About Nancy Shah
My life in a Nutshell...in case you're curious:
I’ve definitely experienced different sides of life. I was born and raised near the steel mills just outside of Chicago in small town Indiana (ya know the song, “Little Pink Houses, by John Cougar?”). I struggled with depression and anxiety as early as I can remember and that has kind of been the thing that has driven my life’s study: How can I help myself feel better? Now, before you get all worried, I’ve overcome it for the most part and I’ve learned a TON that I can share with you along the way. I think starting at that place allows me to be a better coach and therapist. I know what a panic attack feels like, I KNOW what entrenched depression feels like. I know what it's like to not want to wake up in the morning. But I also know the way out of that dark, seemingly endless tunnel.
After I graduated from Purdue (BOILER UP!) I became a drug rep for a big pharma company and continued my learning about depression from a completely different perspective by being “The Prozac Lady.” I learned about the business side of depression and ended up taking my own medication by the end of it. I was so incredibly unhappy, despite the fact that I had literally achieved the American Dream at age 23. I owned a house (it was Rockford, IL people, not California!), drove a company car and made a higher salary than the valedictorian of our High School.
I learned very early on that the things that everyone tells you will make you happy (money, stable job with benefits, owning a home) can often be a death sentence of unhappiness. The American Dream is kind of a little white lie, I discovered. I thought, "There's GOT to be more!"
I gave it all up at 25. I had a mid life crisis (quarter-life crisis, technically) and applied to grad school. By some miracle I got into the exact program I wanted and was off and running toward my new life as a successful psychologist. Toward the end of that I met my soul mate and had the wedding of the century planned in two months (what were we thinking??) We had a Hindu Ceremony around a fire in a Sari and a traditional ceremony in a white dress. It was truly an East meets West extravaganza.
The next 10 years were a whirlwind. 6 months after our wedding we decided to leave all of our family and friends and move out to San Francisco so that he could take this amazing job with the top business consulting firm. We found an adorable house with a mind-blowing view in the Berkeley Hills and everything seemed pretty great….but I learned quickly that even when we love our life, it doesn’t always stay that way.
Within a 10 year period I got married, had two children, moved TEN times and got divorced. I’ve experienced what it’s like to be in a cross-cultural marriage (the father of my kids is from India), to raise your first child alone with family 2000 miles away and no friends in town and with a husband who travelled all week for work. I’ve had to make new friends and adjust to new towns 10 different times both with kids and without. I’ve experienced the crushing nightmare of divorce, but with a man that I still love and get along with just fine.
I’ve also learned more from the approach I have to life which guides everything I do and experience. I’d call it “Life as a Spiritual Practice." This approach allows me to really milk the deepest lessons out of everything I encounter whether it’s raising children, deciding what I’m going to eat or walking the dog.
What I'm up to on Instagram…