“You are the way you are. I don’t understand why that isn’t enough for you.” -Matt, my husband.
I spent hours trying to piece this story together for you, and for myself. I was trying to figure out the answer to a BIG question: Why am I the way that I am?
I am a person who experiences abnormal waves of anxiety and depression on a regular basis.
“Why am I sad?” -I have no clue.
No matter how hard I try to put the pieces together, I will never make sense of it. My life is beautiful. I have so many things to be grateful for. I have so many reasons to feel happy. So why do I feel sad?
As Matt says, I am the way that I am. And honestly, that has to be enough. I spent years grieving the fact that I couldn’t feel joy the way other people did. I spent decades of my life trying to piece together the details to explain how I ended up being someone who doesn’t feel happiness the way other people do.
And I spent a long time trying to justify the experiences and moments that could have shaped my destiny.
I am who I am. And some people are sad just because they are sad. Some people have a mental illness they can’t quite figure out. Some people have zero explaination for why their mood alters. It just is. Maybe I’ll never understand it. But maybe you can.
My Mental Health Story.
For the fist time in two and a half years, I am taking antidepressants.
I have a history of mental illness, a story I will share with you in this blog post.
But before I share my journey with you, I first want to tell you what it’s been like being back on medication:
I have found my true joyful self again.
I am three weeks into my treatment, and I have felt every beautiful emotion under the sun.
I have felt happiness….like when I started crying with joy looking at a sunrise and realizing I hadn’t felt that happy in more than two years.
I have felt peace… Like when I woke up without anxiety and actually felt excited to start my day (something I also hadn’t felt in more than two years.)
I have felt love… because I am no longer having stressful irrational breakdowns and expecting my husband to pick up the pieces.
And I have felt a ton of other beautiful emotions like creativity, playfulness, passion, and abundance.
I don’t feel numb. I don’t feel dark or disconnected. I feel ALIVE.
My heart is no longer operating under stress, depression or overwhelm. Medication has healed my soul and has allowed me to return to my true self again.
It has been beautiful. But also terrible.
Because in the last three weeks I have also felt a wave of bad emotions….
Fear: What will people think of me now that I am taking medication again?
Doubt: What if I take this pill and it clouds my spiritual connection and I can’t fee God anymore?
Worry: What if my medication makes me less creative or less able to coach my clients?
Judgement: What if I get criticized for sharing this post or get outcast as a fraud because I am taking a pill to treat something that can be treated naturally.
What if this pill makes me gain weight? What if it makes me numb to the world? What if I lose all of my passion or personality? What if my Facebook lives start to suck? What if this pill makes me not write well? What if I suddenly turn into a different person on this medication and my whole entire business crashes?
I can hear the naysayers now:
“You’re a business coach who preaches about her happy life, and you need a pill to do that?”
I think it’s important I tell you my story… not just because I want you to understand why I myself am taking medication, but because I also want to help the people out there who feel embarrassed by their mental health struggles: You should never feel embarassed.
And leaders lead by example. So I am overcoming my own fears and stepping out to share MY truth, in the hopes that maybe you will feel more safe in stepping into yours.
There is probably someone out there who needs to hear this…. and if you know someone who struggles with mental health, please share this blog post somewhere for the world to see.
We need to get the message out there that it is okay to seek help for mental wellness.
And we need to stop shaming people who do.
And most importantly, I cannot emphasize this enough, “getting help” looks different for everyone. No matter what way you seek assistance, naturally or through a pharmacy, there is no right or wrong way to “get better.”
You see, in this spiritual and personal development world, we believe everything can be treated naturally, and that anyone who isn’t treating their body naturally is therefore not spiritual.
We are pressured to believe that the right way is the natural way, and that anything artificial is wrong or destructive to our bodies. We are conditioned to believe that if we are truly “awake,” we live chemical free lives.
And we believe chemical imbalances in the brain, like anxiety and depression, are thing that can be cured with a simple state change.
“You can control your destiny, and you can change the way your brain works to no longer be depressed.”
“You have power to change anything no matter what the struggle is,” is the die hard believe of personal development.
And sadly, in our desire to inspire people to change, we indirectly shame the people who actually need medication.
People like me.
Let me preface this by saying no one knows WHY they need medication. No one can actually prove what causes their imbalance. So when I share my story with you, it’s important to note that I have no idea why I am the way that I am.
I can guess, but I can’t know for certain.
When I look back and connect the pieces of my life, I can see where my life started to take a turn from the normal into the imbalanced: In 2009, my freshman year of college, I was raped. It completely turned my life upside down.
I was probably a depressed person prior to my trauma, but the trauma most certainly made it worse. The PTSD from that experience was unbearable. I spent weeks unable to sleep, in constant fight or flight mode, experiencing symptoms of mania, paranoia and severe anxiety.
I attempted suicide. I overdosed and ended up in the hospital. I was so traumatized by my rape that I didn’t want to live. Within a month I was deemed a threat to myself and was sent to a psychiatric in patient facility.
I was 18 years old at the time and full of shame, I didn’t want to tell the doctors what happened (rape victims are known to hide or suppress their experiences) and so I went to that facility with a simple mindset:
“Fix me, something’s wrong.”
I was an 18 year old child who didn’t have the emotional tools to deal with the trauma of what she went through (something I totally take ownership of now.)
The doctors diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar disorder and a range of other symptoms. I never told them I was raped.
No one can make you go on medication, and no one made me. Being ill-equipped to handle my trauma, I felt like this was the right step to heal my symptoms. I played the doctors to get medication to numb how I was feeling.
Here’s my theory: At eighteen years old, my brain and my body were trying to grow into a fully formed human, and the medication I took made that impossible. I was loading my system with artificial chemicals that completely altered how my body and mind worked. They say trauma can create an alteration of brain patterns, and they also say that taking antipsychotics for years can do damage to your system. So I think it is a combination of both.
I didn’t want to face my rape. I accepted the diagnosis, and I ran with it. I took the medication, because I believed it would fix me.
Looking back, I see how this was false.
Accepting the diagnosis, “there is something wrong with me,” was much more acceptable in my mind than “I was just raped. It was something “Out of my control.”
So I spent 7 years walking around like a zombie trying to find a cocktail of medication that worked to numb the pain I was feeling. Those were seven years that my brain was developing. Seven years I missed out on. Seven years that transformed my life forever.
Healing My Life
My life after being raped was the best thing that happened to me: It SHAPED me into the courageous woman I am today. As I grew up, I started to recognize that this was an area of my life I had been ignoring, and I started to face the truth: There wasn’t anything wrong with me, there was just a trauma I had to deal with.
So I started doing the inner work. And slowly, my life started to change.
I fell down the rabbit hole of personal development and fell in love with transforming my life. I shifted everything and totally redesigned my destiny.
So after my personal awakening and healing from all my past trauma, In my mid twenties, I decided it was time to come off all of the medication that was numbing me all those years. “I don’t really need medication,” I thought.
I closed the 7-year-long chapter of taking medications and decided to see what life was like medication free. At first, it was beautiful. I started to find out who I was and I felt alive again – but all of those years of taking heavy medications that altered my body and my mind left me running on empty for dopamine and seretonin.
To put it simply, I believe that my brain does not produce or process natural happy hormones the way a normal brain does. And my brain stopped doing what a normal brain does because I spent my early adult years taking mind altering drugs and mood stabilizers.
I don’t need antipsychotics or mood stabilizers… I just need a little help getting dopamine in my body.
I was struggling, and over the last two years, my symptoms got worse. As the months went by, getting out of bed became harder and harder. My overwhelm started to escalate to a point where it made me nonfunctioning most days. I had feelings of paranoia and started to experience small signs of agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house) and obsessive compulsive behaviors that were destructive to my relationships, my business, and myself.
So after two years of being medication free, I finally admitted the truth to myself: My brain just a needs a little help. And that’s okay.
If you’re wondering about natural treatments, I trust them, love them, and still implement them into my daily practice. I am obsessed with CBD products, and LOVE using essential oils. I even take plant medicine like Kratom and adore a daily natural supplement called “True Calm.” I meditate every day and I love journaling to emotionally ground myself. But for me and my body, it is simply not enough to support the high quality of life I know I deserve.
Coming to Terms with Who I am and What I Need.
When I thought about going back on an antidepressant, I struggled with the idea for months. Depression is one of those things that sort of creeps up on you. When my husband and I fully acknowledged that something wasn’t right, I spent months fighting the idea of going back on medication.
Did you know I have a video on youtube called “Supplements I took to naturally heal my anxiety and depression?” It has 40,000 views on youtube. It felt embarrassing to me – the thought of going back on medication after all these years. I felt like I was a failure. I felt like I was letting my followers down. I felt like I was living a lie.
So I said no to medication for a few months, but then after it kept coming up, I realized it was time. It was time to try it and see if it gave me success. It was time to go down a new path of accepting what my body needed and to stop judging myself so harshly for what it needed.
So I went to the doctor. And I think God knew what I needed to hear, because this doctor was incredibly spiritual. And he explained to me how my medication worked and how, because I have an imbalance, I would be able to actually feel more connected to my source (and my purpose) because the medication would “lightly balance me out.” And he was right. I feel more aligned, happy and connected than ever before. And I know over the next few months, as I continue to take this medication, I will feel more and more well.
When I think about all the months I wasted not being on medication because I was scared of what other people would think, I get sad. Why did it take this long for me to listen to my truth? And how many other people out there are struggling and avoiding seeking medication because they don’t want to be looked at as “someone who has a mental illness.”
We need to start loving each other for who we are. We need to stop judging and criticizing others for how they live their life. And most importantly, we always, always need to take care of ourselves.