Life's Defining Moments
I think most people have at least one thing in their life that becomes a defining moment. Like everything in their story becomes “before” and “after” that event. It could be a breakup, or losing a loved one, or moving cross-country, or really anything that feels personally momentous. For me it was a car accident.
I’ve shared bits and pieces of how it changed my life, but it’s hard to fully convey what I went through without getting pretty heavy. That accident nearly six years ago resulted in a brain injury that caused something called Post Concussive Syndrome. For a long time I struggled in silence because I didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to fix it. I had no idea that getting hit by a car could change your life so dramatically. All I wanted was to feel like myself again, but I didn’t know where to begin.
I suddenly went from someone who was always happy, optimistic, and driven, to someone who was deeply depressed, anxious, lethargic and at times even suicidal. Losing my sense of self was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. But over the years as I have healed I have also learned that I am not alone in the feelings I’ve had, and that is what has given me the courage to share about it with others who may be struggling. Even as I write these things or say them out loud, I am filled with the slight terror that often comes with true vulnerability. But it was the courage and vulnerability of others who shared their stories that helped me come to terms with my own, so I figure if they can be brave then so can I.
"...most of all, may you remember that what you feel is not who you are."
Mental health is a deeply personal topic, and no two people have the same experience. Some people begin struggling in early childhood, while others struggle later in life when set off by a catalyst. Some issues are temporary and circumstantial, like a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, or major life transition. And others still are physical, internal and persistent, like a concussion, hormonal imbalance, or even a brain tumor.
Mental health issues of all kinds need to be talked about much more so that people don’t feel isolated or stigmatized when they’re struggling. It’s hard enough to deal with the overwhelming weight of depression or anxiety, let alone the feelings of shame and embarrassment that can often accompany them. If I’ve learned anything throughout these six years it’s that asking for help is one of the surest signs of strength that exists. And it is the only true way to heal.
I spent a long time consumed by darkness, but once I began to get the support that I needed, light slowly started to seep back in. Using my background to find holistic ways to heal also empowered me to take control of my life when I felt the most lost. Well-meaning advice to just "be happy" or "think positive thoughts" wasn't cutting it, and sometimes that's ok. I want to share the tools that I’ve learned to help manage my mental wellbeing, so that’s why I wrote Holistic Habits for Mental Health. It is a compilation of all the best tools and practices that I have learned and discovered over these years, and it is something I wish I had had in the very beginning. I will continue to share my story in the hopes that it will reach someone out there exactly when they need to hear it.
Whether you experience the occasionally bout of anxiety and nerves, or have been treated for more chronic mental health issues, making holistic changes to your lifestyle can be an incredible anchor in an otherwise tumultuous storm. They are practices that will not only carry you through hard times, but last you a lifetime of good health as well. Whatever you are going through right now I just want you to know this: you can do hard things, they won’t last forever, and you are worthy of a wonderful life.
A little secret about those defining “before & after” moments is that we can also create them for ourselves. And they can be happy too, not just heavy ones. So let this be one of those moments for you, and may your “after” be filled with stories of healing, love, joy, connection, wonder and peace. And most of all, may you remember that what you feel is not who you are…who you are can never truly be lost or destroyed, just temporarily buried beneath some valuable lessons.
PS...Learn more and get the guide here: