A LOVE AND DATING COACH WHO OVERCAME HER ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION THROUGH SELF-LOVE AND SELF-ACCEPTANCE
HOW A TOUGH BREAKUP LED HER ONTO A PATH TO SELF-LOVE:
"I had struggled with anxiety and depression from my teenage years into early adulthood. When I was 27, the medication I was on stopped working. I turned to food to deal with my depression, which led to a 20-pound weight gain in 4 months. The anxiety caused me to have suicidal thoughts. My boyfriend at the time did not know how to handle my mental state, so he broke up with me. I had moved to a new city in order to be and live with him. The breakup only made my anxiety and depression worse. I no longer wanted to stay in the same city as him, so I quit my job and left not knowing where I was going to live or work. I had no idea how I was going to move forward with my life.
The ending of that relationship was a complete shock, one that jolted me out of a lifelong mental and emotional fog. I felt as if I’d hit rock bottom and I was scared for myself. I didn’t know if I was emotionally strong enough to handle the situation I was in. I felt helpless and out of control because I had put my entire happiness into being in a relationship with someone. So when that was taken away, I didn’t know who I was at my core. I didn’t trust myself and I certainly didn’t have faith that things would work out.
My father committed suicide when I was three years old and I was scared I would end up like him. These thoughts acted as a huge wake up call for me because I knew from my father’s experience that they were clear signs that I needed help.
"I felt helpless and out of control because I had put my entire happiness into being in a relationship with someone. So when that was taken away, I didn’t know who I was at my core. "
Looking back now, I realize that the shock of that break up actually saved my life. Even though my heart had been broken into a million pieces, it allowed me to regain control of my life. I began using holistic approaches to heal my physical and mental state. Acupuncture was the first step in helping me balance my hormones and becoming connected to my physical body. Spiritual counselling followed, which taught me how to heal the deep wounds from my past, as well as my depression and anxiety. I also practiced yoga, changed the way I ate to include non-processed foods and vegetables into my diet, and found a real healing power in meditation and writing. I learned about gratitude and how it can help lift the feeling of hopelessness.
I was able to slowly dissolve the belief that I wasn’t worthy of love without a man and a romantic relationship. For the longest time, I believed that being in a relationship was what I needed in order to be happy. Today, developing love for myself is the reason I keep going."
"For the longest time, I believed that being in a relationship was what I needed in order to be happy. Today, developing love for myself is the reason I keep going."
FROM BEING LAID OFF TO LOVING WHAT SHE DOES:
"I was recently let go from the office job I held for a decade and I decided that it was time to put a full-time effort into my coaching business. I had been working on the side as a Love & Dating coach for a year and a half, so I took this as a sign that now was the time to put all of my efforts towards my own business. If I had been let go from my job even 3 months before, I probably would have panicked. I had stayed in my full-time job longer than I wanted because I was afraid of the unknown and what would happen to me financially if I left. I was not making enough money from my coaching business to pay my bills and the thought of going broke kept me at that job longer.
"I trust that everything is going to work out, even though I don’t really know how."
Since being laid off, I have experienced huge shifts in my levels of anxiety and stress in a positive way. I no longer wake up with a sinking feeling in my chest. I am much more laid back and I don’t get irritated by the little things as much. I trust that everything is going to work out, even though I don’t really know how. I know I can handle uncertainty. I have experienced it firsthand by working for myself and not knowing exactly how much money I am going to make each day or where my next client is coming from. I am comforted by the fact that so far things have worked out. I have new clients show up when I need extra money, I have loved ones who support me when I’m in doubt, and I have met other amazing women in my community who I collaborate with to grow my business. It’s amazing to me to feel this way, and I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, doing what I love."
ON LEANING INTO HER DISCOMFORT TO TRULY CONNECT WITH OTHERS:
"Even though I’ve healed from my depression, I still feel anxious on an almost daily basis. I have learned that to manage it well, I need to be completely honest with every single person in my life. I need to share how I feel whenever something comes up for me, but do it in a way that doesn’t blame or judge the other person. I expressed to my mom that even though she did the best she could when I was young, I often felt responsible for her happiness. I’ve shared with my friends how I feel unimportant and insignificant when they interrupt me in our conversations. I’ve had to tell my current boyfriend about the anxious thoughts I get in our relationship and how sometimes I’m afraid he’ll leave me suddenly. Learning how to open up took a long time. My heart would race and my body would tense up every time I had to acknowledge an insecurity to a friend or share my fear of being abandoned to my boyfriend. I find the more I am willing to share about myself, including my weaknesses, the closer it allows me to be to others, which is all I really want."
"I find the more I am willing to share about myself, including my weaknesses, the closer it allows me to be to others, which is all I really want."
ON LEARNING THE VALUE OF INTUITION:
"Another thing I learned from my break up was to always trust my intuition. At the time, I felt very strongly that moving to a new city to be with my then boyfriend was not the right thing to do. Every time we talked about it, I felt my chest tighten and my stomach would get upset. I didn’t want to leave my friends and family, so I slowly began to distance myself from them in order to tame the pain of leaving them. Had I listened to my gut, I would have been honest with myself and not agreed to move away so early on in the relationship. I learned to never ignore my gut instinct, no matter how loud my fear gets."
"I learned to never ignore my gut instinct, no matter how loud my fear gets."
On learning how to speak up for herself:
"I used to struggle with speaking up for myself. I needed to speak up about how I wanted to be treated in relationships. I would often let it slide if someone was late to pick me up or spoke disrespectfully to me. I didn’t want to scare men away, so I stayed quiet about wanting a serious relationship for a long time. I also felt very insecure being around people I didn’t know. I was worried I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say to them or that they would think I was boring. I was afraid to try new things because I didn’t want to look stupid for not knowing how to do something right away.
As I began working on my self-esteem in therapy, I began to feel confident for the first time in my life. I worked with my fears of sounding boring by realizing that I was much harder on myself than anyone else would ever be. I saw that it was actually braver to try something new without knowing how to do it, than to just not try it at all.
Today, I struggle with taking leaps in my business, but the more time I have on my own, the less those struggles come up. Time has allowed me to gain a greater awareness of the thoughts and mental patterns that overwhelm me. If I focus on the weeks, months or years ahead, I feel anxious instantly. But if I shift my thoughts back to the present, rather than jumping to the future, I am much calmer."
On the fears of being a new entrepreneur:
"I am scared of failing to make a living through my own business. I know in my brain that failure is another opportunity for learning, but I am still scared that sometimes I’m missing something. I worry that I’m not doing enough or putting in enough time to become successful and I’m scared that I don’t have what it takes to be someone who makes a living off of herself."
"I feel proud that I can laugh about my insecurities and anxiety because for so long those things kept me from enjoying life."
On being able to laugh at herself:
"I easily find humor in my shortcomings. I can poke fun at my weaknesses and laugh and the crazy thoughts that I have. I feel proud that I can laugh about my insecurities and anxiety because for so long those things kept me from enjoying life. I felt weighed down and too damaged at times to even laugh at all, so the fact that I can embrace what held me back for so long makes me feel super proud of all the inner work I’ve done on myself."