What a Difference a Year Makes: A Message of Hope

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Last year at this time, I was considering taking an anti-depressant for the first time ever. I had lost both beloved fur babies unexpectedly during a year-long perpetual state of PMS brought on by a bad case of bioidentical hormone treatments that highlighted the toxic state of the world during which I was diving headfirst into ‘trauma release’ therapy…AND, did I mention the global pandemic? All of this, and throw in a few more life punches for good measure, contributed to a midlife breakdown and overall sense of doom.

Last January, I suddenly stopped taking the hormone pills (without tapering as recommended) and further descended into depression. The worst of it was the two weeks of withdrawal. I felt ever more empathy for those people, including my dad, who’ve struggled with the slow seduction of suicidal ideation. No, I wasn’t ready to end it all…but I was deep in darkness and didn’t know how I was going to get through.

Cut to current time… I’m relieved to report that once my body rebalanced, so did my mind. I feel like myself again! I was surprised that something I thought would be benign (and actually beneficial) turned out to have a profoundly negative impact on the way I felt, behaved, my health, appearance, and overall outlook.

Many women feel wonderful while taking hormones. Others, not so much. Every individual’s body and biochemistry is different. So next time, no matter what wellness guru (or even doctor) starts selling me on one-size-fits-all bio-hacking baloney, I will be more discerning about any interventions affecting my body’s natural processes. Had I heeded the early signs that the hormones were causing havoc, I would’ve avoided much unnecessary stress, mentally and physically. Moving forward, I will rely more on intuition to determine what’s right for my unique needs.

More than ever, I believe it’s important to tune into our bodies and instincts for how to best maximize health. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to perpetuate pain, paranoia, and separation within our polarized culture. Many purport to have all the answers for others, yet TRUE ‘inclusivity’ should also include a diversity of ideas. For all the current Covid chaos erupting around the world, I still feel hopeful for the future and believe in humanity’s ability to heal.

None of us know if things will get worse or if the bulk of bad times are behind us. But a great number of sages have said difficult times cultivate qualities that are indispensable to a good life. The greatest growth often occurs when we don’t even know it’s happening. I’ve always feared getting older, yet in many ways I feel more fulfilled, happier, and hopeful than I have in AGES.

On off days, I no longer put pressure on myself to be perky. Feelings are fickle and tomorrow will be different. The darkness inevitably dissolves into dawn.

The inner housekeeping I did through therapy these past few years has not been easy. It’s actually been quite excruciating at times. But finally, I feel like I’m coming through the other side of something powerful that couldn’t have occurred without my willingness to go to some
painful places.

Expecting ideals rather than reality is often what sets up suffering. Maybe being an ‘adult’ means accepting life on its terms – rather than running after unrealistic notions of how life should be, and resenting when situations or people fall short of such unobtainable standards. My relationship with my husband became much richer once I dropped the fantasy that he was supposed to be flawless and fulfill my every need…and instead started appreciating ‘the human him,’ doing the best he can with human limitations, just like me. Life on our beautiful planet is far from perfect, but there is still much to savor and celebrate.

No matter how the upcoming months unfold, we will be stronger and wiser after this painful pandemic passes. Hopefully, the holidays will give us all time to process the past couple of years and understand what purpose such an intense global event may be serving, personally and collectively.

My hope for everyone this holiday season is that you may connect with loved ones, regardless of differences and the emotional messiness that often accompanies intimate gatherings. I have a big Italian family in New Orleans and do my best to keep uninvited opinions at home when we come together to celebrate. I value important relationships over being right.

I’m continually grateful for this Essentiel community and look forward to growing together in the new year. May the holidays and 2022 bring you heartfelt happiness!

“We need to feel that life, despite all the current divisions and conflicts, remains holy and that healing remains possible.” -Michael Meade

Wishing you love, warmth, and wellness!


💖Please share how the pandemic has helped you grow…or anything else. I love hearing from you!



4 Responses to "What a Difference a Year Makes: A Message of Hope"
  1. clara says:

    i so appreciate your ability to put your struggles into an opportunity for me to know you deeper and more intimately– you are a true seeker and i applaud your triumphs over your challenges. i pray this year is full with beauty and peace for you and this precious world. loving you!

  2. Keith Davis says:

    Doing the real work SiSTAR.. really, it’s the only work. Enjoy the calm, understand the storm.

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