MY TOUGHEST YEAR
We've all seen the 2016 memes about it being a bad year, but in all seriousness it was by far my toughest year. I'd always suffered from bouts of depression, but they would usually last 3 months at the most. However, in 2016 it seemed like this bad cloud was here to stay indefinitely. Not only was I miserable with the negativities and stress from work, I was isolating myself from my family and I just felt constantly overwhelmed. I would scroll through Instagram and Facebook and just wonder how the fuck do my peers find the time (and ok money too) to appear to be out all night and yet seem to be on point at work?! Like seriously what secret did they know that I seemed to be unaware of? Throw me a bone people! Please!
Obviously that didn’t help any with my mental health, but the other thing I was dealing with was depression's cousin, anxiety, like BIG time. I mean I would be driving home thinking I need to get home ASAP because there's a chance a car will plow into me. I felt on alert at all times and basically acted like I drank 5 cups of coffee when I had none. Both my depression and my anxiety were making me feel out of sorts, added to the feeling of overwhelm and made me into a scattered, barely functioning human being. On the outside everything seemed to be going great which added to my frustration as to why mentally I was out of sorts. I felt like I had so many times in my childhood, like something was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was. Was I just playing the victim or was I valid in thinking there was something more going on? I felt weak and just wished I could snap out of it and grow up already, but this just drained me more.
WHY I DECIDED TO SAY NO TO OVERWHELM
Over the years, my blog has gone through a lot of transitions, as I myself entered different chapters of my life. I first created a blog (under a different name) when I first started college in 2009 (wow has it really been that long!?), but it was really just me putting random thoughts on the web and would be super inconsistent about it. Plus, the main reason I had created it was because I wanted to study journalism and my college counselor advised I started writing somewhere. Since I was just starting and unsure of joining the school paper, blogging seemed like the next best option. Then in 2013, while I was doing an exchange program in New York, I decided to change to a beauty and fashion blog.
Mostly this happened while I was trying to avoid working on a final project for class. However, that was when I finally got more serious about creating content, changed the name of my blog to what it's called now and finally made progress on making it look better. Honestly more than avoiding my final project, I was trying to find a creative outlet as well as myself and find my voice. It was a place I could be myself and share things I loved. It was also a nice fun break from studying as I was in my last year of college. Once I graduated college and started having full time jobs however, my blog began to suffer thanks to long hours and demanding work that left me drained.
See, I worked in the Entertainment business on the side of TV production, and if you ask anyone in the industry our 9-5 hours are more like 9-????. 12 hours days were normal and since I worked production offices dealing with the paperwork of these productions, by the time I got home the last thing I wanted to do was open up my computer again. Having balance in my life seemed out of the question since I was working most of the time and this left me feeling overwhelmed in all aspects of my life. And while I made some great friends in many of those jobs, the job itself was killing my spirit and soul and affecting my mental health with their demands. Plus, it pained and frustrated me that my creative juices felt wasted. I missed my blog, but there just always seemed so little time to fit work, a social life, relaxation and blogging into a week, let alone a day.
FINDING MY INNER PEACE
The majority of 2016 I was trying to shake off my depression and anxiety and just waiting for the rough tide to be over. Then finally towards the end of the year, and with 2017 approaching, I decided to take matter into my own hands. I decided to make my word for 2017 be "inner-peace" and took my mom's advice in seeking professional help.
Before I go into that journey though, let me just share that as a Libra, I definitely am always seeking balance. This might also be why 2016 was such a struggle for me, since I naturally value peace, calm and harmony in my life. Depression and anxiety definitely got in the way of my journey to creating a balanced life and so seeking inner peace was not only needed for my mental health, but also to find myself overall.
I finally decided to prioritize myself by allowing myself the mental self-care I was basically crying out for. First, I decided to go down the most obvious path of finding a therapist. Once that got taken care of, I started seeking other ways to find ways to cope with my anxiety and depression. I followed groups on Facebook and listened to some enlightening podcasts such as The Lively Show and Earn Your Happy. I also followed people like Marissa Lacer on Youtube and social media and through all that discovered Kundalini Yoga.
This started my journey into the "woo-woo," which I'd always been curious of, but scared to explore as someone who grew up in a strict Christian household. But I threw caution to the wind and followed my heart and from my first class, Kundalini changed me. I remember that as we were in what you can call the "cool-down" phase, I honest to God, felt a wave of light wash over me. I finally felt free again!
Besides getting into my yoga practice, I started looking into meditation as well as crystals and essential oils. And again, I felt like myself in a way I hadn’t in awhile. But even with all that, streaks of depression and anxiety still lingered, so after a heartfelt talk with my mom, I finally decided to look into medication.
I went to a Psychiatrist who after a series of questions and pushing some buttons, diagnosed me with PTSD, depression and generalized anxiety disorder. While this was scary, it was also a relief to know that my years of suspecting I had something going on beyond just being sad, I knew what was "wrong" with me. He went on to prescribe me a low dose of Prozac and thankfully that has helped.
This whole journey all started with prioritizing not only myself, but my values and dreams. I went ahead and decided what was important in my life and just by taking the necessary steps my journey to finding a balance in my life has gotten smoother. My “balance” journey is still ongoing and probably will occur during my whole life. There will still be ups and downs, because #life, but it’s definitely got me falling back in love with life. I’ve gotten back what some called “zest for life” but I call “electric bliss.”
CREATING THE LIFE I WANT AND HELPING OTHERS DO THE SAME
Through trial, error and some stubbornness, I have finally found my inner peace and want to help others who like me feel like life has them in a chokehold. Overwhelm should not be a way to define your life so why settle for it. Once I got my mental clarity and started getting in touch with my spiritual self, I also decided to start making the things I wanted in my life a priority and the stuff that didn't serve me started getting weeded out. I got a wonderful life coach, chose my exit date for my life draining 9-5 and did all this just by saying "FUCK NO!" to overwhelm.
The best part of my journey of finding myself and especially speaking with my life + business coach, is that I also found my purpose. Despite the lows in my 9-5, one thing I have learned is that I love connecting with and helping people. With the help of my coach I have decided to transition into something I’ve been scared to do, but knew in my heart was my purpose, which is to become a life coach.
So if my story resonates with you, then you know I’m here to help you start your journey to creating your most FULL life. A year ago I would have said "Ugh why is life so overwhelming?" but now I'll tell you "Overwhelm is not in my life's vocabulary!"
By working together we can kick overwhelm to the curb and have balance move on in. Let me save you some of the struggle and hold your hand while we find your life priorities, get them in balance and create the life you were meant to live!