In the winter of 2015, I experienced a very dark time, a time that I had heard about but never personally experienced. Prior to that year, I had never experienced depression or anxiety but I have family members who battle anxiety so I know what it looks like but had no idea what it felt like. It felt like it came out of the blue but really it was my mind reacting to everything happening around me.
I was working a job that, at that point, was stressing me out and causing me to second guess every move I made. I was in a relationship that I was unsure of because there was something missing. I felt lost. I wasn’t sure which way was up and I could barely get out of bed. I couldn’t bring myself to go to work some days so I’d lay in my bed, watched TV and hung out with my cats. I felt like maybe I had seasonal affect disorder, which was something I had never experienced but because everyone in my life told me I was fine, it felt like it was a passing feeling.
But I can assure you with unwavering strength, I was not fine. I resisted the idea that something was going on inside, I resisted the urge to go to “see someone” and felt like I could pull myself out of this funk that I was in but I eventually figured out this feeling was bigger than I could manage alone.
I sought some help in the form of a therapist. She was quirky and fun but she really helped me quite literally, ‘get outta my head.’ I started to do things that made moves to get me out of the job I was in because that was a huge source of stress and anxiety. She helped me look things in the eye and to start vocalizing what were my biggest fears: being fired, being homeless, losing everything. Well, I took steps to change my situation. I began applying for new jobs and got out of bed. I stopped drinking coffee and I stopped doing things I didn’t enjoy and tried to find forms of physical activity that brought me joy. I began to take my life back.
Flash forward to June of 2016, a new job opportunity fell into my lap and I jumped on it. It had so many positives: it was near the beach, away from toxic people and seemed like a positive work environment, a fresh start, a healing space as my supervisor described it (and continues to describe it). I knew I had to take the job. I had to weigh my mental health versus the salary cut, title cut, and moving but in the end, my healing and my mental health were far more important.
I made the jump and moved to the beach. This move was not only positive for my mental health but it changed my life. When I moved, I gave myself permission to take time for me, to enjoy the sunrise, to spend time drinking coffee without guilt, to sleep in, and to take care of my physical body by the way of a regular yoga/Pilates practice. When I began to put myself first, my life began to shift. All the things I wished for started to manifest in my life: a thriving career, my PhD, a new venture in health and wellness, and even some things I never dreamed of like a new business with skincare!
Two years ago, if you would’ve told me my entire life was about to change and my dreams would come true, and then some, I would’ve laughed in your face because of my deep sadness. The moment I gave myself permission to feel my feelings and to take some control over my situation is when my world changed. Everyday is different. I still struggle. I still have to make conscious choices in order to put my mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing first and sometimes I have to remind myself nothing is worth sacrificing my joy.
Victoria is a passionate and driven human who loves all things wellness, holistic health, social justice, and education. She is a holistic health coach and studying to get her doctorate in Human Development, with a specific focus on Spiritual Activism. She is a Beautycounter educator and consultant. She loves practicing yoga, eating yummy food, and hanging out with her two amazing cats.
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