Motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein on overcoming postpartum depression and how Marianne Williamson has impacted her career

October 1, 2019, 1:24 PM

Motivational speaker, life coach and best-selling author Gabby Bernstein has spent over a decade helping others focus on their well-being and become the best version of themselves. But it wasn’t the career path Bernstein always envisioned for herself.

At age 25, Bernstein was running her own public relations firm, representing nightclubs in New York City and spending her days doing drugs and partying. Then, one morning, she woke up and decided there was more in store for her.

“I was on the floor in my studio apartment. I hadn't slept the night before because I was up doing drugs and partying with people I didn't even know, and I heard people at the window walking to work and the garbage cans clanking. And I had that moment where I silently said to myself, there has to be a better way," Bernstein told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”

After praying for a miracle, Bernstein got clean and, since then, has focused on living a life full of spirituality and sobriety.

“I was really psyched to get sober,” Bernstein said. “I was excited to have my life back. I was excited to feel physically better. I was excited to find spiritual faith that I could rely on.”

Since that day nearly 15 years ago, Bernstein has gone from partying in the clubs to speaking in front of thousands. She has written seven books and landed on the New York Times best-seller list. Authors like 2020 Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra all influenced Bernstein to pursue a career in self-help.

“When I first started out, I saw how Marianne would go out and she would go into a church and she'd say, OK it's $25 or $40 or whatever suggested donation. And I just started doing my first talks with the Gay Lesbian Transgender Center on 13th Street, which was across the street from my apartment,” Bernstein recalled. “I'd get ready and I'd walk across the street and I'd set up all the chairs and I'd have a crappy mic. But we'd fill up and fill up and fill up and it became a thing.”

Meditation is part of Bernstein’s ritual that she shares with her audiences. But lately, and especially after the birth of her child, she has been thinking about its limitations.

After recently suffering post-partum depression, she learned to better understand mental illness, and what meditation can and cannot help you with.

“For many years, people would be in my audiences and say, 'I have depression,' and my response would always be, ‘Here's a meditation,’ and in many ways that's offensive. Many people need far more than meditation,” Bernstein said. “They need that psychiatrist. They need medical help. And I could never speak to that before because I hadn't had a full-blown mental health condition until now.”

After months of suffering from insomnia and panic attacks, Bernstein’s therapist suggested she seek additional help, making her realize that, as a new mom, she was not simply suffering from worry.

“There comes a point when it's unmanageable and you become powerless over it. You have to recognize unmanageability is, 'I haven't slept in two months and my child is sleeping.' For somebody who has never had generalized anxiety or severe anxiety before, to start having panic attacks is a clear sign.”

Her 7th book, Super Attractor, was released last month, and she dedicated it to her son, who Bernstein was pregnant with while writing. She also discusses her three-year journey to get pregnant.

“This book is methods for manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams, that's the subtitle,” Bernstein said. “My son's stories show up throughout the book about all the synchronicity that just continued to remind me that I was guided, even when I wasn't getting pregnant.”

Hear more from Gabby Bernstein on episode #131 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”