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Coming Back Stronger

[00:00:00] I have to be honest, I have been putting off recording this for at least a month or more. I would say more, more time than that. As you all know, I took a break for some months and I wanted to share with you why I took that time, what it did for me, and what's next. But to do that, you know, for me to share with you what's been happening, I knew that I didn't wanna sugarcoat anything and to do that meant that I had to face the fact that this is really scary.


it's scary to share deep parts of your life, especially when we're talking about wellbeing and specifically I'm talking about mental and emotional wellbeing. [00:01:00] I'm gonna go there because the primary reason why I've been really putting this off is because I've been, I've been afraid of the stigma mental health challenges can bring and.


You know that that narrative that, you know, if you have any type of mental health issues or challenges that you know you're crazy and you can't handle life and, and all of that. And I've been experiencing a lot of shame around it. And when I say shame, I think of it as more of a push and pull of shame.


Right. It wasn't a consistent thing, but in my mind it was something like, wow, you couldn't handle this. You're such a failure. Then it was, no, no, I'm stronger because I took this time and I just stumbled. I haven't failed. It's not a failure. So it was really these two different voices kind of battling each other when it came to shame for me.


But somehow, every time I looked at my laptop to record this episode, I would freeze. [00:02:00] and I wouldn't even approach my desk where my laptop is. I would freeze and I would find something else to do, like clean my closet for the fourth time, or pick up some more of the kids' toys because organization especially picking up toys, is really never-ending.


You always have something to do when you have kids. So I would just find something else to distract myself with because I didn't wanna deal with this, honestly. I just didn't wanna do it. But it wasn't that I didn't wanna do it, it said I was afraid to. And scared of the stigma of doing it, and so I really had to feel the discomfort in it, face the discomfort in it, and do it this way.


Take my time a little bit, and that's why I'm sharing with you now in all seriousness. Let's start with why I, I took a break. I had been experiencing a very difficult time in my life. I started to feel little interest in [00:03:00] things and I didn't feel good when I was doing things. For example, working out, which is something I love to do, became forced.


I did it because I knew I should, but there was no excitement there as there used to be. I used to love hard workouts, and then when I would go workout, I'd be like, okay, I have to do 20 minutes, and I would just be like lagging, like just no energy, just not enjoying it the way that I, I know I used to enjoy it.


I stopped baking. I stopped singing as much, moving my body as much. I stopped doing as many dance parties with my kids. We do all these impromptu dance parties. I stopped really doing that. I didn't wanna do anything when I was at home. I really wanted to sleep. I wanted to take naps. , I probably though wanted to sleep so much because I had insomnia, so I was tired and there were months and months where I'd get up three to four times a night maybe, and then [00:04:00] sometimes more than that and I'd wake up worrying about something.


Um, honestly, it was often about something horrible happening to my husband or, or the kids, or my sister or my parents, or someone in my family, like really, really awful things happening and I couldn't go back to sleep. I started to feel really down about myself, my life, everything, and I was, I was sad. I felt like there was this 1000 pound boulder on my shoulders, and no matter what I did, it just stayed there and I felt I had let myself down because of the sadness that I felt right there.


Was this part of me, there was this little gremlin that kept telling me thoughts like, you're a failure. Like you're so weak. Oh, you've spoiled, privileged brat. Like, look at you. Oh, you're depressed. You know what you are. You're ungrateful. You have food to eat. You [00:05:00] have shoes, you have running water. You have a toilet, you have a shower.


You and your kids are healthy. You have a roof over your head. You have financial stability and security. Your husband is a true partner in your marriage And. , you are here complaining like it could be worse. You need to go suck it up and you need to keep it moving, right? Your husband, your kids, your clients, your work, they all need you to keep.


it moving and keep going. Now, no one told me that. Like no one told me these things . It's this voice in my head that kept beating me up, like beating me up and telling me like, oh, they're not gonna tell you that they need you to keep moving, but you know, that's what they're thinking. It's that kind of thing.


And when I share this with you so aggressively, that's exactly how aggressive the voice was in my head. It was just like constant. And so this was the headspace I was. I was feeling like a straight up failure because you know, I'm the daughter of immigrants. I'm very proud of that. I'm a Vargas. I say [00:06:00] this all the time.


I'm a Vargas. We're tough, we're tough women, we're tough Latinas. We're resilient. We don't back down. We push through. We sacrifice, we keep it moving. We don't have time to wallow in anything because why would we do that? For what? What does that accomplish, right? That's, again, these narratives we have in our heads and this idea.


Rest and not pushing through that. It's not a privilege anyone before us has had. So what makes you think you get that privilege? Right? Again, this is how I was thinking at the time, even though there was a part of me ab objectively that knew, like logically knew that it wasn't true. , but I was still in this mental place where I actually didn't know No, no.


If it wasn't true, right. Like I, I knew objectively. Okay. That's not, that's not true. Like I know logically that's not true, but God, I feel like it's true. Right? And you know, when I dig deeper into the impetus for what had happened and my [00:07:00] experience in the previous months, you know, maybe it. Me still grieving a miscarriage that I had from several years back.


Maybe I, I hadn't fully processed it. I don't, I don't know. Maybe it's that I never fully understood, you know, the impact or processed what it would mean to have three kids under the age of six, where my youngest came during covid and I couldn't move through life like I did before. I couldn't move through life as the mom of a newborn the way that I did with my two previous children.


it could be, you know, I was emotionally exhausted and I was working a lot, and my body and my mind were like, so you've been pushing us hard for years and we're done. We are done here. We no longer wanna participate. You know, I couldn't concentrate through, I used to, I was off, like I was off. Something was off.


And that feeling just grew and grew over time. So whatever high functioning anxiety I had [00:08:00] before this became straight up non-functioning anxiety. I, I was restless. I couldn't focus. And there were times in conversations with people that I'd be talking to them. and then literally like mid-sentence or like mid, whatever I was saying, I had no idea what I'd said and I had to ask people if I was making sense.


Not in the, in the way. We usually say, Hey, does that make sense? Like, are we, are we, are we on the same page? Not like that. I was literally asking because I didn't know if my words were forming sentences that someone could understand, like it was that bad. I started having panic attacks, uh, and those were scary because.


You, you lose your breath and you, you're literally panicking. And it wasn't as much as I can recall. I don't think it was even over anything significant. Right. You know, one happened before, literally, I think an hour before I was going to BC Boston College because. [00:09:00] The Latino organization there was giving me an alumni award and I was getting dressed and my husband asked me a question like he was in the bathroom.


I was like out in the hallway and he like peeked outta the bathroom and was, and he asked me some question again, it was probably nothing and I started crying like I couldn't breathe and I had a panic attack and those panic attacks continued. I had a therapist by that time. and I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and severe depress.


And I'm gonna be real with you. That diagnosis made me so freaking angry, . I was like, great. I feel bad about myself. I feel bad about life. I feel sad. I don't, I don't have much energy. I'm feeling restless and I'm not making sense when I'm talking to people. And on top of that, I'm freaking defective. Like I am defective because now I have this diagnosis.


What does this mean? And again, that was my shame and the stigma that I was [00:10:00] internalizing. But I am, I'm being truthful with you about what it was like for me at that time. I remember feeling that way and feeling like I didn't know how I was going to come out of it, or, or when, like when things would turn for me.


because by this time I'm like full in the darkness, like I'm in a black hole. I used to say to my therapist and to my husband, I used to tell them it's like I see all dark, like there's just no light. And I'd be very emotional and you know, even when I was emotional, I remember, I don't know why, but, and I'm gonna get emotional in this episode because that time was very difficult for.


But I'd play Adele her album 30. Now do not ask me if you have listened to Adele 30. Do not ask me why I played that album when I was depressed. Like that makes no sense because just go ahead. Listen to the songs. The songs easy on me. Cry Your Heart Out to Be [00:11:00] Loved. These are all songs she wrote in Deep Depress.


And me was like, oh yes, I wanna listen to those songs. And my husband would see me put this album on and he would be like, why are you doing that? Like, why won't you play an album that's gonna make you cry? And I would be like, I don't know. I just, I like this album. It makes me feel heard and it makes me feel less alone.


I remember telling him this and he was like, can we just shut it off? ? And that's how it was for a very long time. Um, I had intense therapy. And my therapist kept encouraging me to consider looking into medication. She didn't push me. It was very much like, Hey, perhaps you wanna talk to a psychiatrist so you know what's out there, like, what else could be out there for you to help you?


And she was talking about medication. She had also asked me what it would feel like if I took a. So these two things, right? A psychiatrist slash medication. And the break for me at that time when she [00:12:00] suggested it were no GOs. I was like, Nope, nope, I, I'm not doing that. I cannot do that. That is not an option for me.


And she would challenge me, but very gently, like very gently challenged by probing with questions. And maybe like four to five months after all of my suffering is what I would really call it. I mean, it's suffering. . I finally came to my own realization. Slowly, this took a lot of time, slowly to my own realization that I needed more help.


All of my coaching tools were just no match for the severe anxiety and depression that I was going through. And you know what's interesting is I know that from my coaching training, right? When you're certified as a coach, it's one of the most important lessons you learn is like, who is your client? Like what kind of client would you engage with?


And. . It's one of the biggest mistakes we make as coaches. When you think you can help someone reach a goal, right? Cuz coaching is forward looking. [00:13:00] It's not past processing. Right. So when you think you can help someone reach a goal when what they're really experiencing is something that needs to be addressed with a therapist.


Like they're having deep depression, deep emotions about their life and about the past or about their current situation, and they're stuck in the present, like coaching is to move you forward. It's not really to process present or the past. And so I knew that like from my training, but it was really hard for me because.


Somehow I thought those tools would apply, but they weren't working. Cuz that's not where I was, I was stuck. And that's not what coaching is for in terms of, you know, you're, you're stuck in deep emotions and deep grief or deep sadness. Like coaching is not for that, that is, that is therapy. So to get out of my darkness, And I describe it as darkness cuz that's literally how I felt.


I felt like it was pitch black, like pitch black. And when I decided to take the [00:14:00] break, like I had to let go, I had to let go, like release a bit and say, you know what? I'm gonna take a break. I'm gonna do it. And I got a psychiatrist who was lovely. I got on a medication. and my medication increased over time, and now I'm like solely backing off of it now, but I'm still on it and it helps with my anxiety because for the past few months I've been feeling back to myself and now I'm putting back in place the tools that help set me up for really good days and days where I feel pleasure, I feel.


Interest and so much, I have much more energy than I did before, and I have my tools that help me navigate things. I finally feel like I'm getting back to myself and it feels really, really, really good. Feels really good. I, I told my therapist that I, I'm feeling joyful again. I told her, I was like, I'm enjoying, I'm enjoying things again.


Like I really am enjoying my workouts again. Like I'm [00:15:00] excited to do like, you know, Jess SIM's, full strength on the Peloton. I even went back to boxing. I used to box years ago and now I'm back at boxing and I love it. And I told her, you know, I'm loving life again. I'm writing again. And I told her that it feels weird to feel.


It feels weird to feel joy the way that I feel, because for a long time it just wasn't the case. And she said to me, you have to know you deserve this and lean into all of this. You know, you are, you're worth feeling this way. And then she, she said something to me that I will never forget. She said, when our circumstances change, our mindset needs to also change.


When our circumstances change, our mindset also needs to change. When she said that to me, I was like, oh, I gotta write that down. I gotta write that down. Because we often talk about [00:16:00] how the way we think about something can change the thing itself, right? The way we think about an experience can change.


The experience itself. But the opposite is true too, right? This is what she was saying. When we take action to change what we are doing, so we're in control of the thing, right? When we take action to change what we're doing, sometimes our brains have to catch up. Sometimes our brains have to catch up with our actions and accept the new.


So my new reality is that I'm someone living with anxiety, and I'm someone who experienced severe depression and severe anxiety, so severe that I became numb and I became non-functional and felt like a failure. I experienced those things, but they were all temporary. You know? They were all t. With a ton of support, with a ton of support.


I don't think you can do this without help and support from a medical [00:17:00] team. I mean, I had my primary care, I had my therapist, I had my psychiatrist. I mean, we're talking about a team of people and my family and friends, my parents, right? I was able to move through that over time. It took time. It took a lot of letting go.


Releasing narratives, right? Like lessening the grip on narratives. And at the same time, it took a lot of work, right? But I'm here and I don't wanna say I'm back because I'm not the same person. And that's a good thing, right? We're different every day. We grow and evolve in different ways every day. And I'm definitely not the same person I was four or five, six months ago, but, I can say that the podcast is back, and I'm looking forward to sharing more episodes with all of you.


I have to share that I'm so grateful and I appreciate so much all of your messages that you have been sending to me over the past months. When you tell me [00:18:00] you feel like I'm talking to you in the podcast or you feel. The guests that I have on the podcast are talking to you directly. It literally makes my heart burst because I know you feel like you aren't alone.


You feel like someone gets you. You're not crazy. And that's such a gift for us to be in community like that and to feel connected like that. Like that's a real gift. So thank you for all of that and thank you for all of your messages and your support. I'm so glad that we're ready to tackle another season of the podcast.


And I also just wanna say that if you have been experiencing any symptoms of anxiety or depression or you're not sure if you are, like you're just not sure. Please speak with a medical professional, right? Please avail yourself of any resources to help and support you. Look, we're all human. I've learned the hard way, , that our vulnerability is our strength and we have to believe that we deserve to live full lives [00:19:00] without consistent pain and suffering.


Yes, there are challenges. Yes, there are obstacles, but. Obstacles and challenges shouldn't be your entire life all of the time. You know, we deserve to live in the light, you guys. We deserve to feel joy and to feel peace, or to feel more peace than chaos, right? It's still taking me a while to truly live into that.


It's so much easier for me to help others than to help myself, but I'm working on it and I'm a work in progress just like all of you. And I feel so grateful you're all on this journey with me. So, until next time, until the next episode, cuz we're back. Um, know that you're powerful. You are powerful now to live your life fully and to live the life you truly want.[00:20:00]


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