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Joseph Gibbons
Joseph Gibbons Discovering Optimal




I'm Joseph Gibbons -- a professor in Exercise Science and Lifestyle Management, and an accredited mental health first aid instructor and practitioner. 


While I’ve always pursued optimal health and wellness, I haven’t always been successful at it. My pursuit sometimes yielded fantastic results and other times fell completely flat. With every bad day I’d obsessively try to find the answer as to why my energy was subpar or why I felt anxious and sick.


As time rolled on, and my health continued to deteriorate, I hurled myself into books, articles, and documentaries on nutrition, exercise, sleep, meditation, faith, supplements, alternative medicine, and on and on and on. 


I had become desperate. I’d been running my body, mind, and soul into the ground for years. I was grossly overworked, chronically underslept, and helplessly unhappy. 


My body was weeping and desperately needed me to pull back, rest, and recover. But instead, I punished it day after day until the inevitable happened. It broke.


It was a Thursday afternoon in 2010. I stood in front of my Programming for Diverse Populations class at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario, ready to give my final lecture of the week. Suddenly, as I began to speak, it felt as if someone flicked off a light switch in my head. I opened my mouth to address the class, but there was just one problem: nothing I said was coherent—I’d lost the ability to talk. Noise came out, but I couldn’t form words properly. After a few moments of gibberish, I commanded my mouth to speak the words in my head, but it refused. Standing there, dazed and confused, I made several more attempts to autocorrect this odd problem and speak a coherent sentence.


After what seemed like an eternity in front of my students, I got just enough words out to tell them that class was canceled. I apologized, walked out of the college, and headed straight home.


Things slowly improved over the course of summer break. But unfortunately, this was just the first of several worrisome breakdowns to happen. 

Each time, I felt as if I was in a dream state, neither fully awake nor fully asleep. I felt like my bedside lamp. With each passing day and with each conversation the light got a bit dimmer. It was as if the light in my brain was going out. Every day I feared what would happen if the light dropped to zero. I felt like a robot, devoid of emotion. Fearing the worst, I worked diligently to determine the cause. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I was properly diagnosed. I had overworked my brain to the point of developing a depersonalization/derealization disorder, one that I live with to this day. Essentially my brain was doing a hard reboot to protect itself from my go, go, go lifestyle. My brain went into survival mode—it had shut down to protect itself.


Lauren Gibbons Discovering Optimal
Gibbons Twins Discovering Optimal
Joseph Gibbons Discovering Optimal

Helping individuals and organizations overcome the life obstacles that impede their journey towards optimal physical, mental, & spiritual health.



I learned the hard way that our bodies are not endless wells of energy that we can draw from whenever we want and expect no repercussions. There’s always a price—and I’ve paid that price many times.


Yet, looking back at my story, there isn’t much that I’d change, because the challenge of those things shaped who I am today. However, just as I’ve learned from the mistakes of people before me, you can learn from mine, and in the process save yourself a lot of unnecessary headache and heartache.

I have been where you are and I want you to know that there is another way. You don’t have to go through what I did in order to find answers. I hope my work provides you with solace and comfort in your own journey.

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