The Day My Head Popped

The year was 2009. I was a very different person. The false walls of security I had built around me were starting to crumble. The pressure was overwhelming. Deep down I felt so off track. I couldn’t believe this was my reality. Until one day, I was given an experience that changed me forever. This was the day my head popped.
Episode Resources

And the story I’m going to share with you today actually comes before all that. It was before I even knew who Melissa was.

I was five years into my real estate career. And gone were the days of nightclubs, touring the world, doing what was true to me, which was music. I’d left that all behind because I dunno maybe I felt it was time for me to get a real job. So, having left music and gone down the real estate path what I started to discover was that success for me, came only if I pushed. Really hard. Like I really pushed. Real estate is an unforgiving career. And six or seven days a week I would grind it out and I had to build myself a career out of nothing.

In 2005, I started at Laing and Simmons in Pyrmont. I knew not a single person in that area. But I started slowly. I built my way up and then moved to Raine & Horne in Pyrmont, thinking that moving the office would make my career better. But I was starting to realize that it was only me that could make my career improve. So I started pushing more and pushing more, pushing more and then I got poached by another company, Laing Simmons Double Bay. Which was moving into a more expensive market and all of a sudden my sales price of three or four maybe five hundred thousand dollars was going up to one, one and a half maybe even two million dollars. And I kept pushing and I kept pushing and I kept pushing. Six, seven days a week. And around this time my little, beautiful boy, Leo, was born. But I wasn’t there. I tried to be there. And when I was there, I wasn’t really there. And I look back now I remember times when he was this beautiful little thing wanting to play with his dad. We would go into the cricket nets, down at the local park. And while I was bowling to him I’d be on the phone doing a deal. Completely not present. And Leo would be calling out to me, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” “Sorry mate, sorry just give me two seconds, just give me two seconds.” And it was never two seconds. It wasn’t even two minutes. Maybe two hours. And this lack of presence started to permeate all areas of my life.

Now, I remember lying one night on the couch. It was an expensive, black, Chaise Lounge, which we had bought from an antique shop. And it turned out that this particular Chaise Lounge was actually used in the 2001 Space Odyssey.  So we bought it really cheaply and then realized it was a collectible. So I was lying there feeling all fancy in my highly mortgaged Darling Point home. I had a Mercedes and a BMW out the front. But I had this headache and this headache just wouldn’t go away. But the thing is, I don’t get headaches.

It had been three days now and three days before I remember I was doing a gig, one of the rare times I was still playing some music. And it was a summer rooftop party. And this headache was killing me the music was piercing my brain and I got through that gig and I went home and rested. And the next day I woke up and there it was again. So I started taking some painkillers. And I don’t like taking painkillers. Definitely do not take them anymore but back then I still did not like taking them. But I was popping them like candy, literally. And then day three comes around still this headache is still there. I’m thinking, “what is going on?” and as I’m lying on my expensive Chaise Lounge I’m watching a rerun of blade runner and it starts intensifying, it starts getting worse, like really bad. And I start thinking “Maybe I’ve just got a migraine, I’ll go and take some more painkillers.” But nothing will take the edge off of the pain in my head.

So as I’m lying there I’m thinking “I have to stop this movie, I’ve gotta go to bed, I’ve just gotta try and sleep this thing off.” I’ve gotta get through the night. But I had this weird feeling, it was a sinking feeling, something wasn’t quite right. So I got into bed and I called my parents and I said “Mom, Dad, I don’t know what’s going on but I feel like something bad is about to happen. This doesn’t feel right. I’m in so much pain and I can’t stop it. What do you think I should do?” and they told me “Look, just try and go to sleep, see how you feel in the morning.” and they’ll leave their phones on for me if I need to call them during the night.

Two hours later, I’m still not asleep. It’s unbearable pain I think “Come on Nick, just go to sleep. Just go to sleep.” I’m willing myself to sleep but nothing I can do will get me even close because my head is burning. It feels like it’s going to pop. So I call my parents again, “Mom, Dad, I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on. I seriously feel like my head’s about to explode. What do I do?” and I had my little boy, Leo, at the time had really bad asthma and  I didn’t wanna wake him up. So I rolled out of bed, called myself a taxi and literally one step at a time made my way into the taxi in excruciating pain. And it was the weirdest taxi ride of my life. I asked him to take me to the hospital, which was only five minutes away. And that five minutes felt like 5 hours. Every single little bump, every turn was pulling at my brain. I was in this weird place of wanting to get there but the faster he went the more it hurt so I had to sorta have him go slow but then it took longer.

And when I finally arrived, I walked into the Emergency Room, more like stumbled and I was wearing Adidas track pants, Ugg boots, and a really daggy jumper, something that I would’ve slept in. And I walked in and I was shaking. They asked me my name and I tried to get my name out, I could hardly talk. I stumbled “Nick Broadhurst”, I was in so much pain. And they said, “Take a seat”. I said “Please help me. Please. You don’t understand, I need help.” They said, “Take a seat, Sir.” So I sat down and I just kept trying to make eye contact with the person at the desk. I was willing them to see what was going on and I realized, looking around me, that in Darlinghurst, in Sydney, at this time of night most of the people coming in were addicts, junkies. And here I am in my Adidas track pants, my Ugg boots, I’m shaking like a leaf and they think I’m a junkie. And I realize, holy crap, they’re not gonna help me. I walk up again and I say “You don’t understand. I’m a normal person, I’m married, I live in Darling Point, I have a wife, I have a son. This is not normal, I’m not normal.” “Sit down sir.” So I sit down again I can feel my stomach starting to churn, I feel like I’m going to be sick. All of my body is shaking. My head is searing. Everything little noise, every piece of bright light and as you can imagine, in an Emergency Room there’s a hell of a lot of bright light. That every bit of light and every bit of noise was like a dagger in my brain. I remember grabbing my stomach in pain feeling like I was gonna vomit. I remember tilting forward and that’s it.

I woke up about three or four hours later in Intensive Care. They obviously realized something was not right. Cause I was lying on the floor in the waiting room, which is not normal. So they obviously took me in and realized “Oh okay, something’s not right.” So as I woke up, I opened my eyes and I couldn’t see anything because they’d put something very dark and heavy over my eyes. I couldn’t hear very much cause I had earplugs in my ears. And I started moving my fingers everything hurt and I remembered this beautiful doctor, she was really pretty. She had a beautiful soothing voice and she knelt down and she took the thing outta my ear and she whispered to me “Mr. Broadhurst, we think you’ve had a brain aneurysm.”

Now I was in, so much pain I didn’t know how to process this information. I was just trying to stay conscious right now. And I mumbled the words, “Is that when your brain bleeds?” and she said “Yes. When you were unconscious we did some scans and we found this dark shadow, at the base of your brain. And we think that you’re bleeding. But we need to do more tests.” And I said “Is it serious?” and the nurse said to me, ” Yes.” and the doctor said to me “Yes, it’s life-threatening.”

You can imagine what that must feel like. But the pain was so intense, so I begged them, I begged them “Please, please just put me to sleep. Whatever you have to do, put me to sleep, I can’t handle this, please I’m begging you.” and they said “Look, we’ll give you some Morphine. And the Morphine, we have to warn you, when it gets to your central nervous system it’s going to feel like your head’s going to pop.” And so they injected this Morphine into my veins, I could feel the icy liquid running up my arm, into my chest and then… I literally thought my head had just popped off my neck. The pain was so intense but luckily, it was only brief. A few seconds, and then bliss. Life was bearable all of a sudden, the light didn’t hurt as much the sounds didn’t tear at my brain. And I slowly dripped into this beautiful state of sleepiness.

Now, seven hours later, I wake up. And my parents were by my bed. They’d flown all the way from Nusa. Now seven hours later I wake up, I open my eyes and that very familiar pain is back again. And as I open my eyes I see my parents, somehow they’d managed to get on a flight at six AM, and they’d arrived at my bed, at eight o’clock in the morning. They knew something was really bad. But guess what? It wasn’t a brain aneurysm, It was meningitis. Somehow I had put my body into a state that allowed a very normal virus, that most of us would live with no problems, that this virus I had allowed it to proliferate throughout my body. Something had opened a gateway in my system to allow this to take control and create incredible inflammation through my spinal cord and my Meninges in my brain. And it was serious. It was really serious.

As I’m lying there I feel this incredible pain in my lower back and I said, “What? Why have I have got so much pain in my back?” “Oh, we’ve done a spinal tap, Sir.” What’s a spinal tap? Where they stick a massive needle in your spine and pull liquid out to test it. And that’s how they found out I had Meningitis. And they said to me “Just make sure you only stand up when you need to go to the toilet.” I didn’t hear that but apparently, they told me that. But I don’t remember being told that. And, so I got up just to sort of see how I was moving if I could move. And it turns out that when you’ve had liquid pulled out of your spinal column, it means there’s less protection. And as I stood up my brain literally felt like it had moved to one side and hit the side of my skull. You can imagine the pain. So I lay back down, but I was busting to go to the toilet, so I got up and I went to the toilet, and I was testing myself I was getting up and down and twenty-four hours later they said to me, “Have you been standing up?” I said, “Well yeah”. They said, “Well we told you not to.” “No you didn’t, you never told me that. You never told me not to stand up.” I never heard them say this. This created so many problems for me, it created more swelling in my brain.

I spent two weeks in hospital in absolute agony. I couldn’t move, I had bed sores in the base of my heels, the backs of my knees, on my buttocks. I had things pumping my legs to keep the blood flowing, so they wouldn’t get any blood clots. And you know what? You know how many people came to visit me? Two. Two people. My wife and my son. This is my ex-wife. Two people. Not one friend came to see me. Now it dawns on me now looking back that why wouldn’t people want to come and see me when I was so unwell? When I’d almost died. It was this state of “push” that I’d put myself into, just for the sake of building a career, for earning money, for paying off a mortgage. That it made me a person that people didn’t necessarily wanna be around. I was very nice with my clients, I was friendly with them, and they liked me. But my friends, all of a sudden, didn’t really care. So what happened? How did this happen? It happened because I was living in a state of “push”. I hadn’t yet found this incredible tool called meditation. What meditation does is it helps you develop and cultivate self-awareness. That self-awareness helps you make better decisions.

If you didn’t hear my previous episode on “Why self-awareness is key” head back to

But at this time in my life, I was living from a state of complete push. There was no intuition. There was no truth. And when you ignore your intuition you are going to pay a price. And the universe said to me, “Really? You think you can get away with this for this long? You think you can push this hard? You think you can take your mind, your body, your soul, your spirit for granted? For this long and get away with it? Okay Mr. Invincible, let’s test that. Let’s take that health away from you and see how you feel now.” And so it did.

And I took a month off and I tried to recover but no one ever told me how to recover from Meningitis. No one. And around this time. The stress was incredibly high. Not only was I pushing really hard, my marriage was falling apart, I was going to bed late, I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t meditating. I wasn’t moving my body with love. The stress was completely starting to blow my life up. And as I took this month off work my marriage started to implode.

And just a few months later, we separated. And newly single I thought, “Okay cool, I’m newly single, you know what? It hurts, it’s really painful but I’ll gonna get back on that bandwagon. I’m gonna make myself ripped, I’m gonna go to the gym, I’m gonna eat crappy protein powders, just so I can bulk myself up.” And so I did. I looked awesome.

But I had these episodes where I would finish my workout, go completely white and break out in a cold sweat. I thought, “What is wrong with me? What is going on? Far out, what is going on here?” But I kept pushing, I kept pushing, I kept pushing. Ignoring all the signs, ignoring all the signs. And then one day I woke up and knew I’d gone too far. I couldn’t get out of bed. Everything hurt. My whole body had seized up.

I knew that I was close to the point of no return. And three years I spent, essentially bedridden, in agony.

When you ignore your intuition, there is always a price to pay.
Tweet this
The universe is gonna give you signs to try and get you back on track. And the more you ignore those signs the bigger the sign will come and the bigger the sign, the bigger the sign, the bigger the sign and then finally you hit this point where it’s incredibly hard to get yourself back. It took me years to feel whole again. And it wasn’t until literally, a week before I met Melissa that I finally felt whole.

Finally, felt whole, it took me four years to get there. And you know what brought me back? The one tool that changed everything? Meditation. I know I sound like a broken record. But sometimes you have to hear things over and over again to get the message. It was meditation that allowed me to experience a state of being. Being is the experience of view beyond. Being is the experience of view beyond your mind.  And it’s in this state that we start to develop our full awareness. And as my self-awareness started to develop, more and more and more, I started making better choices and ultimately, I regained my health. I met my soulmate. And I’ve never looked back since.

If I had never gone through the experience of the day my head popped, I wouldn’t be where I am now. But that doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to where I did, to find yourself. You can do it right now. Just close your eyes and meditate.

I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @iamnickbroadhurst on social media. Please also leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a review on iTunes I would be very grateful. Tell me what you want more of! I am at your service.

Replying to: Cancel reply