Updated: Apr 7
Name: Anouk Brouwer
Age: 24 years old
Occupation: Fashion Student
About a year and a half ago I made a trip back in New York City after having lived there and I got what I asked for; a car accident. The car accident was the cherry on top and a clear moment of change after dealing with severe depression and anxiety.
It started during my first year of fashion school when I was confronted with a lot of pressure and competition, which started to make me feel inadequate. I was older. I already had a degree. I felt like I was running out of time. That I should be ahead. I became stuck within myself and struggled with the fact that I wasn’t Iiving by this societal concept of study, get a job, have a family. I felt very isolated and it was during those times that I would ask the universe for a car accident because I felt numb. I wasn’t able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t see a way out. I wanted a reason for why I was feeling such intense emotions and - I got what I asked for.
All I remember is pain, seeing white spots all around me, more pain and not being able to breathe. I genuinely thought that this was it; that I was going to die as I had specifically asked for this. It was an overwhelming feeling I am still not able to give a name, that is also known as the most impactful experience of my life. Even though I got immediate support in the ambulance, in the hospital and through the after care such as physical therapy; you go through all of your experiences alone. All we can ever rely on is ourselves.
After the accident, my body and mind were no longer connected. I lost the ability to do basic things without being in such intense pain. I learnt the hard way never to take your body for granted. I will never be the exact same, I have visible scars and there are certain things I will never be able to do again, which is something that I struggled with for a long time, but I also experienced like no other that you get what you ask for and the bad things that happen to you can also be a gift. There is a choice in how you perceive what happens in your life: in shadow or in sunlight. I have learnt to make it my utmost responsibility and priority to see all adventures and/or misfortunes that come across my path as a ray of sunlight.
At my lowest point, I accessed professional help. It is good to try, but personally it wasn’t for me. I think finding the right person to connect with is really important when accessing therapy and that just didn’t happen for me. You do not know though, if you do not try. I re-discovered myself, my own opinion, and my own thoughts through art. Through writing, drawing and painting. I developed a new perspective about how I view my body and about treating it right; with nourishment and exercise. I realized that it is my home, but most importantly my body is my most brilliant instrument and I need to cherish it. Now, I take care of myself so well - respect my body and feel good. I love the skin I am in and no longer focus on what I can’t do and focus on what I can do. If you are serious about changing your life you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
So, really through the accident I learnt that it is important that you become your own inspiration source. Your own motivation source. You always have to remember to laugh at yourself, without taking yourself too seriously. To become your own best friend. Now, I am the woman of my dreams, even though I am still critical of my self. I do a lot of self-reflection. I know when I’ve done something that’s shitty, because I’m not perfect, and I try to learn from it. To grow from it. Growing is not comfortable, so see your struggles and pain as a way of expanding who you are; and even though I’m not perfect, I do still love myself. Loving yourself is one of the most important things because nobody else can fix your problems. Nobody else has the answer that you’re looking for except for yourself. You must be a whole first, creating relationships is extra like an accessory.
I am also done with living a live for others, to live according to what you think is expected. The biggest epiphany I ever had is that life is too short to live somebody else’s life. Live for you. Be you. Apparently it took a car crash to figure that out. This is why I am now grateful for that particular experience. Turn your bad experiences around for sources of inspiration. Be love and it will surround you.
I dare to say that I am the love of my own life and I learnt that the only way out is moving through. Learning how to die has taught me how to feel truly alive. I became a woman that follows her heart, rather than her head. I am not afraid of who I used to be. I embrace it. Our hearts and bodies are only given to us once, so let life turn you on.