twice my age, was in love with me and wanted to marry me and would treat me like a princess, I was actually quite tempted. I wasn’t attracted to him but I thought that perhaps if I got married and had kids, it would ease the depression as my focus would be elsewhere – on a husband and children. That’s how desperate I was to feel better. Thankfully, my sister made me see sense and I turned him down. I met Michael (my now husband) at University. We were friends for a year before starting a relationship. We had some good times, but most of it was a combination of obsessive behaviour, arguments and eventually physical fights started by me. I couldn’t control my anger and would just explode and lash out. Because I felt a little better when I was with him, I clung to him for dear life and was extremely needy. It was like I depended on him for a little bit of happiness, where I had tiny glimmers of feeling normal. I didn’t realise how destructive I was becoming to our relationship. I was very jealous and wanted his full attention. I didn’t value myself whatsoever and would go to any lengths to get his affection.

 

christoulla-michael-23
Chrissy with her husband Michael

But despite all the arguments and fights, we still loved each other and I moved in with him and his family. Things got even worse and we would sometimes be up until the early hours fighting with no regard for his mum, brother or neighbours, who could hear us. After having a fight, we would sometimes cry in each other’s arms as we couldn’t understand why we were hurting each other so much. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I started to develop compulsions. I would be out walking in the street and then a voice in my head would say things like “If you don’t pick up that rubbish on the ground and put it in the bin, a member of your family will die.” And there I would go like a puppet picking up other people’s litter in the street and putting it in the bin. There were other compulsions too, for example, if I walked past a poster or billboard, again the thought in my head would tell me to go back and read everything on the poster or else something bad would happen. It was awful. I really believed that if I didn’t do those things, (which made no sense whatsoever) something really awful was going to happen. I’d reached rock bottom and the panic attacks were getting so bad that often I would just rock backwards and forwards as though I was losing my mind. So that was me. Seven years of hell with a phobia, depression, panic attacks, compulsions a destructive relationship and all sorts of insecurities and deeply-rooted issues. But through it all, I held onto a tiny bit of hope that I had deep down inside of me, that life wasn’t meant to be this way – that I was meant to be happy and that tiny hope was what kept me going and looking for help. One day coming home from work, I noticed a place called the UCKG Help Centre, that was packed full of people and there was a sign outside that read, ‘Does it pay to pray?’ I was never a religious person and certainly not interested in going to a church but this place was different. I’d tried everything so why not try this? What did I have to lose? When I walked in for the first time I was still shaking from a panic attack the night before, but almost as soon as I’d gotten through the door, the shaking subsided. It was incredible. I was welcomed and made to feel at home immediately. The person I spoke to seemed to understand me completely and the best part of it was that he believed my life could be different, that I could be happy one day and was told that there I would learn all the tools to get there. That meant so much to me because I had almost stopped believing in myself.

christoulla-michael-8

 

I would be out walking in the street and then a voice in my head would say things like “If you don’t pick up that rubbish on the ground and put it in the bin, a member of your family will die.” And there I would go like a puppet picking up other people’s litter in the street and putting it in the bin.

Combining the practical and motivational advice with the spiritual help was a winning formula for me and week by week, I started getting better. Unbelievably, from that first visit, I had no more panic attacks ever again. Within a few months, the depression had completely lifted and that had an impact on my relationship. Michael and I started to get along better. Instead of shouting, swearing and screaming at each other and lashing out physically, we learnt to listen and to communicate in a positive way. We now have a beautiful relationship. He’s my best friend and we love each other’s company. We got married and I couldn’t have asked for a better husband, although I have to say, I also think I turned out to be a pretty good wife.

I would be out walking in the street and then a voice in my head would say things like “If you don’t pick up that rubbish on the ground and put it in the bin, a member of your family will die.” And there I would go like a puppet picking up other people’s litter in the street and putting it in the bin.

There is an expression saying that “Everything that we face in life comes to teach us something” – what these challenges have taught you?

How amazingly strong we are and how when we channel our energy into changing things around, there’s nothing that can stop us. The challenges I faced have made me stronger and I believe nothing is impossible. I won’t put limits on myself.

You met your husband when you were very young – how much has your relationship changed since then?

Our relationship has changed dramatically. Not many things are more damaging to a relationship than a needy, insecure woman, and that was me all over. But as soon as I learned to value myself, I instantly became a better partner. I stopped depending on Michael to make me happy. That’s too much pressure on any human being. Our relationship today is beautiful. We get along so well, love spending time together, and there is lots of fun and laughter. We’re like two big kids. I am now happy within and that spills over into everything I do and in my relationship with others.

chrissyb4

What is the most difficult situation that you have faced in life?

It was those 7 years of hell. But of course there have been other tough times in my life such as my father getting cancer and dying two and a half years ago which is a whole other story. But I now have an inner strength that I didn’t have before, to get through difficult times.

 

Who/what has helped/ supported you to overcome your challenges and what would be your message for them?

My husband has been a wonderful support. When I look back at how I used to mistreat him, I can’t believe he stayed with me. But he was patient and remained by my side during my recovery. Also I owe so much to the team that supported me at the UCKG Help Centre – who believed in me and in my potential even before I did. And most of all, to my God because He is the one who changed my life and gave me the peace that I always longed for, and the strength to overcome all my battles.

Do you have people that have hurt you in life and what is your relationship with them now?

Yes, there are people who have hurt me but I hold no grudges and maintain good relationships. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes and often hurt people unintentionally. I did my fair share of hurting myself so I can’t judge.

What do you think about the “Forgiveness”, how important is it for us to forgive in order to heal ourselves and grow?

I think grudges are poison to the soul. You just can’t be truly happy when you don’t let go of these kinds of feelings. Forgiveness isn’t saying to someone that their actions were right and that what happened didn’t hurt. Forgiveness is about not letting what happened to hurt you anymore. It’s being kind to yourself and moving on.

chrissyb2

 

Now you are a very successful person, a woman who can inspire million of others with your story – how important is it for you to share your gift with the world?

It’s one of the most important things in my life. I’ve made it my life’s mission to help people to open up about mental health issues and get the help they need. When I was approached with the idea of doing my own show to reach out to others, I didn’t hesitate. It was never my dream to be on TV, but it is my dream to help as many people as possible lead a happier and more fulfilling life and I know that I can reach many more people with a TV platform. I know how much I suffered and I can’t stand the thought of other people feeling what I used to feel.

Based on your experience what would be three tips that you would recommend to people who are going through tough experiences facing depression or anxiety?

–   Don’t be ashamed to open up and ask for help.

  • Never EVER give up because you are stronger than what you think you are. It’s just a case of finding the right tools to change your life.
  • Don’t learn to live with mental health issues. Fight back!

What is your biggest purpose in life?
To spread happiness and hope to all who need it and to inspire people to achieve the success they dream of in all areas of life.

What is your New Year’s Resolution?
Apart from getting back into shape after the festive period LOL, it’s to take my TV show to the next level and to let more and more people know about it.

 

chrissy-interviewing

 

Chrissy B Show details:

Web: www.chrissybshow.tv

Instagram & Twitter: @chrissybshow

Facebook: thechrissybshow

Email: info@chrissybshow.tv

Chrissy’s details:

Web: www.mylifeafterdepression.com

Instagram: @chrissyboodram

Twitter: @afterdepression

Facebook: @mylifeafterdepression

Email: chris@chrissybshow.tv

 

 

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY