The gal behind the blog :)
With so much of the world gone virtual, sometimes it seems that the more we connect the less connected we feel. And that can suck a bit so in an effort to combat this sense of detachment, I wanted to reach out and introduce myself properly.
So, hello! And thank you for being here.
Let's begin with the easy stuff... You may or may not already know that I am a Health Empowerment Coach which means I work with women and men, 1-on-1 or in classroom settings, to help open up new doors, make sense of the chatter in their head and offer a new perspective on health and healing. In other words, I am their tour guide on the wonderful path to peace.
Some things you may not yet know about me:
1. I am a self-professed Hippie Nerd. I grew up wearing medicine necklaces and carrying crystals with me, even though I didn’t understand yet why I was so drawn to them. I love Star Trek and all things science (yup I'm a bit of a dork). In high school I excelled in advanced physics, biology and chemistry and have always believed that the answers to the meaning of life will be found in the quantum world. I have a philosopher’s heart and a scientists mind and for many years I struggled to reconcile these two parts of myself.
2. I look like Mayim Bialik (aka Amy Farah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory aka Blossom) and as a result always look vaguely familiar to a lot of people I meet which can get confusing sometimes!
3. I spent the first half of my life very sick. My first memories are of hospitals and throughout my entire childhood and early adulthood I was cycled through every specialist and expert you could possibly imagine. If there was an –ologist (as in neurologist, gastroenterologist, psychologist, cardiologist…etc.) I have been to them. There are very few medicals tests I have not undergone at least once and very few meds I haven't been prescribed at some point in my life. Between the ages of 4 and 35 I underwent over 40 surgeries on my left eardrum (truth be told we lost count after 40 so we don’t actually know how many I had) and when you count my other surgeries I have been under anesthetic and hospitalized around 50 times. Suffice it to say, I have done everything to heal on the physical plane that our current medical system has to offer and despite all the work and all the scans and all the pills, I continued to get sicker. One of the benefits of being a very sick child is that I am no stranger to illness and physical di-sease so I learned the medical system very well. And it also means I have walked the path of healing many, many times and know it well.
4. I'm a hula-hoop dancer. Yup - you read that right! Believe it or not there is a whole underground community of Hoopers (as we are known) and I always have at least two hula-hoops in the back of my car at all times in case the urge to hoop strikes me when I'm out and about.
5. I sing in an women's a cappella, barbershop chorus and recently became part of a quartet called Firefly.
6. I used to have a severe bug phobia. In fact, that phobia is what led me to the work I do today! Picture this: I was 31 years old and positively terrified to leave the house during the summer months because a moth or bee or fly could come near me. I could barely even get myself down the garden aisle at the local Home Depot because of all the cans of bug spray with realistic images of bugs on them. It was bad. And, as you can imagine, it was becoming very invasive in my life. I finally got to the point where I was like "Okay, I'm done" but was disheartened to learn that when it comes to phobias there are really only two options: desensitization therapy, which means they would put me in a room with a bug. I mean, who in their right mind would sign up for that?? Or hypnosis, which I totally didn't believe in at all. But I was desperate and couldn't leave my house without a panic attack. I had begun to lose hope until I sat down with my Coach that first time and within one session she nailed on the head what 13 years of talk therapy had never gotten close to. I was astounded. And I thought it was too good to be true. But I was desperate. Three months later I was shocked to find out that not only was the phobia gone but the life-long fog of depression and anxiety that I thought I just had to learn to live with was gone as well! And being the nosy nerd that I am, I just had to know how it worked. So I took the course and long story short, here I am, helping to guide others on their healing path.
7. I love cats. And dogs. And, frankly, anything that hops, skitters or snuggles. I have always had furry critters in my life and consider them my family just as much as the two-legged, hairless critters I share my life with.
8. I feel truly honoured and blessed to have crossed paths with you and I am really excited that you are here ❤️
So that's me - in a nutshell!
The power of hope
I wanted to talk to you about something really important today: hope.
Hope is such a powerful thing, isn't it? And yet, when it comes to healing things like depression, anxiety or past trauma, hope is one of the first things taken away from us.
I remember sitting in my psychiatrist's office at the age of 32 and being told that, statistically, the chances of me ever recovering from the anorexia and bulimia that had taken close to 13 years of my life were close to nil. And that I would never be able to get off my anti-depressants but that I could learn to "live with and manage" my anxiety. And when I questioned this process I was told I needed to be realistic. Logical.
But here's the thing: logic doesn't take in to account how I *felt* which was totally and utterly hopeless.
You see, sacrificing hope for realism may seem like a noble cause but it's not. That light at the end of the tunnel that we all talk about? That light is hope and without it we are just lost in the dark with no end in sight. It's no wonder so many people choose to give up.
But I know that's not you because you're here, reading these words. And that means you still have hope.
And that's a beautiful thing.
You need a healing three-point turn
I had a very interesting conversation the other day and I wanted to share it with you.
I was talking with a very good friend of mine and he was adamant that doing emotional work cannot help depression or anxiety because "depression and anxiety is the result of a biochemical deficiency" which means medication is the only thing that will provide long-term help.
I remember when I was in deep pain and I sought help from my doctor for my anxiety and he explained to me that, much like a diabetic, people with depression and anxiety just don't have enough serotonin and taking an anti-depressant simply helped to rebalance the brain.
Which is true.
But here's the thing....
Emotions are biochemical messengers that are transmitted via neurotransmitters and hormones, right? So emotions change our biochemistry, right?
Which means that repressing anger (or any of our emotions) regularly will cause a specific shift in the brain biochemistry which we will then experience as depression or anxiety.
But - and this is important! - while depression does involve changes in biochemistry it is not the cause - it is the symptom.
Working on the emotional level allows you to heal the biochemistry imbalance from the inside out and so achieve real healing (versus symptomatic management).
Is this making sense?
And let me say this: better medicated than dead. Seriously. Medications 100% saved my life.
And, I no longer need them.
So if depression and anxiety are just the result of a chemical imbalance - explain me. Explain how after 13 years of fistfuls of drugs and cognitive therapy and hospitalizations I have been medication free for close to 7 years.
You see, here's the thing: antidepressants are great because they stop you from driving off the cliff of your life. And that's a really, really important thing.
And once you've brought the car to a stop you need to learn how to turn your car around and drive away.
Because there is a whole world out there that is not the cliff and you can rewrite your story any time you want to.
If this resonates with you, come join me at my Rewrite Your Story class and let's teach you how to do a three-point-turn ❤️
Say hello to your Anger
When was the last time you got mad?
No really. I want you to stop. Take a moment and really think about it.
When was the last time you got angry? And I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill mild irritation or frustration that we all allow ourselves to feel on a regular basis. I’m talking blood rushing, heart pounding, good ‘ol fashioned PISSED OFF?
Do you remember? Can you?
In fact, I want you to try to remember an actual time when you were pissed off. Can you do that? If so, I want you to think back to that time and… what do you notice? What were you hearing, seeing and feeling? Where in your body does that sensation of anger happen? Point to it. Seriously – I want you to go ahead and point at that part of your body.
And say hello to your Anger.
Maybe this exercise was easy for you. Maybe you found it a bit challenging to actually recall a recent time when you were angry.
Maybe you are so good at being a Giver that you never really get mad -- ever! You may even proud of that fact and believe yourself to be really easy-going. Laid back. Cool as a cucumber.
Or maybe you are afraid of your anger. Maybe, growing up, you were taught that anger was wrong or made you a bad person and should never be expressed.
Maybe you were even told Anger was dangerous.
That's what I was taught.
Growing up in, I was taught that love meant never being angry, always giving the benefit of the doubt and being willing to give in to keep the peace no matter what the personal cost.
The idea of getting mad used to scare the hell out of me and I used to do anything – including rationalizing and justifying someone else’s behaviour to my own detriment – just to avoid feeling my own anger.
You see, deep down I didn't really trust myself. And I feared that once that box of anger was opened, like Pandora's box, I would never be able to get it closed again.
But I was wrong.
It turns out Anger is one of the most important emotions you have because it is the signal from your unconscious mind that you are taking on too much. Or giving your Self too little.
Anger is important and yet it is the first emotion we are taught to turn off. And in doing so we do ourselves a great injustice because it leaves us powerless to get our needs met with any amount of regularity or consistency. And so we begin to wither....
This is beginning to make sense for you, isn't it? Good!
Because whatever your current relationship with your Anger, maybe it's time to get better acquainted with this part of You.
If you are ready to stop being afraid of your Anger and learn how to leverage it for your continued health, I invite you to come join me for my Rewrite Your Story class ❤️
The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across this post:
"Depression is REAL. People can smile all day & still be broken inside!".
And I have a real problem with this...
First of all, no one is broken. I know it doesn't feel that way and, heck, I even had a doctor tell me I was broken so I get why it's so easy to believe this. But I'm here to tell you it's bullshit. Straight up, you've-been-lied-to bullshit.
Second, the fact that we have to still assert that depression is real makes me sad because it means that there are still people out there that think that having a bad day and suffering from depression are the same thing. That depression and anxiety are things that can be "snapped out of" and that if you can just figure out why and get more information you would surely see how much better life is without it.
So let's talk about this for a moment.
Depression IS real and it has absolutely nothing to do with someone's intelligence or ability to recognize all the reasons why they are suffering. This is one of the pitfalls of traditional cognitive behavioural therapy which believes that if you spend enough time exploring the WHY of it all, eventually you will have no choice but to change your mind and therefore heal.
The problem is that after 13 years of traditional therapy and 4 years of studying and obtaining my BA in psychology I could tell you all the reasons WHY I felt so shitty but I still had no idea HOW to make the changes.
I remember telling my psychologist at the time that my head knew exactly what she was talking about, but I didn't know how to make my heart believe it.
And therein lies the problem with traditional talk therapy.
You see, at the end of the day Why is a useless question to ask because all it does is satisfy our curiosity while providing absolute no clues as to How to start making changes.
But here's the cool thing: you can begin to work on the How without ever knowing the Why and find the healing you have been searching for.
Is this making sense?
If you are ready to let go of the Why and being to explore the How of healing, I invite you to come join me for my Rewrite Your Story class.❤️
After years of dealing with frustration and blame from the medical community, I finally chose to take control of my own health journey; a path which has led me to where I am today.