Shattered to the Core

Shattered to the Core by Valerie J. Walsh will appeal to readers who like to delve into memoirs about overcoming adversities (in this case, the suicide of Valerie’s mother) or those who struggle with bouts of depression, anxiety, or addiction. 

We recently bundled up and took a hike with Valerie to learn more about her story, her writing process (great advice for anyone considering writing their own memoir), and to receive valuable steps we can all use to protect our mental health.

This is a sponsored post

For more than twenty-five years, Valerie Walsh has worked as a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer, group fitness, and yoga instructor in and around New Milford. With the release of her book on January 22nd, she’ll be adding author, mental health advocate, & fearless warrior to her resume!

Give us your book blurb…

SHATTERED TO THE CORE is a memoir about the trauma of my mother’s suicide in 2013 coupled with a double mastectomy and reconstruction just a few months later. I share my well-documented journey through this, along with one striking photo of what a mastectomy, and true love, look like. 

My mother’s suicide, along with having to lob off my breasts, led me down my own path of depression and crippling anxiety. In this book, I share just how I dug deep to find the CORE of who I am and where I came from, to allow for true healing, and a life finally lived in peace of mind…body, and spirit.  

Buy the book. Help a movement!

Shattered to the Core is set for publication on January 22nd, 2022. Please consider purchasing on the 22nd to help get Valerie’s book on the bestseller list for mental health.

Sign up for Valerie’s email list to receive a direct link to purchase the book, as well as FREE CORE Method Fitness Tips!

What prompted you to take on the momentous task of writing a book and getting published? 

For two main reasons, it allowed me to heal, and now hopefully by sharing my story, will play some part in the movement to end the stigmas surrounding mental illness.  

What did your writing process look like?

A bit like a patchwork quilt! After losing my mother so suddenly, I began to write. Poems mostly. Then, to prepare for my mastectomy, I started taking notes. At first, the goal of the notes was to share with other women who may have to make the same decision I did. I wanted to capture the details of the process, and in doing so, I began to write more about the underlying issues, mostly – missing my mother dearly and aching for her to be with me during one of the most difficult times in my life. 

My writing process consisted of taking notes on my phone (especially during doctor visits), putting pen to paper, and then transferring some of that into a log I kept on my computer. When I finally made the commitment to piece it all together into my memoir, it took tremendous diligence. I made a point to spend at least one hour (which usually turned into more), writing each day. The daunting task of taking all of those notes and placing them into a timeline of my “Shattered to the Core” experience, took reflection. In many cases, things came to me while exercising and listening to music, usually outside, jogging or hiking. I would think of something and narrate it into my phone.

What do you hope people will take away from your book?

I hope people will take away the fact that my story is NOT unique. Everyone has “stuff”. I just chose to share mine because I witnessed what masking issues can do to a person. Saying that everything is FINE (a word you will learn when you read the book – I have come to loathe), doesn’t have to be the way. I want people to take away that it is okay to not be okay, and you are far from alone in feeling the way you do. There is hope, I am living proof of it.

3 ways we can protect our mental health

1) Movement is medicine – literally, get up and move to release all of the “feel good” chemicals your brain is capable of. 

2)  Be aware of your nutrition – we literally are what we eat  Notice how your mood changes (better or worse), in response to what you are eating. 

3)  Keep Peeps!  Relationships, fellowship is SO important. Isolation is one of the leading causes of depression.

Graphic provided by Valerie Walsh

You also run CORE Fitness Method…tell us more about that.

The CORE Fitness Method can be broken down to the acronym CORE:

C = Challenges (what are your goals?)

O = Obstacles (list the things that may stand in the way of progress toward your goals)

R = Reason (your why, your motivation)

= Excuses (the false truths you tell yourself)

This is the method I use with my fitness clients in one-on-one settings and in group training sessions. This, combined with the fundamentals of what we can do preventatively (movement, nutrition, and keeping peeps), is how we can stay both physically and spiritually fit.  

Follow Valerie →

Pics: Lora Karam (unless noted) / Words: Bev Canepari + Valerie Walsh

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