I have spent a lifetime obsessed with my weight and appearance, a lifetime chasing the white picket fence dream, and a lifetime suffering from depression!
My life has been littered with addictions, heartache, broken relationships, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and insecurities. I have been in and out of therapy since the age of 16. I have had two attempts on my life, been hospitalised three times, on and off medication and I have searched and searched for the answers to my misery in books, therapists, healers, courses, diets, pills, jobs and relationships. And while I did have periods of, what I thought was happiness, they were always short lived. I had no real clue as to exactly what my issues were despite all the therapy and my happiness was always derived from the external; people, circumstances and material things.
If you ask any therapist or self-help guru they will tell you that to get over any emotional issues it all starts on the inside. Happiness is an inside job right…? I always thought that statement was a load of crap. Happiness has nothing to do with your body or appearance…? How can I possibly be happy when I am too old, fat, ugly…? When I don’t have the man, job, kids, house, money…? Where does this incredible pressure on women come from?! And gees; I was slim and reasonably attractive so why the hell wasn’t I happy?!
After missing out on having children and plunging to my lowest point to date which was closely followed by the sudden, suspicious death of my mother… I suffer an injury that sees me having to completely change my gym routine. One of my many addictions was cardio/aerobic exercise (to ensure I stayed slim) so weight training was not something I had done previously but was now the only exercise left available for me to fuel my dependence on my body and appearance. Isn’t weight training what fitness models do…? And once again, I find an avenue to reinforce my need to derive happiness from my body and appearance only this time I get to show it off on stage?! Surely then I will be happy…?
Driven by vanity and low self-esteem (that I was completely oblivious to) I took on the ultimate attempt to satisfy the ego by becoming a fitness model and competing on stage at the tender age of 46. It wasn’t until I was well past the point of no return that I realised I had completely over committed myself. What was I thinking?! With all my issues I was, of course, very shy and introverted despite mastering the art of covering it up. How was I going to get up on stage and fool the world, like I always had, of how broken I really was? Was I crazy?! It is through this intense journey that I inadvertently stumble across the answers I had been searching for my entire life. Ironic isn’t it? I started down this road for all the wrong reasons and I ended up on my spiritual journey and curing myself of lifelong misery! So here are my top 6 takeaways of how I have managed to beat lifelong, debilitating depression:
- Diet. A funny thing happens when you start to feed your body with nutritious, whole, organic food, drink lots of water, take premium supplementation, give up binge drinking/eating, substance abuse and junk food.. All for the sake of vanity and achieving the perfect female form I had to treat my body with respect; like the temple it actually is. Not abuse it and take it for granted! After a life time of self-neglect, being under weight and under nourished my body began firing on all cylinders!
- Strength Training. Exercise is not a new one as far as elevating depression however having only done cardio I was very fit but not strong. And quite frankly I didn’t think as a woman I wanted or needed to be physically strong and anyway didn’t lifting weights make you big and bulky? This is a myth! As I started to lift heavy weights my body became more defined and shapely, with more muscle I could burn more calories while resting but what affected me most of all was the physical strength. It is so god damn empowering!
- Lifestyle. The bodybuilding lifestyle is extremely disciplined. There is no room for partying, lack of sleep, eating on the run, skipping meals or the general disarray that was my life. I had to start cooking real food from scratch, take my food with me wherever I went, get up really early and be organised for the day ahead, sleep 8-9 hours a night and follow a routine that was very foreign to me! To obtain results, consistency is critical not just with the diet and training aspect but with every facet of life. It truly is a 24/7 commitment.
- Mind. After managing to adjust my lifestyle for the training and diet the next, what seemed to be insurmountable, challenge was to find the courage to strut around on stage in a bikini. I was having nightmares about it! I knew I had to work on my confidence and I knew I had none! I started seeing a hypnotist and then followed my own nightly routine of meditating, affirmations and visualisations. I started feeding my mind on all levels with positivity, inspiration and nourishment, blocking out the media and anyone or anything that had a negative influence on me. I had heard about all these self-help practises before and had always thought it was a load of hooey. But my vanity was surging through my veins; I would try anything!
- Mentor v Therapy. I have seen dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, therapists, psychoanalysts. All traditional therapy based involving talking about, dissecting and rehashing painful events of the past to establish my misery of today. Clearly it wasn’t working after 20 odd years of going over the same ground. And although I had deviated and tried alternate healers it wasn’t until my journey to stage I engaged with professionals that supported me in a way I had never been supported before. And while the goal was not to cure my depression (they weren’t even aware of how broken I was!) they actually believed in me, respected me, they lifted me higher, they moved me forward in life. Far more positive! Having a mentor or coach is a relatively new concept and yet you will not find any successful person in the world who doesn’t have one or even two or three! I now believe this is the best way to change your life if you are stuck.
- Passion. While my recovery truly is a combination of many factors if I had to pick one it would be this. Finding my passion and purpose in life has me jumping out of bed, without hesitation, at 4.30 in the morning, has given me the strength to adhere to the discipline that most can’t fathom, has seen me enduring incredible pain and gives me a feeling of personal empowerment and reward like I have never known. We are all here for a specific reason and I had searched and searched for mine believing it was hiding behind that allusive picket fence. But your passion in life has nothing to do with others, has nothing to do with your family or relationship. It is all about you and the unique gifts that we all have to offer that are just waiting for you to discover. Life is too short to not live each day with passion and purpose. I spent 46 years of my life in mediocrity and misery; what a waste!
I now fully understand and appreciate the incredible power of premium health in body, mind and spirit. And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to work this out! The lessons I learned and many of the habits I adopted can be easily incorporated into anyone’s life without the extremity. I have now dedicated my life to supporting women to sparkle with that inner glow that comes from the heart, to find their passion, to reignite that lost mojo that too many of us trade in as we try to fulfil the many roles that society expects of women. It truly doesn’t have to be so hard!
If you would like more details of my journey and how you can incorporate all I have learned into your own life please click here to purchase my newly published book! Alternatively, please contact me as I would simple LOVE to support you on your own journey of self-discovery. And if you have your own experiences of overcoming emotional issues that I have not covered I would love you to share and leave a comment below. Lets all help and learn from each other!