Who, What, and Why

My name is Jennifer, and I'm on a journey.

I'm a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of Ohio, a wife, sister, daughter, aunt, & furmom. Up until recently I had a rewarding, but incredibly stressful job as a Clinical Supervisor at a community mental health facility. My team helped dually-diagnosed people - people with both a mental health and addiction diagnosis. As you may have heard, Ohio is among the highest in the nation for opioid overdose deaths. It is challenging work, but I love it.

I also have ulcerative colitis, hypothyroidism, Type II diabetes, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). My family has great genes for looking young, but lousy genes for autoimmune disorders. When I was diagnosed with the liver disease of NASH in August 2017, that was a life-changer. The first-line treatment for that is lifestyle change: eating better, gentle exercise, and stress reduction. This diagnosis kicked off a depressive episode, and the return of a lot of the fears I had dealt with in my late teens and early twenties. I started asking myself the Big Questions again. What am I here for? Am I doing what I want to be doing with my time on this planet? What happens when you die? How can I do better in my relationships? How do we make meaning out of the short time we're here? It put me in a tailspin.

So I did what any rational person would do in that position: I quit my incredibly stressful job and started a journey of healing. I acknowledge that I am lucky to have the unwavering support of my husband who suggested that I give up my job and slice our household income in half, because not everyone is willing or able to make that sacrifice. I'm slowly but surely working through my crazy - again - and trying to figure out where I go next.

Healing, to me, happens on a lot of layers. There are the personal layers of mind/body/spirit, and then there are the public layers of home/family/community. All of these interest me as a former student of anthropology, non-profit administrator, teacher, therapist and life-long seeker of stories, experiences and meaning. On the pages of this website, I invite you to join me on my healing journey. From my efforts to heal my body, emotions, and connection to the Universe, to my interest in rebuilding communities and our relationship with the land and the food it produces. I hope to share interesting information I come across and engage in conversations about what Growing Well looks like for different people.

This is a new project, and I anticipate this website will develop and change along the way. I'd love to hear your stories of healing, however that has manifested, and am interested in what you like and don't like on the site. We'll wing it and see how things go here. Thanks for stopping by!

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Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash