Hello my Friends,
I wrote this post on September 12, 2014. It has taken me all this time to work up the courage to share with you. I have included an update at the end. I hope that my personal journey empowers others to live life to the fullest.
I wanted to share with you my fight to light.
You see, for months the darkness of depression has been upon me. I know what you are thinking, but she eats so well, she exercises and is always happy. Well over the summer, I did not eat well, I did not exercise and I did not feel full of joy.
I felt embarrassed and frustrated with myself. I was angry with myself. I was disappointed with myself. And I stopped loving myself. And when Robin Williams left us, I pondered what life really was about. What was my role. How was I helping anyone. Would I be missed.
I am blessed to have close friends who I could chat with and be honest where my head was at. I was shown love and support. I was encouraged to eat healthy – not to lose weight, but to heal myself. My hubby was supportive with me trying to find my way.
So I decided I would fight my way to the light.
- I went to my wellness library in my home and skimmed New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind: Expanded & Updated by Patrick Holford (2009) Paperback. I realized that I likely needed to support my nutrition with additional vitamins – including B12 as I was eating almost all vegan.
- I started doing fresh green juice instead of powders. I even did a one day juice cleanse which made me very ill as I had not prepared myself long enough before doing the cleanse and the toxins that were leaving my body created a massive migraine. But the next day, I felt renewed. I felt amazing – like a dark cloud had been lifted.
- I spend a few days organizing my home. The house was a mess and disorganized from renovations and adult children moving in and out. I could now move from room to room without feeling drained by the chaos. I made decisions on the items I needed to purchase or make due and realized, I loved my home before the renos so why not put stuff back to the way it was. And beauty was restored – with some editing.
- I went on a Treehouse Retreat and was supported by generous, kind, encouraging friends who stimulated me but asked tough questions. They asked me, “What was keeping me from succeeding.” The Treehouse was also such a beautiful place my creative senses were doing cartwheels and were recharged. I was surrounded by stunning vignettes everywhere I looked and that made me smile.
- I started to journal again highlights of my week and ensured my weekly measurements were recorded so I could see the changes in my body. I practised daily gratitude for all that I had.
- I stopped comparing myself to others and did what brought me joy. A friend told me if it was not bringing me joy, to stop doing it. So I stopped a few things and did other things that brought joy. And by not comparing myself to others, I could compete with myself and where I wanted to be. And this felt good.
- I decided I wanted to be here and to be full of love.
- I decided I loved myself. I believe real change in me began when I decided that self love was the key. I practised what I teach and made myself stand in front of the mirror and say “I love you Jo-Ann.”
- I forced myself to smile and it warmed my heart.
- I listened to a six CD set of Unleash the Power Within: Personal Coaching from Anthony Robbins That Will Transform Your Life! And I learned that I was living with “I should” not “I must”. I changed my view on eating healthy to “I must eat healthy to feel good” “I must exercise to be strong”, and I created more “I must” statements to keep me going. I discovered fear was keeping my from succeeding and I decided to tackle my fears.
- I decided that the light was a better place to be than the darkness and I must do everything possible to shine brightly.
It may seem strange to you in a wellness blog, for me to share this story. But I wanted you to know that wellness is a journey. We are always growing and developing. We can be faced with huge challenges or challenges that seem huge. We have a choice to feel good or to feel bad. At times, we need help to get over feeling bad.
I am extremely grateful that the friends and family that I have surrounded myself with, supported me when life was grand and when life was difficult. I created a community that lifted me up and gently pushed me forward towards the light. The darkness of depression was no longer a sinking hole, but instead a glowing light that each day has been growing stronger.
If you are feeling sad or depressed, let someone know. There are crisis lines if you feel you can’t move forward. There is always hope. There is always light. Ask for a hand to help you.
I am glad I asked for help. I am grateful for the love that surrounded me.
Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope it inspires you to shine brightly.
May your day be filled with sunshine and joy.
Piles of gratitude,
Your Culinary Nutritionist and Wellness Cheerleader
PLEASE NOTE: this post is not intended a substitute for professional help. Please call your medical doctor to get help. Additionally, if you need to call a crisis line, click here for the CAMH list of numbers to call. There are so many professionals who can help you.
PERSONAL UPDATE: It is 4 months since I wrote this post so I wanted to share how my healing process is evolving. Each day that passes brings me more strength and courage to live life to the fullest. Now that our home renos are 98% complete, the long tunnel of darkness has a very bright light that shines on me daily. I also discovered that if you have leaky gut (which I do), drinking even small amounts of alcohol can have a profound effect on your well being and it can bring on depression for some people. As a result, I have stopped drinking 99.99% of the time. I will have a mouthful of wine with a meal but will have to take digestive enzymes and will wake up with what feels like a hangover. As a result, I have become totally into tea. I am so glad I got to experience this dark period so I can see how amazing I feel now. I am also grateful to everyone who supported me and checked in to tell me I was loved. Feeling blessed, Jo-Ann