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A LITTLE ABOUT ME:
Hey, I'm Shelley.
Twenty years ago, a few years after graduating from university with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, I landed my “dream job” in the public school system as an Attendance Counsellor. I provided counselling to students and their families to overcome obstacles and barriers to regular attendance at school and supported them in setting and achieving life goals. I loved my work!
Around this same time I met and fell in love with a wonderful man and we raised two beautiful, intelligent and compassionate children together over the span of about 18 years.
Having successfully raised our children into two well rounded young adults and continuing to work in a field I was passionate about, I should have felt like I had it all, full of energy and enthusiasm for the next chapter in my life...
Instead, I found myself less and less able to get out of bed in the morning.
I was completely and utterly exhausted from two decades of working relentlessly in an emotionally charged, high pressure, care-giving profession on top of the demands of family life. But instead of taking a minute to slow down and recharge, I continued to put the needs of everyone else ahead of my own instead.
You know what happened next?
My body began shutting me down through physical exhaustion and sporadic kidney stone attacks.
You know what that meant?
Numerous medical procedures and an increasingly negative thought loop that made me feel bad for being sick.
Did I slow down at all?
You might've guessed it, but no, I didn't.
Doubling down on the career that was demanding more and more of my time, energy, and effort, I ended up taking on an even more senior role. It got me recognized by some big names in Education, but while I felt grateful and proud of my accomplishments, I simultaneously began to notice that these responsibilities were taking a significant toll on my emotional and physical health.
I'd love to be able to say that realization stopped me, but it didn't.
In fact, by that point the only thing getting me through the day was my work with clients.
This all came to a breaking point over the Christmas holiday when my family told me they were worried about me. I was often sad or angry or both. I had also reached a level of hyper vigilance where I found myself constantly on the defensive waiting for the next “attack” to come from any real or perceived threat to me, my colleagues, or my clients.
Over that Christmas holiday I found myself really reflecting on where I was at and what quality of life I desired. I realized how “low” I was feeling when I recognized that I was praying for the next kidney stone attack just to have an excuse to not go to work or have to “show up” somewhere or be present for myself and my family. (I also noticed that I was creating a rather large sinkhole in my couch from endless hours of watching television, eating carbs and drinking wine just to numb myself from all of the negative emotions I was experiencing and my constant rumination.)
It's here when I finally came to the conclusion that I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
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