I didn’t have a typical childhood. I was a nationally competitive gymnast, so I was in the gym 5-6 days a week, sometimes up to 5.5 hours per day. I left school early and went to one party my whole time in high school. But I LOVED it. I loved the sport. I loved the adrenaline. And I loved the endorphins.
Home life – I was very blessed. While we didn’t have a lot of money, we had a lot of love. I was raised an only child and my mom was my best friend in the world. My parent’s marriage wasn’t epic so there was a lot of yelling (funny enough, they’re INSANELY happy and in love now) and so I did a lot of internalizing. Middle school sucked big time. I would feel really sad or down for no reason which then made me feel guilty since I had a great life and perpetuated the cycle.
My First Diagnosis
When I was 17, I was finally diagnosed with mild-depression and started on this miraculous little drug called Paxil. Within days I felt like a new person. At 33, I’ve now been on anti-depressants off and on for the past 16 years — I did a bout in college where I ran out and forgot and went cold turkey … not the best idea. I’ve been on different medications, different doses, added herbs to the mix.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may always be on some dose and I am totally okay with that – SSRI’s and I are buds.
The Switch – and Postpartum Anxiety
When I was trying to get pregnant with our son, Parker, I was on Paxil and was told that was a no go for pregnancy, so we switched me over to my new bestie, Zoloft. It felt like a great fit and stayed on 50mg for the duration of the pregnancy. Then I had a pretty traumatic delivery and suffered from postpartum anxiety and that 50mg quickly went up to 125mg where it sat for over a year. When we knew we wanted to plan for another baby, I knew the meds were going to have to come down and I wanted them to be back at 50mg again as I had a very healthy pregnancy with Parker and while I don’t like taking risks with medications, my doctors and I agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest – baby included – that I be on a low dose.
My Commitment To Self-Care
So in June of this year, I made a huge commitment to my own self-care. I became a fitness coach and started a 21 day program. I went from 125mg – 100mg of Zoloft and felt awesome. In September, I took on a huge undertaking and committed to an 80 day workout program that was 6 days per week and 45-60 min per day (did I mention I’m a work at home mom?). I didn’t know how I was going to fit this in every day, but I was committed to my own health and that became a top priority – if mommy ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy – it’s true.
Within a month of this program, I felt such a shift in my mental health and mindset. I had also started reading two personal development books per month, a gratitude journal and we’re still working on being able to sit still for meditation. But within that month, we went down to 75mg. Now, I want to note that a few months prior, I had tried lowering my medicine and it did not go well. This time – flawless – like why had I been on a higher dose?! I had given myself a few months to lower but after a few weeks of being on 75mg and feeling awesome, I chatted with my therapist. I was nervous about going down to 50mg since I have new anxiety and stress with being a mom, so she suggested that we start with alternating 75mg and 50mg each night, so that it would net out to 62.5mg. Worked like a charm. After a few weeks on that – and still feeling like a rockstar – I officially went down to 50mg.
I honestly feel NO difference at all and I attribute that to my epic self-care routine – especially the working out piece. Science has proven that endorphins can literally rewire your brain by creating new neuropathways. So yes, you CAN sweat your way to happiness!!! I believe in my programs so strongly – it’s in my bones and my heart – that I have to share it with the world. Let’s get you rockin’ + rollin’ to happiness. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love nothing more than to support you. xo
About the Author
Gena Jaffe is the Legally Fit Mama (aka The Sparkly Lawyer). She’s been running her own sparkly online legal business for 5 years where she educates and empowers women with the legal side of their biz. She’s a former nationally competitive gymnast turned fitness coach and mama to the sweetest boy who is the light of her life. Her wife, Jordana, is also an entrepreneur and together, they run virtual at-home workout groups to help women who struggle with mental health issues.