Summer Swaps for Mental Health

Have you had a day, a week, a month, a year, or years where you don’t feel the way you want to? 20 years ago, I thought something was very wrong with me. I was not feeling like myself; my thoughts were unwanted but very real, and I’m sure someone reading this can relate to a similar situation. 

I was 24 years old, had just moved to a tiny town, weeks postpartum from having my first baby by emergency C section. I was highly unprepared and completely overwhelmed by what was about to happen. 

Up until the birth of my first son, I didn’t have a reference for most physical struggles, let alone mental health struggles; I hadn’t had any extreme illnesses growing up or surgery. As far as a lifestyle, I wasn’t raised on fast food or dining out, and my mother wasn’t super keen on medication as a first reach. Even in my teenage years, the party life wasn’t for me. I was naive, and my system was pretty clean, but on August 8th & August 9th, 2001, for the first time in my life, I was pumped full of drugs, cut open, handed a baby, and sent home to go live my best life a couple of days later.

Almost immediately, I realized I didn’t feel how I thought I would feel, in fact, the opposite. I wanted to be happy, but all I could do was cry. I wanted to cherish my time with my little one but visions of the unthinkable would haunt me. 

I can see so clearly now the kind of support 24-year-old Jessica needed, and I have a lot of compassion for her because that was mentally one of the most challenging times in my life. 

Because of fear and shame, I didn’t want to tell anyone how I was feeling. If you are reading and relating to this without support or a therapist, please get help here

Glory to God, a month or so after my son was born, Oprah had a special episode on her show interviewing mothers and a doctor educating on the stages of postpartum depression and what it can look like. I reflect on that episode as the beginning of my healing journey and interest in the healing arts. Because of that episode, I found peace that what I was experiencing, although not easy, is common and that there were ways to get help and ways to prevent it. From that point on, I became aware that the gut-brain connection impacts mental health, that food can be poison or medicine, that eliminating harsh chemicals would lessen the toxin overload to keep hormones in harmony. I started with exercise and sweating, eating clean, eliminating inflammatory foods, getting the correct about of fats and protein, replacing my household cleaners and personal care items. 

If you're looking for functional ways to support your mental and physical wellbeing, I encourage you to follow Dr. Mark Hyman an activist for functional medicine, real food, nutrition, and wellness.  I've bookmarked his posts about mental health for you, click here

If you are planning a family, pregnant, postnatal, or mid-life, it’s not too late to become the gatekeeper of your body, mind, spirit, and abode. This Summer, you can still take steps to eliminate the harsh chemicals from your life and replace them with plant-based alternatives. Click here for a few ideas that can help meet you where you may be right now. 

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P.S. I genuinely share what I love; you can always count on that. I do earn a commission through the affiliate links I share unless stated otherwise. Thank you for trusting me.