Today if you look at my life (or my social media) you’ll see a lot of self-love and confidence. You’ll see my big smile, my ability to laugh at myself, and how much I love and appreciate my body and myself. I wasn’t always that way… in 2011 while I was a university student, I was committed to a mental hospital for my depression.
That was my rock bottom.
I hated my life, my body and myself. I had been harming myself since high school—cutting my snow-white forearms and making myself thrown up. It would be easier to tell you what I loved about my body then than what I hated, because I loved nothing. I hated every inch of my body from my red, frizzy hair to my red, discolored-from-surgery toes to my extra 40 pounds of weight.
From an outsider’s perspective…
It seemed like I had it all together. I was at a top university, had solid friends, a great family, good grades, dates with cute guys and my own pup. I knew how to dress myself to hide my big belly. I also knew how to hide my deep pain under the smile I flashed to the world.
On the inside…
I felt alone, ashamed, angry, depressed, helpless, and most hurtful of all, hopeless. I lost connection to myself, to others and to the natural and mystical world. Something was so wrong that I didn’t want to live and I dreamt day and night of dying.
The mental hospital was my wake-up call.
I made a promise to myself the first night I was there: I won’t kill myself. For some time after that was the only decision I made all day. I knew I had to make some changes both big and small or else I would end up right back in a mental hospital or dead.
Can you relate, dear one? Have you felt hopeless, depressed, confused, lost or out of touch with your true self?
Here are some simple yet powerful lifestyle changes I made that helped ground me to stand on my own two joyous feet and empower me to create my very own unique path.
- Daily body movement (it can be as short and simple as a 20 minutes walk).
- Eating (mostly) real, whole foods. (Aim for eating your healthiest ~80% of the time; the other 20% eat what you want, when you want it).
- Daily affirmations. (Keep it short and simple. More on affirmations below…)
- Speaking the truth kindly.
- Living the truth boldly (walk your talk).
I started with the physical.
I got into a consistent yoga practice and sweat my ass off in indoor cycling, rowing and Pilates classes, as well as outdoor hiking and running. Once I started moving my body daily, I naturally started feeding myself better. The more good I was doing for my body, the more good I wanted to do. I ate real, whole foods that were actually food and meals with minimal ingredients that I could actually recognize and pronounce. My extra weight slowly shed away and I slowly started to feel like I was living in my own body once again. Being conscious about how I was moving my body and what I was putting into it transformed my life.
The thing is, love, you can eat all the healthy food you want, work out like crazy and even have the hottest bod’ around but still not love yourself!
If I wanted to fully dig myself out of the black hole of depression and feel the full force of the sun on my face again, then I would have to get to the root of my pain. That was about the last thing on earth I wanted to do, but it was necessary for healing.
My self-hatred and numbing-out rooted was rooted in one traumatic incident.
I was raped when I was 14 and kept it a secret for 7 years. Once I used my voice and shared my secret trauma—first to my trusted yoga teacher and friends and then to my parents—my body and life became as if a ton of bricks was lifted off of my shoulders. Feeling came fully back into my body and I opened up all over. I was able to come into yoga poses that had seemed impossible before, like full wheel pose, because my body released so much of its tension once I let out my secret pain. The colors of world became brighter. I was finally free.
The journey from self hatred to love takes time.
My healing work wasn’t over, though. I had to train my thoughts to not go to their default of self-hatred and harm. I was inspired by Louise Hay and took up positive affirmations. Affirmations are phrases or words that you repeat to yourself to change your thinking patterns and reactions. Repeating affirmations out-loud while looking at yourself in the mirror is especially powerful. You can make up your own or look up some of Louise Hay’s affirmations for inspiration. I used affirmations as simple as “I love myself and I love my body.” I would write them down, repeat them mentally and say them out loud until one day I actually believed deep down that what I was saying was true… I did love myself and I did love my body!
I went from suicidal, self-hatred and self-harm to thriving, self-love and self-respect. It took first and foremost the promise to always choose living my life. My healing also needed consistent and mindful body movement, a bio-individual, whole foods, 80/20 diet and lots of positive affirmations. I had to address my pain and still, every single day, I have to choose to speak and live my truth.
When I decided to heal myself from my depression I had no idea where I would end up. Since the mental hospital I’ve completed 695 hours of yoga teacher training, graduated from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) as a holistic health coach, starting my blog and my business, Thorne Wellness, became one of IIN’s 30 health coaches under 30, fell in love, moved across the world from Los Angeles to Athens, Greece for that love, and wrote a book on my healing journey called “This Little Darkness of Mine – A Memoir on Surviving Depression & Finding Light in Your Life.” (It’s coming out this year!)
When I think of myself in the mental hospital 6 years and 4 months ago, I feel two extremes. I feel a deep sadness for all the pain I carried all by myself. I also feel joyful because if I can get through that time, then I can get through anything. I smile looking back because that girl had no idea what was ahead of her. I smile because that girl had no idea how strong she truly was. Then, I thank her for her strength…
Thank you for choosing life, Becca. I love you so much. You are so brave. You have overcome so much. You have accomplished so much! You conquer your fears. You feel the fear and do it anyway. You feel deeply, oh so deeply, and you love deeply, oh so deeply. You aren’t afraid to love. You have a huge heart. You’re giving, compassionate and full of courage. You’re actually living your life. You are alive! You are beautiful inside and out and you’ve created a beautiful and messy life. I love your smile, your thick, red hair and your long legs. I love your curves, your scars, your tattoos and your snow-white skin. I love you smile lines, your laugh lines and your belly! I love you head to toes. I love you, Becca Boo.
Grab a pen and journal (or your 2018 means of writing via notes on your phone or laptop) and write a love letter to yourself. Write down everything you love about yourself. If you’re having a hard time, start with what you simply like about yourself or what your friends or family would say that they loved about you. If you’re still having a hard time, I’d consider practicing affirmations, sweet one! We all need to write love letters—or thank you letters if that’s more your jam—to ourselves!
Talk about self-empowering.
What would your love letter to yourself say?
Sending you love and support on your journey,
Founder, Thorne Wellness