September 18, 2020

Photo: Tim Leyes (Toronto)

They Say Resilience is My Middle Name

CANADA – We live in a society that measures success on busyness; we multitask ourselves into illness, and it is slowly killing us. I learned that slowing down is crucial, and in my case, vital. To heal my invisible symptoms, I had to learn to accept the harsh reality of a need to slow down. Patience was key, and this was the most difficult thing I had ever done. I’m Roseline Mouana, this is how resilience nearly destroyed me but also brought me back to wellness.

[Feature Image: Tim Leyes, Toronto]

My Roots

My mother is from France, and my father is from the Republic of Congo. My fondest memories are filled with cultural contrasts that circled around food. My father was a chef, and my mother’s culinary skills were influenced by French and German traditions. At the table, everything was perfect and meticulous, always offering the healthiest options. It was a paradoxical upbringing of childhood trauma, combined with a safe haven of home remedies and the most refined dining experiences. This is how I fell in love with food.

After graduating from Concordia University in Montreal, my first job was as an Art Director in an advertising agency that had pharmaceutical giants as clients. Target audience: medical doctors and surgeons. I witnessed how the pharmaceutical industry withholds information from doctors, who are subsequently unaware of the detrimental side effects of prescription medicine.

Photo: Dr. Stacy Thomas (Toronto)

The Importance of Natural Healing

Fast forward 15 years, while raising a little girl on my own who was six at the time, my career progressed to managing crisis communications at Global Affairs. My files were International Security and Sub-Saharan Africa. The volume and intensity of this job, combined with a toxic workplace, led to a major burnout.

I was a mess. My stress levels were disproportionately high, my nervous system ruled my body and derailed everything else. I was completely out of balance: hyper-ventilation, heart palpitations, anxiety, memory loss, insomnia, depression, vertigo, candida, migraines, piercing earaches, and reduced cognitive function. It was debilitating.

With acute and cumulative stress sustained over decades, I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD).

My doctor issued five different prescriptions, and wanted to hospitalize me so I could rest and recover. Understanding how experimental pharmaceuticals can be, I decided to take healing into my own hands.

With what seemed to be the gift of time, I went on a rampage to get well. I consulted with a naturopath, a homeopath, an Ayurvedic doctor, a Chinese doctor, an energy healer, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a psychotherapist, and a psychologist. I thought I was doing myself a self-healing favour! Meanwhile, I was not at all following doctor’s orders. I believed that if I just sat there, that it would be lazy.

I was wrong. Wellness cannot be rushed. There is no magical solution toward recovery. Being off work revealed something else: once my adrenaline levels were no longer in overdrive, stress rose to the surface, and I felt worse. So here I was, alone with my daughter, completely dysfunctional.

But There Was Hope

When done naturally and without pharmaceuticals, healing is a long-term process that requires patience and discipline. The body needs time to heal, and do what it’s naturally designed to do. It can take months, even years to eradicate what has damaged the body.

On my mission to feel better, I would read wellness articles on detoxification, how to live a stress-free life, and optimal health. It’s the latter that caught my attention. Optimal health. How do I achieve that? I had been a health nut from day one; I grew up in a home with no soda, no chips, no boxed juices, no processed foods; not even ketchup or mayonnaise.

Wanting more, and with a background in ballet, soccer, and sprinting, I enrolled in 500 hours of yoga teacher training, and studied with masters from India and Tibet. I also became extremely disciplined with food, surpassing what I thought were healthy habits, and eliminating anything that increased stress in the body. 

After two years of discipline, and with the guidance of a mentor in Spain, I completely regenerated my body, and became an accomplished yoga teacher. My doctor now follows my lead, and I am now on year seven of what is currently trending as a ketogenic diet. And since I had put on such a good act in the corporate world and had been a child performer on stage, I also became an actor for cinema and television.

Photo: Lucas Casale (Toronto)

Balance & Resilience

When I am not in an audition or working on set, I pursue my passion toward food and healing as a private chef, yoga teacher and transformation coach.

My body underwent a lengthy and natural detoxification process, eliminating everything I had accumulated over the years. I went through a major transformation: I lost weight, my mood improved, I gained sound sleep and increased vitality, and my skin became flawless, void of acne, with no blemishes, and less wrinkles. I had essentially cured my symptoms with food and yoga, completely reversing the impact of stress and trauma.

When faced with serious life challenges, I might suffer from mild insomnia and stress-related symptoms, which is normal. What’s great is that I maintain balance, resilience, and inner peace because I stay diligent.

The magnitude of health-related information is often contradictory, and in the end, I discovered that optimal health is up to me. We all have the power to renew ourselves and refresh our lives, we simply need to convince ourselves that it’s actually possible to heal, naturally.

What was once medicinal is now a lifestyle, and this is what I love to empower my clients with every day.

Photo: Tim Leyes (Toronto)

Roseline continues to study the impact of trauma and PTSD, and aspires to obtain certification as a holistic nutritionist. She published an article on the benefits of yoga for stress management and trauma in the Toronto Firefighters Association magazine, and recently partnered with psychologist Dr. Stacy Thomas to co-host a yoga and meditation workshop celebrating transition and renewal. Roseline speaks French, English, and Spanish, and lives in Toronto with her 16-year-old daughter and their black rabbit Ninja. 

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They Say Resilience is My Middle Name

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