I decided to write my story so that people can get to know me a bit better, and also because I believe it can help someone who is on the same path.
Stress Affects Health
In summer of 2013, I was your typical workaholic: I worked full-time and did lots of free-lancing on the side. I remember being in the bus working at my laptop, standing in line at the supermarket reading articles on my phone, waiting for the pedestrian light to open writing emails on my phone… I used every single minute of free-time that I had to work. One of my most spoken sentences was “I don’t have time to have fun”.
Every now and then I would eat something that would make me feel uneasy. My heart would start pounding, I’d have chills. I thought I was developing some kind of food allergy. The more I tried to find out which foods made me sick, the more frequent the attacks were. I went to several doctors and they all said I was fine. It got to the point where I was getting sick 5 days/week.
Finally, in October, a doctor at a walk-in clinic told me: you don’t have any allergies, what you are having are panic attacks. He told me to slow down, work less, try wellness activities like meditation, yoga, etc. On December, I was well on my way to recovery, having gone down to 1 attack per month. But it had already taken its toll on my body, and I was starting to have pain on my stomach whenever I was hungry. I went to my family doctor. She said I had gastritis and gave me a prescription drug (Prevacid).
Instead of getting better, my health deteriorated. I lost my sleep, my immune system was non-existent, the anxiety came back, I became depressed. Everything was going downhill. When I complained, the doctor prescribed me a sleeping pill, then an anxiety pill. Those gave me even more side effects. The last drop came in March 2014 when I noticed that both my hands and feet had been tingling for 24 hours.
A Different Kind of Medicine
I realised that I was going to become severely handicapped if I kept on following the doctor’s advice. So I decided to follow a friend’s advice and seek a Chinese Medicine doctor. I also started doing acupuncture, using CBT apps, doing lots and lots of mindfulness and meditation, learning about empowerment through religion, working hard to make new friends, allowing myself to have fun and be happy, spending time with nature, etc. And in less than 2 months I was able to fully recover from all the damage that the pills had done to me.
It was hard work, but over the last 3 years I have learned a lot about how to control my mind, my body and my feelings. I noticed that a big part of that is just focusing on the good things instead of the bad ones. And it got me thinking about what I was doing with my life and my career: was I using it to bring good into this world? Or was I just helping some insurance companies make more money? Could I make a living off of helping others?
In 2015 I started sharing positive news about green/eco/wellness on my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. I was glad to see people liking my posts. But by early 2016, I couldn’t bare working for a business that was not going where I wanted to go. I decided to work for them part-time (the bare minimum to survive) while starting my own Social Enterprise (The Ten Percent Company). My goal is twofold: 1) help people/companies/organizations whom I believe are bringing good into this world (with a focus on the positive) and 2) provide work opportunities for people who are in need of a first chance or a fresh start. You can learn more about the company here.
In this month of April, I decided to go one step further with my social media and positive communication by starting an online magazine. My intention is to: 1) organise the news that I already share, 2) help build a positive mindset in the communities that I participate in, and 3) give an opportunity for people/small businesses/non-profits in the community to get noticed.
I hope you will find the articles, news and events here useful and encouraging. And if you have anything to share, I’d love to publish it (see here for details).