30 In Mental Health

Stuck at a crossroads – What I learned after my 3rd car accident

Stuck at a crossroads - What I learned after my 3rd car accident

It wasn’t until the age of 36 and ¾ when my life was pretty much falling apart that I made a well-needed change.

After living my life either for everyone else or the way everyone else wanted me to live, enough was enough. And so with a hearty ‘Fuck it!’ I handed in my resignation – chucking in my 12 year career in project management – and set out to embark on my new…life.

To be honest this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and came after a series of burnouts and near breakdowns. I mean, living the life you want sounds so bloody easy to do but, in reality, it’s really fucking hard. With no savings, skyrocketing anxiety, and crippling fatigue, I was struggling to keep up with life, I was struggling to hold my life together.The thought of leaving my job and changing careers at the age of 36 to do…something…well…I had no faith in myself an no idea of what I wanted to do. I just knew that deep down I needed to make some big decisions. If only I wasn’t so tired scared to death.

 …living the life you want sounds so bloody easy to do but, in reality it’s really fucking hard.

But after my third car accident in a year and a half – the third being in my own driveway, I had no choice.

Seriously, the good old universe was sending me some very clear signs to stop what I was doing ASAP!

After throwing a pity party for myself I enrolled in a mindfulness program to work on my mindlessness problem. This forced me to dig deep and do a hell of a lot of self-analysis, as well as to actually make time to pay some attention to what my body was trying to tell me. Needless to say, my body was not happy. As it turns out, it had been screaming at me for a very long time! Eczema, fatigue, dizziness and forgetfulness. Everything I had pegged down to food allergies after years of research, consulting with specialists, eating plans, diets and supplements, turned out to be as a result of stress. Plain and simple. And so I stopped what I was doing, just like that.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly that easy, but that was the moment I made a vow to myself to prioritise my self care from that moment onwards.

And let me tell you this. Funny things happen when you start tuning in. Well-needed change starts to happen, things start to shift,  old doors close, new doors open, and new people enter your life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think we should be doing. In what others think we should be doing. In the fear of, well, everything!

I thank the Universe every day for those car accidents and for the fact that they weren’t any worse. I am also grateful for getting another shot at turning my life around, as not everyone is as lucky. I now need to NOT waste it, which leads me to here – this very blog.

It’s taken me a long time to get here, to this place where I am awake and finally looking after myself. Where I am finally starting to do the things I love, to listen to myself, and to live the life I want! I hope you will stick with me, as this life stuff isn’t easy. Actually, it’s more like a rollercoaster.

I do know that it certainly helps to know that others:

1) aren’t perfect,

2) are going through shit, and

3) are surviving.

Hopefully through sharing my story, experiences, tips, and resources with you, I can inspire you to change your life too!


Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

  • Velva
    August 5, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Cheers to you! I think when change is needed the signs are everywhere. We can choose to recognize them, or not. Fear and the unknown can be paralyzing feelings that keep many of us from reaching our potential. Even our discomfort can be comforting because we can predict it. I am standing at the cross road now attempting to get the courage up to take a flying leap into the unknown.

    I enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing.


  • Anita Cleare
    October 28, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    It is so easy to do things because we think we ought to be doing them, rather than because they actually make us happy. Well done you for taking the plunge – inspirational 🙂 #bestandworst

    • Janine Ripper
      November 2, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks so much Anita!

  • Chloe Brewer
    October 29, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Hats of to you lovely! No-one is ever to old to take the bull by the horns and make the changes we want and need to make ourselves happy and content! Found your blog on the RunJumpScrap linky! x

    • Janine Ripper
      November 2, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you and exactly!

  • helen gandy
    October 31, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Such a great post, I wish I could be brave…..I definitely like the sound of the mindfulness program! Thanks for linking up Janine, see you again! #bestandworst x

    • Janine Ripper
      November 2, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks so much Helen. The mindfulness program was awesome (it’s called the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program).

  • Kick Stress In the Ass With These Stress Management Tips
    November 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    […] I need to manage my fatigue on an ongoing basis and I blame the fact that I  lived in a state of chronic stress for such a long […]

  • Agent Spitback
    December 19, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Oh Janine, I loved this post! I can so so so relate! Sometimes the fear holds you back in making a change, in listening to the Universe but when it’s time to move on, it’s time, whether you like it or not. What’s the mindfulness program? Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

  • Words to help and inspire - Reflections from a Redhead
    March 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    […] could easily hate on my depression and ‪anxiety, and although I’ve had some pretty shitty times I do not deny any of it anymore. In fact, I […]

  • There's no such thing as perfection - Reflections from a Redhead
    March 27, 2016 at 10:49 am

    […] there was always one certainty. I would always come crashing back to Earth (and in all seriousness, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of crashes, both literally and figuratively), and I would always be left in a […]

  • Finding Your Why - Grab your FREE copy of my workbook - Janine Ripper Reflections from a Redhead
    March 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    […] I lived in a state of constant anxiety, slept too much, drank way too much, ate crappy food, dieted and over-exercised, succumbed to peer pressure and gossip, overworked and over-stressed. Most of the time I didn’t stop until I became ill and collapsed in a heap. Multiple burn outs and I still wouldn’t learn. […]

  • 30 reasons why turning 30 rocks - Reflections from a Red Head
    March 31, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    […] could easily hate on my depression, ‪anxiety and other shitty stuff but these days I choose not too. I own my story because everything that […]

  • 15 of the Best Articles on Writing to Fire Up the Writer in You - Reflections from a Redhead - Janine Ripper
    April 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    […] Quitting my project management job at the age of 36 was a risky and somewhat stupid move, what with no savings or an inkling of what to do next, and to be honest with you a lot of people thought I was mad. Perhaps even me… […]

  • Keeping up with the extraverts - I'm an introvert and proud
    April 12, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    […] time into my life I turn into Miss Cranky Pants or Ms. Accident-waiting-to-happen due to fatigue (thus three car accidents in one and a half years). Me-time is my special time to recharge the batteries which often run dry by over stimulation and […]

  • Turning 38 - Here's 38 Things I've Learned in 38 Years
    April 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    […] I wish I had discovered mindfulness a whole lot earlier in life. It would have saved me from so many sleepless nights and freak outs, but then again if I had I possibly wouldn’t have appreciated it as much. Funny things happen when you start tuning into your life, your mind and your body. […]

  • Understanding Anti-depressants - What You Need to Know - Reflections from a Redhead
    May 27, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    […] What I learned after my 3rd car accident […]

  • 5 things to do when there's a lot of bad news - Reflections from a Redhead
    June 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    […] few years ago, as I found my anxiety peaking yet again, panic attacks striking at odd moments, and my mood shifting, I made the decision to actively focus […]

  • Finding Your Why
    June 16, 2016 at 4:53 am

    […] J: After I had my 3rd car accident in a row – the last being in my own drive way. That was the start of my wake up call. Read this for more info: Stuck at a Crossroads […]

  • There's no such thing as perfect - Reflections from a Redhead
    June 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    […] I was stuck at a crossroads – What I learned after my 3rd car accident […]

  • The Struggles with Being an Introvert
    July 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    […] After learning the hard way through multiple burnouts and wake up calls, I acknowledge I need to make self-care my #1 priority. […]

  • Learning to Say No - It's the Best Thing You Can Ever Do - Reflections from a Redhead
    July 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    […] Aside from being a people pleaser, I used to believe in working hard as an overall value. The harder I worked, the more I pleased, the happier people were with me and the more they wanted me. Hard work defined me. So there’s no surprises I’ve burnt out more times than I want to admit. […]

  • How technology has impacted my physical and mental health
    July 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    […] I had 3 car accidents in 1 1/2 years, the last being in my drive way. […]

  • How do you know when it's time to make a change in your life?
    July 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    […] I was stuck at a crossroads – What I learned after my 3rd car accident […]

  • Finding Happiness Where You Least Expect It - Reflections from a Redhead
    July 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    […] I was stuck at a crossroads – What I learned after my 3rd car accident […]

  • How would you write the next chapter in your story?
    July 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    […] moment and just being, I started to ‘be happy’. Okay it wasn’t that easy. It took a near death experience, 3 car accidents, a few burnouts, a great deal of self analysis, counselling… to start living this was, but now I’m doing it it’s such an awesome […]

  • My Year of Living Vulnerably
    August 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    […] have even experienced my third car accident in a year and a half. Oh that’s right – my wake up call. It was around May 2014 that ‘the wake up call’ happened, or rather, the Universe […]

  • How do you overcome writer's block?
    August 14, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    […] areas of my life. I failed to connect the dots between stress and illness, so much so that it took my third car accident in one-and-a-half years to wake me up and persuade me to start taking notice. Funnily, it was around that time of […]

  • Dependence on Technology - The cost of living in a connected world - Reflections from a Redhead
    August 31, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    […] I had 3 car accidents in 1 1/2 years, the last being in my drive way. […]

  • Raising Mental Health Awareness - Reflections from a Redhead
    October 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    […] It also doesn’t mean you can’t recover and go on to live a fulfilling life, because you can! […]

  • Send this to a friend