I’m Cheryl Ann Healey
My mother is the only one who calls me Cheryl Ann though. My close family calls me Annie – stemming from a hearing delay that affected my speech when I was young. (I couldn’t pronounce my own name, so Annie stuck!) My Aunt calls me Annabella, because she needs to be different. I get my moxie from her. Pretty much everyone else just calls me Cheryl. My favourite name though, is Mommy. I love coffee, anything yellow, and I think Prince is the greatest artist of all time.
I am also the child of a nasty divorce; I was 6 & my sister was 1. I am also divorced. So yes, eldest child of a single mom, and became a single mom as well. A trauma survivor in more ways than one. A lover of history. An educator. An empath. A Cardiac Arrest survivor living with PTSD. I am a yellow on the colour personality test (I have done it three times in three years – yellow it is!)
After I graduated University for the first time, I decided that instead of paying off my student loans with the money I saved working while going to school – that I would go to Europe for the summer (best summer ever!) I returned in September 2002 with some coins in my pocket and a huge school debt. I worked for a few years, paid it off, and went back to university at 29 years old to fulfil my dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.
Here is a very brief synopsis of what has happened in the decade or so since I earned my teaching license: I started out as a proud academic with two Honours University Degrees, living 2 hours away from my hometown starting my long-awaited career. I got married, moved into a beautiful home and became pregnant. Then I had a severe near-death experience with the birth of my only precious child that changed everything. I struggled with my mental health, went to therapy, was diagnosed with PTSD, more therapy, had a career crisis, more therapy, then the divorce and single motherhood.
According to many reputable sources – the top five most stressful life events include: death of a loved one, major illness or injury, divorce, moving, and job loss.
Death of a loved one (if my own terrifying near death experience counts…) Check ✓
Major illness… Check ✓
Job loss (Career crisis)… Check ✓
Divorce… Check ✓
Moving… Check ✓
So, that all happened.
During that time, from age 30 to 40, when many of my peers were ‘settling into their lives’, I was embarking on SO many new journeys. And I was in total survival mode.
When the dust started settling from that decade of change, in literally every facet of my world … I found myself in my forties, having made it to the other side of it all. And truthfully – that’s when I started really embracing everything had happened, and what came next.
What a journey THAT’s been. I had lived in survival mode for so long. When I started to try and figure out when it started, I had to go back, and back, and back. Way farther than I thought. Had I always lived in survival mode? But wait… we aren’t meant to live in survival mode allllll the time? A season here and there, not all day every day though?
But it had indeed become my norm, my day -to-day, my reality – I was totally unconscious to it.
When I became aware of it, I set out to change it. Growth comes from outside your comfort zone. As dysfunctional as it was – survival mode was my comfort zone. I knew it there. I knew how to operate, as unhealthy as it was. It was safe there, because I knew what to expect – drama, chaos, impulsivity, overwhelm to name a few things. The beast you know is better than the beast you don’t, right?
Calm, patience, peace, grace – what is that? It was outside of my comfort zone. It was new. It was different. It was scary. I didn’t know my way around there. But I wanted to learn.
And that’s what I’ve been embracing in recent years…
Learning how to lift myself out of this ‘default survival mode’ that has defined my coping skills since I was a child.
Shifting my thoughts to be more compassionate & kinder. Reacting with grace instead of drama, focusing on that balance of firm and kind.
Exploring this world outside the dysfunctional comfort zone I had become accustomed to – and finding new safe places to rise.
There was a fire in my belly to share my experience with others, hoping it may help, inspire, and be of service. But how? I seriously thought about going back to school (again!) because I felt I needed the academic credentials to pursue working with clients. I was stuck here for a long time.
Then, with the encouragement of one of my mentors, I created a 9 question survey and shared it on all my social media channels. The response surprised me.
More than professional experience or academic history – the feedback (over 150 people responded!) was that personal experience was by far the most critical factor when it came to someone offering thoughts on wellness. Well, I’ve got that! But I was thrown for a loop – you can just take on clients without accreditation??
I may not have to go back to University for the third time! Perhaps there is something out there, something professional, credible, and research-based, that I could use as the anchor of my practice.
I found it.
A practical course that assembled some of the world’s experts in Neuroscience, Social Psychology, and Philosophy – that focused on bringing Neuroscience out of the labs and into mainstream personal development.
After an interview process, I was chosen as a successful candidate for the course. It was a truly incredible journey! I have learned so much, and it’s just the beginning.
I am beyond excited to combine my own experience with my NeuroChange Practitioner training to offer a unique and personalized private practice to those who wish to explore an evidence-based approach to personal development.