I nearly died yesterday, and something within me has shifted.

Driving on a four-lane Spanish highway at about 8am, tunes cranking, I was cruising behind a large truck carrying earthmoving equipment. When I was about to shift into the left lane to overtake it, the truck swerved suddenly and wildly to the left, into the two cars already overtaking. I had to pull Tabasco (my adorable red Aygo rental) hard to the right and off the highway to avoid a crash, and I was incredibly lucky that none of the traffic behind me hit me in the process.

I was incredible lucky, period.

Pulling over would have been dangerous, and I just wanted to get away from what had just happened, so I kept going with the rest of the traffic that hadn’t been involved. Foot to the floor.

As I drove away, I roared with emotion at the world. These were not elegant sobs, nor classy tears. I yawped.

Shaken, I stopped at the next major town for a coffee and a long chat with my sister. More yawping. I decided to cut my planned 9-hour journey short, and spend a balmy night in an historic Portuguese border town. As soon as I’d checked in I wandered up to the city ramparts, through narrow cobbled streets which reminded me intensely of northern Moroccan villages (the castle and surrounds had originally been constructed by the Moors between the 8th and 12th centuries). How amazing that people still live in these tiny, low-ceilinged houses. Later, as the sun set and the city lights came on, a lengthy conversation with my mentor gave perspective and insight, as well as a solid reminder that I have a talent for overthinking. Time to start feeling.

This has been a hard, unsettling year for me. My GP recently informed me I was suffering from a depressive episode (I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was) and gave me a ‘mental health plan’, which entitles me to a Medicare rebate on therapy. Spending time in Australia, in the area in which I grew up, has shed light on some old beliefs and other miscellaneous crap from the past I’m ready to adios. Therapy? Bring it.

This morning, I woke up feeling more positive and clearer than I have in a long time. I feel more in charge – not in control – but empowered and upbeat. These qualities are important to me, and I’m stoked and frankly fucking relieved to rediscover them.

The down times are a necessary part of growth. Today, to me, the sun shines brighter than it has in months. I’m grateful for both.