This is What Brave Looks Like......

Stacey Jennette is a very dear, long time friend of mine who is courageous enough to share her story.  Read her words and let them sink in.  I love her transparency because it brings awareness!  This is bravery.  This is how lives are changed.....and saved. 

 

Photo by:  Simply Southern Photography

Photo by:  Simply Southern Photography

DEFINING MOMENTS, by Stacey Jennette

(noun.  a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.  -dictionary.com)

I’m sure we have all experienced a defining moment in our lives…maybe even more than one.  Can you think back, now, on your most defining moment?  Mine occurred a little over two years ago; however, I think it had been simmering to a near boiling point most of my life.  I was one of those people who never let down. For the most part I always wore a happy face....I was what you would describe as 'pleasing.'  I came by it honestly as I was a performer!  I loved the arts, jazz hands, musicals and landed my one and only big break in the early 90s working the various stages around Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va.  I had FANS, people, that I could not let down!  (for those interested in autographs, arrangements can and will be made)  😉

Not letting down and keeping up appearances served me well for a long time.  I had a lot of friends and had a fun and full life.  However, privately, it wore on me.  I had dealt with the blues (PLEASE don’t call it depression!) in varying degrees for most of my life.  I wasn’t diagnosed back in my early years, I simply know now (looking back) that is what it was.  Because I didn’t want to be blue and my personality tilts up (basically I’m a Tigger), I was able to ward it off for the most part.  There were seasons (especially in my adult life) when it was harder, so I sought professional help by way of therapy and medication.  And this became the ebb and flow of my life….in and out of therapy, dealing/managing my depression, anxiety and sleep issues.

I really thought I had it all under control or at least managed (I use this term loosely) until one evening I awoke in a hospital.  I had attempted to end my life.  The doctors, nurses, EMTs and all who came close to me in those sobering few days labeled me a 'miracle' as they had never come across an individual with such a well orchestrated end of life plan that wasn’t successful.  Wow, something to aspire to, huh?

There were a lot of things that led me to my breaking point....some in my control and some out of my control.  During the days and weeks after I ‘awoke' the things I didn't know far outweighed what I did know.  Everything was upside down. Despite my haziness, fog, confusion, doubt and fear, I knew this was MY defining moment.  And that every action and inaction on my part moving forward would determine my survival or demise.

I am one of the lucky ones as I’m not merely surviving in my recovery….I’m thriving!  Don’t get me wrong….life couldn’t look any more different than it did before and I’m still dealing with some consequences of my actions.  However, yes, I am most definitely one of the lucky ones.  I have a tremendous support system around me:  family, friends and loved ones.  I am set up to win!  I got in to intensive therapy and on the right medications.  Medication that hasn’t changed me…it actually helped to get me back to my awesome (to know me is to love me) self.  The right medication (and dosage) can do that!  

In tandem with the therapy and medication I was receiving,  I also set and REset some priorities in my life:

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-FAITH:  for some crazy reason I had forgotten that God is sovereign in ALL things.  My mere existence today is an example of that.  I am a miracle...His miracle. He is my True North and at the beginning and end of every day I can declare, it is well with my soul...

-YOGA became a SIGNIFICANT part of my healing and recovery.  I had been practicing yoga for nearly 15 years as a compliment to my work-out routine….I loved getting my Saturday stretch on.  However, it wasn’t until this dedicated time of healing & recovery that I realized I had missed the very essence of yoga. At the first practice on my mat during recovery my body simply would not cooperate….I felt like a baby giraffe.  I didn’t know then that my body, physically, needed to flush the emotions of what I had gone through and what I had done.  I can be competitive at times so instead of letting it be a process I, naively, pushed harder.  Through a lot of aches and pains, I made it back to my ‘level’ of practice…whatever that it is!  Shortly thereafter I had the opportunity to go through Yoga Teacher Training (200 YTT).  In the beginning I didn’t know if I was serious about it or not.  I had the time and interest and couldn’t think of a reason not to do it.  This was a 6 month, 200 hour+ course!  I had to chant gibberish with a straight face, I had to take a 10 week on-line course in Anatomy & Physiology (the fascia does what??), I had to study the Hindu gods (wasn’t there a movie I could have watched??!?!?) and basically became fluent in Sanskrit (not kidding).  Somewhere in the midst of it all I fell in love with the process, the story behind the origins of yoga, found a mind/body/soul connection and THINK I meditated for one minute.  I made lifelong friends…kindred friends. I now realize THIS is one of the things I was meant to do.  Game changer.

-DIET:  although I was already a healthy eater, I got serious about my gut health (more later on links to gut health and mental health) and ensuring how I was fueling my body overall (eating clean, cutting out processed foods, eliminating GMOs, nutrient dense offerings and organic options) made me feel better, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  (Don't for O-N-E minute think I eliminated my conscious indulgences!!  😋)

Nearly a year ago I read an article on forbes.com on defining moments.  There were a lot of good takeaways in the article, but the one thing that stood out the most was the following:  ‘the irony of a defining moment is that if you don’t define it, it will surely define you.'

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is focusing attention on having real conversations about mental health.  A recent Harris Poll revealed that 89% of people believe that mental health is equally as important as physical health.  My story has a happy ending because I had (and continue to have) one of many of these real conversations. Life is so much sweeter and richer today....we truly are better together! 

Read more on Stacey's blog

And, if you need help, please visit: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:  

 

 

Photo by:  Simply Southern Photography

Photo by:  Simply Southern Photography