I’ve committed to helping people reduce their stress, alleviate their anxiety, and ease their depression because I know these feelings all too well. I could write a novel for “My Story” (and maybe I will someday!), but for now I want to share the highlights of how I came to be where I am today.
Growing up, my emotional health didn’t start in a great place. My parents divorced when I was five, and emotional and mental abuse were rampant in my upbringing (including having a very abusive step father). I was in and out of therapy for many years as a child, and I struggled with verbal communication, self-mutilation, substance abuse, severe anxiety, and depression. Combined with growing up in the Midwest and eating a Standard American Diet that was insanely nutrient-deficient, and I wasn’t setup for any health successes early on.
In this chronically stressed state, I somehow managed to learn how to stuff all of my feelings and emotions deep down inside, never feeling safe enough to express my truth. It was my coping mechanism. Even though I was always anxious and often felt alone, isolated, and depressed, I did all I could to not show it. (I now know one of the reasons why I self-mutilated because I needed my outer body to reflect my inner pain.) As I struggled through life and felt like I was dying on the inside, I always did my best to wear a mask of happiness and work my ass off to be successful in school, sports, and work. No one ever knew what was really happening at home or in my head or heart. I was never able to share the truth about what was happening with anyone, or how I felt about it. Not even therapists.
This all caught up to me at age 19 when I was diagnosed with a solid toxic nodule on my thyroid. Looking back, I know the thyroid disease came from the suppression of my emotions throughout my childhood. At the time, not knowing any better, I received radioactive iodine treatment to kill the tumor and relieve the hyperthyroidism symptoms I was experiencing. Instead, it obliterated my thyroid gland; I went severely hypothyroid; and I fell into a deep depression before the medications could even be adjusted.
It was a very dark period for me. In time, I managed to find a stable spot where I could at least survive. I still suffered from anxiety and mild depression, and I was constantly feeling restless; but I managed to finish my undergrad degree, move to Arizona from Michigan, find a good corporate job and a partner, and at least become a “functioning” adult.