This episode is an interview with my wife, Joelle Duff. This is technically the first episode of our new Patreon exclusive Duff Family Podcast, which from here on will only be made available to patrons. That doesn’t mean that she will never be on HCSH again, but if you want episodes each month, you’ll need to head over and check out the Patreon.
In this episode, we sit down on the couch together on New Years Eve 2019 to talk about this past year. This has been a rough one for us, and particularly for Joelle. She has had a severe bout of depression this year that really made things difficult for her. Instead of fighting it, she decided to try something different and lean into what her body was telling her. That meant more rest, alone time, etc. It also meant that she was able to recover enough energy to do some amazing stuff like get a dream job and continue being a fantastic mother, wife, and creative partner.
Thank you so much for spending the end of this decade with us. I’m bringing the fire into 2020, so be ready.
Joelle and I begin with a couple of updates and anecdotes. We chat about the new Patreon, 2019 coming to an end and how life’s been real eventful over the past 12 months. We’re both looking forward to the new year and a new decade – Joelle shares why her word of the year is “explore” and opens up about how 2019 has been one of the hardest years of her life. Despite this, she’s learned a lot and been able to create a solid foundation on which to build upon in the coming year. Joelle talks honestly with respect to what she has discovered about herself in the past year, including how she struggles with self-worth in the sense that she doesn’t feel very important, but also how she is still very confident in the person that she is and her identity, having strong values that are very important in her life.
We give an insight into our lives at the moment and recap on some of the significant events (and disruptions) over the past 12 months, including the reality of parenting, sickness, life with our puppy, vacations and more. Joelle talks passionately about her new job as a special events manager, what it involves and why she’s landed her dream role. She talks about her love of events planning, the sparkles and pretty things that often accompany this, but also how in her previous work she has struggled to find meaning. However, Joelle’s new role allows her to pursue her passion while also making a significant positive impact on the brilliant organization she works for. We chat about how this change has impacted our lives, how in a way it has “leveled the playing field”, and Joelle shares how it’s allowed her to find fulfillment in ways she didn’t realize she needed.
Joelle has previously been on the show to talk about mental health and her experiences with mental illness. Now she talks candidly about motherhood, her struggles with depression, and why 2019 was the worst year of her life, even compared to the year she was hospitalized. Joelle explains how the second half of 2019 was overshadowed by the hardest bout of depression she has ever had to face. She describes how being a mother changed everything, meaning she lost any “way out” as she knew she could never leave her children. We talk about this in detail, how this added another level of complexity to Joelle’s depression and what this meant for her.
We chat about why 2019 sucked, how this impacted Joelle’s mental health, and why it’s not so much a cause and effect, rather they (life events and depression) feed off of each other. However, despite being one of her worst episodes, Joelle has approached the depression differently. She talks about this in detail, what changing her approach has meant, and why it was the best thing she could have chosen to do.
I made a very conscious decision when I realized what I was slipping into…to lean into it. To recognize what it is and not try to fight it…and accept it for what it is.
We close by talking about why the human connection is important, why we shouldn’t hide, and why we should all be more open, vulnerable and honest.
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