Countless times I have given up on this journey. I figured, "Well, I feel okay, I just need to stop complaining" or "Figuring out how these foods affect me is just too hard." I have spent lots of money and years trying to find a resource to help me understand why I just don't feel that great while I am in my 20's. I have done all the fad diets and yo yo'd back and forth thinking at least if I was happier with my body things would be better. On an average day I would feel absolutely exhausted, bloated, anxious, light-headed, suffer from digestive issues, and headaches. I would try to tell the doctor about some of these symptoms but rather than leaving with answers, I would be offered a pill for a quick fix or nothing at all. I would meet with doctors, naturopaths, life coaches, basically anyone who would listen, and after every meeting, I would be let down. These countless failures lead me to start diving into the world of holistic health. Soon my bookshelf was filled with self-improvement books and books with prescriptions for food as medicine.
Through all of my trial and error I had found some things that seemed to help, but not the improvements I was looking for. I completed some elimination diets such as the Whole30, and although I would find things I should cut out of my diet, I would always fall into my old habits. When I did keep up with the healthy habits I had discovered, there were still symptoms or issues that would not budge. Every time I would not stay committed, I would beat myself up thinking I have no will power and would be left feeling like a failure yet again. The negative stories I was telling myself about "will power" and "failing" were just as bad as the healthy eating followed by sugar binges. This vicious cycle continued and more and more symptoms arose.
In an attempt to make more natural changes to my life I decided to go off the pill after 10 years in January of 2016. I was put on the pill, like many young girls, in high school for cramps. Little did I know the other impacts it has on your body. When I started learning more about the way it was affecting me, I knew I could not take it anymore. It took over a year for things to even start regulating, and symptoms that were masked by the pill, decided to reappear. Each month I was suffering from horrible cramps, migraines, and an unfamiliar face, ovarian cysts. I visited my gynecologist and felt even worse after leaving. I knew I needed to find a new doctor when she insisted I get back on birth control, and though I had no plans of having kids any time soon, she continually promised I would be fertile immediately after going off. (We all know that is not true) I was extremely discouraged with this visit and went on yet another search to find better support. A friend/nutritionist recommended a doctor who looked at the "whole picture", and that sounded like a good thing.
The "whole picture" was exactly what I needed. After experiencing a very difficult end to 2016 my symptoms went into overdrive. My tiredness had turned into absolute exhaustion and my anxiety morphed into full blown panic attacks. I decided to schedule an appointment with this new doctor and hope for the best. When I walked into my visit the nurse handed me a piece of wood with three subjects, mind, body, and spirit. Under each subject there was a piece of string with a bead hanging off of it. She asked me to give each subject a rating. This already was a breath of fresh air, a gynecologist asking me about my mental and spiritual health, who would have thought. When she walked in and saw my low ratings she dove in head first to taking the time to learn all about my health history. After an extensive consultation with her, I felt very comfortable and excited to move forward and complete the labs she recommended to see where I was at.
My labs came back with a direct reflection to how I was feeling, but this seemed like something she was very familiar with. I have now visited this doctor three times and finally feel that I am on the right path. We have discovered what vitamins I am deficient in, food allergies, and the cause of the other symptoms I would love to say goodbye to. I was extremely deficient in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, which supports your body and mind in so many different ways. I was also formally introduced to CANDIDA. I had heard of candida but did not know too much about it. When the doctor showed me the list of symptoms and the causes of candida, and everything seemed to align. Words caught my eye such as intense sugar cravings, brain fog, fatigue, digestion issues, and anxiety or depression. The causes that stuck out were antibiotics, birth control, sugar, and stress. I read through this list wondering how I had never learned more about this thing called candida. I left that day with a bag of supplements, a gluten, dairy and sugar free diet, and no disappointment at all. I didn't feel sad about cutting these things out for the next 2 months because I felt confident this would lead to positive changes. So this is where I am currently on my adventure to healing, two weeks in and hopefully on the road to recovery.
This wellness journey has been quite long and sometimes exhausting, but I can say I have learned a lot and know I will continue to learn even more. I have realized you absolutely have to be your own advocate. You need to do the research, you need to find providers you're comfortable with, and many times you may have to get a few different opinions. I have also realized that the systems of the body and every small thing we do in our everyday lives are more connected than I ever could have imagined. Ignorance is not bliss and being mindful of the products we use, activities we do, and food we eat is crucial to creating a happy and healthy life. I know that there are many people out there who have similar stories to myself and I hope that this blog can be way for us to explore and grow together!