I’m shaking things up.
Me and my navel-gazing are not the main attraction today. Instead, I am sharing a virtual interview/Q&A I did with Monique Muro of Return to Love, a blog aimed at helping people return to love in moments of anxiety and fear. She also runs Business and Blog Freebies, which is a site with–you guessed it–free stuff for your business and blog! Go check it out, because free stuff is awesome, and so is Monique.
This is the first of several Q&A’s and guest posts I have planned for the near future. I am super pumped to be getting out of my own head and sharing the experiences and thoughts of other people who have faced mental health challenges!
Now, on to the good stuff!
Q & A with Monique Muro of Return to Love
Question 1: Have you experienced anxiety, depression, or both? And have you experienced any other mental health conditions, including but not limited to OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or an eating disorder?
Answer: Anxiety is the big one I have experienced more recently, but in my late teens to early twenties, I did struggle with an eating disorder.
Question 2: At what age did you realize that your mental health was not quite ideal? And how long did it take for you to take steps to help improve your mental health?
Answer: I think in my late teens to early twenties I realized my eating disorder was not ideal. I asked my mom if I could see a therapist, because I knew it wasn’t healthy. But then I ended up disliking therapy so much that I decided to quit and just help myself. It took almost a year I would say, but I ended up choosing to be healthy, and I’ve never regretted it!
Then during my late twenties, I had my first anxiety attack ever while at a major intersection, at a red light. Shortly after that I realized there was something big going on that needed healing. That was almost 3 three years ago, and to this day it’s something I work at every day!
Question 3: How does your anxiety interact with your creativity and creative pursuits? In other words, does it make you more or less creative or creatively active? Do you use your creative pursuit as a form of therapy to help your mental health?
Answer: I had always blogged, since 2011, but it wasn’t until my anxiety started that I decided to blog about love. Not the romantic kind, but the kind I needed to give myself in order to move through the anxiety. I ended up using all sorts of spiritual tools and resources to help me with my anxiety, and started sharing them on my blog, returntolove.co. It made me more creatively active because not only was I trying different things to help heal my anxiety, but I was also sharing them in creative ways to help other people.
For example, the Course in Miracles book really helped me. It was my saving grace, a book I could turn to (and still do) every morning for a loving/healing passage, kind of like the bible, and it always make me feel better. It helped me create an email series called the 30 Days of Love Series, which contains an email every morning with a meditation, music, and a gratitude practice to help you start your day with love.
In short, my anxiety was not only the catalyst to get ME returning to love, but also to help other people return to love as well.
Question 4: Do you feel that your anxiety has negatively impacted your ability to be an entrepreneur, business owner, freelancer, or creative person in general?
Answer: In my case, I don’t think so. My anxiety, since it started on the road, usually only happens on the road. It’s never negatively affected my creativity, it’s been mostly a positive thing for me in terms of creativity. It made me more passionate about blogging and business than I was previously, and those types of activities even helped to take my mind off of it!
Question 5: In general, what methods have worked best for managing your anxiety? (E.g., talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, diet, exercise, a combination of the above, something else entirely?)
Answer: Daily Course in Miracles reading/meditation is really all you need to remember who you truly are, which will help you heal. Because in my opinion, what makes us anxious/depressed is our false belief that we are alone and isolated. The Course in Miracles reminds us gently, and poetically, that we are not. In addition to that, listening to Hay House Radio, starting the day with warm lemon water, avoiding sugar, and exercise definitely helps! I also love the meditations from the Insight Timer app, as well as the Calm app.
Question 6: In relation to your business life or creative pursuit, how do you manage your anxiety when it seems bent on sabotaging you? Or is this not an issue for you?
Answer: Mostly I manage my anxiety by feeling it, and showing up for it. The feeling is there for a reason. When you show up for the feelings you’re having, you’re paying attention to a voice that’s been begging to hear from you for a long time. You have to show up for your feelings in the present moment, and in the present moment is when all things are healed. Deepak Chopra taught me that you really are only anxious because you’re thinking of either the past or the future — if you ground yourself in the present, you will be healed. And I’ve found that to be true for me when I remember that during hard times.
If you want to connect with Monique further, she can be found in the following places: