My hiatus from this blog ended up being a lot longer than I had expected. In the beginning, I wasn’t even planning on taking time away. However, time kept passing and my block towards writing grew. As with many of us, Summer can become a busy time. I began a new job, continued with my schooling and was going through a lot of personal growth. When I first expanded my blog from being strictly recipes, I knew I wanted to share more of me; share more of my journey and learn to open up and be vulnerable. I thought to myself, how can anyone relate if they don’t know my story?
It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole. – Rupi Kaur
Overcoming that fear of using my voice and putting myself out there has been a difficult one to overcome. The personal growth I’ve gone through this summer has been largely focused on this topic. Learning to be authentically me (beginning with actually learning who I am) and to speak my truth without shying to the thoughts and judgement of others.
So here’s a little of my story and what has brought me to where I am today. I barely recognize the person I was three years ago, or even six months ago if I’m being honest. Change is a funny thing, and a continual thing. I firmly believe it is essential to accept this, to constantly re-evaluate what is no longer serving us and to let those things go, whether this be people, habits, or beliefs. To grow and to embrace the true nature of our being.
I suffered from depression and anxiety at a young age, and it plagued me all through my school years. It got progressively worse as I moved through my 20’s. I worked in the restaurant industry and for me – though I have made lasting friendships during my time there – this was not a healthy environment. I partied for many, many years and adopted a very unhealthy diet. I now realize how much of an impact diet and nutrition has on mental health.
Roughly five years ago, I hit rock bottom. Which continued for another few years before I made any changes. My anxiety was crippling. I often couldn’t get myself to leave the house because of overwhelm and these constant “what if” scenarios running through my mind. What would people think of me? What I was wearing? How I looked, what I said etc etc etc. At my worst moments, I couldn’t even tell you what was causing the anxiety – it was just there; suffocating me. My heart would feel like it was going to beat out of my chest and the tears were unstoppable. I couldn’t stand to be in my own skin. And my depression, though quieter than the anxiety, was always a dark presence in the background; telling me there was something wrong with me, that things would always be like this, that life was this hopeless, meaningless existence. Add in the guilt I felt because I couldn’t pull myself together. Needless to say, I thought about a “way out” many times. Ending my life, being free of all of it. It hung over me like a deep, dark cloud.
Around two or three years ago, circumstances led me to move back to my parents home. At this point, I knew I had a choice to make; whether I was going to live or not. At the end of the day, I knew the answer to this already. The thought of ending my life brought this incredible sadness that was unlike anything I’d ever felt. And there was something deep inside me, this tiny little voice, that said… there is more to life than this. That’s all it was, but I trusted that voice.
Though the decision had been made, the journey through the next few years was anything but easy. It was so up and down, for a while I would feel so much better, and then the anxiety would come swinging in again. The only thing keeping me going sometimes was this belief that things would eventually get easier. I began going to counselling, reading books about self help, depression, anxiety, shifting your mindset and so many other topics. I majorly shifted my diet to home cooked; more natural, unprocessed, and real foods. I stopped drinking. I started incorporating movement into my days, beginning with short walks and eventually adding in exercising and yoga. I adopted new practices to retrain my brain away from the fearful and anxious thinking. I began meditating every morning and every evening – to bring some stillness to a tired and overworked mind. I also began a daily gratitude practice – to become aware of the amazing things I already had in my life.
Yes. The Storm did break me. Scattered my pieces amongst the sea. But if it wasn’t for those wicked waves, I’d have never found the real me. – Topher Kearby
Over time, I healed. I started to feel hopeful and energized about where I was headed. And today, I can say without a doubt that I am in love with my life. I know, that the path I’m on is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Perhaps the hardest thing to accept in my story – is knowing that I was responsible. I was responsible for where I was at and letting things go the way they did. This isn’t blaming or judging myself, it is knowing that we create our own realities. I wasn’t ready to heal at any moment until the one when I made the choice to do so.
Now that time has passed and I have grown, I can say that I am incredibly grateful for those times that brought me to where I am now, as difficult as they were. Because it’s a part of me, and through that experience I can help someone else. Health and nutrition have become huge passions of mine, especially in relation to healing from the darkness of depression and anxiety. This is why I felt called to share my raw and vulnerable story here.
I am looking forward to sharing about the many practices that have brought me here and to continue sharing my cooking again. I believe food is medicine and the power of eating nutritiously amazes me every day. Our bodies are incredibly interconnected and I learned first hand how gut health has a direct impact on our mental health.
I thank you deeply for reading this and joining me for a few moments of your day.