when the health coach isn’t well



i’ve been sitting on a dark secret, holding onto my story, and trying to move forward in the best way i know how. my strength has always been not showing weakness. putting the ugly in a clean and organized box and placing it on a shelf, metaphorically out of sight.


overall, i’ve always held a healthy level of confidence. confident enough that i’m not shuttering in a corner unable to interact with others but not too much to the point i see myself as better or above another. few would consider me outgoing.


not sure when the water began to cover my face or exactly how i quit frantically treading the water i feared drowning in, because it happened slowly.

not sure where i lost the confidence i had always appreciated, or where exactly i turned it in for an inability to move or to do the things i once severely enjoyed.


first, i quit attending public yoga classes which was my community that kept me grounded. then i stopped meeting my favorite running partners for our morning runs which i love and look forward to. there were even a few stories told about runs i never went on. weird, i know, but oddly it didn’t seem so at the time because nothing made sense to me.

close friends thought i’d packed up and moved away.

and most painfully i backed out of connecting with my family as often as i like to because i was afraid they’d recognize something wasn’t right. they know me too well and i couldn’t handle them asking what was wrong.


mostly because i didn’t understand what was happening.


the first few people i chose to open up to told me i must be mistaken because i’m not the type, they said.

i’m not the type but NOBODY is really the type and, as i found out, we’re all just as susceptible as the next.


one day, while i fought to crawl back to my normal life, i met my friend polly for a 6am spin class followed by copious amounts of coffee because that’s our thing.

polly is an inspiring woman to me, she’s in her late 70’s, a practicing buddhist, and a retired psychologist. we met working out early mornings at the same health club and very quickly took a liking to one another.

over coffee she asked why she hadn’t been seeing me. she wondered where i’d disappeared to after being such a regular in the early morning club scene. against my best intentions, i opened my mouth, and my story poured out.

i watched as her face flashed to concern and, more importantly, her heart opened wide. she was like a real life care bear shining love my way.

she looked me directly in the eye and said in her kind and gentle way ‘sweetie, you were very depressed and i’m so sorry i didn’t know to reach out.’

emotion rushed over me. it was a painful relief to hear her say what i knew to be true deep down. we cried. we hugged. i was seen, not judged, and all my gross feelings were out there.


they didn’t disappear immediately but they were acknowledged which began to help them dissipate.


it doesn’t matter how i wound up there or how long i was in my dark place. but what mattered was that i felt as though i was getting back on track.


back to feeling the ups and downs of life in all their painful glory.

the problem is it’s a daily struggle not to slip back to that dark place. and it’s a friendly reminder there are battles being fought by many.

every. single. day.

depression doesn’t have a type, it’s an equal opportunity life smasher.


if there is one, this seems like the perfect time to share i’m also certified in suicide intervention and prevention.

i’ve been in the trenches with real people who were ready to end their life and i’ve helped walk them back, convincing them to spend another day here.

although i haven’t seriously considered taking my own life i do understand how someone gets there. it’s also nearly impossible to save yourself, so it’s important to reach out.


life is hard. it can be cruel and confusing but i also fully believe it is quite beautiful and bursting with goodness.


i’ve always been an extremely private person but in this present time, i’ve also made sure to share my story with those i keep close because it feels important to me for them to know where i’ve been and even more importantly, for them to to be able to check in and ask how i am.


it’s a conversation that makes the people that love and care for you very uncomfortable.

even when it’s not their story. nobody wants to talk about depression.


i’m out of my comfort zone sharing it here but there’s no shame in something we’re not able to control. there’s a weight that comes with a sense of shame which is a heavy burden to carry. if i could, i wouldn’t let another human being feel it or experience it. ever.


i personally think depression (and mental health in general) is a conversation we all need to be involved in, because whether or not you’ve experienced it firsthand, we’re all affected by it.


depression is severely under diagnosed and deeply misunderstood.


with depression, there’s nothing to be ashamed of because how and when it happens is out of your control. believe me.


this isn’t something i EVER anticipated sharing publicly and probably my least favorite post to publish yet. however, once i saw kevin breel’s TED talk ‘why we need to talk about depression’ i couldn’t sit on it anymore.



after seeing his TED talk i didn’t feel like i could not NOT open up a little. i didn’t feel like i could continue to sit on the sidelines with the happy face most are accustomed to expecting from me. i didn’t feel like i could be quiet like i typically prefer to.


so what happens when the health coach isn’t well?


well, depression zaps any level of confidence you thought you once had. it steals your self-esteem and empties you out from the inside.


not a funny and fun emptying like a piñata at a party but a slow painful draining that leaves you exhausted.




it makes it very difficult to feel confident helping others with their health when you’re not feeling your own. and for me i started at ground zero, choosing to employ the very strategies i excel in teaching.


i rolled out my yoga mat and got back in my body. changed my diet. got out and about in the fresh air. i got back to my meditation practice and i spent lots of time talking with my sweet friend polly.


i’ve pulled my family close again and i’ve reconnected with my dearest friends. most importantly i gave myself a break as i’m often my own worst critic.


feel like you’re in it? keep your head up and your heart strong. you’re not alone.


reach out to me or someone close to you and start the conversation. it’s not easy or enjoyable but it does get better.


life does not have to remain dark and twisty.




37 Responses to “when the health coach isn’t well”
  1. Tamsin says:

    This is a beautifully written post and you’re very brave. This affects many people, you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s important to talk about this.

    • Jessica says:

      thank you, it was difficult to hit the publish button but i think it’s so important to the healing process to start the conversation. it’s my hope someone else might stumble across this and not feel so alone in their own experience.

  2. Lisa says:

    Its so important to talk about mental health and depression, thank you so much for this!

    Lisa | http://www.abadvegan.co.uk

  3. Viki says:

    Don’t give up. Life can be hard, but it’s also so rewarding! Good music helps me a lot changing my mood!

  4. Subah says:

    This is such a beautiful blog post.. thanks for sharing this..the last line especially is very powerful.

  5. Vishal says:

    Kudos to you for sharing your story. It’s crucial that more people come out and talk about their experiences and remove the stigma associated with depression. Sometimes all one needs is to share and someone to listen to them openly without judgment. And you are right. Life does not have to remain dark and twisty. We all have a power within us to lift us from darkness into light. More power to you!

    • Jessica says:

      thank you vishal, you words are so kind! i completely agree that it’s crucial people start to speak up and that’s part of the motivation to share my own story. the more i’ve shared my story with close friends i found many have been there too and there was comfort in our openness and a new connection in our friendship (:

  6. Erica says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. This is something so many of us go through and it’s crazy that people still feel so uncomfortable talking about it. And your friends mean well, but even the most social, upbeat person can become depressed. Your story will help many others just being out there.

    • Jessica says:

      i totally agree and thank you so much. i’m definitely upbeat but not wildly social, lol. my discomfort is sharing my story took a backseat to the potential that someone else might read it, relate, and not feel alone.

  7. Your story is very timely on what i am feeling right now. I lost my sense of self confidence long time ago.
    just recently, I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone of being passive. Now I’m trying my best to be back on track again. Thank you for this well written entry! I also made a blog last #worldhealthday mental health awareness.

    • Jessica says:

      thanks nicole and cheers to the strength of finding yourself and moving forward. personally i feel like i’ve come out the other side a better version of myself and i hope you do too!

  8. Hannah says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience, this is something that many people you go through and we all know someone suffering. The more people talk about it the more we can all get to understand about mental health.

    • Jessica says:

      i completely agree. the stigma and the shame is so unneeded and although it was scary to share my story, i know i’m not alone in my feelings. cheers!

  9. I think it is so important that you published this. And as the mother of a teen, doubly important for us adults to start normalizing depression and the ways to get help. If we remove the stigma and increase awareness, we’ll be able to help so many more people. After all, its a very common problem!

    • Jessica says:

      thank you so much lane! once i started looking at the statistics of depression-the staggering numbers of men vs. woman, the way women internalize it and handle it, my sweet 13-year old niece who means the world to me was at the front of my mind…i can’t protect her from it but i can help remove the stigma….and hopefully help someone else not feel alone in the struggle.

  10. Tia says:

    so great that people are finally starting to talk about mental health

  11. Julie Torres says:

    I applaud you sharing a very personal post, so many suffer and sharing really does help. Beautifully written.

  12. Liz says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Mental health is something that we need to talk more about.

  13. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so hard when we don’t feel like ourselves and the things we usually love aren’t fun anymore.

  14. Linda Luke says:

    What a beautiful, vulnerable, and authentic post. You inspire me!

    I am a life coach who has struggled with depression most of my life, but am doing really well now. Some of my clients know, my friends know, and I have mentioned it briefly in my blog when it might help someone.

    It has become a gift to learn that because of what I went through others who feel low or lost feel safe with me and that I understand.

    Whatever was going on with you had it’s reason. It was either preparing you or teaching you something that will be good for your soul.

    If you are still there, get help. No one needs to be alone.

    In one of my posts I shared a link to a video of Marie Forleo and Kelly Brogan talking about natural ways to heal depression. I bought the book but haven’t read it yet. If you are interested, the link to the video is in this post: http://lifecoachlinda.com/healing-depression-feeling-empowered/

    I’m not trying to lead, sell, or anything. Just sharing in case it’s something you are interested in.

    Thank you for leading the way in being open about depression. I know it took a lot of courage to do so.

    • Jessica says:

      thank you linda for your thoughtful comment and i totally agree that it has become a gift to realize in sharing my story that others feel even safer with me than they did before. there’s been an odd freedom i’ve felt that i did not see coming since sharing…thank you for sharing the link to your post too, marie is great and the video with kelly is awesome. brene brown has been very helpful for me and i’m on third time through listening to her teachings on authenticity, connection, and courage through the power of vulnerability. it’s incredible and she’s incredible. right now i’m feeling like a new and improved version on myself and if it took a painful period to find that, i feel all the better for it. cheers to our health and the process of connection!!

  15. Anne-Fleur says:

    This is so very brave of you to share! And, indeed very important. It touched me. Good luck to you! It’s good to know you’re surrounded by good people.

  16. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your heart. You have so much courage to be real. This is such a strong post and I know will affect so many. God bless you!
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

    • Jessica says:

      thank you debbie, i appreciate it. it was tough to hit publish but the response has been really great. cheers!

  17. Maureen says:

    Thank you for your courage, your eloquence and your caring. This is what the world needs!

  18. Paula Moore says:

    THANK YOU!!!! You are brave, beautiful, and so loved.

    • Jessica says:

      thank YOU paula and tons of love right back at ya…you’re a beautiful soul with a beautiful family and you bring so much light to my world!!

  19. Kate says:

    Good for you for speaking out about your story. It is so important that we get comfortable talking about mental health issues as a society. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your journey.

    • Jessica says:

      thank you kate, thank you very much and it’s slow, but i think people are getting more comfortable with the discussion. cheers!

  20. Razena says:

    I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write this… I started to do the same thing a few weeks ago but when it became too much I set it aside and will get back when I feel ready. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Jessica says:

      thank you very much and your story will come out when it’s ready. i sat on this until i didn’t feel like i could and haven’t regretted it once. reach out if you need someone to talk to (:

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