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Hi, I’m Sarah Southwell, founder of GroWise Be Well, a holistic and inspirational lifestyle company for children of all ages. We are here because of you and for you. GroWise Be Well, empowering you. Today, first of all, I’d like to thank you for joining me on the first podcast for GroWise Be Well. I’m very excited and I have to admit, a little nervous so hang in there with me.
Today, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my life and my experiences that have brought me to the creation of GroWise Be Well and to this moment of this podcast. I believe my entire life has led me to this point but I wouldn’t make you suffer through a long story of my life, at least not today, not until we’re better acquainted. The pivotal moment in my journey though, that I do want to tell you about today, so that you have a better understanding of why I’ve started GroWise Be Well.
Takes us back to 2002. In 2002, I kicked speed, cold turkey. I had been addicted to it for 15 years at that time, ever since I was 15 years old — half my life at that time. My speed use ranged from NoDoz tablets to diet pills with ephedrine and the occasional cocaine or any other stimulant I could get my hands on.
The government had just announced that they were going to ban ephedrine because of some deaths due to overdose. I started planning to stockpile it. I started looking around at the businesses that I used to get my diet pills from that had ephedrine in them and they were stopping the sale of the pills because they wanted to get ahead of the ban. They wanted to stop the deaths, the danger. So because of this, my drug was running out and I wasn’t finding it anywhere and I was very fearful that I wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere ever again.
That fear woke me up, it shook me awake and made me realize that I was an addict. I was addicted to speed. I had been starving myself from the age of 12 because being thin was, I thought, the most important thing in the world and it led me in to speed because of course, starving yourself is no fun if you’re hungry.
[0:02:51.2] The speed kept the hunger away and that’s how I got into it and over 15 years’ time, I developed a pretty strong addiction to it. I decided I was going to kick it and no one and nothing has ever controlled me. I thought, I’m just going to quit. I’m going to stop taking them right now, I really thought it would be that easy.
I didn’t know anything about addiction at that time, I had seen other friends become addicted to harder substances and I thought that that’s what addiction was but I didn’t realize that my body was physically addicted to speed. It had learned how to function biologically with the speed and it didn’t know how to function without it.
I didn’t know that then. I had no idea what I was headed for so I went on a photography exhibition, or actually, a tour. I was a professional photographer at the time and I would travel to a country or an area and spend about a month traveling all through the area, taking landscape photographs and macro shots and color beautiful — really, the purpose of that was to show the beauty in the world and so I was on this trip to Scotland and about three-quarters of the way through, the withdrawals hit. And they hit really hard. I was at dinner with my husband and I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom because the entire restaurant turned upside down. I couldn’t tolerate the noise of the people talking. I felt like I was disconnected from my body — that my body wasn’t even attached to the Earth and we had to go home.
I thought that it was just something that I had eaten. I looked forward to waking up the next morning and being myself again. Well, as you can probably guess, it didn’t go that way. I woke up the next morning and of course, it was worse and I couldn’t drive. I took very few photographs for the remainder of the trip, I actually ended up in the bathtub at our last hotel for the last few nights shaking uncontrollably while my husband slept in the other room. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t want him to know. I didn’t think he did know about my addiction. I thought I had done a good job of keeping it from him. I don’t think I was that stealthy. But, here I was, shaking, going through withdrawals, not knowing they were withdrawals, still not knowing.
[0:05:28.3] I was in denial. When the plane touched down, we got home, we went straight to the emergency room and I had a full physical workup done because I was really scared. I didn’t know what was going on. I actually thought that I had developed encephalitis, a swelling of the brain from tap water that I drank at the restaurant and so because of that, I didn’t drink tap water for over a year after that and I can chuckle about it now. Then, of course, it was awful but I can chuckle about it now because it wasn’t the tap water. I was in severe withdrawals. Well, I have the full workup done at the emergency room, they said nothing’s wrong with you, here’s some Xanax, go home, you’re obviously having anxiety and panic.
And I just kicked one pill. I was not ready to start being a slave to another pill. I didn’t want the Xanax. I didn’t want to just go from one pill to another so I went to all kinds of doctors and I had all different kinds of workups done and physicals done. And they all told me the same thing. “There’s nothing wrong with you. Go home, take some Xanax.” Well, that was not good enough for me and I wanted to know what was wrong with me.
That started my pivotal moment of researching and finding out what was wrong with me. So, at this moment though, I have to say that looking back, I recognize that moment as one of the most important moments in my entire life. I was not a good person before I kicked the speed.
[0:07:16.6] The speed had made me fearless and I thought that I could do anything and that the world was my oyster and that I was the only person that mattered. I was very selfish, I had a huge ego. I was beautiful. I had long, blond hair, of course I was skinny, I’d been starving myself and taking speed. I thought that it’s all that mattered, that and making money, being successful in the business world and having people do what you wanted them to.
I was not a very nice person, I didn’t have a lot of friends and this gave me the opportunity to become extremely humble and vulnerable. When the universe knocks you to your knees and you’re there for a while, I was there for almost two years. You start to realize how important other people are and what it means to feel love and to give love and to receive love. And those are things that I so badly wanted and I ended up learning how to have friends through this process and become the person that I always wanted to be. I used to say back then that I was working really hard to get my life back but what I realized now is that I was working really hard to have the best life I could ever imagine.
So in 2002, here I am. Humbled. On my knees, drinking port wine to get to sleep at night because my mind wouldn’t stop racing. Those ants, those automatic negative thoughts, are crawling all over my brain and the port helped calm me down but here I was going to another substance. So I started to research and I started to try lots of different healing methods and I started to fill my tool box with tools that help me feel joy, love, feel grounded, feel connected, be happy.
And so by 2004, as I said it took about two years, I was able to drive a car again. I was able to be in a social situation and to hold myself well and be able to speak to people. I was grounded, I was feeling really good. I opened up a holistic inspirational boutique at that time in 2004 called Lavender and Sage — and this was a beautiful boutique. I absolutely love this boutique and people to this day still stop me at the street in the area that the boutique was run and they say — “Oh my gosh, when are you going to open Lavender and Sage again? I love that store so much.” I did too. It felt so great in that store. It was so inspirational and so bright and everything was natural and healthy and it just gave people hope. That’s what it was for. Well, at the same time, my biological clock started ticking and I mean really ticking. I had never wanted children before in my life.
[0:10:19.0] The reason being of course was because children would ruin my body and they’re messy and they would need attention from me. And that’s the last thing I wanted to do was to give attention to anyone else but me as I said, I wasn’t a very nice person before 2002. Well 2004, I was healthy and my biological clock started ticking and I wanted kids right then. So my husband and I started trying for children and after a couple of miscarriages, I had my first child in 2006. It was a joy but I also was not formally diagnosed. I self-diagnose myself again with postpartum depression, which if anyone has been through that, it’s horrible because you love your child but you are overcome with feelings. And so the anxiety and the panic kicked back in and I had to go back to my tool box and I had to figure out how to get myself back to healthy. I had a little one that needed me to be strong and so once again, I went back to my old research.
And I found those tools that helped me get back to healthy. I became so healthy that I had two more children over the course of the next few years and in 2011, I gave birth to my third child and shortly after that, my first born was five and he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. Sensory processing disorders are on the autism spectrum. They have a very difficult time handling stimuli in their world and it was a shock when he was diagnosed with this. I knew that there was always something a little different. He hugged people really, really hard and he hated taking baths — which I thought, all children loved baths and splashing and playing with their toys and also by this time I started to notice that his reactions to things were different than the reactions of my middle child. So it all clicked in and made sense and I started once again researching, not for myself this time but for my child that I wanted to have a normal life.
[0:12:30.4] Well, normal, I don’t know what normal is anymore but I wanted him to have a healthy life. A grounded life, a life full of joy and love and to be independent. So I started the research all over again and now today, he is 14 and we’ve been through a lot. I will talk to you about that in the future podcast. We’ve been through a lot and I’ve really done a lot of work and so has he. And, he is very healthy and you wouldn’t know if you met him today that he had sensory processing disorder. He still has some quirks, but who doesn’t? So he’s going to live a great life and he’s going to be independent and he’s going to have love and he feels joy and he’s confident and that, I think, is wonderful. So that is a success in my mind. But I have the tools in my tool box now and I have done the research and I continue to do research and GroWise Be Well is formed today and now launching to reach I hope billions of people to empower them.
I want you to learn what tools work for you. I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to listen to your intuition and I want to tell you about the articles I’ve read and the research I’ve done and I want to offer you products that I have developed myself for children — so that we can start with our children as well and teaching them how to use these tools to be grounded and healthy and have joy in their life. GroWise Be Well is a love and a passion of mine.
I developed it in 2011 sitting outside in the backyard with my infant sleeping. And I wrote out on a big poster board I still have today, two years’ worth of podcasts, which I never did. I didn’t form the company then either. My babies were young, very young, they are still young and I really wanted to be there for them every moment they needed me to. and when they started allowing me a little bit of time when my youngest was six, I started to realize I might have a little bit of time to actually form this company and launch it.
[0:14:58.8] And tell people all of these things I have been learning and all of these tools I’ve been using in hopes that you can find something in my research and in my trials and my tribulations that can help you or someone you love. I want to spread love, I want to spread joy, I want to spread knowledge and I absolutely want to encourage self-empowerment and you believing in yourself and your intuition.
So, that’s it for today. I’ll be back with another podcast next Tuesday, or as we like to call it around here, “youday” because Tuesday is when we are going to come out to you to the world with a lot of different things. With our blog, with any specials or sales or anything like that and our podcast. So Tuesdays, we are going to be posting our podcast because it is “youday” because it is all about you.
So thank you so much for joining me and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day or night and I send you love and abundance.