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Suite 238-1917 West 4th Avenue
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Wellbeing & SOLOpreneurship; my personal story ❤︎

Ashley Johnson

Hi there you beautiful human :)

I chose to write this post about the last six months, as enquiring minds are wondering what’s been going on, plus it is cathartic for me to articulate the happenings into words.


D e e p breath.

Here it goes…


The Anthropology Of Giving is just me.

I work with a brilliant array of makers who supply me with product, but I’m flying solo other than that, therefore, I consider myself to be a SOLOpreneur.

In some ways it’s great, I only have myself to be accounted to, in other ways it’s so darn challenging, as, if I can’t do it, nothing gets done.


At the beginning of June there was a blip in my health, which proceeded to snowball out of control into WAY more than a blip.

It’s now November, and I have yet to recover.

I had to press pause on virtually everything in my life, aside from simply trying to remain in existence.

I will not mince my words here, it completely SUCKED!


For a little bit of context…

I’ve been “blessed” with a hypersensitive make-up, and have been faced with a myriad of health challenges since I was really little.  Some (by that I mean several medical professionals from various fields) believe it is due to the stress my Mom was under when she was pregnant with me. 
My older brother was diagnosed with leukaemia just before I was born (he passed away when I was 3 1/2).


with Mom

Other health professionals consider the fact I had two mmr’s (measles, mumps, rubella vaccination) because Mom lost the documentation from my first vaccination in the chaos that was her life.

Fam Jam

Regardless of the why, I have always had acute allergies.  I have always gotten bizarre skin infections… My immune system is compromised, and I try really hard to build it up, but it falls apart regularly.

I have to be so careful about what I commit to, how much stress I’m under, how I’m eating/sleeping/etc/etc.

But Life happens, and sometimes I simply cannot control everything enough to keep myself afloat.

I also simply make bad choices once in a while that cause me grief.


In my late teens a large emotional component to my health revealed itself.

I don’t fit into any of the mental health boxes, I’m not bipolar, I’m not clinically depressed.

I have been assessed, and reassessed over the years to no avail.

I have been prescribed almost every mental health medication out there, and I don’t respond well to anything.

This insane sensitivity to all medication has been a huge problem for me through this rollercoaster health journey.

It’s so hard to be treated for something when your body can’t tolerate that said treatment.


The next phase of my life consisted of an extremely bumpy ride of trying to get through university, and while;

  1. Exploring alternative medicine options.
  2. A hospitalization which included electro-convulsive therapy.
  3. Being diagnosed and treated for chronic Lyme disease.
  4. Developing major insomnia and being treated like a guinea pig at the UBC Sleep Disorders clinic seeing no results.
  5. Being put on and taken off various medications which never seemed to work for me, but always wreaked havoc on my system when I tapered off.

Part of what the last six months have included is tapering off a highly addictive prescription sleeping medication which caused immense withdrawal symptoms, and has been one of the most horrific experiences of my life.


♡♡♡  I have been with my boyfriend for almost 11 years now, and how he has managed to support me through all of this, I have no idea (he's pretty radtastic).   ❤︎❤︎❤︎


My extensive journey to find health is extremely hard on my family, as they simply want me to get well.

It’s especially hard on my Mom, as I know she feels like it is her fault somehow, even though it isn’t.


Many friendships have paid the price, as I can only truly be there for the people in my life when I am well, so I tend to come in and out of peoples lives as my health ebbs and flows.


The fact that I don’t have, and likely never will have a clear diagnosis makes it really hard to explain to people.

Plus there is a large component of shame associated with this for me, as part of me still thinks I should be able to will myself out of this, and that when I have a downswing, I have failed.

At times I feel extremely embarrassed about the whole thing, and believe people must wonder why I don't have my shit together, and think I’m lazy/unmotivated/unintelligent (insert loads of other choice negative adjectives).



I went back and forth for ages trying to decide whether or not it was a good idea for me to write this post.


I want to thank Melissa of Print Therapy for showing me that sharing your story, even if it’s extremely personal, is cathartic.  Reading her lovely instagram and blog posts helped give me the courage to write this.


Also thanking Linnie von Sky who is a constant source of light, and whose children’s book publication allows me to explain parts of my health story to the amazing kidlets in my life.

Grace Bonnie of Design*Sponge for always fearlessly sharing even the most difficult parts of her story with her online community.



What has helped me though this bad spell:

  1. Admitting I need help and accepting it.
  2. Craniosacral therapy with the magic Christine Steward.
  3. My sister’s magic cannabis cream & bath bombs.
  4. Danielle LaPorte’s truthbombs.
  5. Bamboletta dolls.
  6. woodlot soap.
  7. Noble & Co beeswax candles.
  8. Penny Frances Apothecary Geranium face serum.
  9. The fact that Rifle Paper is doing an Alice in Wonderland fabric collection.
  10. Spending time with my nieces and nephews who love me no matter what.
  11. Happy Mail.
  12. The ocean & loads of other things Mother Earth has to offer.
Halloween with Rojo & Paxy Waxy
Chasey & Jakey


Some things that have really resonated with me around this subject lately are:

  1. The Jealous Curator’s podcast.
  2. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey who the ever so thoughtful Rhea (@devoteddiarist @mailmorelove) mailed to me, even though we only know one another through instagram and penpal-ing.
  3. Almost everything that comes out of Anita’s mouth (@thesocialyoga @momentmeditation).  You can hear her on two recent podcasts here and here.
  4. Dug Dealer by Macklemore featuring Ariana Deboo see video here.  
  5. The Marie TV episode with Grace Bonney.
  6. Music soothes my soul, listen to my All the FEELS playlist here.


I’m so grateful that I find myself in a place where I feel comfortable sharing this.

I am blessed to have a community who genuinely cares how I am, who do not judge me, and will welcome me back in person when I am well enough to connect.


The moral of this story:

Life happens… So much of it is out of our control, therefore it is imperative to recognize and embrace the small moments of joy that you are blessed with throughout the day.  Be grateful for them, and really feel all the goodness.

We never really know what we will be faced with next, but believe in your ability to face whatever challenges come your way.

We are much stronger that we believe we are.



Choose love.



Ash xo