Once upon a time, there was a woman who did everything right. She learned how to behave and tame the free spirit that wanted to laugh out loud and run barefoot. All the expectations & roles that were place upon her, she fulfilled or exceeded; daughter, wife, stepmom, employee. The more she fulfilled other’s expectations, the sicker and fatter she got. Suddenly, she just couldn’t function anymore. She would wake up nights filled with anxiety. She felt so sick that she couldn’t work. Everything felt out of control. One day, she decided that it was time to take her life back and learned how to reclaim her free spirit. That woman was me.
I grew up in a home that was very loving, but I was also expected to act and conform to being a “proper young lady”. Outside appearances were expected to be kept up. It was a constant battle between me and my mother, usually ending up with me conforming to her wishes. Often times as she turned away from me, I would hear her say under her breath: “I’m the one that wanted a free spirit.” This expectation of doing my very best at everything I tried set me up for a life time of over achieving and perfectionism. The more I accomplished, the more I was expected to accomplish. This was part of both my family and my work life. I was constantly taking on new challenges without letting go of any of the other tasks that were required of me.
It all came to a screeching halt back in 2014 when I became too sick to go to work anymore. I had such severe migraines that I couldn’t get out of bed for days and then after a day or two reprieve, it would start all over again. I was in and out of emergency with my doctor fearful I was having a stroke. This went on for months with me being highly medicated on painkillers and muscle relaxants.
The doctor’s had no idea what exactly was wrong with my body. I had test after test. Some came back normal. Some didn’t, but the doctors could not understand the correlation between the results. It was a long time before they decided it was a combination of migraine, anemia and thyroid issues. I was written more prescriptions.
I had a lot of time to think about what had happened. If I’m honest with myself, and you, the back slide started a long time before I wasn’t able to work. I saw the warning signs in my body, but ignored them. I ignored my intuition and ignored the feeling of my spirit being suffocated by the rules and expectations of others. After working with a boss who gave me opportunity to grow, empowered me, and elevated my confidence, I had a boss who well, let’s just say didn’t and I’ll leave it at that. I would drive in to work and sit in my car in the parkade trying to force myself to go into that toxic environment, head pounding, and feeling exhausted. It all became too much.
So after being in bed for several months, I decided that I was going to take control of the situation and I started researching. I completely changed my diet. At first I started with the paleo diet because it seemed to make the most sense to me. It eliminated most potential foods that could cause allergies or other issues, I later incorporated gluten free grains and legumes back into my diet. I also increased the amount of vegetables and fruits I was eating. Lastly, I created a series of self hypnosis recordings. After a while, I realized that I had some personal blocks where the self hypnosis recordings weren’t doing the trick for me. So I then started seeing a hypnotherapist to change the beliefs I had around perfectionism, anxiety and body image. The more work I did on my emotional issues, the healthier my body became. As I shifted and saw what was working for me and what didn’t. I began to create programs based on my own personal experience of dealing with anxiety and also weight challenges. It’s important to me to help others who may have also become people pleasers so that they too can reclaim their own free spirit.