Nicholas Henstridge is a wellness advocate on a mission to help men, and all humans, build stronger relationships with themselves; their health, mindset, relationships and work. Sharing his journey, Nic is compelled to hand over the tools, knowledge and experience he discovered along the way.
Currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine (presently on-hold), he is passionate about a holistic approach to health, life and self-healing.
With a background in music and technology, his interests are diverse and ever-evolving. Though at his core, he loves the Quiet life - sunshine, surf and spending time with the people (and animals) he loves.
My childhood was spent ignoring my health, simply because I wasn’t aware it was something that needed attention or focus. If my father wasn’t cooking dinner I would usually be eating frozen foods and washing it down with orange juice (i.e. refined sugar – not the real stuff). Even when I was eating a family dinner I wasn't paying attention to what my body needed and there was no one around who was educated enough on the topic to use as a guide.
My parents split when I was 12, which was a challenge. This occurred at a time when I was breaking free of the peer pressure of my mates and accepting it was totally cool to enjoy spending time with my mum. Seemingly at that same instant, she moved out. It wasn’t something I accepted as affecting me, but obviously years later I would discover that was not the case.
My dad was busy building and maintaining his business and, although Dog love him, was emotionally detached. He worked long hours and we had live-in help through until we were old enough not to need it. Over the years we had 3 memorable live-ins, but it seemed to taunt and play with the recurrence of family figures entering the life of my sister and I, and exiting just as we would form a bond.
As I grew into my teens, my unhealthy diet, lifestyle, and the struggle to integrate and process happenings in my childhood continued. Thinking back to those days now I feel for that little guy; beating himself up every day, sometimes consciously - although all unconscious at its core. My happiness was deeply affected and although underneath I was a warm and friendly individual, I was depressed.
At 17 years old I became acutely aware of the presence of a dark cloud tracking my every move. I vividly remember visiting my mum one afternoon and speaking to her about the fact that I hadn’t felt happy in such a long time; concerned, she asked if I wanted to see her doctor. I obliged as my natural inclination to voice these concerns remained. I sat in the exam room describing to the doc that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt happy, detailing the unrelenting sadness and often sense of doom that permeated my consciousness; the black hole in my stomach where this odd and scary energy seemed to reside. Twenty minutes later, or less, I was given a prescription for Zoloft, a diagnosis of ‘clinical’ depression and I was on my way. What happened next was the fastest unraveling imaginable; shy of a heavy drug addiction.
Over the following month I sank into the deepest, most frightening hole I had ever experienced; coincidentally aligned perfectly with the start of my daily Zoloft regimen. I am ‘clinically’ depressed so I told myself, that’s what the issue is! At least now I had an answer. I had something solid, scientific and definite that could explain the cause of my pain, unhappiness and now meteoric hole in my stomach.
I fell hook, line and sinker for the victim story I had been sold and ran with it; big time. I spiraled deeper and deeper into nightmarish depression, romanticizing the idea of ending it all to be free of the pain and odd existence I found myself living. Eventually ending up in a mental health facility for 2 months, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a rapid cycler. The medical paradigm defining this as one who would cycle between manic elation and misery at least once a day.
Armed with this new found tag I began reading about other people with bipolar, their stories and journeys. I discovered from my physician and personal reading that unlike depression, bipolar was a life long illness that meant I would need to be on medication for the rest of my life. According to my doctor at the time, some patients could cycle off the medication for a couple of years, but this was often met with a relapse that required one to go back on the medication. The underlying thread and formal recommendation from physicians was that life-long maintenance was the 'safe' path to a functional life.
Fast forward 3 years, to 20 years old. Something clicked in me. I reached a breaking point of self-harm, both emotional and physical; I was fed up with being the victim. Did I really need to be on medication for the rest of my life? Was I born to be maintained by pharmacology?
At that moment I made a choice. I no longer wanted to be the victim sentenced to a life of forced medication. I decided to look closely at myself as a whole; what I was eating, my mindset and belief systems; my physical health and relationships. I began building the happiness I wanted; starting within.
I am sharing my full story, journey and discoveries here to help others who may be in a similar position that I was fourteen years ago. I had to piece everything together myself and because of that it took longer than it needed to. I want to open a dialogue, and offer a platform for people to easily access the tools, knowledge and experience I have to shorten their journey into health and happiness.