“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”Brene Brown
Everyone has a story. Everyone has a life that they have lived with different experiences and perspectives and lessons that they have learned. I believe there is power in sharing your story and today, I want to share mine. Not for any other reason but to introduce myself and hopefully, allow others the space and confidence to say “me too”
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be in the medical field. When I was four, I wanted to be a veterinarian and from there, my aspirations morphed with each new life stage and experience. When I saw my brother go through multiple sports injuries, I wanted to be in sports medicine. When I had surgery at nine years old, I wanted to be a surgeon. When I started experiencing my own health issues at fourteen, I wanted to be an ER doctor. And soon after, when the traditional medical community failed to help me, I wanted to be a naturopath. My life experiences changed my desired career, but the underlying theme remained the same – I wanted to serve and help others through medicine.
When I was fourteen years old, I started experiencing a myriad of health issues and pain that couldn’t be linked to any one diagnosis. I was in and out of the hospital several times and on every occasion, I was sent home with nothing more than a shrug and a prescription for heavy pain medication. After multiple doctors and specialists, I was told my only options were biofeedback for “coping” with chronic pain and to learn to accept that this would be my life. I remember going into one doctor’s office after another. Each time, I went in feeling so hopeful that this would be the time that I get a diagnosis – an answer for all of my pain and a treatment plan that signaled an end in sight. And each time, I left with a new prescription and no answers. Hopelessness took over very quickly and I was soon swallowed up by the pain and despair of the life I was told would never get better.
I would go through flares and miss months of school each year. These flares became very unpredictable and very intense. I developed severe anxiety to the point where I was afraid to leave my house most days. My junior year of high school, I could only make it to school part time and by my senior year I had started homeschooling on my own. I felt isolated and hopeless and it didn’t seem like there was any end to what I was going through. My mental health only worsened and I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety/PTSD. Fast forward to 2015. I was eighteen years old, basically lived in bed and in fear of when my next flare was going to come. I had missed out on most young adult experiences and didn’t have any friends who could relate. That year, I decided I didn’t want this life. I was told so many times that this was as good as it was going to get and I refused to accept that. I had no one telling me things would get better and I didn’t have the energy or the knowledge to be my own advocate. Due to my worsening physical health and some emotional trauma I had yet to acknowledge, my mental health just continued to worsen. In March of 2015, I tried to take my own life. I was placed in a holistically-focused treatment center and did a lot of work there to better my mental health. Throughout this time, I still refused to accept that I couldn’t heal and thrive – that this was all there was for me.
I had dabbled with alternative health care in the past but never worked intensively with any one practitioner. After treatment, I dove head first into the holistic health world and started to do my own research so I could advocate for my health. I also started to work with a Naturopathic doctor and a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and this is when I started to see actual change. While western medicine is great at a few things, it often chases symptoms as opposed to finding the root cause of most health issues. To send someone away after 15 minutes with a shrug and a prescription is all too common in our health care system. Everyone is so bio-individual and deserves health care that addresses the root cause of their concerns so that they can truly heal.
I have learned so much from my experience. I have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. I have learned that what we put in our bodies directly affects our health and that in order to change our circumstances we have to first address the root cause. I have learned that food is medicine and as such it has the power to heal or contribute to disease. Our bodies are intricate and connected and our emotional, spiritual and physical health are all so beautifully intertwined and dependent on each other. Our society is sick and when we shift the paradigm toward holistic and preventative care by encouraging real food nourishment and healthy lifestyle practices, we will start to see real, sustainable change. This is why in 2019, I finished my certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.
My story is not uncommon. I have heard countless stories of people going through similar experiences and my heart aches with empathy. I feel so incredibly grateful for where I am today and when I look back at the last eight years, I can’t help but feel gratitude for that as well. Good things have come from that suffering. I have an incredible husband who has walked through this with me over the years with patience and understanding, and now I get to help others on their own health journey get to the root cause of their struggle. There is power in sharing your story and my hope is to create an environment where you feel seen and heard. I hope to educate and empower people to nourish their bodies and cultivate healthy lifestyle practices. I hope to help those struggling to find answers to their health issues get to the root cause of their symptoms and support their body’s innate ability to heal. And I truly believe this is possible for everyone willing to do the work. Optimal health isn’t a destination, it’s a practice and I look forward to helping others on that path.