Anxiety and depression – my story

Mental health issues run in my family. My mother suffered for years.
It was difficult to watch her drink and medicate her life away until she died of pancreatic cancer in 2015 (we found 8 bottles of vermouth in her apartment, and she was on around 8-12 medications a day, none of which were for cancer. All were pain or anti-depression or anti-anxiety meds). The mental anguish she was in daily, made worse by alcohol, pity and a general lack of understanding in society (there wasn’t as much awareness in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s).
I too have struggled with anxiety and depression.
Something not very many people know about me, and if I’m honest, the thought of posting this is making me want to vomit. I’m a public figure and a coach – what if you judge me?
What I have learned about myself and about depression and anxiety over the years is that 1) it’s often that I’m looking to the past or worrying about the future; 2) that my hormones play a huge part in my own mood fluctuations, 3) how vital the health of my gut is for my mental health – this means managing my stress, eating healthily and taking the right supplements that support my gut.
I witness similar traits in my eldest son. I see him struggle with his mindset sometimes, and when I see this I immediately go into gratitude with him. Not to gloss over his feelings, but so that they don’t overwhelm him and take him down. Once you allow the thoughts to take over, it’s like a tidal wave and you feel like you’re drowning. I’m hoping to provide him with tools on how to better cope with depression than I ever had. 
As a high-functioning human, I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety and depression and I am so grateful to have found holistic nutrition so that I can do so without medication.
If you are struggling in this area, please speak out. I only just started talking to my friends about this recently because I was always ashamed and afraid of it. On the surface I’m happy, passionate and confident…but sometimes, underneath, I’m shaking with fear, I’m full of self-doubt and worry, and can spiral down into a depressed state before I know it.
I realized as a woman of influence, it’s my responsibility to talk about this. I can no longer hide it, because then I’m giving you permission to hide it, and that doesn’t help anyone.
As someone who has dedicated her life to the betterment of others, it’s part of my duty to speak up about this – perhaps it will help someone else open up about their feelings too.
I still feel internal shame and guilt around this topic – so I will do some work looking at the benefits of my depression because there is ALWAYS something good from something bad. But I hope that my brevity will help you feel a little bit less alone and that underneath the gloss and the smiling faces, there may be pain and anguish, but it’s not something that has to be hidden or pushed under the carpet.
I applaud Bell Canada, and my very dear friend and fellow nutritionist Tina Cufaro, for encouraging people to talk about this. Mental health shouldn’t be a shameful thing – it’s a very real part of many people’s lives, and in the society we live in these days with unhealthy food choices and way too much stress, it’s way more common than we think.
If you’re struggling, please reach out! Feel free to comment below I’d be more than happy to help with resources or tips on how to get through the dark days.
With love

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