From as far back as I can remember, I felt different—as though I saw and experienced the world more intensely and more personally than the people around me. Every unkind word or deed, any suffering or sadness I witnessed, everything wrong in the world all seemed to seep right through to my very core. I felt overwhelmed. Alone. Defective. I had no idea how to navigate my way through the world without coming apart. There was no map, no guide for someone like me. Depression creeped in slowly. Anxiety followed. And together they came to define my very existence.
I tried medication. Many medications I should say–pretty much everything that was available–and nothing worked. I was told that my 'condition' was untreatable, because if the "professionals" can't cure you, then you must be incurable! But I simply couldn't accept this debilitating state of being as a life-long sentence. So I set out to learn everything I could about alternative healing modalities. I read every hopeful-sounding self-help book, scoured endless articles, blogs, and medical research, took countless workshops, and visited more holistic practitioners than I can count.
It was an arduous (often times torturous) process, but it left me sure of one thing: No real healing could happen until I became my own ally. A fully informed, affirming, empowering ally. I had to become my own guide, create my own map, and give myself the support I was forever looking for outside of myself. Throughout this healing journey I kept a detailed account of the what, how, and why of everything that worked (and didn’t); the result was Mindfulness for a Messy Life-a comprehensive mental wellness platform offering courses, tools and resources to anyone struggling with depression and anxiety.
Through MfML, I share everything that has allowed me to keep my head above water when I thought I would drown, drive me forward when I was sure I couldn’t take another step, and help me harness an inner strength I was sure had dissolved. It's everything I've used to help me build a business, teach hundreds of workshops, create and sell programs to tens of thousands of students and teachers across the country, produce benefit concerts, record an album, get a Master’s Degree in Education, open a shop and café, and raise a child on my own.
I say this not to toot my own horn (though a little of that never hurts!), but to affirm that if someone as lost and confused as I've been, can persevere, anyone can.
Of course, healing is an ongoing (never-ending!) process, with many twists and turns along the way. Every day presents new challenges (or old ones in new clothes :) that demand our attention and put all our learning and growth to the test. Hearing from others who've walked a similar path can be so reassuring as we face those challenges. I know it helps me on a daily basis.