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My Journey From Grief and Depression to Happiness and Personal Growth

“Reflecting on my journey reminds me of the progress I’ve made and the strength that I have now. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. You need to take the first step and reach out. Someone is there to help you!”

Hello! Who are you?

Hi there, I’m Laurie, and I currently live in Canada. I’ve had jobs in different sectors from banking to legal assistant. Most recently, I was a fitness instructor for 7 years. That’s when I learned the value of mental, physical, and emotional health.

During the pandemic, I pivoted to another sector: entrepreneurship. It’s been a huge journey for personal growth and confronting my own limiting beliefs and negative self-talk. 

I’m just starting out with creating my own business. I feel self-doubt, fear, imposter syndrome, purpose, and excitement all at the same time and usually multiple times a day. 

Mental health is the cornerstone for how we live and do life. From my own personal experiences, I’m here to advocate and help support moms who have teens struggling with mental health challenges. 

I’m a mom to four kids, ages 11- 21. I have a Goldendoodle, Bella, that I adore. She gets me outside for walks every day, which has been such a blessing for my mental health. I’m fortunate to live near the mountains, so I spend time hiking, biking, or skiing on the weekends. 

Laurie Moser

My husband of 22 years is my best friend. He supports me and believes in me when I need it the most. We both make our marriage a priority and it pays off. I’ve been able to get through the challenging times in my life, knowing that I always have my husband’s support and love. 

Overall, I’m an optimistic, joyful, and happy person. With age, I’ve come to appreciate how short and precious life is. I know that I’m responsible for my own happiness and decisions in life.

At the same time, I’m getting much better at sitting in my own feelings of discomfort and negative emotions, acknowledging how I’m feeling, and being okay with it.

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

My struggles started when I was 7, shortly after my Dad died. I remember feeling very upset and angry. I felt on edge all the time and so unhappy. I developed a speech impediment and was sent to a “special school,” for kids with problems for 1 year.

At one point, I received a diagnosis of having schizophrenia, from one medical professional, this was later rediagnosed by another medical professional, as a child who was “broken-hearted,” over the death of her father and how to handle it. 

That was over 40 years ago and there was no awareness of mental health, trauma, how it affects children, and the best therapies to use at the time. I know that my mom and loved ones did what they thought was best for me at the time. I have complete understanding and compassion for my mom with how my therapy was handled back then. 

Once I started regular classes in school again, this was grade 3, I felt out of place, awkward, self-conscious, and unsettled. At the same time, I had this need to prove to myself, unknowingly at the time, that I was smart and could do well in school. 

I now understand that doing well in school was something I felt that I could control. This was empowering at the time. 

I realize now how common it’s to be an overachiever in some areas of our lives to make up for feeling inadequate in others. I had these constant feelings that I was not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. As I entered junior high, those feelings skyrocketed!

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

Throughout junior high, I continued to have feelings of unworthiness and just felt crappy about myself all the time. What made it okay, was I had a few good friends and that was everything. Then, the bomb hit, my mom got a new job and we had to move to another city. I was now starting grade 11.

High school is one of the most brutal times for a move to a new city, school, and fresh start, especially for a shy, self-conscious, and awkward girl. Grades 11 and 12, I had only one good friend. It was a lonely time in my life. 

I recall one vivid moment in grade 12, I had a bag packed and I was going to leave for the mountains, with no tent, no way of camping, and no plans for what I would do once I got there. I felt so distraught at the time, I wasn’t thinking of anything but running and escaping from my life.

I understand now, I was suffering from depression. The weight of depression was overwhelming, consuming me, clouding my days in darkness, and making even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. 

I was still doing well academically in school, so I don’t think anyone that loved me and knew me would have suspected the true darkness of my feelings at the time. 

It’s interesting how the universe works. That dark day when I was planning on leaving for the mountains, with no plan on returning, I received a phone call for a part-time job. The interview was scheduled for that day, so I went to the interview and got the job. 

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

As a teenager and young adult suffering from depression, it was like a tidal wave of emotions for a long time. I did not have one of those big moments where I acknowledged, accepted, and got help. It took years of small steps moving forward and backward, not understanding why. 

When my fourth child was born, I got my fitness certification and started teaching fitness to older adults and people with chronic health conditions. By teaching and helping others, I felt purpose, valued, excited about my life and this started my true journey of personal growth. 

At the same time, I was on my journey of personal growth, I had a daughter struggling with mental health issues. This ended up as a mental health crisis for her and our family. I have never felt so helpless, stressed, scared, overwhelmed, and heartbroken in my life.

Up until this point, I had taken all the initiative and responsibility to do the work myself. I read books, listened to podcasts, and went to workshops. I thought I was doing a pretty good job enlightening myself! 

With my daughter’s mental health crisis, we were required to get family counseling and this changed everything for me. I had one family therapist that changed my life. Up until this point, I had been both arrogant and ignorant in thinking that I didn’t need professional help, I could do this by myself. I was WRONG! 

While I did about 75% of the work myself, that 25% from others, made a world of difference and really moved the needle for me in ALL aspects of my life. 

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

I finally accepted and acknowledged that I needed help. I couldn’t deal with all this by myself and I didn’t want to. I felt such a weight lifted off my shoulders to have help!

What really helped me was getting professional help from an amazing family therapist AND group support from other like-minded parents on a similar path.

I cannot stress the importance and value of getting help and support from others. Being part of a supportive community made me feel valued, heard, and understood by parents going through similar journeys and experiences. The power of community and connection with others changed my life. 

Working with my therapist, I learned to listen better, respond instead of react all the time, have more empathy and compassion for myself as a parent and for those struggling with mental health issues. I developed a new perspective on how I parent and acceptance of who I am and acknowledgment for how far I’ve come.

You need to have compassion for yourself to heal. My therapist taught me to have compassion for myself. She taught me the value of using self-care tools to help deal with daily challenges and stress. This started my healing journey. 

As part of my healing from a child, I started a self-care practice of daily journaling. Journaling became such a powerful and therapeutic tool for me. Being able to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper, without fear of judgment was so healing for me. I found a safe space to explore my innermost feelings, hopes, and fears. It provided me with clarity, perspective, and a sense of release.

You need to have a way to get your negative thoughts, feelings, and rumination out of your head and journaling is an amazing tool for this. 

Journaling was the start of my self-care practice. You need a self-care practice. It can be 5 minutes, one hour, or whatever works at this stage for you in life right now. Journaling made such a difference in my mental health, I added movement, breathing exercises, and meditation to my self-care practice.

I now start my day, by taking control of how I want my day to flow. This allows me to handle the daily stress and challenges much better. 

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

I am blessed to have a husband who I can share my struggles and challenges with. It’s such a relief to know at the end of the day, no matter what happened, I have someone to talk to.

As I have gotten older, the quality of my friendships is crucial for me. I have some amazing friends who I can share my struggles with. You have to find those people with whom you can be vulnerable, honest, open, genuine, and feel safe doing so. 

I have learned the importance of boundaries. There are some people that it’s not appropriate to share your struggles and challenges with. For me, certain extended family members, friends, and colleagues, I did not confide in.

There were numerous reasons for this choice: personal and professional boundaries, trust issues, privacy concerns, and relationships that were not valued. Not everyone in our lives needs to know or is deserving of what goes on in our life. 

I found my circle of friends, family members, and others going through a similar experience, where I could openly share, be vulnerable, and feel heard and understood in a safe place. This was probably the most crucial step in my healing. 

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

Find support. There are so many ways to get help now. Virtual, in-person, friends, family, therapist, and various support groups. Connecting with other people that understand what you’re going through is crucial. We all need connection, help, and support from each other. 

Have compassion for yourself. Once I accepted that my depression was not a character flaw, weakness, or something to be ashamed of, it was a genuine condition that deserved recognition and understanding. Embracing this truth, allowed me to shift my perspective and have understanding and compassion for others going through a similar experience.

If you struggle with any mental health issues, you’re not alone! There’s so much help out there and people wanting to support and connect with you. When we come together, we can help to heal one another. The power of community is unbelievable for support and healing. 

Reflecting on my journey reminds me of the progress I’ve made and the strength that I have now. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. 

You need to take the first step and reach out. Someone is there to help you!

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

Where can we go to learn more about you?

From my own experience and journey with mental health, I have learned how important acceptance, validation, and acknowledgment are. We can’t do life alone, we heal so much better with the support, help, and connection from each other.

I have started my own business to help support moms who have teens struggling with mental health challenges, using self-care tools and group support. 

You can read more about it on my website and find me on Instagram and Pinterest.

💡 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. 👇

Cheat Sheet Download Thumbnail Clean

This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive

Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 unique tips for your mental health.

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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.