I was at a low point during the pregnancy of my 2nd daughter. I had a stress breakdown midday way through the pregnancy. Just so much on my plate, and felt I was lacking support and that I couldn’t handle it all. My personal life had challenges and my personal emotional and spiritual health was not great. It turned into post partum depression and anxiety pretty quickly after baby was born. Being in my profession, I knew the tricks. See a psychologist, take my herbs, try to eat well, try to sleep… although those things helped, I wasn’t getting out of my hole fast enough. But it was deeper than the post part mood concerns.
MediTATE or MediCATE
One day at my MD’s office. He said to me: Why don’t you try meditating, if that doesn’t help with your mood in the next couple months, then we really need to consider a medication.
Although I know medications are important and have a time and a place, I really didn’t want to although please know I advise women often to consider medications with their MD. My resistance to it felt a bit silly, but maybe intuitively I knew I needed a different solution.
I knew the research on meditation, the apparent benefits. My mom had been trying to get my into it as well. But despite this it was not something I had prioritized yet. Upon my MD’s recommendation and at my stubbornness around not wanting to go on a medication I downloaded the Headspace app and committed to giving meditation a solid try.
And it worked! 5-10 minutes / about 5 x week. Just took the dark cloud away after a couple months. I know not all women are as lucky with their post partum mood concerns, but this worked for me. It didn’t fix all my problems, but it took that cloud away so that I could function better and start to make positive changes in my health that are so hard when you are feeling crummy.
I was intrigued with this meditation thing. I have to say I didn’t really think it would work that well and quickly. I did a deep dive, longer meditations, 20 minutes crept up to 45 or 60 minutes. It had such a profound impact on my well being. Although there was stress in my life, lots of it, I saw it differently. My life was still challenging, I had unhealthy relationship habits. But I seemed to be coping better. I was mostly consistent with it, some months petering off with additional stressors in life. Then about 1.5 years ago I had a profound shift after a period of neglecting my meditations. I would call it an epiphany. A realization. An awakening.
Meditation up until that point had been revealing things to me, patterns in my life made more sense, my memory was better, I was more resilient. But after this awakening that was amplified.
Basically I just woke up practically overnight from some serious delusions I had in my life and my relationships. For the first time I could see the previous 10 years or more with crystal clarity. I saw all the dysfunctions, limiting beliefs, behaviours etc that had unfolded. I couldn’t believe I had lived like that. From that moment on I was committed to improving my self, loving myself and making important changes in my life. What a gift!
Part of the change was to make meditation more regular and not let life’s craziness derail me from my routine. As my girls were getting a bit older I managed to get my meditations in before they woke up and that rhythm kept me very consistent with it. There’s now rarely a day that goes by without a good meditation.
My awakening really accelerated things for me, I have changed so much in the last 4 years and particularly in the last 1.5 years. I feel more myself than I have ever been. And despite significant stressors in my life this past year or so (2020!), I am:
- Happier than I’ve ever been
- Less reactive
- More compassionate
- Highly interested in serving and helping others
- More confident in myself
I am still learning and growing and continue to fumble along the way, but the ride is pretty wonderful and wild. I’m loving it and excited for whatever is coming our way next! Because if 2020 taught us anything it’s that you never know what will come at you. The only thing you can control is your inner environment. Your relationship with yourself. And you can control how you react to what is happening out there. And that no matter what happens, you lose you work, your home, your car – none of that changes who you are on the inside. A perfect amazing being who is worthy of all the love and compassion especially from ourselves.
This is why I am so passionate about meditation. I see many women in my practice and watch other women experience the stress and uncertainty and emotional turmoil of being a working or stay at home mother or having a wildly stressful job or suffering from mood concerns or just living with the added ‘invisible labor’ that most women do. I work with them to incorporate tools such as meditation to help manage all that we do as women.
We are working on developing our very first meditation challenge. Stay tuned for the release date on that!
Wishing you all peace and happiness for 2021 and beyond.
Dr. Meaghan McCollum is a strong advocate of integrative healthcare and evidence based medicine. She is qualified in the treatment and prevention of chronic disease, sports medicine, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalance, and stress and fatigue. She strives to help you make informed decisions about your health and well being.