Therapists Get Depressed Too

My biggest goal of this blog has always been to demonstrate that therapists are real people too. However, being human, also means that I experience things like depression and sadness with subsequent shame and feel incredibly vulnerable talking about it. But, what would my advocacy be for, if I can’t talk about my experience, normalize it, and try to decrease the unnecessary shame?

Admittedly, my life has been filled with ups and downs– it’s own set of challenges. Recently, I experienced one of those challenges. Mother Teresa has said one of my favorite quotes, “I know God will never give me more than I can handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” I always remember this when I am at the end of my rope. But this time, I found myself in my car, praying, “I’m not kidding. This is enough. I cannot take anymore. Pick on someone else.”

We have been experiencing a financial roller coaster, well since we decided to move in together and thus share expenses. We both were starting new careers. Chuck is a real estate broker by profession and there is no secret that real estate is not one of the most stable industries right now. It has been good. And then it has been really bad. I worked in community mental health for 2+ years. Another unstable industry with it’s share of budget and pay cuts. We have made it work but savings or dents in our debt have been minimal.

It has been my long-time goal to open a Wellness Center and 7 months ago, we agreed that we would begin taking the appropriate strides and sacrifices to make that happen. We tucked a little money here and there and took baby steps to minimize start-up costs until I could pick up a couple of clients. That was working and in June we decided that I could upgrade to a big girl office and get downtown. We would also rent event space off-site to kickoff our fitness program. It would be a big financial leap, increasing my rent 4x and stocking it with my own furniture and office equipment but it was OK. Or so we thought.

Within days of signing my new lease, I found out that my Medicaid provider number was canceled. They said that it was due to my site address being wrong. It was off by one number, I had the original paperwork listing my correct number, but you can’t fight with the government. They told me that I needed to resubmit my entire application and it would take three weeks to process. Fine. I jumped through their hoops but after four weeks, still no number. At this time, this was approximately 70% of my salary. Gone.

Then, on July 9, I was in a car accident. I have never fully understood the impact that a car accident can have on you mentally, especially when you can’t see the bumps and bruises and your car gets put back together. Well, I do now. I was without my car for a month. It endured over $10,000 in damages and they did not total it. So I drove three rental cars, all that made me scared, uncomfortable, and anxious. I avoided going places if it meant that I could avoid driving. I would come home from work early, in pain, and cry. I was emotionally unavailable to my clients and physically uncomfortable sitting in the same position for an hour.

I felt like no one understood. Everyone was done hearing about my woes. No one could help me.

I paid for upfront medical costs. I still wasn’t getting paid from Medicaid. And my growing business suddenly came to a screeching halt due to busy Summertime travel schedules and having to turn away new Medicaid referrals. My income drastically dropped and I still had these increased business expenses on top of personal expenses.

I was scared. I was confused. I was angry. I was in pain. I was sad. I felt lost. 

I did the best I could as August rolled around. I had to make a fast decision in emotional distress about whether or not to continue with the fitness program. I never would have thought that two plus months later, I would still be in physical therapy, thinking initially that I would feel fine in a week, 1 month tops. The contract for the space was already signed so we proceeded with the classes as scheduled. Classes that I suddenly could not teach. Classes that I was too depressed to promote to local businesses. Feeling overwhelmed by having two businesses, rather than one integrative health business, followed by a whole mess of unplanned problems with our event space, our fitness program started to unravel. This was not supposed to happen.

After 6 weeks of all of this… Not getting paid, a program falling apart before it really starts, diminished health which I rely on heavily, not working out, a part-time job dealing with lawyers, insurance companies and physical therapy… I was depressed. All classic signs: apathy, tearfulness, anger, lack of motivation, restless sleep, lethargy, isolation, disinterest. I had them. And I have been ashamed. One serious problem that I have developed as a therapist, is listening too well. I have gotten so used to being a supportive ear that I have stopped talking about myself. Especially if I am feeling bad, I don’t want to fight for air time.

Of course there were preventive things that I could have/ should have done– like following David Ramsey’s advice and having $1,000 in an emergency fund so when an emergency happens it doesn’t feel like such an emergency. Love that one and have since signed up for Financial Peace University! Hindsight’s 20/20. But regardless, I didn’t have the emergency fund and my life was in serious 911.

I was watching my own plane spiral down and was just waiting for the crash. Any minute now. And I didn’t know how to change it’s course. I felt like every step I took was a land mine. I couldn’t see out of my fog.

Well, approaching 3 months with a canceled Medicaid number and still seeing my clients for free, I realized that I might never get my Medicaid number reinstated and needed to find alternate part-time work.

I scoured the internet and came across a Wellness Coach position at Carolina Nutrition. That sounded like a good fit. I met with Mike the owner, and we both immediately saw potential. Carolina Nutrition is a nutrition and wellness shop. They sell smoothies but really focus on the greater good of getting the community healthy! Upon your first visit, you get a free wellness assessment, free smoothie, and free green tea. They talk to you about your wellness goals and how to adjust your diet. Carolina Nutrition is about healthy eating but also advocate that supplementing with the main product line, Herbalife is part of a healthy diet.

I have been doing wellness for awhile. I have tried every supplement under the sun. I don’t believe in any magic pill. I’m not opposed to supplementing but the quality of the product and manufacturing can be unhealthy on it’s own. I am a skeptic. I am definitely not gimmicky. But I have been looking for new supplements. I have realized that part of my Post-personal trainer weight gain was also from trying to get in all of the recommended daily nutrition. It was too many calories. Mike encourages me to just try and start taking the products- Formula 1- the shake, a multivitamin 3 x per day, a cell activator, and the green tea.  If I don’t like it, return it. No questions asked. OK. That’s not too hard.

A shake, I can do. I like to play around with different recipes. A mutivitamin 3 x a day! Yikes! I can barely remember once per day. Why so often??? Well, it’s because our body only processes a small percentage of the nutrients we consume. So you take your multi-vitamin in the morning and your body uses what it can process and discards the rest. Before lunch. So the rest of the day, you are without those essential nutrients. Also, if your vitamin promised 100% of the daily need, your body didn’t process it all so you never got that 100%. Then there is the cell activator. This is what helps you process all of those micronutrients. So when you eat it, you get to keep it. Otherwise, it’s like a bad Paid Time Off package that makes you throw away your unused days off at the end of the year. Finally, the green tea takes the great antioxidant powers of green tea and maximizes the formula by increasing your resting metabolism. One serving burns 80 calories all on its own. Hello!! I’m planning a wedding. I will totally burn a few extra calories where I can!

I do it. I follow the plan. I actually do it pretty easily. Thinking about my food and meals more consciously helped me remember my pills. And shaking in the morning is wonderful. No stress. No guess-work. Super quick. Really good. I would drink the tea in the morning and usually around 2pm and I have completely cut out coffee dependence. The tea and shake have kept me from crashing too. Awesome.

So overall, I have more energy, more focus, and have lost about 3 lbs in about 3 weeks. My skin looks really good. I have decreased muscle inflammation that has resulted from the crash. However, the most significant change: my depression has lifted. I am motivated. I am excited. I am passionate. I am energized and ready to work out. I am productive. I am happy. I am Hopeful! My mom calls and says that she can hear the change in my voice. Chuck looks at me and admits that I have my spark back.

There is a lot of science and reputable scientists that create this product, including a nobel prize winner on brain health. OH! So maybe that is why I am feeling better.

I always say, Whatever Works for you when it comes to healthcare. This is a product that has worked for me, but I’m not the only one. If you walk into Carolina Nutrition, you will hear story after story on incredible weight loss, decreased blood pressure, extinct diabetes, a woman happily managing crohn’s disease, but I think that mine is the first about a therapist with no more depression. I like to be different.

I do attribute much of my change to my dietary shift because nothing else in my life has changed yet. I am still fighting insurance companies. I still have physical therapy. I am still searching for a stable home for Blissful Mind Wellness that would include our fitness program. I am still hoping that we can recover financially in order to have a wedding next Spring. I did get my Medicaid number back (finally) but haven’t gotten paid from them. I haven’t even resumed working out yet. But I’m good. My fog has cleared and I trust myself again.

I will never back a product or a method that I don’t believe in. But in a relatively short period of time, I have felt like a new woman. I don’t just feel like me before the accident. I feel like the me at 25 as a personal trainer but with the wisdom and confidence of 30. So, yes, I am happy to announce that Herbalife will be the official nutritional line at Blissful Mind Wellness.

Come on in. I would be happy to tell you more over a shake.

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