AJ Glover: How I Rose Above Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety can stem from traumas that we experience throughout life. It may be subtle or severe, but it is a state in which no one wishes to linger for longer than necessary. AJ shares her personal experiences battling negative thoughts and emotions, and shares advice on how she overcame this and found success as an entrepreneur.
“When you hit the bottom you have a choice, you can either live the life that has been handed to you, or you can make the decision to live the life you want to live!”
How did your early years influence the woman you are today?
I am a woman full of hope and love. My experiences in life have made me strong and passionate about helping as many people as possible. I went through so much as a child and young adult. I know what it feels like to be abused physically, mentally, and emotionally. I understand what it means to cry yourself to sleep at night, wake up and put on a fake happy grin to show the world. I know what it is to be neglected by your mother and treated horribly by your caretaker. I know what it feels like to bring a child into the world and feel like you are not the best person to care for them because you can barely care for yourself.
I resonate with so many of the experiences that others have been through in life, and the woman that I am today wears each one of these traumatic experiences as medals. My journey has been one of pain, love and acceptance. I have had to face many demons, both beautiful and ugly. Each painful experience has helped me become who I am today, which is a strong woman who understands my purpose for being here on Earth – to help women heal from all forms of abuse.
You know what it is like to “hit rock bottom.” How did you manage to overcome this difficult period?
Hitting the bottom is actually the hardest part of your journey. The climb back up is far easier than hitting the bottom. When you hit bottom, it is time to look at how you got there and ask yourself questions like “How could I have shown myself more love? What people or processes did I entrust with my life more than myself? Did I leave any boundary unguarded?” Those questions need to be answered when you hit the bottom. You will know when you have truly hit rock bottom, because there will be no one else to take care of your situation but yourself. It requires a complete life and mindset change!
The next step is to re-evaluate your life and set new goals. Once you have done that, it is time to rebuild from the ground up. You will be stronger than ever before, because you have learned from your mistakes and are now ready to make things right. Again, this part is easy because you have a method of “this worked last time, so let’s do this and no, this did not work, so we will not do this again”. When you hit the bottom you have a choice, you can either live the life that has been handed to you, or you can make the decision to live the life you want to live! I chose the latter. I understood that if you want to truly thrive in this world, you need to be able to hold yourself accountable and move forward.
How would you describe yourself during your depressive state?
The isolation I felt during this time was unbearable. There are very few things worse than not being able to see beyond your own pain. When I experienced depressive symptoms, I was fatigued, had extreme sadness and passivity, and felt guilty about my condition. I was not taking care of myself properly, I could not sleep well at night and woke up exhausted in the mornings. I often talked negatively to myself and blamed others for the way I was feeling. When I was in my depressive state, I felt that no one cared about me. I felt like everyone was avoiding me, and everything was my fault. It is important to understand that when you are feeling depressed, your perception of the world around you becomes distorted. The negative thoughts are very prominent in your mind, and it creates a lot of pain.
How does it compare to how you view yourself now?
I think the first thing that I have noticed is that I no longer get wrapped up in my problems and feel as though they are insurmountable. I am able to think more clearly and plan out my life in a way that will benefit me in the long run. I see myself as a well-rounded individual. I have come to realise that my mental health does not define me. Having struggled with depression for so long, it has taken me a long time to get to this point in my life.
Now that I am no longer depressed and feel like my true self again, I am able to make better decisions about how to handle my life. I am open-minded and focusing on what I want to achieve rather than letting outside influences affect my decisions. I am now able to see my life from a new perspective. I am no longer the person who was always stressed and worried about things that could happen in the future, but rather someone who is able to enjoy what they have now and focus on reaching their goals one step at a time.
As I look back on my life, I realise that this was all part of the process. It took a long time for me to get where I am now, and it’s not something that happened overnight. The first step in overcoming depression is realising that you are not alone—there are many people out there who have been through similar experiences as well. There is no need to hide your feelings or try to pretend like everything is okay when it is not; instead, be open about how you feel and allow others to help you find ways around those obstacles.
When did you decide to take the leap and become an entrepreneur?
I was actually working a 9-5 in the corporate world when I decided to become an entrepreneur. I was tired of working for companies who were not living out their missions. I was tired of helping people get jobs that they would one day hate. I wanted to make a true difference in the world. However, I did not know where to start at all. I had a lot of imposter syndrome to overcome during this process.
At the time, I was a high school dropout and a mom, so there was not anything on paper that said that I could actually do this, but you know what? That could not have been any further from the truth, as I was more equipped than I understood. I had so many real-world experiences at the time that helped me and continue to help me in my business to this day. There were so many mentors and resources around me that helped me to understand how to start a business, what it looks like and how to get into the entrepreneurial mindset.
After taking the leap and stepping out on faith, I decided to create a revolutionary employment agency called Daze Staffing Solutions, which specialises in talent acquisition strategies that actually help candidates and companies to achieve their goals, as opposed to just working towards them. Since then, I have gone on to become a business, life and accountability coach as well as the co-founder (alongside my best friend and mentor Cassy Moses) of Casheley Co., which is a community designed to help empower other entrepreneurs and professional minds alike, through our weekly webinars, self-care guides, mentor-mentee relationships and more.
“It means that no matter where you come from or what your past has been filled with, you can build a beautiful future for yourself by doing what makes your heart happy.”
How does depression and anxiety hinder people and prevent their success?
Depression and anxiety hinders people as they cannot focus on something long enough to succeed. Depression causes people to get stuck on negative thoughts. Anxiety makes them worry about all the things that could go wrong, even if nothing has happened yet; leading them to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty. In my years of being a coach, I have seen many people keep their dreams on hold due to their anxiety and depression. These are often the most brilliant, creative and passionate people. The reason they do not make their dreams a reality is because they lose hope, focus and fight with themselves. The person who can get past that paralysis will be able to change the world we live in. As someone who has lived with anxiety and depression, I believe that the best way to overcome them is to be honest and open with yourself. Facing your fears head-on is the only way to eliminate them from your life. Do not let fear stop you from doing what you want in life.
Why is it important for you to help women, from all over the world, find their inner strength?
It is very important for me to help women feel empowered as I know what it is like to be a girl, teen and woman who felt like she had no purpose to live. I was in a dark place, without direction or any way out of the dark hole I was in. It required strength within me to get where I am today, and I want women all over the world to feel empowered as well, because they can change their lives if they believe in themselves. For me, empowerment means giving women the strength to believe that they have the ability to do anything they want. It means teaching women how to take care of their minds and bodies. It means that no matter where you come from or what your past has been filled with, you can build a beautiful future for yourself by doing what makes your heart happy.