Award-winning Saskatchewan journalist Christalee Froese has written - and lived - the roadmap to 'A Journey to Joy' and now, she's ready to share it with readers.
The Montmartre-based writer says her recently-published memoir was six years in the making. “While it has sometimes been a tortuous and terrifying experience, in the end, I think my journey will leave readers uplifted and confident that they too, can survive life's hardest hits,” says Froese.
In 'Journey to Joy,' Froese chronicles her recovery from depression and anxiety. She also takes readers through the trials of the adoption process, which eventually leads her to a Chinese orphanage, where she finds “her purpose.”
The mother of a teenage son and now, a daughter from China, Froese's anxiety and depression began in earnest after she experienced a miscarriage and found she couldn't have any more biological children.
After deciding to adopt a child, she spent six years on a wait list, having her hopes repeatedly dashed.
After experiencing increasingly severe anxiety and depression, Froese experienced a mental breakdown and spent three weeks in a psychiatric ward in 2011. There, she realized that one of her biggest challenges was a relentless inner critic.
Even after the successful adoption of her daughter, Journey from China, Froese found that anxiety, depression and negative self-talk remained.
“I decided I had to get unstuck,” she says. “So I made a decision to begin a rewrite of everything I'd ever known or believed in.”
“I read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so I woke up one day and decided that for 21 days, 'I'm just going to try joy.'”
“I focused on all of my favourite things and each month, I focused on just one. I just did it as I went along and I continued for about two years.”
Froese's favourites include: Peace, Food, Music, Travel, Creativity, and more. It's been called “'Eat, Pray, Love' for the rest of us.”
“But your favourite things might be entirely different,” she says. “And that's okay. What the book is really all about is finding joy wherever you are.”
“I found joy in simple and slow and in the sanctuary of my family and good friends,” says Froese. “Not on the streets of New York City or sitting at a banquet, although those can be fun, too.”
“What I really learned is that joy doesn't have to be manufactured and it's already there,” she says. “Joy isn't a management issue; it's an observation issue.”
“Even though I wrote this (book) in the shelter of my relaxing office, writing it was still a very frightening process for me. But this project helped me and I hope it helps other people.”
“For anyone dealing with mental health issue, you are not alone.”
For more information, visit: www.bookjourneytojoy.com. 'Journey to Joy' is available locally at Kings Department Store in Carlyle and Front Porch Interiors in Wawota. And Kindle version is also available via Amazon.ca.