In the past few years, I’ve felt lost and like my life has been a bit of a mess. If my hormones were an indicator of my level of satisfaction with my life, they would have told you that I was in utter shambles, rock bottom, at ground zero. I’ve been pretty fed up for a while and I’d suffice it to say 2019 was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the year I finally had enough of feeling trainwrecked mentally, emotionally and physically.
Sure, I’ve experienced the typical discontentment that many of us go through at several points in life, but 2019 just hit different for me. I think in 2019 I finally reached my breaking point which was a clear sign something big needed to change. In terms of my career, I felt paralyzed by my fear of failure and unable to give myself permission to walk away from a seemingly-perfect gig in search of something more fulfilling and meaningful. In terms of relationships, I felt unable to fully open up and deeply connect with others. In terms of my spirituality, I felt shaken and like I was lacking an anchor to ground and center me with the inspiration I desperately needed to heal myself and help me transform my life. Overall, I felt like a bit of an imposter and like I was not living as my most authentic self.
“Sometimes in life, a sudden situation, a moment in time, alters your whole life, forever changes the road ahead.”
I had found myself engulfed in a series of unhealthy lifestyle habits to cope with my internal struggles . I became a master of hopping from new project to new project as a distraction; I was overworking myself and not sleeping well or recharging my body properly; I was constantly stressed about every little thing; I was eating poorly and not exercising regularly; I was withdrawn from people; I was more irritable and became somewhat of a recluse that preferred staying home and minimizing interaction with the world. While not officially diagnosed, I would go as far to say I was depressed and slowly becoming a victim in my own life. Eventually this behavior slapped me in the face in the most vicious way, forcing me to stop dead in my tracks and really think about how I was going to reclaim my position as the CEO of my life. I was oblivious to how much self-care I truly needed……..until my hormones quickly reminded me.
Around the top of 2019 I started experiencing acne breakouts on my face unlike anything I have experienced in my entire life. Sure I have had typical bouts with acne even in my adult life, but this was on a whole different level. I had enlarged bumps popping up aggressively along my lower cheeks, jawline and chin areas. Not only that, but the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation I was experiencing was through the roof. I immediately just assumed I was probably a little stressed. The company I had been working for at the time was going through a merger and there was a good likelihood I would be laid off. So to me, that had to be the gist of it and I figured I probably just needed to chill out and try not to worry too much.
But weeks kept going by and my face seemed to be getting worse. I took to Uncle Google to see if I could figure out what was happening. The area of my breakouts were so heavily concentrated on the lower part of my face that I knew there had to be an explanation for this. After a few searches I came across some articles and a few charts that correlated the location of your breakouts to a potential root cause. I learned that my hormones were likely the culprit. But as my breakouts continued to persist even after seeing several dermatologists, I figured I needed to see a doctor who specialized in hormone disorders so I made an appointment with an endocrinologist. Because by that time, my search results from Uncle Google had started to scare the shit out of me and caused me to at least preliminarily diagnose myself as potentially having diabetes, a thyroid disorder, or polycystic ovary syndrome. And don’t act like yall don’t WebMD your symptoms to death, but I digress.
So I am sure you could imagine the look on my face going in for my follow up with the endocrinologist to talk about my test results feeling all nervous and anxious about the disorder I was going to learn I had only to be told nothing was wrong with me. Now I will say this, I am always thankful to receive a clean bill of health every time I go to the doctor, but with my face looking like I was going through puberty at 37 years old, that explanation was not working for me that day. I really wanted to hit her with a “how sway?”. She immediately started to question me about my lifestyle, how I was feeling, things that were going on. It started to feel more like a therapy session vs. a follow up doctor’s appointment. But that conversation with the endocrinologist really got me thinking about my life and what was actually going on in it, my feelings, the whole nine. It was the first time I had given any real consideration to my overall well-being from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint and how my lack of self-care and self-love had landed me in that doctor’s office in the first place.
My dissatisfaction with my life reared its head externally through this traumatic breakout experience. It was a breakdown but a breakthrough of sorts that prompted me to not only seek out help via a therapist but to start focusing on how I could benefit myself with a host of other things I could control like eating healthier, exercising, reading, pursuing hobbies & creative interests, building better support systems, etc. to help me restore the balance in my life. In many ways, I am so thankful that this happened to me. While it was painful and made me extremely self-conscious about the way I looked, this experience awakened me. It made me realize several things: (1) that I needed to stop playing the victim and start tackling my life from a position of power, ownership and responsibility; (2) I needed to seek out and implement healthy ways to cope with stress, my emotions, and navigating life changes so that I could live a life filled with more joy, love and peace; and (3) the importance of having a healthy balance in my life to keep my mind right, my soul straight and my heart strong.
Since the breakout fiasco, things have been on the up and up. First and foremost, my skin is back flourishing. I’ve been seeing a therapist weekly which has truly been a game changer. I really hope people, especially women of color, consider participating in therapy. There is so much trauma and pain that you may not even realize you have built up in you that impacts so many areas of your life. It’s been a way for me to unravel in a way that is healthy and provides me with the guidance and understanding I need to live a fulfilled and happy life. My habits and routines have improved. I’ve connected with my spirituality and I’m taking each day as it comes, giving my all to operate intentionally and with gratitude. Things are not perfect and definitely not easy, but I am happy and have found a peace and contentment in my life right now exactly as it is that I didn’t know was possible. I know my personal growth and path to fulfillment will be an ongoing journey, but each day I look forward to a new opportunity to become the best version of myself that I know I can be.
How have you managed coping with the ups and downs of life in order to maintain your balance? Drop a comment and let me know.