We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Rundell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, what do you attribute your success to?
Being my authentic self, no matter what. I’m a health writer, speaker and advocate, so my success isn’t measured by dollars in the bank. Success comes from listening to that small, still voice inside – to my true self. When I’m aligned with my truth, I’m able to help countless people. The more transparent I am about my wild health ride, the more people I help heal.
Nothing I’ve lived through is off-limits – child abuse, bullying, alcoholism/drug addiction, rape, PTSD, thyroid disease, bipolar disorder, suicidal depression, psychosis, postpartum mental illness, five psych wards, too many deaths, Lyme disease and multiple co-infections.
Sometimes people judge me for putting myself out there for all the world to see, but those are not the people I’m writing for so I carry on. If my truth makes a person uncomfortable, that’s their problem. It’s taken me over 40 years and healing from major illnesses to really let go of being who I think people want me to be and just being me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Speaking the unspeakable and writing the unwritable is my passion, along with making people laugh. Shame dies in light. I’ve written for WebMD, HealthyPlace, WEGO Health and for several other blogs. I picked up the creative pen at nine, but I started writing about mental health when I was in the throes of four impossible years of postpartum mental illness. I was sick, but I was helping others. The mental health community was beautiful, honest and many shared my quirky sense of humor. Blogging got me through a lot of dark days.
I ended up hospitalized twice in 2014 and after undergoing a non-invasive brain procedure, I got my life back. I stopped blogging and started doing stand-up comedy. It was a huge part of my healing and I loved it.
Three years later, my life came to a screeching halt. I became so sick I could barely walk. At 45, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease which I contracted as an infant. I was bedbound for several months, in a wheelchair at one point and had tremors and involuntary movements that were so dramatic my family feared I had Parkinson’s. When I entered the Lyme community for support, I was shocked to find so much mental illness, helplessness and tragedy. It was nothing like my experience in the mental health community and it made me feel worse, not better.
I decided to contribute to the community by bringing my weirdo-self to it. I started a healing vlog on YouTube and devoted far too much time to it. I also got really wrapped up in myself – it was the Courtney show for sure. I was blogging a bit as well, but again it was more about me, not my ride. So I removed most of the videos, deleted my blog, got really quiet and listened to my intuition. And when I was done listening, I listened some more.
And the answer became so clear – write from your heart.
I started a gritty, honest and sometimes hilarious blog about my wild ride attempting to heal from both mental illness and Lyme. Don’t get me wrong, mental illness and Lyme are deadly serious. But I’ve had some hilarious moments on this ride. I’ve learned a lot from one of my other deadly serious diseases — alcoholism. There was nothing to laugh about when I got sober so when I walked into a 12-step group and found everyone laughing their faces off at what I found mortifying, I was shocked.
But that laughter ended up healing me. I was able to laugh at the ridiculous commonalities I had with other ex-drunks. Laughter is a way to heal, a way to relate, a way to take ourselves a little less seriously. My hope is to bring awareness, levity and healing to as many people in the mental health and Lyme communities as possible.
I’m still healing. I’m very much still on this ride. I put speaking engagements aside until I’m a little further down the road. YouTube isn’t a closed door, I just know I’ll do it much differently if I add new content. Because healing isn’t about me – it’s about we. Healing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I succeed any day I can help another on their healing ride in any way – be it through laughter, new ideas or simply a spark of hope. And above all else, to know they are not alone.
You are not alone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We better start in Topanga and get our energy aligned, then go to the beach for some serious healing vibes. We’ll head South to get some clean, healthy grub at True Food in Santa Monica or head back to Hugo’s in Studio City. Of course, being a true weirdo, I must take you to Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach. And if we really want to dial it up a notch, we’ll get tattoos at Earth Altar Studio in Eagle Rock so we never forget our epic weekend.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I could name because it truly takes a village, but here are the tops:
My health coach, Jackie Shea. She walked me through some of the darkest moments of Lyme disease and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
My chiropractor, Dr. Ron Barak. He is so much more than a chiropractor and has been with me on my wild health ride for almost 10 years.
My mom, Elaine Jason. She’s always there for me and she taught me the importance of art.
My fellow weirdos on Twitter. They are the most amazing, loving tribe who embrace all my weirdness.
Every single person in my 12-step recovery group. They carry me and give me strength I never knew I had.
My best friend. She’s very private so I won’t name her, but she’s literally saved my life more than once.
And my sister. She’s also very private, but she’s also saved my life more than once and has always loved me unconditionally.