Broken and living with depression

Broken... it's all I've ever known...

For as far back as I can remember, I have always felt "BROKEN". Was I born this way?  As a young child, I remember wondering it was genetic....Did my birth parents suffered from some mental illness that inherited? Or did all of the tragic events and heartbreak I have endured slowly break me? 

Did it start the day I was removed from the Korean foster home that I had spent my first 9 1/2 months at, then flown to the United States, handed off to complete strangers, being forced  to acclimate to foreign surroundings with no warning? 

Or did it start when we moved to a new city and I was put into public school when I was 4, where I realized for the first time in my life that I was different. I didn't fit in. I didn't look like anyone else and didn't "match" my "parents". I remember how I started manifesting mannerisms of someone with OCD and I could NOT control them and I would often break out in hives, during my kindergarten year. 

Did the fact that I was molested by a family friends son around this time negatively effect me? I was too terrified to tell my parents because I was afraid that I would get in trouble for letting it happen. (To this day, I still have never told them and haven't discussed it with many people. I considered sharing it  with them in 2009. The second person I told was a close family friend that I consulted first. We both agreed that if I told my parents over 2 decades later, knowing them, they'd end up making it all about them. So it was pointless to bring it up.). 

Or maybe it was all of the years I was a victim of bullying and racial slurs from classmates. I never said anything because my mother always told me to "Be the bigger person and turn the other cheek!" so just suffered silently. 

Or was it caused by all of the times my 300 lb. "father" beat me, while my mother sat there too weak & scared to stand up for me & stop him? 

Or was it that my parents always expected so much from me and no matter what I did it was never right or good enough? I spent most of my childhood fearful that I would disappoint them and get punished.  I was constantly being corrected, I repeatedly heard my whole life, "It's never enough for you. You always want more and aren't satisfied. We don't know where you get this or that. You weren't raised like this!"? I was just  being myself. I didn't know what I was doing wrong or how I was supposed to be acting. All I know is, that as a young child I always felt like I was searching for something, and felt empty, bewildered, alone and misunderstood. I spent lots of time wondering why I had been put up for adoption and not gotten lucky enough to be placed with a loving, happy family.  I would sit in my windowsill late at night, staring up into the sky and wish that I had of been left in Korea to die. 

The Great Escape... 
Early one Saturday morning in December 1996, after I was sure my parents were asleep for the night, I quietly slipped out of my bedroom window into the darkness, with nothing more than a few belongings shoved in a backpack. There was no second thoughts. I headed for the highway even though I was almost paralyzed with fear. I never turned back. As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I started running. I ran as fast as I could, over a mile down the dark highway surrounded by nothing but a thick forrest. All I could hear was my heartbeat. I will never forget that moment. I had no plan other than making it to an RV park down the road. I had to get to the pay phone there to call someone, anyone who would rescue me. 

I never returned home. I ended up spending a few days in a foster home after my parents tried to have me arrested and thrown in Juvenile Hall, after they discovered I ran away. I then stayed with a friend for a couple weeks, until my father threatened them. Then my High School Counselors took me into their home for a few months, until my parents tried suing them. (Since the night I ran away, I've lived in 20 different location.) I worked part-time to support myself, focused on school, graduated early, 6 months later I walked across the stage on graduation day with a class full of people who were 2 years older than me. Come to think of it, I couldn't even tell you where my high school diploma and cap & gown are. I have very little memorabilia that dates back before the year 1999. I started working full-time right after graduation and haven't stopped since then.

I spent the next 15 years in search of happiness. I searched in all the wrong places: in the arms of different men, material things, thrill seeking adventures, drugs and alcohol. I never found TRUE happiness. I walked around with this big void. I became bitter and angry. I was a walking bomb, waiting to go off.

The Game Changer... 
I found out I was going to be a mom ON my 18th birthday, January 11, 1999. How I envisioned motherhood, was far from reality. I didn't realize that I would be responsible for caring for an extremely colicky baby all by myself 1 day after barely surviving a traumatic and painful 24 hour labor and delivery. I became consumed with guilt because I felt bad that I didn't feel an instant bond with my baby or experience tons of joy and excitement like I'd seen on the hundreds of episodes of "A Baby Story" that I watched daily during my pregnancy. I was frantic, panicked, overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. I was afraid that something was wrong with me. I was REALLY broken after all. Feelings of doubt took over my thoughts: Was I incapable of love or be loved since I had never had a bond with my birth mother and never felt a strong connection to my adopted parents?  Or did I lose all of my motherly instincts the year before when I had been pressured into having an abortion and suffered though that experience all by myself? Was it the pressure that this was my first blood relative I'd ever encountered and something that I was responsible for caring for?  Processing all of this, on very little sleep, while dealing with a change in hormones, with a screaming baby that just ripped your whole body apart in your arms, was  way more than I could handle. In all reality: I was so afraid that I would fail her as a Mom. I was so afraid she wouldn't love me.  

The first year as a mother was less than ideal. That void that I had, seemed to be getting bigger. It felt like what little life I had in me, was being sucked out. I remember as time went by, I could no longer get simple tasks done. My OCD was at an all time hight. At times, I thought I was just incompetent of being able to handle motherhood. I started noticing that my whole body ached. I could not sleep, but at the same time, I could barely get out of bed. When I started having suicidal thoughts and started fantasizing that I left Haylie somewhere safe and drove off and never returned, I knew something was wrong. I tried telling others and even worked up the nerve to tell my father. I knew I needed help. But all I received were gasps and looks of horror from those I told. They looked at me like I was some sort of monster or psychopath. My Dad threatened me and told me he better never hear me say that again. 

Finally I decided to see a Doctor and was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and was given a prescription for an anti-depressant (Paxil). Receiving the diagnosis was a relief. I wasn't actually crazy after all or a bad mom, I found comfort, knowing that there was a finally an explanation for why I felt the way I did and more importantly a solution. I couldn't wait to tell my parents. I thought they would be happy to hear that I would get better, but instead I embarrassed them when I share the news with them in front of my grandparents and some of their friends. Later on they told me not to tell anyone and warned me that this could be used against me in court and I could lose custody of Haylie. I was devastated. I tried explaining to them that this wasn't something I chose, but it was like any other medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes. But they still saw it as a sign of weakness. So I suffered alone. The medication did help minimize the debilitating symptoms of depression & allowed me to get more out of life, but the side effects and the dependency on the medication I developed were horrible. 

Luckily Haylie & I both survived those first two years and had both seemed to settle into our new roles in life. For the first time in my life I got to experience what unconditional love felt like. It may not have been IMMEDIATE, but I quickly learned what it felt like to really love someone and be connected to them. And to my surprise, she loved her very imperfect, inexperienced and broken mother, in return without hesitation or reservations.  And now, 15 years later, we are closer than I ever imagined and I am her biggest fan who is committed to protecting her and dedicated to helping her become a much better person than I was at her age. My mission is to make sure she and her 2 siblings NEVER doubt my love and always know I will love them UNCONDITIONALLY, no matter what they do or how bad they screw up. 

Changing directions.. 
Haylie & I left California and headed to Texas with all of our belongings in a U-Haul Trainer. I was in search of a new life for the two of us. Shortly after we got settled, we met who she's referred to as Daddy for the past 13+ years, and is my 2nd ex-husband. I decided to stop taking Paxil, in 2001 and suffered through weeks of intense withdrawals, but it felt good to not need to rely on it to feel "normal". 

In 2003, when I was 22,  I for the first time in my life, felt "normal". Haylie was 3 1/2 at the time and I was pregnant with my second child.  I was at peace, happy and I no longer felt empty.  Life soon caught up with me. I was working 2 jobs while taking care of the girls alone most of the time, while my ex-husband worked 12-18 hour days. I had no family and very little friends. Depression hit me again HARD. Anxiety consumed my life and that familiar feeling of emptiness returned. I felt like my whole life was crashing down around me. I tried several different prescription meds, but they only thing they did, was keep me sane enough to not follow through with the suicidal thoughts I constantly battled. To cope, I reverted back to old patterns of life and ended up on a path of self destruction. I didn't know how to recover or repair what I fixed. I felt hopeless. I started sabotaging everything good in my life to the point that it was totally unsalvageable. Soon things were done that couldn't be undone. We filed for divorce. Once I realized that this was another failed attempt at love and happiness and that I was 25 with two kids and 2 divorces under my built, I suck into a deeper depression. 

The best thing that could of happened at this time was that I had to attend a court mandated counseling session with a family counselor, which led to major breakthroughs. I started seeing the family counselor regularly which significantly changed my outlook on everything and prompted me to change the direction I was headed. I vowed to stop engaging in the destructive dangerous behaviors that I was so ashamed of and stop hurting others. I started focusing on my kids, instead of selfishly acting out on my emotions. The greatest moment, was in 2007, when I was sitting on the floor, crying for a reason I cannot recall now, and as Emily hugged me, it finally dawned on me that happiness was a choice and MY choice and I needed to choose happiness, if not for myself, at least for my kids!

Last chance to get it right.. 
Fast Forward to 2009. I was newly married (for the 3rd time) and then 6 months later I discovered that I'm pregnant. The timing was not right. Nor were the conditions. We really had no business bringing another life into this world. We both were broken and our marriage, was new and very troubled. But, whether we were ready or not, we had a baby on our way and this was our last chance to get it right. I made sure I took excellent care of myself during my whole pregnancy, but I felt guilty and resentful because Ryan got to experience the excitement of it all, while I dealt with the stress and worry that came with it (drama from family, in-laws, ex, blending families, financial worries, finding a new home, etc.) I spent the majority of my pregnancy on auto-pilot, but that all changed when I saw our sons little face for the first time in April of 2010 via 3D Ultrasound. I couldn't stop staring at his face. It was the first time I experienced love at first sight. 

I can't even begin to put into words what it was like for me to bringing my 3rd child into the world, after 9 years of practice, at almost 30 years old. It was a total different experience than the first two since. I finally understood what love was and felt deserving of it. I was much more in tune with my emotions, clear of what I wanted, and secure with who I was and was at a much better place in life than I was when Haylie was born in 1999 and Emily was born in 2003.

The void disappeared for the second time in my life, at the exact moment I laid eyes on our son, at 4:37 p.m. on the afternoon of June 7, 2010. The hole, the emptiness, the void that haunted me, INSTANTLY closed the moment I laid eyes on him. I will never forget that moment. It was like a scene out of a movie. Every doubt, fear or worry was erased from my mind. The whole world stopped. I could hear nothing. I forgot that anyone existed, much less was in the room. There was a halo of light glowing around him. I am not sure if I even remembered to breathe. My whole world changed at that moment and I fell deeply in love with this little person that was half mine.  His presence in our life, turned out to be the missing link. I truly felt like he was destined to be part of my life. He saved me, saved our marriage and I truly believe saved us from ourselves. 

I was on a hormonal high. I felt like I had been reborn and made whole again. Life was great. Everything felt right. Nothing bothered me now that my family was complete. Then one day, in late January 2011 (Which I realized is ironically the same date, but a year earlier, that I decided to finally invest in myself and purchased P90X and joined Team Beachbody), out of the blue, something from our past randomly surfaced and threatened everything I held dear to me. In an instant the dynamics of our marriage completely changed. The family and life we created and our future dangled their by a thread... At that time, we were far from stable, mature or capable of solving problems as a team. Our emotions controlled us. After months of constant turmoil, fueled by finger pointing and laced with hurtful insults and threats transpired into me having a nervous breakdown. My blood pressure was through the roof and I broke out in an unexplainable rash that covered covered my face, neck, chest and stomach that would unexplainably flare up and feel like my skin was crawling or it was on fire or itchy off and on for months. I saw 3 doctors and 1 dermatologist and went through lots of testing with no diagnosis. Once I started taking Xanax for anxiety, the rash stopped flaring up, but it left scars on my skin that lasted almost a year. (I found this old picture, where you can see the scars on my skin, months after, I first broke out).

My mental breakdown and seeing how it effected my health was a major wake up call. We'd spent over 6 months at each others throats which took a toll on the kids as well, not to mention we were consuming at case of beer or more every evening to self-medicate. All it did was numb us to the pain and stress. Ryan went to work out of town in October of 2011. He was gone for 7 days at a time and home for only 2-4 days in between. It was a relief because it mean the fighting stopped for at least 7 days. But with this new change, came other challenges. I continued to drink heavily. I remember sitting in the garage, night after night, all by myself, after the kids went to bed, knocking out a case of beer and a pack of cigarettes to myself and stumbling down the hallway, hoping I would pass out as soon as my head hit the pillow, but most nights had to take a Tylenol PM or Melatonin to sleep. I beat myself up every morning after I drove to work after I dropped all 3 kids off at school. I felt so guilty because every morning was spent screaming at my kids because I was stressed, tired, hungover, and miserable. It was unsettling because I knew this was a horrible way to start their days, but I couldn't seem to stop yelling or losing my temper. I remember sitting at my desk at work crying was normal.  By December 2011, I was 20 pounds overweight, still trying to recover from my nervous breakdown, while learning to juggle working full-time & basically being a single mom to 3 kids 7 days at a time. I was lonely because I had no social life and no help with the kids. Everyday, my body would ache. I constantly had a  headache. I lived on Tylenol and Advil. The day, I sat down and was completely disgusted at the sight of layers of fat separated by the elastic waistband on my "one size fits all" leggings, I realized I had to make some changes. I couldn't keep ignoring the fact that I only had two outfits that I could fit into and masked my expanding waistline. I had no energy or desire to do anything. My body hurt. My back hurt. My head hurt. My joints hurt. My whole body constantly ached. I could barely stay awake after lunch everyday. I didn't start functioning properly until around 10 a.m. every morning after I had consumed 2 pots of coffee. I lived off of processed foods and fatty, fried foods and only ate two large meals each day along with thousands of calories in booze. 

I didn't know what to do. I had found some workouts on Pinterest, but I didn't understand what to do. Rejoining the gym was not an option since I had no one to take care of the kids and didn't have a clue what type of things to do while at the gym to get results and was too broke and too self-conscious to ever hire a trainer. I bought a cheap set of resistance bands at Wal-Mart that came with a workout DVD and a cheap "ab workout for moms" that I found online for $6. Both were extremely hard and I could NOT make it more than 5 minutes without getting frustrated and giving up. 

2012: getting started is the hardest part..
Exactly a year after my world had been turned completely upside down, I finally started climbing my way back out of that hole. I wasn't sure what I could change, but I knew that I COULD do something about my weight and was something positive that I could do for myself that would help me feel better. I decided to take the plunge and commit to P90X and Shakeology and invested $205 plus tax. I am not sure why I decided on P90X of all programs to start my journey, because I knew nothing about it or Beachbody, other than catching a few bits and pieces of the infomercial late one night, a few years before. I even remember asking Ryan if he'd ever heard of it. He said that it was super hard and no one ever finishes it. I questioned if it really worked and was legit. I even remember saying that the people who were featured in the infomercials probably worked out all day long and were paid to be in the infomercial.  

Now that I know that the ALL of the people featured in the infomercials (or in videos on the TBB YouTube Channel) are REAL people who are coaches or customers and NOT paid actors I have to laugh at myself. I was so far off base, questioning the legitimacy of the products, assuming that they were fraudulently marketing the results they claimed you could get because I thought it was “too good to be real” and assuming that you had to work out ALL day long to get these results. (I was lucky enough to be featured in the PiYo Workout )

Remember: The key to combatting ignorance is knowledge! To gain knowledge, be sure to educate yourself before jumping to some conclusion based on pure speculation and assumption.

I had never heard of Shakeology and when my coach told me I should try it, I assumed it was just another protein shake. I am not sure why I went ahead and ordered my P90X Challenge Pack, when I honestly had already convinced myself that it wouldn't work and even wrote the telephone number down  and saved it because I had full intentions on returning it within 30 days to get my  refund. (How many of you, were like me and ONLY bought your first product because of the 30 Day Money Back Guarantee?) To some the logic doesn't make sense, but I guess I wanted to be able to have one more thing to add to my list of what didn't work, so that I could convince myself that there was no way to actually get your body back after kids and feel completely justified when I gave up and just settled for the body I had grown used to hating.

I am not sure who was more shocked, me, my husband or those who had known me for years!!  We all knew how lazy I was and that I had never been athletic or interested in any type of physical activity. I proved myself wrong, when I survived the 1st workout. When I completed 13 days of one of the most extreme, intense and challenging workout programs on the market, without missing a day and lost a whole pants size I thought I was dreaming. I couldn't believe I had started seeing muscles and best of all, the skin around my midsection was tightening up in less than 2 weeks. I was impressed that I could see the benefits from drinking Shakeology within 4 days. These results were so encouraging and is what kept me motivated. I completed all 90 days of the program which was boosted my confidence and spirits because I had never completed anything and never imagined I could finish one workout, much less all 90 days. I can't believe how much changed in JUST 90 days that was going to go whether I exercised or not. 

ome of the positive changes I experienced in JUST the first 90 days of my journey when I completed #P90X and consistently drank Shakeology®.I had never listed it out and was shocked at how much I accomplished in just 13 weeks, many things that I had never originally intended to change:

- lost over 10 pounds & 2 pants sizes 
- tightening of the skin on abdomen
- improved eating habits, increased awareness on foods consumed & a higher level of knowledge nutrition wise and started changing my WHOLE family's lifestyle
- my goals were originally based on weight loss only and shifted to focusing more on health
- increased confidence in my ability, improved self-image and finally realized that I was capable of more than anyone (including myself) gave me credit for
- overcome my 15+ year caffeine addiction (completely removed sodas and coffee from diet with no withdrawals)
- no longer relied on a daily sleep aid to fall asleep and experienced more restful sleep and didn't wake up feeling groggy
- no longer suffering from anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed
- not only happier and focused on the positive, but extremely sensitive and intolerant to negativity which resulted in separating myself from negativity and helped improved my relationships with my family
- better posture, no more chronic back and neck pain I thought was associated to my desk job, but I believe was present due to stress. Stopped seeing my chiropractor
- drastically reduced my alcohol intake and ended my dependency on alcohol (instead of 6-8 beers every night, I reduced my intake to less than 6 per week)
- was so proud of my results that I publicly shared my "before" picture that I swore no one would ever see
- cultivated new friendships with new people who were part of the Team Beachbody community who became my biggest fans
- decided to become a coach 13 days into my journey and help others and earned over $2,500 in commissions just by helping others get started and supporting them, which allowed us to be able to surprise my girls with a trip to Destin, Florida and provided an extra income which helped when Ryan's income was cut in half in May of 2012, after he had major shoulder surgery that took over 6 1/2 months to recover from
- Best of all, I turned my husband from a nasayer to my biggest supporter, got him hooked on Shakeology and we both quit smoking.

It is absolutely unbelievable what kind of impact can be made on your life as a result of your deciding to make a choice to invest in yourself. I had no idea the magnitude of the power that a box full of DVD's and a bag containing a nutrition supplement possessed. Had I known, I wouldn't have questioned the price or tried to back out of it.

I will be the first to say that you have to have the right mindset and have a compelling "WHY" that drives you to decide to commit to changing your habits, creating a healthier lifestyle and understanding the importance and value of exercise. Sometimes, people are presented with the opportunity and have a strong need to commit, but are not in the right mind set. And I will be the first to say that at home fitness programs are not for everyone. But finding an exercise routine that challenges you and keeps you focused on improving yourself, getting involved in an accountability group that provides peer support and adding Shakeology to your current diet, can be an answer to your prayers or be the first stepping stone that helps you find your purpose and leads you to the life you were destined to live. 

Once I finally realized that the only thing that limited me, was me, I decided to get out of my own way. I created a habit of setting goals that challenged me and by the end of 2012, I completed 3 programs and at the same time, started emerging as a leader with a fast growing team and helped 2 people advance their businesses to Diamond. I said goodbye to 2012 with zero regrets, and started 2013 with confidence that I would achieve the goals I had written down the month before. I deemed 2012 as the most enlightening, life-altering, feel good year I'd had. I finally felt like I had a chance to be somebody and do something I was proud of. And I knew it was within my power to make sure 2013 was even better than 2012 and I was right.

2013: can it get any better than this?
I sailed right into the new year still on a high from all of the amazing things I accomplished in 2012. It was the greatest feeling to finally feel like I knew who I was. I had started to establish my own identity. I started realizing that I wasn't stuck anymore. I was able to make my own choices based on what I wanted. I didn't have to settle anymore or pick what was the easiest easiest or conform to what others excepted. It felt good to finally be proud of myself. My confidence level increased because I felt like I finally have something valuable that I could contribute to the world and was finally good at something, not by default. I finally had hope. I spent most a lot of time engaging in personal development and attended several live seminars. I attended every corporate event available (and within driving distance) and became close to countless coaches within our organization. My mindset, family, life and future kept improving as I surrounded myself with like minded people and focusing on my own personal growth. 

In 2013, I learned:

- how to truly forgive others
- patience
- how to form relationships and deepen existing relationships
- the importance of balance
- that if you consistently work hard, being patient and staying focused on your goal it WILL pay off
- to start finding the silver lining in every situation and stop being the VICTIM and blaming others to get the most out of life
- that putting others first and helping them is the only way to become a better person. If you put your goals before them, you will not succeed for long. 
- that you must be able to look deeper and be more understanding of others. They are fighting battles that you don't realize, which makes them do the things they do and say the things they say
- that you cannot achieve a goal without sharing it with those around you and getting them on board
- sharing your struggles, failures, fears and your story is the greatest form of therapy and helps others, which in turn helps you heal
- that once you start understanding how to read people, learn how to be empathetic and stop judging others based on your assumptions, you start worrying less about what others think of you. And once you stop caring what others think, you no longer live in fear. Then you can finally start being yourself and living life!

By January 2013, I had been consistently earning MORE money as a coach, than I was working full-time, as a licensed professional with 10+ years experience. The MOST incredible part, was NOT that I was making more money than I had ever made without a college education, BUT..the fact that I genuinely LOVED my job which made me want to be a better person. I woke up excited EVERYDAY...something I had never truly experienced (something most people never experience). After 21 months, on November 1, 2013, I left behind my career, that used to be part of who I was and was part of my security blanket . 

What many people don't know, is that In 2013, commissions went down in the insurance industry, along with the bonuses I had excepted to receive from my employer as in past years. I went from making a mere $36,000 (which we barely got by on) in 2012, to $30,000 in 2013. Being a mother of 3, I don't know how we would've survived 2013, after taking that kind of hit on my income, especially since Ryan had not worked since he had surgery in Spring of 2012).  Luckily, with my Beachbody business, I was able to support my family WITHOUT having to ever leave my home to take a second job.  Our quality of life improved on many levels. In 2012, between my full-time job and the income from my Beachbody business, I for the first time in my life, generated a 6-figure income ON my OWN without having any prior experience in the field and no college degree (something I regretted and felt limited me from ever having a  rewarding career or the ability to make more than a $40,000 annual salary). 

I ended 2013, as a 5* Star Diamond and 2013 Elite Coach and was ranked  as #51 out of 139,972 coaches within the organization. I had earned the highest income I had ever achieved in almost 2 decades of working. I was a new FULL-TIME Coach and enjoying the freedoms that came with being my own boss. It is indescribable, how I felt as I was finally able to experience what it felt like to be a MOM and reconnect with my children. I felt victorious, because I had managed to get through an entire year without being knocked down by depression. There were times that I was overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, but I kept everything in balance. I got to experience so many new things, meet new people and travel all over the place for the first time in 2013. I had accomplished 85% of the goals I set at the end of 2012, which seemed unattainable at the time. But most importantly, I felt like I was in control of my life, in tune with who I was and finally had a clear vision of what I wanted and how to make my dreams turn into reality. 

2014: just when you think you have it all figured out...
The day after I got confirmation that I had officially locked in the title of 2013 Elite Coach, I crashed. It was a huge relief. Instead of celebrating, I just shut down. I slept for 14 hours a day for the next 3 days. I had been going SO hard for the past 22 months and didn't realize how tired I was mentally, emotionally and psychically. Once the suspense was over and I knew I had a few days until the start of a new year, it's like my body said "FINALLY! I can rest!". Once I came back to reality, I started to panic. I started doubting myself. I had this fear that, everything I had accomplished over the past 22 months was all just a fluke, some lucky chance and started wondering if I had what it took to not only maintain what I created, but keep duplicating it year after year and continue to build my team, be a stronger leader and increase my income. 

In Mid-January, the day after my birthday, just when I was getting back into the groove of things and feeling more confident about what I would be able to accomplish in 2014, something happened that devastated me to know end. I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me. I was terrified. My marriage, my whole family and our future were in jeopardy. I for once didn't have any clue of how to fix what we were going through and was unsure if we would recover from it. 

Over the course of the year, Ryan and I never really fixed any of the issues that threatened us. We just hypothetically just kept applying bandaids. We spent most of the year, finding distractions or ways to numb ourselves and avoid ever fixing things. 

We were very fortunate to be able to have the freedom which allowed us to travel regularly throughout the year. We were able to travel to 11 different states, including a 2 week road trip with Rebel which allowed Ryan to go back home to visit for the first time since we were there in 2008 & take several mini-vacations with the kids over the summer. We were able to attend 4 Beachbody events - the cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman, Summit in Las Vegas, Leadership Retreat in Scottsdale, AZ and our Team's Retreat in Miami, FL.

Ryan and I had always loved to travel together. But since we never fixed our problems early in the year, we slowly disconnected more and more as the year went on. The last two trips, were not enjoyable because we were not on the same page anymore. 

I didn't even realize that I was slowly starting to sink into depression until it hit me HARD during the month of November and then never went away, but instead grew increasingly worse.

Earlier this week, while on a call with one of my personally sponsored coaches we started discussing depression. I realized that I go back and review closely how I had spent the past 10 months of the year. And I had to STOP wasting time, just "riding out the storm", waiting on my depression to go away. I had to  IMMEDIATELY regain control of my life and stop leaving it up to chance. 

After a closer examination, I realized that  I was not engaging in personal development as frequently and consistently as I did in 2012 and 2013. And when I was reading things, I was reading things that were comfortable. I was reading books on topics that I already understood, focusing on skills that I already possessed and geared around overcoming obstacles that I had already dealt with. I was not challenging myself. I was not working on personal growth DAILY or consistently for that matter.  I have become comfortable with being comfortable.

I remembered that near the end of September, I broke my toe and so my workouts were put on hold for 12 weeks. So I was no longer getting any physical activity. Exercise builds endorphins. Working out improves confidence and gives you a sense of accomplishment. I stopped doing anything nice for myself. 

I also realized that the year 2014, was spent on the go. We had very little down time. We quickly adjusted to our new life with me working from home, having more freedom and a flexible schedule. But in all reality, our life did a 360. I should've slowed down to really appreciate it and adjust to how different things are. Our marriage experienced lots of highs and lows & ups and downs  in 2014, that we never stopped to fix properly. We had a lot of issues pop up involving our family members, ex's and things from my past that I had not addressed  deaths that effected my children, concerns regarding our children and had to face and process a lot of things that were emotionally and mentally exhausting and stressful. I had opened a lot of doors emotionally from my past in 2012. Then I stopped engaging in personal development that helps equip us to better understand, react to, handle and learn from our painful and challenging experiences. The year was really tough on us as individuals and really hard on our marriage and family. We failed to make the problems a priority. We never slowed down to face the problems and address them the way they needed to be or take the time to fix them. We just kept ourselves busy and distracted and avoided it all. 

I realized that I had let a lot of things go. The house was a mess. Our schedule and routine, including our eating habits were off. Our finances were a mess. Ryan and I stopped doing things together. Everything in my life was out of balance. I was overwhelmed. I didn't feel confident that I could fix things and didn't know where to start. I was disappointed in myself. I started pouring myself into my work ... into my team, into my challengers, which meant I started neglecting my family more. Then I felt guilty. Ryan and I started fighting more and more. I was so tired and didn't know where to start to regain the life I worked so hard to create. I was sad that I the life I envisioned when I was working so hard to become a full-time coach was nothing like how it turned out to be. My thoughts became negative. The way I felt about myself was not healthy. I felt like a failure. I wanted to give up. My demeanor and mind set and actions rubbed off and set the tone within my team. I still remember what Hillary Kelly told me in January of 2013 "When you show up, so will your team."  I just shut down. I withdrew. I found myself unable to get out of bed. I spent my days in my sweat pants and sweatshirts, in the dark in my recliner or bed. I stopped leaving the house. I became comfortable with staying in my house, never leaving for nearly a week. I started noticing  the effects it had on my team. 

I have become more open in sharing my lifelong struggle with depression recently. I want to help create an awareness because so many people who have never suffered from it don't realize it's not a choice. I hope to encourage others to be understanding and not demeaning when dealing with someone who has depression. And I want to create an awareness so people can learn to identify the symptoms of Depression that someone around them may be displaying, to help get them help.  And to help educate others so that they realize that they can become stronger which will help them manage their depression through focusing on their health and fitness goals and engaging in personal development. And I want everyone to know that Coaches are NOT perfect. We are all HUMAN. We all have struggles and encounter setbacks. Having a history of mental illness or a bad childhood or a past you are not proud of does NOT make you less qualified as a potential coach nor does it decrease your chances of becoming a successful coach. It actually gives you an even more compelling reason to join Team Beachbody and get involved in the community and stay accountable to your goals because this opportunity will help you cope better with these things and just may save your life.

Since I have been sharing my story and openly admitting all of the days that were overtaken by my depression and severe anxiety over the least few months and increasingly over the past month, I have seen an outpouring of support. It was surprising at how many people commented when I posted this picture and shared some of my story on my Facebook 2 weeks ago. (Click on this link to be directed to the post.) I was shocked at how many people opened up about their personal struggles. 

The outpouring of kind responses to my very personal post, was incredible. I can't describe how it felt to finally feel understood and not have anyone treat me as inferior or weak. For once I didn't feel embarrassed or ashamed or judged. I realized that I am not a freak and not alone and that many people are suffering just like me and are scared to share it with others. 

However, I realized that I started rationalizing that what I was feeling was normal, since everyone else seemed to be struggling with the  same thing right now. It seemed "typical" and "routine" for this time of year. So I stopped looking for ways to make it better. I stopped trying to for myself out of this. I decided to wait it out, thinking that it would get better when the sun came out, when the holidays were over, etc etc. 

But nothing got better. It just go worse. I had allowed my life to be overtaken by my depression and then the daly routine had become a habit. Sleeping in until 9 a.m. gradually turned into 10 and most recently until 12 or 2 p.m. Naps became routine. Missing meals became routine. Working all evening and missing out on time with my kids became routine. All of these things ate away at my confidence and prevented me from being happy. 

After realizing this, I have made a decision to FIGHT for my LIFE. 

I will be working on retraining my mindset because my thoughts turn into my words, which turn into my actions. My social media posts have been negative and my conversations have been negative and I need to change that. I have set my goals to insure that I get back on a regular schedule that focuses on achieving a better sleep pattern, eating habits, exercise routine and allows time to focus on my business and then gives time to my family without distraction. I have shared this with my team and my husband so that they can help keep me accountable. 
From now I am going to be more conscious of how I share my struggles, so that it includes suggestions to those who are suffering from the same thing. That way they have some options to help them find a solution. Because I want to provide hope to those who follow me. I want to inspire others to stop settling and getting comfortable with where they are at because they simply don't see any relief. I want them to realize that they are not a victim of their circumstances that are out of their control! I want to teach them how to become a VICTOR and learn how to get the most out of their life! And I want them to know that sometimes things like create setbacks, but that is all they are SETBACKS! 

If you would like my help in learning how to manage your anxiety and depression or would like help in getting started creating a routine that focuses on positivity and improving yourself please do not hesitate to contact me via Facebook or email or you can submit your information requesting me to contact you.

The best way I know to get out of a slump is to reach out and help another person. It's amazing! 

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