Everything became dark around me and all I could see was my life spiraling downwards.
Before I knew it, I had hit rock bottom… again. Literally and figuratively. This wasn’t the first time but in that moment, as I sat on the floor of my washroom drowning in a puddle of my own tears, I knew that I had to “just keep swimming.” More than that, in that moment, I made a promise to myself that this would be the last time. No more rock bottoms. No more crying. No more playing victim.
It was time for me to take my life back and not just live but THRIVE!
My name is Jasmine Garcha, also known as Holistic Jazz! I am 27 years old and I love myself! At the age of 25, I made the decision to leave my career in youth work and take a leap of faith to focus on my health. I was 25 and sick beyond my years. I knew that I didn’t not want my present to be my future. Rather than let the fear of the unknown hold me back, I embraced the unknown. I studied holistic nutrition, took time to focus on my health and travelled the world. I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, former youth worker, community activist, avid volunteer and really just exploring my options and finding my way!
I created Holistic Jazz as a platform to share my life story and to empower others to lead a holistic lifestyle. When I am asked what Holistic Jazz is, my reply is: Holistic Jazz is a glimpse into one girl’s life experiences of being dubbed a medical mystery. Through her trials and tribulations with chronic illness and pain, she strives to find healing through all that holistic jazz. She shares with you a glimpse into the highs and lows of her ongoing journey. She is a woman finding her way to wellness. She is me.
My struggle with self-love began as a child in elementary school. First I was bullied at school for my weight and my race. Then when I was ten years old, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after, my battle with depression began. By the time, I reached my early teens, my inner battle had grown stronger as a result of the negative and emotional experiences around me. I absorbed the problems and bottled the emotions inside of me. Overtime, all this accumulated and transitioned into severe disordered eating and deep bouts of depression accompanied by frightening suicidal thoughts.
Depression not only ruled my life, it also introduced me to its cousin anxiety who would continue to control my life.
I learned to hide my inner battles by showing everyone that I was fine on the outside. All the while, my health was starting to spin out of control.
While I struggled with my mental health, my physical health started to get worse. Over the years to come, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, suspected Endometriosis, Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, not to mention chronic pain from injuries sustained from two car accidents.
All the while, I graduated university, maintained a full-time job, got awards for my volunteer work and continued to participate in this thing called life. My mindset was to simply suck it up and deal with it. Internally, I was struggling and grasping at anything that would give me some sort of purpose to live. I didn’t want to see a counsellor because admitting that I was not okay was just not possible. So, I continued to battle my demons in silence.
One of the largest barriers for myself and for anyone battling any invisible illness is trying to explain to others what you are going through.
Others only see your external side, they don’t see or understand what is going on inside of you. When you say, I don’t feel well today, they say “well you look fine.” It is not socially acceptable to say, “oh my IBS is out of control today” or “I need a mental health day”. The saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. Similarly, I want people to stop judging people on how they look or act. Take a moment to genuinely ask someone how they are doing. It means the world to someone who is struggling with an invisible illness to know that someone cares and more importantly that they are not alone in this fight.
To those struggling with any form of invisible illness, my advice to you is to always remember that your diagnosis does not define you. It is simply a label for your symptoms. I encourage you to look deeper for the root cause of your diagnosis. Every illness, every disease, every diagnosis has a root cause and an underlying emotional component. Once you uncover that truth, then and only then will you be able to start your healing journey.
Give your body the space and grace that it needs to heal.
After trying every allopathic and alternative treatment available, I ultimately found relief and healing by adopting a holistic lifestyle. More importantly, it was when I began my spiritual journey to address my bottled-up emotions and release my past, that I started to regain my health and my life. I gave my body the time and space it needed to heal. I gave my body grace and love. I surrounded myself with people who understood where I was at in life and supported me. I started listening to my body and trusting my gut intuition. I gave my body what it needed and in turn it gave me the strength to thrive! Always remember that you are not alone and no matter how dark things may seem, you matter, you are loved and it truly does get better!