Happy Holidays! I hope the season is treating you well.
This can be a challenging time of year, especially when life isn’t quite what you thought it’d be.
I do love this photo, but looking back, my smile wasn’t what it seemed. I was pretty miserable at this point in my life.
About 6 months before this picture was taken, I’d started a transformation. After bawling my eyes out to a friend about the loss of my first love to suicide – 5 years after that loss – I *finally* realized that no-one else would ever be able to rescue me from the pain I was feeling.
I’d been trying to find help outside of myself, to no avail. It was time to turn inward.
Taking full ownership for the way I was feeling & embracing my ability to do something about it was a huge turning point for me.
I connected with a suicide prevention organization and became a volunteer. I continued to work hard on my degree in psychology.
However, I didn’t realize then what I know now about turning points and personal transformation. Now I know that choosing to get started is the easy part of the process.
Learning how to sustain a totally new way of life can be hard, and it often gets worse before it gets better. Trying to make a change throws you into the fire deeper than you were before. Any time we commit to change, we’ll be tested.
I wasn’t doing well when this picture was taken. I’d developed wild anxiety, feeling completely insecure and inadequate most days.
I had panic attacks keeping me awake almost every night. Severe panic attacks, checking doors and windows multiple times over hours to make sure they were locked, terrified that I would never wake up if I fell asleep. Etc.
Being in my body was uncomfortable, so I was abusing myself with tons of chemicals – caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, alcohol – every single day. I wasn’t eating enough and I was barely sleeping. (I’m sure this played a huge role in my anxiety)!
I felt unsupported in most of my relationships, and I’m sure I wasn’t very supportive for my people either. I had no idea how to communicate with the people in my life.
I’d buried my emotions for a long time, and everything started to come out.
While I believed I could have an impact on the world, and big dreams lived inside of me, I had no idea what I’d do after graduation.
I just knew that the world would be a happier place if I could help it’s people feel better.
Over the last nine years, I’ve been working on it, and I had to help myself feel better first.
I slowly took space from relationships that weren’t good for me. I continued volunteering, learning lots about suicide prevention & grief support. Being in a community that understood what I was going through was really helpful. Eventually, I started working as a mental health case manager, then working with clients for the first time threw me deeper into anxiety again.
At that point, I saw a therapist for a few years. I learned about fitness and nutrition, energy healing and other alternative health options while I continued to work in mental health.
With all of these things combined, I lifted myself out of the grave I’d been digging myself all those years. I started to feel genuinely happy again, about six years ago.
Many more challenges presented themselves along the way… a traumatic car accident, relationships, and breakups, friend dramas, deaths, rejection from a graduate program (enter questioning – WTF do I do now?), injuries, dating, unhealthy/challenging work environments, more deaths, an arrest for DWI… Plus, leaving my traditional career path to start my own business, which is by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
With each challenge, I refined my tools for coping and I learned some new ones. I’ve taken steps backward and forward, some wobbly, some that put me on my ass.
Overall, I’m deeply satisfied with my life.
I’m a LOT better at work, life, and relationships than I used to be. (The results my clients receive are even more stellar). I know how to positively impact the people around me – I don’t even need words to do it. It’s all about who I’m being in the moment. I love myself more every day, which allows me to give more to others and receive more from the world.
This makes for a much more enjoyable holiday season.
Life is going to hand us challenging times. Always. My program Mental Wholeness provides us with tools to use those challenges as fuel – so they can make us stronger rather than taking us out. With Mental Wholeness in hand, we’ll always know exactly how to stand back up and keep going when life puts us on our ass.
I’ve consolidated a lifetime of passion, time, resources, and energy into this foundational program for myself and my clients.
Don’t get me wrong, Mental Wholeness isn’t *just* for challenging times – it’s actually most helpful (and genuinely magical) to start practicing when things are going well – it just comes in extra handy when the shit hits the fan.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the Mental Wholeness process step by step, here on my website and on Instagram. Consider taking me up on this holiday gift. Follow along and join in the conversation. Make sure to follow me if you want to stick around for that. @briannamcinerny
And until next time, I hope you enjoy this holiday season to the fullest. Sending all of my love to you and yours. We’ll talk again soon.