My journey with anxiety started 9 years ago, when I had my first panic attack.
Before that I didn’t even know anxiety was a thing.
I’m always getting asked how long it actually took me to eliminate my anxiety & what the exact steps looked like. It's about time I wrote a blog about it!
This is the story of how I went from poppin’ Prozac and Ativan daily to living that medication & anxiety free life.
I was alone when I had my first panic attack and to this day it is still the scariest F-ing thing I’ve ever experienced.
I basically thought I was dying at the ripe age of 21.
Shortly after I was diagnosed with GAD, panic disorder and depression.
Over the next few years I would bounce around from therapist to therapist, receiving diagnosis after diagnosis, trying prescription after prescription.
I can’t even remember the names of all the medications I tried. Nothing took the anxiety away and they all came with a slew of side effects.
Before I knew it I was having multiple panic attacks per week, I was on the highest dose of Prozac & was addicted to Ativan to help me sleep.
Medication left me numb. I felt nothing. Nothing made me happy and nothing made me sad. I legit felt like a zombie, just going through the motions but not actually living my life.
OH and also I had gained 20 pounds as a nice little side effect.
I knew deep down that medication was not a long-term solution for me - was I really going to spend the rest of my life as the walking dead?! No.
As fate would have it, when I was 25 my doc cut off my Ativan supply.
If you’ve been in my world for a bit you’ve probably heard me talk about the super embarrassing little meltdown I had *cough* temper-tantrum*cough*.
I wanted Ativan because it gave me a sense of security when a panic attack came on and it was the only thing that helped me sleep.
But my shrink wasn’t having it. So it was gone.
And that is where my anxiety healing journey truly began.
I think about that man often (my old psychiatrist). I wonder if I would be sitting here, writing this blog, if it hadn't been for him.
He was unphased by my meltdown and pointed me in the direction of natural nutrition.
I rolled my eyes at him and said “ya right, if it was that easy everyone would be doing it!”
It’s not easy, he said, it’s just simple.
The concepts and the strategies are simple but it’s hard to put into practice and most people won’t do it, they won’t stick with it long enough.
Well I was desperate and I’m stubborn. If someone tells me something is hard to be done, I’m going to try and do it.
So I turned to Dr. Google.
I started researching about natural anxiety treatments, different diet protocols, supplements, you name it, I learned about it.
It took me three-months to wean off Prozac.
I moved back in with my parents.
Every single day I would hit the grocery store on my way home for work and cook up a storm.
I bought 321983928 clean eating cookbooks.
If Dr. Google mentioned a supplement or food that could help with anxiety, I took it.
I bought a juicer and spent my weekends juicing.
While my friends were all out having a good time, I was there focusing on my recovery, reading every single self-help book I could get my hands on.
After spending 8 months trying all.the.things I was tired of spending all my free time trying to navigate this whole tackle-your-anxiety-naturally-thing.
My panic attacks were gone but I still experienced daily anxiety.
It continued to influence my life in small but impactful ways.
I was irritable, close-minded and very challenging to be around when I was anxious. It made me tired & unmotivated. I was still overthinking everything. It impaired my decision making. And if you have anxiety you know, you never really stop thinking about it. It’s always lingering, overshadowing your entire day, making it so you can never truly relax.
I wanted it gone forever.
That’s when I enrolled in the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
The day I walked onto that campus (September 2015), everything changed.
Right away we learned about the importance of gut health in virtually every health condition. Something I had not come across in my googling.
So I got to work on my gut health and saw immediate results.
Managing my anxiety started to become easy, effortless, and almost like second nature. It was as simple as eating certain foods and nutrients to support neurotransmitter synthesis and gut health.
At this point, it was like I was almost “cured”.
Panic attacks were a distant memory and my anxiety was only triggered by stressful situations.
I was feeling pretty damn good.
….. and then I decided to get off birth control.
I'll save my rant about birth control for another blog post but just know there's a safe way to transition off the pill that won't cause your hormones to go cray-cray. I did not do it that way.
I’m now 27 with FULL BLOWN CYSTIC ACNE and feeling like I’m losing my damn mind.
… I cry about literally EVERYTHING
… I have the most ridiculous mood swings (that I love to blame on the moon)
… I'm tired all the time
Oh and my anxiety is THROUGH THE ROOF
I was devastated. I had worked SO hard for yeaarrrs to manage my anxiety and here she was, back with a vengeance.
The adult acne also really, really sucked.
Little did I know hormones were the key to completely eliminating my anxiety for good (I just hadn’t learned about them yet in school).
Gut health ✔️
Building neurotransmitters via diet ✔️✔️
Hormones were the missing puzzle piece.
At this point I understood the importance of investing in your health.
I started working with a nutritionist and a naturopathic doctor - both of which specialized in hormones.
I was in school, paying tuition to learn this stuff AND I paid a nutritionist and ND to support me.
I wasn’t messing around. I had gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet anxiety relief and I wanted it back.
Meg Gaic of Get Glow T.O. was in my program, but graduated a few years ahead of me. She is the queen of holistic acne solutions.
Sure I could have poured over my textbooks and figured it out myself, but here’s the thing … if you want something done right the first time, find the people who know what they are doing and make the investment.
It may be a little bit of money upfront but it saves you A LOT of cash (& time & sanity) in the end.
Together we successfully worked through diet and supplement protocols to balance my hormones and deal with my acne.
Dr. Alicia MacPherson is the other hormone optimizing queen I worked with. Some of the weight I had put on from years of medication was still kicking around. If you’re doing all the things to try and lose weight and it’s not coming off, it’s time to look at your hormones. Nobody does weight loss better than Alicia.
I learned so much from Meg and Alicia, they’re two of my greatest mentors today.
And because of them by the time we got to learning about hormones in school, I was anxiety-free!
When I went to school for Holistic Nutrition I had ZERO intention of practicing as a nutritionist.
I was there to heal myself and eliminate my anxiety so I could “get my life back on track".
Now I’m 30. I haven’t had a panic attack in years, I’m on zero medications, I’ve eliminated my anxiety, I only take a few supplements and most importantly I have never felt more free.
I couldn't kept this to myself. I knew I had to get this information to the masses.
I now work with women to help them break up with their anxiety, once and for all.
If the past 9 years have taught me anything it’s to invest in yourself.
There is a root cause driving your anxiety. It may be gut stuff, neurotransmitters or those pesky hormones. Find a practitioner who will dig until they find it. You are worth it.