Monica Bloom was struggling with a mix of anxiety, depression, digestive issues for 11 years, to the point that were getting in the way of her enjoying her life to its fullest potential. She saw, in her own words “EV’RY BODY", including an acupuncturist, therapist, nutritionist, life coach, and an energy intuitive, until she stumbled upon ayurveda and healed herself.
Monica’s story is part of Rupa Health’s Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate series, where we share the stories of patients who take their health issues and wellbeing into their own hands.
What do you do for work?
What health issues were you experiencing?
Depression, panic/worry, maldigestion (gassy, bloatey, crampies), emotional roller coaster, inability to concentrate, low self-worth/inadequacies, carrying old traumas, anger. Most of my problems were in my mind, that manifested themselves in the physical because I often acted out my own dark side, which hindered my growth and frankly, JOY of life!
How did you go about finding a solution? How many doctors/experts did you see during this time period? Tell us about your journey.
HA!!! I hired EV'RYbody!!!! I called this "Project Monica" -- because I worked on a lot of projects for my employers and I crushed it every time. However, the project that I let SLIDE, was me. So I decided to give it a name and I told myself "The best project you'll ever have is you." I hired: an acupuncturist, therapist, nutritionist, life coach, and an energy intuitive. I called them "My army." In the midst of it all on an especially depressing down day, I wanted to disappear so I Googled "Yoga retreat in India" -- cause that sounded both healthy and far away.
And then I stumbled upon the word Ayurveda...and it struck me as familiar (even though that word is kinda crazy-looking) so I Googled 'Ayurveda.' And what I found was EVERYTHING I believed about life, healing, mind-body-spirit connection, us being a part nature, AND most importantly that one size does not fit all (we are all unique individuals!!). Instantly my heart started beating fast, my face got red and I put my head down on my computer keyboard and cried my eyes out, then I started pacing around my tiny SF apartment...tears streaming, "I need this!! This is SO ME. Where WAS this all my life!? This is ME! How did I not know this existed?! This is me. How come nobody is talking about it!? I'm gonna learn it and tell everybody...." And 4 days later I was enrolled in school to become an Ayurvedic Counselor :) This was in 2007.
What does it mean to you to "be your own health advocate"?
Once I learned Ayurveda...I discovered that ALL parts of the army that I hired were within me so long as I knew Ayurveda. Acupuncture is similar to marma points in Ayurveda, so I practiced self massage with oil. I found my inner therapist by journaling and tapping into my soul/spirit and making better choices according to my little voice of wisdom within. I became my own nutritionist too and chose foods that worked for ME, no longer seeking different methodologies of eating...I became an intuitive eater. The inner life coach was championed by my higher self and by understanding dharma (my life's work), which was made easy because I knew I was going to teach Ayurveda for the rest of my life — i no longer felt lost in my purpose on the planet. And the energy intuitive in me was found through meditation practice and yoga. With all these parts of me, I could amplify my own healing so long as I used my Ayurvedic know-how and remembered I always have all the strength I needed, within.
When did you realize something wasn't right? What symptoms were you experiencing?
I felt terrible most of the time. And I thought "this isn't how life is supposed to be...or at least, it's not what I want for myself...so I better fix it."
How long did you struggle before either getting a diagnosis or starting to feel better?
YEARS and YEARS. 11? probably longer.
Tell us about your lowest point. What happened, how did you deal with it?
I don't remember the lowest point, I just remember calling the Acupuncturist down the street and I said, "I think I need help...I don't even know what to do with myself" and with loving kindness she said, "Acupuncture can help but I recommend you also get the support of a good therapist, I have a recommendation." And that week, I had built 2 pieces of my army!
What ended up being the most helpful resources or treatments for you?
I ate a warm lunch at a Whole Foods. Seriously, that was a major turning point. I never ate warm lunch, I never stopped to eat lunch. I would have a small salad and Diet Coke at work, and then go jonesin' for candy or coffee in the afternoon (which only created more anxiety, brain fog, energy crashes, depression, moodiness, etc.,) because I was never actually satiated.
But in Ayurveda class, I learned that one of the cornerstones of a healthy daily routine is to have a big, warm lunch. When I ate that warm lunch at Whole Foods, for the first time in, maybe ever, I didn't get bloaties, crampies, gassies and pain after eating. My mind felt grounded. I felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket. I. Was. Sold.
What was the most frustrating part of your journey?
Feeling like I was not progressing, even though I was. It's tough sometimes to realize the work you are doing IS paying off even though you don't see or feel it at the time.
So my words to you is, trust the process. Know that each day you are doing better and evolving a little bit more. Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Trust.
How has this experience impacted or shaped your life today?
The crap we are dealt with is there because...we are meant to overcome it and become wiser. I am thankful for my "dark years" because I found Ayurveda, healed myself and now, I can help others do the same. My own struggles put me on my PATH to serve!!!
We all deserve to OWN our health -- it is ours -- it is sacred -- we are unlike anyone we know. So let's honor our uniqueness, do what works for OUR unique body-mind-spirits, and celebrate how far we've come.
What advice do you have for someone that's trying to figure out their own health concerns?
Trust that you know yourself better than ANYone else. If you feel like something is off, it probably is. Work to fix it by seeking answers from sources that resonate with your SOUL.