Image by *therovingsheep
Depression has been a dark cloud over my life since I was 14. I received an extra helping of bullying my freshman year of high school and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I began to withdraw from everything.
Normally pretty active – I loved softball and volleyball and could send either ball exactly where I aimed it – I stopped signing up for sports (there were no tryouts in my school – I graduated with 27 people). I sank deeper and deeper into depression.
But nobody knew, because I was really good at hiding it.
I’ve battled with it for years – feeling great at times, and others, feeling so miserably hopeless that I would think, “maybe I’ll go grocery shopping and get in a really bad accident and die.”
It makes me want to cry, reading those words, because feeling that way is so, so awful.
I was an emotional wreck during each of my pregnancies and my joy over my new baby was shrouded with despair because I thought I was worthless and would make a terrible mother.
And the postpartum depression, well, those were dark, dark days and I’m grateful that I made it through them.
Yes, I tried anti-depressants – prescription and herbal. But they didn’t work. It wasn’t until I began researching nutrition and hormones and stress that I began to feel hopeful that this would end for good. I was ready for a holistic approach to my emotional health.
So I began making changes, pulling things out of my diet and replacing them with more nourishing foods. I wrote out my needs and actually worked to meet them. And I went back to my simple faith.
It helped. A lot. Until the week before my period. I would get so depressed and so angry. I could barely function because I felt like I was trapped with no way out.
Why was I great until the PMS kicked in? I felt so discouraged because I felt like even with all of the progress I had made, it just wasn’t enough.
And then it clicked – my hormones were terribly out of whack. Looking back, I can see why.
I wasn’t a very healthy child. I got scarlet fever twice. Yes, twice. Oh and Ricketts, too. Seriously. I’m good at weird illnesses. (Recent lab work revealed that I am still deficient in Vitamin D, which contributes to depression). My diet wasn’t very nourishing. I’ve dealt with a mysterious rash since I was nine (caused by food intolerances – which can jack up your hormones). I began struggling with depression and insomnia during puberty. I had a miscarriage at 18. And then there were those four kiddos I had in the span of five years…
I was in desperate need of some holistic nourishing.
I did some research on hormone balancing and, thankfully, I was on the right track; addressing the food and self-care and spirituality. But something was missing. One key point that has made all the difference for me: I finally acknowledged my value.
Early last month, I visited a friend and we got around to talking about business. Funny how us mompreneurs do that.
She told me about a book she had read – Overcoming Underearning – and I agreed that it was a great resource. When she mentioned it, though, I heard a whisper say, “read it again.” So I did.
I was a few chapters in where the author talks about having value and how you must recognize your value to start earning more. It was my aha! moment. I read the paragraph again and sat there with the book in my lap while it sunk in.
“Holy shit,” I said. “I have value!”
I had never truly believed it until that moment. It was the spark I needed.
Image by libookperson
Believing that has made such a difference.
It’s refueled my love for research, something that’s been largely ignored for the last several months. I’ve been reading about balancing hormones and implementing things I’ve learned. My PMS was minimal and I’ve been losing weight, especially around my middle.
When I want to binge on potato chips and caramel sauce, I tell myself, “No. I have value. My body cannot tolerate these foods and I will not treat it badly.” (And if that doesn’t work, I treat myself with grace instead of a barrage of insulting thoughts over my failure).
And if I start with the negative self talk, I end it much faster by telling myself, “This is normal. I’m growing and I’m just uncomfortable. I will not self-sabotage. I have value. I need to keep moving forward.”
(All of this is usually preceded and followed by prayer.)
Recognizing my value has also gotten me to follow through regularly, from projects I start to taking the supplements I would always forget to take. It’s taught me a very valuable lesson:
Wellness isn’t just about physical health.
We’re more than just a body. Yes, how we eat affects our health, but so does how we think. If our thoughts are filled with nothing but negative self-talk, we do our bodies as much of a disservice as eating a whole bag of Oreos.
It would be really easy for me not to share this, to act like I’ve got it all figured out. But I don’t want to lead you on, to make you think that one day, you just “get” wellness and then you don’t have to try anymore.
Wellness is a process. It seems that as soon as I finally get the hang of one thing, I learn something new. The faster I try to go, the harder it is for me to make progress. It’s enough to drive any control freak crazy.
That’s why I focus so much on making wellness simple. If wellness seems too complicated it won’t be sustainable. Then it’s too tempting to give up and sink back into a culture that values quick fixes and symptom management over getting to the root of the problem.
If there’s anything I’ve learned on this journey of healing, is that it’s possible for anyone. And if you just keep it simple, you’re much more likely to get the results you need.
If I can do this, anyone can.