Health & Wellness

I’m Unimpressed with Young Living Essential Oils

It happened to me. Young Living Essential Oils happened to me.

So, I have been dancing around the idea of looking into trying essential oils for headaches. I had no idea how they were supposed to help, but I was, and am, willing to try most anything to alleviate my headaches. I was invited to an *exclusive* Facebook group to test oils. I received my ultra special sample from my Young Living peddling friend and I was sold. The beautiful marketing materials and intoxicating scents of the tester oils bolstered my whim to invest in the Premium Starter Kit.

$200 Later

Yep, you read that right. Two bills to begin a “path to wellness” for my family and me. In addition to the $160 kit with 10 oils and random samples and sharing crap, I splurged for the 2 day shipping, bringing my total to a whopping $200. I had some REALLY high hopes for these mystical oils.

Five Days Later

I’m not salty about it or anything, but my pretty expensive starter kit with added *2 DAY SHIPPING* came 5 days after ordering. So, this time period includes a weekend, and I understand the delay that way. I just thought that the whole 2 Day thing meant “2 days regardless of regular business days” ….because $25 should get me that, right? After 5 days of checking the shipping status online, I finally got the knock that I had been waiting for: the Premium Starter Kit had arrived.

I was still pretty enamored with the Young Living Lifestyle and though I definitely am not motivated to, I entertained the idea of actively selling oils for a hot minute. This is the new Avon lady, I thought. The 3 and it’s free and career path informational materials are somehow disarming and alluring. All of the carefully crafted Multi Level Marketing ploys had been effectively deployed on me. These oils and supplements, presented as affordable luxury, were wellness items that our families deserved. If I really loved my family and wanted to provide for them, Young Living was the answer to every prayer.

But wait, there’s more

The Essential Rewards program is a monthly automatic shipping order that you select and can “cancel at any time” but accrue spendable points at higher and higher rates the longer you have an active subscription. The believers make it sound design like a commandment, a true necessity to have a monthly qualifying ER order. People love showing pictures of their free items they used points to receive.

Fellow down-liners via the Facebook group page for our “organization” under our ultimate sponsor or whatever it’s called, are constantly testifying the blessings of the Essential Rewards programs and sharing pictures of their “free” items. In reality, you have to order hundreds of dollars of inventory, whether for yourself or actually customers, in order to enjoy the benefits that include complimentary product.

I signed up for ER in a moment of particular weakness and quickly realized my error. I signed into my virtual office and tried to cancel my ER order. Make all product quantities 0? Nope. Change delivery date? Won’t go through til next time. Ugh! So much for cancel anytime. I called the customer service number and felt like I had to justify my cancelation reason and why I was missing out on this great opportunity. It was more like trying to cancel cable than a shipment.

Back to the kit

I chose the Desert Mist diffuser in my PSK because it was the cutest in the pictures, but it also has variable diffusing strengths and up to 10 hours of run time. In real life, it’s pretty cheap looking, like an oversized votive candle with a blow hole. If it didn’t have the cute Morroccan Trellis design, I wouldn’t use the decorative cover at all.

Lavender is the Young Living star oil and the only one I used at first. I was having a really difficult time finding diffuser blend or any other recipes that used ONLY oils from my ultra special Premium Starter Kit. I always seemed to be missing one or two components to a recipe, usually tea tree and lemongrass. I quickly ran out of lavender, lemon, and Citrus Fresh oils making cleaning products and defusing, which is all I really wanted oils for. I had been watching the prices of the oils I’d run out of and the monthly PV promos to feel out a right time to buy the oils I actually used. Ads for ArtNaturals oil and diffuser sets kept popping up in my Facebook news feed, on Pinterest, and even in my room at my mom’s house. She got her ArtNaturals oil and diffuser set on Amazon, but was nonetheless happily diffusing lavender and other various oils in her room with no quality issues.

Quantity and Quality

One day I saw that ArtNaturals was having a BOGO diffuser sale. Maybe this isn’t really a sale and I am once again fodder for marketing executives, but I had to check out this mysteriously affordable company. In 5 minutes of browsing, I found a 16 oil (singles) and Bluetooth diffuser PLUS second Bluetooth diffuser for $60 ūüė≤

I knew that I had been had. Instead of shelling out $75 to re-up my Young Living supply, I made off with 2 Bluetooth clock 400ml diffuser units and 16 oils. Damn. By shopping around for 5 minutes I could have saved $140. I reassured my self that the *nice* or expensive oils would surely be more effective than their cheap peer.

Now I’m a happy customer

Truly, I have noticed no difference in quality of household products I have made with both brands of oils. Diffusing, I have noticed differences in scent, but ArtNaturals have been effective blends for sleep, allergies, stress, and headaches. The similarity of these oils made my buyers remorse really hit home. I’m a little bitter at Young Living for making their product seem like the moral selection, the choice of mothers who really care.

I have since purchased a second ArtNaturals set with a necklace diffuser because it is SO CUTE! and was less than $20 including 8 oils that I’m chugging through anyway. My house smells amazing, I have been able to stop allergies in their tracks, and I can make surprisingly effective household products for pennies. I really wish I had skipped Young Living and gone with ArtNaturals from the start.

I’m sure there are people ready with their pamphlets and doctrine to change my wrong opinion about the *best* essential oil company around. I know there are an equal number of Doterra fans available to sing its praises and enlighten me as to how DT is truly the superior company in quality etc.

Aside from the loudest names in the industry, there are plenty of quality, affordable, small business essential oil companies. There are so many options available thanks to Amazon, and a quick Google search will reward you with countless blog posts recommending individuals favorite oil purveyors (and a fair amount selling for MLMs). One reason that I like purchasing from ArtNaturals is that they are based out of Glendale, which isn’t far from me!

Whether it’s a unpopular or inconvenient opinion to have, I’m here to tell you that the MLM essential oil companies are not the end all be all in the retail market. What’s your essential oil brand of choice? Why?

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Health & Wellness

Sunshine After Rain

My Post Partum Depression Story

New & Expecting Mamas, I’m sorry to be another person to cast a dark shadow on the beautiful, bright, Norman Rockwell fantasy motherhood scenarios many of you may dream of sharing with your new bundle of joy(s). We need to talk about the very real, very scary, and for some reason very stigmatized¬†boogie man: Post Partum Depression (PPD).

I’m not here to preach about PPD as a sickness from a clinical perspective, but to open up about my experience, struggle, and journey to health again. I hope that creating more public dialogue about our experiences with Post-Partum Depression, more mothers will come forward to seek early help without fear.

Beyond “Baby Blues”

Seriously ladies, babies are exhausting! Even the most energetic and resilient moms will have moments where they feel overwhelmed and exhausted, especially at 2am when Jr. just won’t stop crying or feeding. “Baby Blues” are temporary and maybe a trip to Starbucks with a friend, or letting Grandma get her wish of an afternoon with the new baby “So you can sleep, honey,” can help relieve your exhaustion and fortify your spirits.

PPD is so much different. When your crying just won’t stop, you always feel desperate, inadequate (though all mothers feel inadequate periodically), never attached to your baby, empty, numb- not feeling anything at all. These are all indications of PPD, though many other signs can identify this complex condition. Most seriously, anger and suicidal ideation can manifest in Post-Partum Depression. These are never symptoms to ignore. Seek help immediately if this describes you.

Precious Moments Lost

Autumn was born in October 2014. Immediately she had problems nursing. This was a crushing blow to my hopes for motherhood. The only thing that I wanted to do was nurse Autumn for the first year. Everything else I would play by ear. The entire hospital stay was a nightmare of painful feedings, unhelpful lactation consultants, and a feeling that Autumn was someone else’s baby that I was babysitting. *Red Flag!*

Things didn’t get any better when we got home. Her feeding problems persisted and it seemed like she nursed around the clock, but was never satisfied. My nipples were wrecked, she wasn’t getting as much milk as I was making, and I still didn’t feel like a mother. At her doctor’s appointment, she was checked off as gaining weight OK, but I didn’t feel like I was adequately providing for her needs. She cried ALL. THE. TIME. I felt so out of touch with her and hopeless.

I couldn’t handle it. Like,¬†I literally¬†dreaded the days that my husband worked night shifts and I had to brave the seemingly endless nights of painful feeding, constant soothing, screaming from her, tears from me alone. Who was I to complain? Innumerable mothers had valiantly swallowed their discomfort for the sake of their precious bundles of joy. Why couldn’t I buck up and take it like a mom? I felt so ashamed at my feelings of displeasure, borderline unloving, and straight up misery that I didn’t say anything and refused to acknowledge these true issues for months. Months of bonding, joy, and love with my baby were lost because I hid my depression.

Getting Help

After I went back to work, things didn’t improve. As a direct service worker for adults with disabilities, I worked very closely with medical and psychological professionals. After leaving a shift with a client who had a history of severe mental illness, I decided that I needed to get “checked out” for Post Partum Depression. (I think this was March 2015!)

My doctor’s visit wasn’t scary, shameful, or awkward at all. My doctor, (who is now my primary doctor, how cool!) a mom herself, was very compassionate and open about the prevalence of PPD. She did give me a bit of a finger wagging for not coming in sooner, but a concerned, loving one. I was so relieved to have more understanding, hope, and a reason for my feelings. medication and counseling¬†were the best options for me and they helped immensely.

It’s a Journey

Since my original diagnosis of Post Partum Depression, I have “graduated” to Major Depression.¬†That just means that my symptoms didn’t end after the technical Post Partum period.¬†I’m ok with that. I am not ashamed; it’s just a sickness that needs treatment just like my epilepsy. I don’t love being on a bunch of medications for seizures and another for depression and anxiety, but I am beyond grateful to be in a place where I feel love, joy, connection, motivation, and like my daughter’s mother and my husband’s wife.

Power of Prayer

I can’t meditate. I just can’t not “talk” in my mind. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) and having a personal communicative relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is deeply important to me. Prayer has become my meditation- meditation where I can talk.

I don’t ask to be “healed” in prayers, but I tell Heavenly Father what I’m feeling, the pain that I’m going through, and the anxieties I have. I try to focus on scriptures that empower me and remind me that through Christ’s Atonement He not only saved us from sins, but He felt every pain and affliction we have and ever will experience. Knowing that I am not alone in my pain nor talking to a “brick wall” is some of the best (and free) therapy ever.

Sunshine After Rain

Mama’s new, again-ers,¬† empty nesters, and everyone in between: let’s not continue to stigmatize and hide our individual stories of depression and mental illness wellness, post partum or otherwise. Speaking up and letting others know that they are not alone can create a closer community of sisterhood, healthy mother-baby relationships, and increase early access to behavioral health.

Take heart, the rain never lasts forever. Even the gloomiest places get pockets of sunshine. Love yourselves, love your babies and families, and know that you are never alone.

Wishing you joy,

Leah