“Happiness is a lifestyle, not a destination,” says Leslie Pogue, founder of thehabitofhappy.com, a company dedicated to helping individuals reach higher levels of potential. Pogue recently hosted a live event here in the Southland, (North Hollywood specifically), during which attendees participated in an open discussion about the effects of antidepressants. The event titled, “Prozac, Lithium, and Zoloft, oh my! Get a Medication Exit Plan,” was for the purpose of informing patients on how to get off psychiatric medication, finding out the root cause of mental illness and dealing with it in a healthy pill-free way.
“When I was first diagnosed with Anxiety Panic Disorder and Depression, I was prescribed Prozac,” Pogue said.
“Even though I did everything that I was asked to do, my doctors kept increasing my dosage and then recommended Lithium. All I heard was lobotomy. I said, ‘no way!’ I declined the Lithium and got off of the Prozac and decided to understand what it meant to have Anxiety Panic Disorder with Depression.”
“Sometimes medication is needed in the beginning but it does not and should not be a life sentence. You are allowed to ask your doctor for an exit plan,” she said.
Pogue is the author of “28 Days to Happy,” a guide of sorts, to deeper self discovery, a tool that she believes is a large factor in mental health, and “The Positive Side of the Bad Stuff.”
“‘28 Days to Happy’ is a daily guide to walk you through acknowledging and accepting the truth about what’s really going on in your world,” Pogue explained,
“…to forgive yourself and others for the wrongs you feel have been done to you; and ultimately to identify and celebrate the happiness that is always there no matter what comes your way. This book will help you acknowledge the reality of your life and be OK with it enough to move on to the next step.”
Meanwhile, “Positive Side” is a collection of Pogue’s blogs written over the last few years.
“It speaks primarily to the personal soft skills that we all manage every day from joy to grief to who cares to self-care. It will give you a guide to make sense of the things in your life and find your positive side of the bad stuff,” she said.
Pogue also works as a speaker and a life coach, sharing what she describes as her “transformative five step process that uncovers a genuineness that allows individuals and leaders to be extraordinary”. Through study and research, she said, she has developed techniques that people can use for more effective communication, focused and measurable goal planning and coping mechanisms during change. Those techniques Pogue explained, include a specific series of five actions one can take to promote happiness in his/ her own life.
Making up the acronym HAPPY (in the Habit of HAPPY title), the actions are:
Those interested in her work can visit Pogue’s blog, at thehabitofhappy.com where she talks about mental illness, taking control of one’s life and financial health. In one of her blogs, she talks about coping with change, a subject of one of her training courses. Here, the life coach lets people in on her secret:
“When change is thrust upon you in the skin of a layoff, divorce, or for some of us, an elected president, we need to focus on the plans we already have in place,” Pogue explains.
“Focus on all the things you have control over and choose how you want it to play out. When I got laid off, I started a business, when I got divorced, I remarried, when I lost all my money, I found a way to make more. When change is thrust upon you, it is never an ending; it is always the beginning to the next phase of your life growth. Show up and you will always win!”
Pogue talked about some of the life choices that led her down a dark path.
“[For instance] I chose my second husband with my eyes open but, unbeknownst to me, I was not in an emotional place to make a logical decision,” she said.
“I thought I was so clear that I was even able to convince other people that selling everything I own and moving to Wisconsin to marry a red-headed Mexican that I met online only two months prior was a good idea. I had people high fiving and applauding my courage. What they should have been saying is, ‘get the rope, we are gonna hog tie you because you are crazy and clearly a danger to yourself and others!’
“No one makes a choice with the expectation of failure. That would be ridiculous. We always look for the win. When it goes south, we are thrown and ask, “why me?” especially, if this seems to be the pattern. Just know that you have to look deeper. Every choice is not going to be a winner but, it is vital to know who you are in that moment. The “H” in HAPPY represents ‘hear your truth.’ Until you are honest with yourself about where you really are and how you really feel about the things in your life, you will continue to make plans on a false positive that can only end badly because it is not your true reality…”