My Health Journey: Five part video or feel free to have a read!
I had brain fog. I couldn’t focus. Retention was a challenge, my energy was non-existent. I was consistently agitated, tense, and overly reliant on coffee to keep me functioning. I struggled to focus when people were speaking to me, it was as if I could barely hear them. I would instantly forget what they said. I had a hard time processing thoughts.
Both at work and at home, I would have to re-read paragraphs over and over just to retain information. I was pessimistic and had an unmotivated outlook on life. I would wake up exhausted, crawling out of bed. I would find myself falling asleep at my desk at work or having to take naps in my car. My heart raced regularly, which turned into anxiety and confusing moods, that felt like a rollercoaster of depressive episodes.
I felt like I was living a life that was separate from my body. It took a great deal of effort and research to realize that my symptoms and how I was operating in this life was not who I innately was. When things started to get really bad for me, I started to look into the various potential health conditions that my symptoms were reflecting.
I was working with multiple practitioners and digging deeper into the research on my own. While my knowledge was still rather limited at the time, I came across quite a few labels and diagnoses that overwhelmed me, but they also mirrored my symptoms. For example; Hashimoto’s, Epstein Barr Virus, I even resonated with early onset Alzheimers. Looking back, I see how not having a clear picture of all the dynamics and functions of the body can lead us down a rabbit hole of fear.
I knew deep down something was really off so I began to spend my days getting familiar with the latest research from various types of medicine and holistic nutrition therapies. I kept thinking I was finally eating the right foods only to be told that they aren't right at all. I tried all the fad food trends only to feel empty and exhausted from it all. I tried so many different types of supplements that I heard on the latest podcast because it claimed to be the next, new, be-all, end-all supplement.
I turned myself into a human guinea pig. I became incredibly obsessed with finding the answer to the root cause of my symptoms. What I learned later was that there were several possible reasons for my state of health.
In my studies I began to uncover many things about the world we are living in and how we don’t really know much about the foods we are eating. Like many American children, I grew up on a diet of mostly processed foods and a lot of sugar. I was not getting nutrients into my body, I didn’t know how it all worked. I remember feeling really uncomfortable in my body and mind.
As a child and into adulthood, I had allergies so bad that I would go to sleep with a wet cloth over my eyes every night to stop them from being so itchy. I stuck tissues up my nose on an everyday basis because my nose wouldn’t stop running. I got bronchitis and colds three times a year. I had sport-induced asthma and acne. Every time I went to the dentist I had 2-3 new cavities. I was taking Tylenol PM at a very young age because I felt like an insomniac. I had lost touch with my body’s natural ability to heal very early on in life.
I can reflect back on my college lifestyle and recognize I only made my health worse. Living in close quarters, a lack of sleep, and excessive drinking took a toll on my physical body. I had recurrent throat infections, mono, and continued allergies. I received multiple rounds of antibiotics and took TUMS almost daily because my stomach hurt after every meal. I continued to eat processed food, including daily microwaved ramen. I continued to abuse alcohol, coffee, Red Bull, unprescribed Adderall. I was under constant stress and created virtually no time to myself. I was not taking care of myself in any way.
My brain fog, cloudy thinking, and scattered thoughts left me to my own devices in trying to do well in school. These lifestyle habits developed negative thinking patterns. I had a horrible self-image, low self-worth, and over-analyzed everything. Indecision became commonplace, relationships were impossible, and commitments to events and get-togethers were a struggle to follow through with. I was running on auto-pilot, where it was “normal” to go out all the time and drink until blackout. My room and car were always a disaster, I had no form of organizational skills.
Several years later, after living with the same symptoms even after I graduated college, I found myself living in Ukraine, teaching English for the Peace Corps. It was a wonderful experience in so many regards. The people, the culture, and my students were some of the most incredible people I have ever met. I met many amazing American volunteers, and entered into a relationship that turned into quite the learning experience for me.
I was about a year into my service with the Peace Corps when I started to feel overwhelmingly isolated. I felt alone. I was alone. There was no consistent Internet to distract me. I found myself stuck in my head. The stories I created were real and loud. The feeling of anxiety encapsulated my entire body, and it led to physical pain. My inner critic was screaming at the top of its lungs. No one could understand, not even me.
I kept telling myself I chose to be here. I signed up to live in another country for two years to volunteer to teach English. I left my friends, and my family, and placed myself in a new community. I lived in a small town where only a handful of people could understand my English, and my ability to speak their language was incredibly limited until about a year in.
I discovered that it wasn’t my surroundings that left me paralyzed in my own thoughts. It was a combination of heartbreak, feelings of rejection, and the underpinnings of low self-worth. I was trying to use the same old patterns of self-sabotage to end my suffering, and it was working against me. I decided to get the words on paper and somehow reframe or change the story. This is where I got into meditation and listened to Louise Hay’s affirmations on repeat until I fell asleep. Nothing felt like it was working. I remember writing in a journal about how I believed that achieving a state of presence was impossible. I honestly thought that my mind had full control, and there was nothing that I could do about it.
When I was living in Ukraine, being compassionate with myself was not something that ever crossed my mind. Instead, I relentlessly beat myself up, judged, and harshly criticized myself for everything.
I began to regret each decision I made. I second-guessed who I was and why I was there. I started to think about how I had no purpose, how I felt like I was failing in every area of my life. Here I was, yet again, operating completely out of fear, trying to control every aspect of my life with the expectation of some form of certainty.
I tried to throw myself into different projects as a way to distract myself from my heartbreak and overactive mind. I put on a smile and forced myself to rally. I thought maybe I could fool myself into thinking everything was all good. I diverted my attention by being a counselor at a few different summer camps.
I discovered a deep passion for helping female students achieve a sense of self-worth. But I felt like a hypocrite. Here I was, preaching to 14-16-year old girls, yet I could not let go of all of the critical voices screaming at me. My self-worth had hit an all-time low, anxiety was at an all time high. I recognize now how many people are in need of this same healing. I see how common it is for people to let their inner dialogue run the show and create adverse health challenges in their lives.
I think my time in Ukraine was also very special because this is where I began to figure out how food, relationships, spirituality, and physical activity equally play a role in our health. These were some of the building blocks that led me to want to help others begin to wrap their heads around healing, mind and body. I had a tutor. This woman was incredibly kind and patient. She ended up teaching me quite a bit about real food. She taught me the benefits of bone broth, fermented foods, and the power of certain vegetables and herbs. She showed me an ancestral way of eating, truly getting back to our roots, that I had no prior knowledge of before then.
This is where I began to figure out how food, relationships, spirituality, and physical activity equally play a role in our health. These were some of the building blocks that led me to want to help others begin to wrap their heads around healing, mind and body.
When I arrived home after my service in the Peace Corps, I went job to job feeling unfulfilled after such a challenging but impactful experience. I soon realized that corporate America was not for me and spent several years in jobs just to pay the bills, and landing a "coveted" government job with great benefits where I was miserable and only existing.
I began to study a holistic and integrative approach to nutrition. As I was on my way to getting a certification, I started to step into the role of being an advocate for myself in my health journey. This is so incredibly necessary in today’s climate. I had a lot of symptoms that the average person tends to sweep under the rug. I didn’t know that these were things that I could actually heal. I know now that we do not have to go through life feeling sub-par.
I saw a few different practitioners while in school and I learned that I had a very typical dynamic of an under-active thyroid and adrenal insufficiency-- basically a hormonal imbalance with an over-reactive immune system at play. With that came liver congestion, lots of toxicity in the body, and several nutrient deficiencies. When you aren’t getting the right nutrients and minerals, your body accumulates and holds onto toxins. These were the root causes that I had finally uncovered and come to understand on a deep level through my education.
I finally started to understand the confusing nature of my moods, exhaustion, sense of powerlessness and my hopeless attitude toward life.
I continued to research and learn from my teachers more on what these dynamics meant to my body. It meant that it was tough staying organized, and it meant that my memory was not doing so well. It meant that forgetfulness and lack of concentration would become an integral part of who I was unless I continued to make proper lifestyle changes. All symptoms I was very familiar with.
The thyroid is in charge of a lot of metabolic processes; my under-active thyroid was causing infrequent bowel movements or the exact opposite; bloating was commonplace. Feeling sick after meals was an every day challenge. I had serious anxiety around decisions that felt debilitating, along with an extreme negativity bias towards most everything. I was losing quite a bit of hair and had very brittle and weak nails. All of this accompanied by pure exhaustion in the morning, fogginess for hours after lunch, and then feeling wide-awake right before going to sleep
Looking back to the beginning of all of this, I remember being really afraid of discussing my emotional symptoms of memory loss, concentration issues, excessive worry, and constant negativity bias. It was embarrassing. I didn’t know anyone else dealing with this. I fell into this same trap of not listening to my intuition.
I had hit a breaking point where I began to look within. I hope you are at that point as well. It feels dark, but it is truly the definition of a blessing in disguise.
I became certified in holistic nutrition. I took out the foods that were causing inflammation. I was finding movement and exercise that I loved. I even became a movement educator in multiple modalities. I was discovering how to begin to quiet the mind through a mindful self-compassion training where I got to meet with meditation leaders and guides from all over the world. And I figured out my self-sabotage behaviors and limiting belief systems through a four month intensive training. I started investing quite a bit of money into my health through mentors, through high quality food, through courses. Every single penny has been worth it.
Through all of this, I started to feel like change was happening, like there was hope. I saw my symptoms diminishing, I started to feel more in control of my life. I finally started to have trust for my body's ability to heal. I am now thankfully living a new normal where I have steady energy, consistent moods, and an empowered sense in overcoming obstacles. My relationships have changed and transformed, by allowing people to come in who I am more aligned with and putting up boundaries with those who drained my energy. I stopped playing small and showed up for myself.
In all honesty, if you had asked me ten years ago if I thought my future self would have a clear mind, a feeling of energy, a motivation to chase my dreams, and an actual feeling of worthiness-- I would have politely laughed in your face. This journey has definitely had many setbacks, a lot of questioning, a lot of pain and confusion, but the transformation has been so worth it.
I want to be clear that I did not do all of this on my own. I have met many inspiring practitioners who guided me through my healing. I have so much gratitude for these teachers, you will see their influence integrated into this course. Throughout all of my healing phases and ups and downs, I looked to various modalities like functional medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathic doctors, yoga, ayahuasca, Quantum Inner Child work, Biological Belief work, medical intuition, German New Medicine, energy healing, psilocybin mushrooms, hypnotherapy, you name it! All of which had their place on my healing journey. I have gained a lot of knowledge and insight into each healing modality.
Because I started to see the impacts of life-style changes in my own body and mind, I went on to study functional medicine to get a better understanding and have an even greater impact on my clients lives.
This is where I learned how to make connections in health histories and get to the root cause of dis-ease in the body. It is a personalized and individual approach to chronic illness. There is a lot of investigative work that goes into it, as it is a process, not a quick fix.
I am a life-long learner and have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on truly life changing and transformational education and nutritional training throughout each stage of healing. I have been able to extract valuable knowledge, break it down, simplify it, and implement it in my coursework and individual sessions. I love using this knowledge to give clients tools to guide them to take an active role in their own personal transformation. This is how we begin to develop a deep self trust and deepen our ability to use our own wisdom.
My core belief is that every single person can change their story as soon as they begin to understand the power of nutrition and lifestyle shifts.
I am most grateful to have come into alignment with what I am here for. Clients have told me I have a really unique ability to intuitively uncover what is holding them back from healing.
Thank you for reading, I hope you will share your journey too. looking forward to connecting <3