Great Escape Podcast episode 27 - Lex Wooldridge asks "Why not me?"

depression great escape Sep 07, 2019

- I was never actually present, I was, just felt completely lost, completely defeated, completely overwhelmed, all the time.

- This is the Great Escape Podcast.

- We are going for liftoff in T minus 30.

- All systems are a go.

- Hit it.

- And on this episode of the Great Escape Podcast, I am talking to Lex Wooldridge who is a mindset and lifestyle coach, and her specialization is for women who are struggling with internal battles. Lex, welcome to the podcast.

- Thank you for having me here.

- You're very welcome. Now, obviously I've looked into your story a little bit, and tell us what life was like before you made changes, 'cause it sounded like it was pretty grim.

- Yeah, I mean, I kind of always struggled with self-confidence and self-esteem issues, kind of my whole life. But it was all made so much worse after I had kids. I struggled for three years to actually become pregnant. It was a, it was something that I really wanted, I really wanted to have kids, but in this struggle to have children, I started to imagine what life was gonna be like without them. 'Cause again, it took three years to actually become pregnant. Not even to have a kid, but just to have, to get pregnant for the first time. And then I had a miscarriage and then I had another pregnancy and then I had another miscarriage. And so through all of this, I was just starting to really think about my life without children, but still trying really hard to become a mom. It was something that I always, at least since I had gotten married, and we talked about our future and what we wanted, getting, having a family was super important to us. So eventually I got pregnant with my son my oldest, and it was amazing. I loved, just like loved being pregnant. It was one of the times in my life that I felt the most beautiful. It was actually the first time in my life that I felt beautiful and I was like, this is gonna be amazing, it's gonna be exactly like I pictured it. But for me, it was absolutely nothing like I pictured. Not, people talk about not being able to get sleep and people talk about feeling a little bit lost and everything being about the child, and I never understood what that meant until I had my own son right there, and he needed everything from me. And I'm a bit of a, no, I'm a very A type person and I like structure and kids don't give that. Even though they like routine, even though they need a routine, it would be like something that was always really important to me was going to the gym, but I would book in for babysitting, and then he would need to be changed or he would need to be fed or he would still be sleeping. And then I would miss my babies, my babysitting, I'd miss my gym time. And I needed to go away from the house to get my workouts in. And I started to ride my horse less, and see my friends less. Even though babies are portable, it was like I needed some kind of consistency and I couldn't ever find that. And by the time he was, I don't even know, all of a sudden I just was not myself. I didn't, I looked in the mirror, I didn't know who I was looking at. I didn't recognize myself on the outside. I didn't recognize the thoughts that I was having. I would spend so much time during the day thinking about, one of my coping mechanisms was eating. So i would think about what I was gonna eat, and I would spend so many hours consumed by that. And we would go to the drive-through, and I would get all this food and I would hide it, because it was, the amount of food I could eat was insane. And I would hide it, and then when my husband went to bed, even though I needed the sleep, I needed that coping strategy, so I would eat and eat and eat, and I didn't have this off button, like I never felt full. I just kept eating, ice cream and pizza and bags of candy and it was just like, it wasn't filling the void. There was, often times when I would go, I'd tell my husband, I'm gonna go walk the dog, and I'd go, but I would sit on the bench and just like cry or play on my phone, or it, that would happen all the time with groceries. I'm gonna go get groceries, and I would eventually get the groceries, but I'd spend like 30 minutes in my car, looking on social media, comparing myself to other people or playing games on my phone, or again just sitting there and like, what did I do? Why did I make this decision for? How, what, it was, I was never actually present, I wasn't ever feeling. I was just felt completely lost, completely defeated, completely overwhelmed, all the time.

- And that's a really familiar description to anybody who's known somebody who's suffering postnatal depression. It really is that I, the mother loses herself in in all sorts of ways, and it's, what you've described is pretty classic. How do you turn the corner? How did you start to think this has got to change?

- My turning point was, I ended up, because I struggled so much trying to get pregnant with the first kid, I always, I grew up with two other siblings, and my entire childhood I remember playing with them. So I wanted that same thing for my kid. So, as soon as I had him, my mind went back to having another one. So I didn't even realize I was suffering, in kind of a way. I just went straight back into, try to get pregnant again. And the same thing happened. I got pregnant, I had a miscarriage, and then I had, I got pregnant with my second son. So it was a long time. It was actually, my oldest was three, by the time I actually hit rock bottom because I was so distracted by all these things that I needed to get done. I wasn't thinking about myself at all. I was, I was sad and I was lost, but I wasn't thinking about getting better, I was thinking about the next thing that needed to get done in my life. And so one day it was like a normal day, it was just a day, we were sitting at the kitchen table. I was feeding my kids some food. I think it was lunchtime, or mid-morning snack. And I was spoon-feeding my 18-month-old, 'cause he was not really participating in feeding himself, so I was like, it's time to eat, you need to eat. And my three-year-old was sitting at the table as well, and he decided that he wasn't really having any of that either. And he threw food on the floor like kids do. They just do that, but yeah, I just lost my mind. That was it, I don't know, that was it. And I just, I started crying, I started screaming. My kids looked at me like I was completely nuts. And they, I didn't know what else to do, so I called my mom and I said, I'm coming, and I put them in the car, and I drove. So my parents live 45 minutes away from me. And so I drove with my boys in the car, like ugly-crying, hyperventilating not safely, to their, to my mom's house because I figured at that point, that was better. They needed to be with someone who wasn't losing their marbles. And so, I dropped them off at my mom's house and I said, this is why people tell you to have kids, because they want you to be just as miserable as they are. And it was like, I meant it. I meant, with every single cell of my body that's what I meant. And when I eventually calmed down, I realized that I wanted kids, but this isn't how I pictured motherhood to be. And so at that point, I really felt like I had two options. Either I'm not a mom anymore and I find someone else to look after my kids, or I need to get my shit together and do something. So that was kind of my turning point.

- So at that point, you've decided, this has to change, something has to be different,

- Right.

- But you're in the middle of what sounds like pretty serious depression. You're not thinking straight. You're not making rational decisions. How did you come to believe, actually, I can, this can be different? 'Cause there's a difference between this has to be different, and I can do this.

- Right, so what happened was I started to listen to the motivational podcasts and speakers and talks, and it was just something I kind of implemented. It was something I'd always thought about doing, but never really did. So I was going through the motions. One of the, there was two things that actually happened. One was Tony Robbins. I listened to one of his podcasts and on that he was offering free calls with his staff. So I was like, what the hell, I'll do it. So I called, and during my conversation with this gentleman, he said, "Well, why not you." And I didn't have a good reason. Like I could not come up with an answer to his question. So I walked away from that call being like, well, why not me? And because I still couldn't figure that out, and I still don't have a good reason, like, why not me, of course I can do it, why not? So that was kind of where the seed was planted. And then the other thing that happened was a girlfriend of mine. Now, all of my, what I believed my problems to be, were aesthetic. I didn't realize I was having mindset problems. I thought if I can fix my body, then I will be happy. Because at this point I was 50 pounds overweight, and I was convinced that it was my body that was causing me issues, I had no idea that I was actually, I still didn't know I was in a depression. But my girlfriend had hired a coach, and this coach has helped her immensely. And I decided that I'm gonna do the same thing. I'm gonna hire this coach who helped my friend lose weight and that was the real turning point. That was the real beginning of belief for me, because she didn't focus on my body, she focused on my mind. And when she started to help me see that I was worthy, things started to change. I started to believe that I actually was enough, and I actually could do it.

- Yeah, and that external help is so often, the only way to do it. Certainly when my own depression, you just can't make it make sense inside your head because your brain's not functioning properly. So now you've begun to believe that life can change. And so part of that, you wanted to be physically healthier and lose some weight, but a big part of it it had to be just about coping with being a mom better.

- Oh, yeah, I just, I thought all of it was rooted in, if I felt better about my body, I would be able to play better with my kids, I would be able to show up better for my kids. I would be, I would feel happier and so then I would be a better mom. I really thought that once my external appearance was fixed, it would fix all the other problems, which I now realize isn't that, I mean, the body actually comes because the mindset changed. It wasn't the other way around, but I didn't know that at the time. But it was, I needed to lose weight, so that I can be a better mom, so that I can be happier, so that I can be more intimate with my husband so that I can go on. It got to the point where I didn't even wanna go to the spray park with my kids or go to the swimming pool with my kids because I didn't wanna wear shorts or a tank top, I just wanted to be covered. So I thought I'd be more involved in their lives, if my body was different.

- And how did you come to decide what life needed to be like? So you've began to believe that life can be different. When did you work out what it needed to be in order to be different?

- So I always knew what I wanted parenthood to be, because I always had a very clear vision. When my coach started to get me to write in a journal, which at first was terrifying, because I did not want to visit my thoughts at all. And so she did something that was really cool. She got me to be, write down three things that I was grateful for, which I'd never practice gratitude before. She got me to write affirmations, which were extremely difficult because I didn't like anything about myself. And she got me to write intentions, because I felt like I was accomplishing nothing, so she was like, write down that you brushed your teeth, you had a shower and your kids are alive at the end of the day. If you can accomplish those three things, then you've done amazing. Once I started doing the journaling, and once I started to believe, that was where my beliefs started to really change. And that was where I started to see that I can accomplish lots in the day, it can be more than just brushing my teeth and more than just getting in the shower. And I can actually start to incorporate things like go for a walk. And that's why I started to really get into a routine and a habit of gratitude and I don't wanna say positive thinking, because that wasn't really it, but just a change in perspective. And when I was able to do that, then I could see things in a more positive light, and start to really focus on things that were more concrete, things that I could do right now, that can make me happy right now, that's where I've started leaving the body image alone. Like, right now, I can play with my kid, and that will make me feel like I've accomplished something. Right now I can go for a walk with my husband and hold hands, and that will make me feel connected to him. Right now, I can, whatever it is. And it started to make me realize the things the things that I needed to implement in every day that were gonna make me feel good and accomplished, and that was when I sort of started build in daily habits of what I wanted my life to look like. Because those were the foundations of what were making me happy.

- So it was focusing on small things that you could achieve

- 100%, yes.

- until that, I can actually do this, I can actually do this, began to change the way your brain was working, rather than defeatism all the time. It was, no, actually I can win at some stuff.

- Exactly, because my goals were so big and so far away, that I just felt like I was failing all the time. But when we broke them down into very tiny, mini steps I was like, look at all these things that I'm accomplishing. I'm pretty freaking awesome. I didn't think that before, 'cause it was just like everything was so far away, and so, it seems so simple, but it was so helpful.

- Yeah, sounds like a really important distinction, rather than looking at this, I want to be the perfect mom, it's like, I just need to make sure my kids are fed today.

- Mhm, yeah.

- And then, this is begun. You've begun to make these changes to rather than being overwhelmed by the big picture, focusing on the tactics, rather than the overall strategy. And what point did you feel that you were beginning to be on top of this? That actually, you were okay with life, rather than in the depths of the depression?

- I think I turned around fairly quickly. I think it was about six or seven months in. I messaged my coach and I said, you know, I think I'm ready to do this for the first time on my own. I'd always had some kind of a fitness coach or a program or something. And I said, I kind of explained it like, the girls who are always dating, they never let themselves be single, they always need somebody to hold their hand. Because that's how I felt with my fitness and my nutrition, that I always had a coach. And I said, I feel like, for the first time in my life I can eat my own food. I don't need to be accountable to anybody. And that was big for me because it became not about food anymore. It became, all of a sudden, I had this space in my head, that it wasn't always consumed with what am I gonna eat, how am I gonna hide it? What do I look like? But I got to think about simple things like how am I gonna recycle? I mean, I wanna be a good person I wanna look after the planet, but I never had the capacity to do that. Now, I am thinking about like which activities can I take my kids to? What play dates can we go on? So, I'm not sure that I answered your question.

- And you've begun to build a new life, one that's working for you, it's working for the kids.

- Yes.

- I hope it's working for your husband. Yeah, that the family, instead of needing to run away from the kids and leave them with your parents, actually you feel like you can cope.

- Yes, totally, yes, I feel like I can cope and I feel like I can include them in my life and I feel like it's more like the image I had about what parenting would be. It's still challenging, but I don't, like you said, I don't wanna run away anymore. I feel like I can actually do them justice. I feel like I can, I'm starting to be able to separate myself from my emotions a little bit, where I can feel those triggers coming up, so that if I need to remove myself, and I need to go and reset, I have more of a capacity to do that. Yeah, so that was about six or seven months into having my coach.

- And you could see the depression building before it becomes a crisis

- Mhm.

- and take action to head it off.

- Yeah.

- At what point in that did you think, you know what, I'm gonna start my own business and become a coach?

- So, that was, it was really cool because I just felt like this coach had had such an impact on me, and I started talking about it to people because I finally felt like I was happier. I was moving past it. I was having more of a capacity to think about things that weren't weighing me down, but rather lifting me up. And so it was probably a year after I had hired the coach. I was standing and we had finished a play date, and I was standing in my friend's house, about to leave, and I just said, you know, I think what I need to do is I need to coach people. I wanna do for people, what my coach did for me. And I was like, that was like my light bulb moment. I just like, yeah, that's what I need to do. I need to do for people, what this coach did for me. And that's when I started, sort of being more open about my story, and sharing more with people. And that's when I decided to go to school, so I could become a certified coach. Because I had the experience, but without knowing the right questions, I felt like or the right way to listen, or the right way to take people through. 'Cause I'm not a psychologist, but I'm a coach, so I wanted to have some kind of credibility to be able to help people. So that's when I went to school. It was, yeah, that was my light bulb moment.

- You, obviously, that's taking some financial investment and some time investment.

- Yep.

- Throughout this process, how has your husband responded to the way you've been trying to rebuild your life?

- I have been so incredibly fortunate with my husband. Like I'd mentioned in the very beginning, I was kind of always a little bit shy and a little bit self-conscious. And I felt like I, he always knew who I was, and what I was doing before I even knew. So, he just held that vision, of who I was capable of being, the entire time. So whatever I needed to do, he was there. If I needed to go and take an extra night and sleep at my parents and leave the kids with him, or we needed to go on a date night 'cause I needed to feel connected or I needed to spend money on this coach or I decided I wanted to become a coach and at all of, like when it all came to this, and now, building the business. He is just been incredibly supportive the entire time and, I mean, he's played a huge role. If it wasn't for him being so supportive and so loving and so understanding it, this could be completely different. I'm so, so fortunate for the man that he is.

- And that's wonderful to hear, 'cause so many stories we hear where somebody has ended up having to, actually, separate, simply to be able to move forward. As you're building this business out, do you have a vision for where it's gonna go? Or are you kinda taking it one step at a time and see?

- I've really big dreams for my business. Right now, I'm doing one on one coaching. So everything I do is virtual, I do, I don't have an actual office where I see people one on one, but I do on, like virtual coaching. I speak with people every week. So we buy the, I have a 12-week program. and I will speak with people every week for an hour. And I'm available to them 24/7 through email. And we do worksheets and conversations and there's homework involved. So that's what I'm currently doing. I want to be able to put on workshops where I can see people face-to-face. I want to be able to put on retreats, because I believe that mothers deserve to pamper themselves. And I think being able to go away for a weekend and really focus on yourself is super important. So I want to be able to do that. I know not everybody can afford the higher ticket items like coaching, and the in person coaching or a one on one coaching, so I would like to be, to produce automated programs where you can still, people can still get value, and they can still change and they can still learn some of the things that I did without, like my first steps that really started to help me even realize I needed help. And put that in in a really systematic way that people can do it at a cheaper, more affordable price. So those are all the things I wanna do.

- And have you begun to map that out? Is there a plan yet, or is that still coming together?

- It's all in the works. It's all in the works. I think that the coaching, the one on one coaching, that's already going, and then the automated programs, I believe will come next. Because I think that a lot of people are able to do that, it's a little bit more readily available. So that's now my project. And then I think after the new year, when things kind of settle down for everybody after Christmas, then I can start putting, doing things like workshops.

- Excellent, it's a really inspiring story. It's always lovely to hear somebody who has managed to turn life around, change what was a horrific situation, and look like it was heading in a really, nasty direction, into something that has hope for the future and love and compassion and joy in life. So thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Lex.

- Thank you so much for having me, thank you. And thank you for your kind words.

- We'll put links to your Facebook and Instagram, because I know the website is still being built out, in the show notes, so people can get hold of you and connect with you, and with any luck, drive some business to you.

- Thank you.

- Since we recorded this edition of the podcast, Lex has published her website. So the link to that is also in the show notes at

- Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Great Escape Podcast. You can find other episodes at all the usual places, on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify or at the website, And if you'd like to contact me to talk about any element of this episode or others I've covered, please go to And you can find all the ways of getting a hold of me there. And if you're stuck in a situation and you can't find the way out, please go there, send me a message and let's see how we can work together to get you unstuck and moving forward with your life again. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family, other people you think might appreciate it and comment on episodes or send me a message. I'd love to keep the conversation going.

- Can we do that again?

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