My Story of Growing Into Love
By my mid twenties, I struggled to get out of bed. After more than a decade of struggling with issues of self esteem, feeling powerless, frustration, forcing my way through life, unhealthy relationships, low self worth, I was at rock bottom.
What did I do? I saw a counsellor. The experience here helped me to change my career direction into becoming a counsellor myself. To get out of the "red" and back into the "black," my counsellor and I decided to seek out medication. I went to the doctor and received a depression and anxiety diagnosis, as well as prescription drugs. I tried a range of anti-depressants for the first two years (Ciprilex being the first one). Finally, my doctor and I discovered a combination that left me comfortably numb: Prozac and Wellbutrin. While I remained content with my medications for some time, I really wanted to dive deep and "fix" what was "broken" within me.
I wanted to look at what it was that I was doing or not doing that contributed to my depression. What was I thinking? feeling? doing? Was I setting myself up for success or failure? Did I have faith? Was I being kind to others? Was I being kind to myself? Was I healthy? Was I exercising and maintaining a good balance in my life? Well, I was doing NONE of those things. And the only direction for me to go was up.
While hitting rock bottom is hard (pun intended!), it is most often a necessary step to healing and growth. Addicts, for example, often need to hit the absolute lowest place they never imagined possible, and many times this experience will jolt them into seeking help and making lasting, positive changes in their recovery.
While I had a happy childhood, my teenage experience was a sad, lonely, angry, and resentful one. When I look back now, I feel so much love for myself. While we sometimes run the risk of wishing that we could change the past, I no longer feel this way. Since I was so low, and since all the dark periods of my life led me to that rock-bottom state when I had no will to continue with my life, I grew so much more and felt so good and aware, something that I NEVER IMAGINED POSSIBLE! I believe that my soul has become richer and more developed as a result, and that I have a more well-rounded and tender personality. I am also much more confident, happy, and have more and more profound moments of peace, bliss, and joy. I know how horrible we can make our realities. And now I only feel love and compassion for how I was during those years.
The medications helped me through very challenging times. Now I am completely off them (the process of "coming off" the medications was gradual and under the supervision of my doctor). Some people will need to stay on medications their entire lives. For me, I was able to work on myself so much that I changed my relationship with the depressions and anxiety. Everyone will have a different journey.
Do I still get down from time to time? Yes, only never as down as I used to get. Do I still worry? Sometimes, yet far, far less.
In this blog, I write about my story because my hope is that you can learn from my experience. I also want to share with you how to use spirituality (any faith or belief) as a refuge so that you can benefit from hope and the power of faith. My aim is to help EASE YOUR JOURNEY and soften the hard edges of your growth (at any age).
The blog will also share with you tips and tricks that I am now using in my life to ensure my life is one of ease, health, wellness, and happiness. Please know that we never arrive at these things, only that we CHOOSE them everyday, every hour, every minute and second with our will and our thoughts.
My core message? Each and every one of you is precious, special and unique, and you have something beautiful to share with the world. Follow your heart at all times, be kind, stand up for yourself, and trust in Life to reveal to you your life’s purpose.
Need extra help? Get in touch with me for some guidance:
With great love and big smiles,
Janine M. Ray
MA, BA, RCC, ART-BC
Art Therapist and Clinical Counsellor
Founder of Grow Into Love and Art for Change
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