2019 isn’t over yet but it will easily go down as the worst year of my life. Earlier this year, in March, I had a severe mental breakdown. The incident was so bad that I was ultimately hospitalized and wound up on anti-depressants for the first time in my life. It all started with panic attacks that kept building in frequency and intensity. The panic became so prevalent that I eventually stopped sleeping. The insomnia was so severe that even a cocktail of Xanax and Ambien only granted me a few hours a night, if I was lucky. And the lack of sleep fueled my anxiety to epic proportions. I stopped eating. The mere thought of food turned my stomach, and my weight dropped into the 90’s. I was a shell of my former self and everyone around me could see it…
When I went to pick up my daughter from preschool, all skin and bones and shaking uncontrollably, the head teacher felt uneasy releasing her to me. It was mortifying, and devastating. When our next-door-neighbor knocked on the front door she took one look at me and said, “Oh my God what’s wrong? What happened to you?” My sister-in-law saw the state of me over FaceTime and booked an emergency flight all the way from London to spend some time supporting me. When I was finally referred to a psychiatrist and prescribed anti-depressants I cried hysterically. I felt utterly defeated. My situation was dire, and even so I resisted taking the meds until several important people in my life convinced me it might be necessary, at least for a little while.
Fast forward to the present, just over six months later. I’m still on anti-depressants and probably will be for another year. I was told that my optimal course of treatment is 18-24 months so that’s what I’m aiming for. I was also reassured that if I survived the first 33 years of my life without medication then I shouldn’t require it long-term, provided I learn better coping skills. Which brings me to my “zen zone”. This little outdoor project was an important part of my healing process. Throughout the spring and early summer I struggled tremendously. My body was adjusting to the meds, which is a complicated process, full of potential side-effects and uncertain outcomes. To top it off I was still susceptible to anxiety and moods swings, which made it difficult to settle back into normal life. I desperately needed something to keep me busy and to look forward to. Our master bedroom has a large wall of sliding doors that open to a covered patio which overlooks the pool. It sounds lovely but for the longest time we were using this patio to store stuff. It looked messy and wasn’t livable. Through my struggle I had taken up outdoor yoga and meditation to calm my mind, and I really wanted a quiet space where I could zen out. I had a crystal clear vision for this sanctuary, and with my husband’s help we pulled it together just as I imagined. It’s the perfect place for relaxing day or night. In these shots I’m wearing a beautiful, flowing dress from Free People, which really complements the setting. It may be October, but here in So Cal our weather is in the 80’s, so a lightweight maxi is an easy outfit option. As for my mental state, it’s something I plan to talk more about in future posts. Shedding light on mental health is now paramount to my writing and will creep its way into many posts as time goes on.
SHOP THE LOOK
Dress: Free People (exact dress in multiple colors and sizes) / Sunglasses: YSL (or try this budget friendly version) / Earrings: Kendra Scott (similar style) / Necklace: vintage (similar style here) / Bangles: Alexis Bittar (similar style) / Shoes: Via Spiga (similar style here)