Hi, I’m Monique!
I come from an amazing family of three brothers and mum and dad. The baby of the family and the only girl, so I guess I’ve been the ‘princess’ of the family for most of my life.
Always the different kind of girl at school, I was the quiet, studious one that would never cause trouble or step out of line! Looking back I’ve been a ‘people-pleaser’ right from the beginning. As a child, I would spend a lot of my time day dreaming alone, riding my bike around the yard or reading a book. Throw in pretending to play teachers too and a little bit of dancing with a special best friend and this about sums me up. If anyone other than my best friend came around, I would hide and ask Mum to tell them I wasn’t home – I was and still am a true introvert!
At the age of 15, I was offered a summer job through my brother’s girlfriend at an advertising agency. WOW, what an eye opener! My world came alive and I loved every minute of it. I loved it so much, I decided my school days were over. I dedicated myself to my new job and worked really hard to climb the ranks. This wasn’t easy as the division that I worked in was quite male dominated. Success reigned however and I became the youngest, female Production Manager in Perth at that time. This was such a huge achievement for me and I felt like I was on fire! For the first time in my life, I was popular and I felt incredible!
During this time, I met a guy (who happened to be a client) and fell madly in love with his charm and ridiculous sense of humour. After 5 years or so, we moved to Sydney together. Boy, did that turn out to be a lesson in life! I left my wonderful life back in Perth, broke my father’s heart when I left (I’ll never forget the look in my dad’s eyes when we said goodbye at the airport), for what I now know was for a life of betrayal, heartbreak and sadness. After only eighteen months, I returned to Perth alone, broken and riddled with anxiety.
On returning to Perth, I did my best to get my life back together, but there was always something niggling away at me. That nasty girl in my mind kept telling me “you’re worthless, not even worth loving”, “you can’t even see how stupid you are”, “you’ve ruined everything again and you don’t deserve for anything great to happen in your life”, “it’s your own fault”. Nasty girl was well and truly in overdrive! Struggling through each day as a Temp (I didn’t want to be tied down in a permanent job right now – this was my way of controlling what I could in my life), I was offered the role of Recruitment Consultant. Thank goodness they saw something in me that I really didn’t. Looking back, I definitely would have said I am not the best person for this job! But I took up the challenge and again I relished in it! I was again doing something that I loved – helping people! I threw everything into it. You see this is what I do. My efforts are never just a little or even half way, I always give 150%, even if I’m nearly dead on the table. The pressure escalated, the work load increased, I was drowning in perfectionism – if you’re going to do it, do it right or not at all, at least that was always my motto. And my anxiety grew……
Still feeling broken from my time in Sydney, a co-worker introduced me to her friend at a night out, thinking this may help me to move on and lift me out of the rut I had become so accustomed to. And it is here that I meet the love of my life! A true, genuine soul, who absolutely gets me. Within weeks, we knew we were destined to be together forever. We married and had two beautiful children. Still battling anxiety but able to function at a high level, it only interfered slightly with daily life. I was able to get through each day. We began a business together, two actually. I mean really, when you throw yourself into everything, why do things by half and only run one business! Again, I threw myself into them both completely. One a cake art business and the other in the fitness industry. I even convinced my calm, happy go lucky husband that he too should be all consumed by what we were doing and so we worked at times 24/7 – literally! Yep we worked through the days and nights. Whether it was decorating a cake or building treadmills in our garage for delivery the next day, we worked through! We had to, we had people to please, customer’s expectations to meet, well so I believed. Exhausted does not even describe how we felt. We missed our own important Wedding Anniversaries, even got confused for two years about our youngest child’s birthday date, we were so delirious with debilitating burnout. Our diet and lifestyle was out the window. I didn’t have time to care, let alone cook at the end of the day. We ate take-away until we looked like it. Our world was crumbling around us.
The crescendo came eighteen months ago, when I was called up for jury duty. LIKE A BOMB WENT OFF, I realised I was never going to be able to do this. My anxiety had escalated to crippling and I was no longer able to leave our home without suffering IBS symptoms and panic attacks. I was fraught with fear and had a nervous system that was absolutely shot to pieces. I truly thought my life was over. I requested to be excused to no avail. They refused! I had no idea what to do. Beside myself and paralysed with despair, I came to the realisation that I had no choice but to seek professional help. The kind of help that I always considered that someone strong like me shouldn’t need, the kind that only neurotic people needed (I no longer hold this opinion by the way). Fortunately for me, my informal study that I had taken up on health and wellbeing a few years earlier, led me to a kind and understanding Psychologist that focused on gut health and the brain and she has spent many hours helping me through the dark, lonely stages that I have experienced. Through my healing process, being the type that likes to control my own wellbeing (I’m the self-help Queen, with more books than the Dalai Lama could ever imagine) I discovered IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition). After some time of ‘will I’, ‘won’t I’, I enrolled. I discovered my passion and can’t help feeling that synchronicity and all the life lessons I have experienced have led me to this one life purpose – to help others. It’s been one hell of a ride and so many lessons learned along the way (no mistakes – only lessons) and I now have the opportunity of an amazing new beginning in front of me.
I look around me and see mental health concerns everywhere, mum’s drowning in competition of being better than the next mum, wallowing in low or no self worth, glorifying being busy (let’s face it, I’ve been an expert on this one) and chronic illness that could be prevented with changes to lifestyle, and I feel a strong sense to scream out “I can help you”, “I’ve been there”, “I know what it’s like”, “You can do this, because you and your family are worth it!”
I feel a strong desire to help others learn the art of slow living, of being mindful, of having a Life in Balance, of rediscovering who they truly are and really Living the Exceptional Life We all Deserve!
Fortunately I have been able to turn my life around, begin my healing journey and continue on rediscovering my self-worth and now I want nothing more than to guide and support you too. There is hope and purpose for all of us and we do belong in this world. So join me in experiencing Good Health, Wellness and Happiness For All!
Here’s to you and your journey! Let’s do this because TOGETHER WE CAN!
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition Hormone Health
- Institute for Integrative Nutrition Gut Health