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My Journey From Rock Bottom to Living With Intention and Cultivating Happiness Everyday

“Isolation, ruminating thoughts of my father dying by himself, alone and scared, surrounded only by occasional strangers in hazmatlike PPE clothing (this was a particularly effective form of emotional cutting and torture); junk food; not getting out of bed or showering; not answering my phone; and lots of wine—like red Solo cups full. I was a train wreck. Plain and simple.”

Hello! Who are you?

Hi! I’m Beth, and I live in Philadelphia with my two teenage children and our two adorable dogs. We love the bustling grittiness of the city and all the charm that it holds, but the best part is being surrounded by my very animated Italian family.

I love spending time with my family, reading, writing, and watching movies of every genre…from Marvel to Musicals and everything in between. I also love to travel and look forward to taking the kids to Europe this summer.

I’ve been blessed with a successful career in sales and marketing that has spanned three decades. So, yes, I am happy as I work at it daily. I’m very intentional about cultivating and maintaining my happiness, as that was not always the case.

💡 By the way: Do you find it hard to be happy and in control of your life? It may not be your fault. To help you feel better, we’ve condensed the information of 100’s of articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet to help you be more in control. 👇

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life. 2020 was the perfect storm in every aspect of my life that didn’t just knock the wind from my sails—it sank the entire ship. Rock bottom. Lowest of lows.

A romantic break-up seven years far past its expiration date. I lost my job the week after I closed on a new home. Losing my beloved father to COVID-19 in the very early stages of the pandemic. Social isolation.

All of it contributed to a crippling depression that essentially rendered me emotional roadkill. This was not my first encounter with depression. I first experienced depression after the birth of my first child, who was born two months premature.

The fear and trauma of the experience necessitated counseling and prescription medication, and I was so grateful for their therapeutic assistance.

I experienced another depressive episode following my divorce—the reality of only having my children half the time torpedoed me, given their young ages.

No one talks about that part of the equation, and I was not ready for it. I was inconsolable without them. Once again, counseling and antidepressants were my savior.

Those two experiences primed the pump so that when 2020 hit so hard, I could recognize it for what it was…depression and take proactive steps to combat it.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

Hopeless. I abandoned every health habit in my life and just wallowed in my depression. My coping mechanisms were a master class in what not to do:

Isolation, ruminating thoughts of my father dying by himself, alone and scared, surrounded only by occasional strangers in hazmatlike PPE clothing (this was a particularly effective form of emotional cutting and torture); junk food; not getting out of bed or showering; not answering my phone; and lots of wine—like red Solo cups full.

I was a train wreck. Plain and simple.

Since it was during the social isolation and stay-at-home order of the pandemic (California was particularly strict), my family and friends had no idea. Many found out for the first time when they read my book.

Because on top of the depression, I was ashamed. I was ashamed of how hard I had fallen. Shame is the worst …as it imprisons you to suffer in silence.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

Yes, there was a specific a-ha moment, actually. I was at rock bottom for a few months—a fact further underscored the day I realized I was walking around the house with my head down. I mean literally, not figuratively.

This realization was a rude awakening. I couldn’t believe I’d let my circumstances defeat me in the way that they had. I knew then that I needed to pivot ASAP for myself and my two beautiful children.

I was determined to do whatever it took, whatever was recommended, whatever worked to move the needle from rock bottom to mountaintop. I drank from the fire hydrant of positive psychology and voraciously read articles, research papers, and books on the topic.

Beth Romero 1

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

I became an intentional warrior about everything—thoughts/affirmations, diet, sleep, exercise, gratitude, faith, social support, vision, goals, etc. Literally everything. Cultivating happiness is a constant practice.

Your daily life, ergo your state of mind, is dictated by your daily choices—day in, day out. Small, consistent steps are the foot soldiers that win the crusade for hope and happiness. You have to be in it to win it.

This means living with intention and not just operating on autopilot; creating a life based on choices, not habits; and practicing the sort of person you want to be each day.

Sounds simple? It is. But it’s not easy. It takes commitment and intention. Full stop.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

Once on the other side of depression, I decided to repurpose the pain. For some reason, recounting my journey from roadkill to redemption was important. I wanted to share the simple strategies that helped me escape from rock bottom.

And once I started, the words poured from what felt like the floodgates of my soul. Corny, perhaps, but gutting yourself in black and white print can be even more harrowing than having lived it in Technicolor. Unsure where it was heading, I was willing to let the words lead.

A quote from Brené Brown served as my guiding principle while writing the book. Simply stated, “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through, and it will be someone else’s survival guide.”

This was such a beautiful notion of paying it forward, removing any grandiose inklings of ego from the equation and instead focus on what someone else may possibly gain from my story.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

I don’t regret the dark threads that color my life tapestry as it’s part of its ultimate beauty. Part of my story. I emerged more present, compassionate, and grateful. Resilient and stronger. Softer even.

But most importantly, I am rooted by having happiness habits be the norm rather than the exception. That way, next time a storm comes (and it will come), my happiness will not be easily swayed, helpless like a leaf in the wind.

And that is my wish for everyone.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

There are several books that I re-read regularly because the lessons are so profound they are worth revisiting again and again.

Specifically, I love Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

From Veep to Boss to Happiness Junkie, persuasive storytelling is my superpower. I’m thrilled to add “author” to that list as my book, Happy AF: Simple Strategies to Get Unstuck, Bounce Back, and Live Your Best Life, will debut in November 2023.

I would love to connect with readers. Feel free to reach out at the following:

Is there anything else you think we should have asked you?

Happiness is being present in the now. There is no happiness destination. The journey is the destination. There is no happy when, happy because, or happy if. The Deferred Happiness Plan sucks. Its compounding interest annihilates happiness in the now. Obliterates it, actually.

Don’t wait on something, someone, or some event to be happy. Just be happy. Now. Being fully immersed in the present is integral to happiness. Happiness is a choice, not a result.

Also, rock bottom can actually be a springboard for something even better. To remember that being knocked down doesn’t define you. It’s our bounce that defines us.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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