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Fighting My Way to The Light – From Depression to Happiness

From Darkness to Light 9CupChallenge.com

From Darkness to Light

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.

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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.

Reflection on Life and Dockside Chats 9CupChaleng

Reflection on Life and Dockside Chats

So I decided I would fight my way to the light.

  • 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 IMG_20140810_112032drained 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.
  • The TreeHouseI listened to music and sang along.  This made me happy.
  • 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.
  • IMG_20140810_220256I 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.
  • IMG_20140815_142958I 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.

Breathe it all in 9CupChallenge.comAs I write this, I am smiling and my outlook is positive.  I see a sunny future ahead and lots of opportunity to bring sunshine and happiness into other people’s life.

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,

 

Jo-Ann Blondin

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

Jo-Ann Blondin

Hello Gorgeous.
So glad we connected. I truly believe that in order to change the way people eat, you need to provide great images and stories that inspire people to change their current habits.

I am a Holistic Nutritionist, a Culinary Nutrition Expert, a plant-based professionally trained cook and I have over 25 years of marketing experience in programs that drive results for all kinds of businesses.

It is my goal to help spread the wellness message by helping wellness businesses with their marketing so we can inspire many people together.

Read about my journey, wellness tips and recipes at JoAnnBlondin.com and follow me daily on Instagram @JoAnnBlondin

Please be sure to check with your medical team before you implement the ideas in this blog. The owner of this blog takes no responsibility for any action that you may take as a result of reading this blog. The reader takes all responsibility.

This Post Has 24 Comments
  1. Jo-Ann, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so glad you found the support you needed during your time of darkness. It’s so important to have family and friends you can turn to, who understand and give you the support and encouragement you need. But something that really struck me as I read this was everything that you did for yourself. When every step feels like you’re trudging through knee-deep water, it takes enormous energy and resolve to take those healing steps. What a wonderful example you’ve provided of courage, grace and self-empowerment. You are a caring and supportive person, and I’m so glad you used those wonderful characteristics to care for yourself. Here’s to living in the light! Hugs

    1. Sweet Marlene, you have such a way with words. Thank you for understanding the energy and resolve it does take to lift yourself from the darkness. I am blessed to have a such an amazing supportive community that lifts each other up when we all need it. In a way I feel blessed to have experienced this period of darkness as it has helped me learn from our own experience so that I can bring that courage, grace and self-empowerment to others.

      Wishing you much light, love and happiness in 2015. May the sweet babies in your life bring you joy and giggles,

      Jo-Ann

  2. Beautiful post….posting this is definitely part of your journey and with every journey we do things when we have the strength to do it….Many times I have slipped into the darkness and like you I am on my way out…sometimes you can do everything right and things just don’t align the way they should, but eventually they do!!

    You are strong and wonderful even when you don’t feel it, cheers and we’ll see you in montreal later this year!

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know that you are on your journey to the light. That makes me so happy to hear. You are strong and wonderful too. Life can be filled with challenges and most of the time we can move forward and see the opportunity. At times, we cannot. This is the time where we get out of our comfort zone, meet new people, get new ideas and suddenly life changes with new possibilities and exciting grow. So happy we got to connect and I look forward to seeing you in Montreal.

      May your days be filled with an abundance of light to create a path of happiness.
      Cheers, Jo-Ann

  3. Jo-Ann, I’m so glad you not only wrote this, but published it. I know all too well where you’re coming from and what a struggle it can be to find the light at times. It makes me so happy to know you’re finding your way! Talking about it is so important – not just for you to heal but for others to understand what a battle depression is. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Melissa, thanks so much for creating such a good conference at the Food Bloggers of Canada. It was through the writing workshop that I came to realise that sharing your story not only allows you to be authentic, it allows others to learn from you. I agree, talking about depression is important. Sharing my own solutions may inspire another person to get help when they need it most.

      May you continue to shine and create awesome content to help all Food Bloggers in Canada be authentic.
      Jo-Ann

  4. To my inspiring, smart and joyous organic sister ~ thank you for sharing your story. It is brimming with honesty and desire to help others. May love, hope and happiness continue to be yours in 2015.
    XO
    A

    1. Hi Anita, my organic sister. I am forever grateful for our dock side chat and your guidance. You made the veil of darkness lift just a bit that day. And then, you shared the treehouse experience with me where the veil of darkness turned from a heavy weight to a design feature for an Instagram post. I am blessed to have you as dear friend who continues to inspires, teach and shine brightly. Wishing you a light filled 2015 as well. I know together we will laugh, sing and dance this year. To friends who help lift the darkness and show the way to the light, Jo-Ann

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this powerful post. I think it’s so important for people to realize that even when you do know what to do, sometimes trying to do it can be a challenge. I have been feeling down about my body and haven’t been making the absolute best choices over the past few months. I’ve felt stuck and tired and down but your story has inspired me to step into the light again and reminded me that I’m enough, just as I am. And that the best way to create a healthy life is to love yourself first. Thank you for being so vulnerable.

    1. Caitlin, I believe that as health coaches, we think we need to live a life of perfection so our clients believe we will help them be perfect too. This is not realistic nor healthy for us or our clients. We need to first to give the gift of self-love to ourself so that we can teach our clients this important part of healing them-self. I am so pleased that you let me know that my post made a such an impact. I love your line “reminded me that I’m enough, just as I am.” That is a beautiful statement. There was a reason we connected last year – so we could support each other and help each other see that self-love above everything else is what we need to share our gifts. You have so much to share and you radiate such energy and joy to the world. To sharing our gifts and supporting each other to shine brighter, Jo-Ann

  6. Depression is all darkness. Out of the darkness comes light and hope and happiness. So glad you found your way. Hugs!

    I’ve been thinking about sharing my own story and probably will when the time seems right. Robin Williams death had a profound effect on me too. Such a shocking end for a gifted man. I think those of us who have dealt with depression can relate to the overwhelming and seemingly endless pain from which there seems to be no escape. But we got through it. We’re here now and ‘we must’ tell our stories so that we may help others.

    God bless you!

    1. Hello Laureen, Thank you letting me know this post has touched you to share your story too. When we speak about depression and share the stories, it can help others to see the light. It was hard to see a man with so much talent and a gift to make us laugh leave us. I am delighted that you now see the light too. May your days be filled with internal sunshine so you can glow and bring all your gifts to those who need you. To shining together, Jo-Ann

  7. Oh Jo-Ann I have tears in my eyes !! I know what it’s like to go to the dark side (and not notice) and how hard of a constant struggle it is to get back to light. I am so proud of you for posting this! Not only because it is so familiar to me personally, but also because it is a part of YOU. And it is YOU I adore, ever single part of you. There are 2 very important days in your life: the day you are born, and the day you figure out why. Spread the love, laughter and light my friend ~ always. Xoxo

    1. Daniella, I want to hug you! I am so very glad I met you at the conference. You knew I needed to share this and You encouraged me to get it out. Thank you so much. I am glad you shine brightly and bring your joy and laughter to the people you meet. Keep shining and spreading your contagious love of life. Hugs, Jo-Ann XOX

  8. Jo-Anne, your story is inspiring, your honesty is so encouraging, I have been making a few ‘wrong choices’ lately over food (and booze!) after a long time of healthy eating and can feel the slippery slope upon me, your blog has given me the boost I need to get back on track, not just with food but also exercise and your ‘I must’ statements are just what I need to hear. So often we are taught these days that ‘I should’ is so much better for the soul, that ‘I must’ is too harsh but right now, for me, for my health and path back to wellness, nothing less than ‘I must’ will do.
    I hope our paths will cross again when you are in this neck of the woods, it was great to meet you and to chat albeit briefly last summer.
    Stay well and may the light shine!
    Sally

    1. Hi Sally, First, forgive yourself for making choices lately that are not the best for you. The holidays are filled with good times and good food and at times we decide to enjoy. The great news is, when you are ready, you can control the slippery slope. Funny, I use the slippery slope analogy all the time. My time in the darkness was a result of a slippery slope and usually a sprinkle of booze make the slope even slippery. I believe using “must” really does make a difference. You can still be kind to your self and depending how you create your “must” statements, they won’t be harsh and instead loving and supportive.

      I look forward to see you again. I love our little river community. Best of luck on the path back to wellness. You have this!

      To wellness paths and paths that cross, Jo-Ann

    1. Thank you for the 2015 wishes Katherine. The hubby and I are looking forward to sharing a meal with you at Riverbend. You always continue to amaze me how you create community with your writing and photos. Here is to a fabulous year for all of us.

      Warm wishes, Jo-Ann

  9. It warms me to know the workshop provided you the opportunity and comfort to speak freely. But most importantly, I’m so glad to hear you’re making your way to the light. Here’s to a fresh start with much light, lots of (self) love and many pots of tea.

    1. Hi Ethan, Yesterday someone said to me, “you are the sum total of the 5 people you hang around the most”. In that workshop, there were so many creative minds and amazing writers, it was hard not to feel elevated and push yourself harder. The group held me accountable for publishing this article when I was ready. Being with like-minded people in person creates bonds and friendships and the Food Bloggers of Canada annual conference allows all of us to learn and up our game.

      And thank you for helping me share my journey to the light.

      Keep shining and helping the Food Blogger Community shine together.

      Cheers, Jo-Ann

  10. Wow! I adored reading the words. I adored reading about your journey. You are a beautiful spark of lightness, even when you feel like you are in darkness. This may seem so odd, coming from a friend… but I am proud of you. You must be so very proud of yourself too.

    I am so grateful to call you my friend. You truly are a shining star. xox

    1. Oh Lynne, you are making me tear up. Your beautiful treehouse was a pivotal turning point in my journey to light. Not sure if it was the lights in the trees, the magical feeling of being in a treehouse, the dew lifting from the hills or just how amazing you and Michael are but I know that your place sprinkles rays of happiness on everyone who visits. I am proud of the journey and delighted I pressed published.

      Grateful to have you as a friend too. Keep shining XOX

  11. Thanks for sharing JoAnn. There’s a big hug waiting for you when I see you next weekend. So glad you’re seeing the light. I’m going to steal a few of your ideas for myself. Thanks.

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