Legend has it that there are some people who naturally find life easy, enjoyable and stress-free. I am definitely not one of those people.
Growing up, I expended a huge amount of energy struggling to fit in, manage, not feel depressed, not get capsized by some huge emotions, and to feel like my life was somehow worth all the huge effort it sometimes took just to get out of bed.
My depressions were a steady feature of my childhood. They worsened in my teenage years – with one particularly bad one lasting for about three years, coinciding with my family moving from the UK to Canada when I was 14 – and then popped up consistently for the next 15 years’ or so, whenever life got stressful.
At that stage, I tried to cope with my inner turmoil by throwing myself into my education, and then afterwards into my work and career. I also found that competitive sports helped to reduce the inner tension I permanently felt, so I was out playing tennis, basketball, netball, or soccer six times a week.
To get myself to sleep, I would read obsessively – anything to avoid the need to ‘think’ or to ‘be’ - until I literally fell asleep with the light on.
But at night, when I finally started to relax and unwind a little after a jam-packed, hectic day, that’s when all my repressed anxiety and fear would start leaking out. I’d always been a fitful and restless sleeper, but becoming a mother was the last nail in the coffin. Even when I was reading and exhausted, I couldn’t get to sleep for hours. And I would wake up from nightmares two or three times a night, frantically searching for my daughter, convinced that something awful had just happened.
I put it down to new mother-itis, and tried not to think too much about it. But by the time kid number 2 showed up a couple of years’ later, I was turning into a nervous wreck – but so quietly that no-one, including myself, really realized what was happening. Externally, life was going amazingly well: my husband was earning good money as a lawyer, I’d just started my own successful PR business, we lived in a nice home, had our two children, had a good group of friends…
But inside that perfect picture, I was feeling increasingly trapped, stressed-out and miserable. I was working like a dog, and I couldn’t seem to tell my clients ‘no’, or to put reasonable boundaries in place so that I’d have a life outside of my business. My kids were coming down with one health issue after another, like terrible eczema, wetting the bed, severe allergies and then asthma – all holistic health signs that ‘something’ was severely out of kilter in our home life, but at that point I was completely clueless about why it was all happening, or what I was meant to do about it all.
My relationship with husband was also fraying, as both of us seemed to have got trapped in a bubble of superficiality that made it really hard to relate to each other, or really feel the other person. For years, we both felt like we were living with a lodger who chipped in to pay the bills, but otherwise didn’t bother you very much.
I tried to fix things with the tools I had available then: I signed up for six sessions of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which did help me to get my work / life balance a bit more liveable. I also learnt how to mind-map – initially as an organizational tool for my burgeoning business – and that also helped with some of the external, superficial pressures that were stressing me out.
But with two small kids and a crazy work schedule, my exercise route for coping with all the internal tension that was continuing to build inside of me had disappeared – which is when the panic attacks showed up. Now, on top of the intermittent depressions, the sleep issues and the digestive problems that had started after I’d been put on an industrial load of antibiotics to counter strep after the birth of my first daughter, I was having some real problems breathing.
I’d get some random thought in my head about ‘something bad’ happening to me or my loved ones, and then I would feel frozen with fear. My heart would start racing, I would start to feel very hot, sweaty and claustrophobic, and then my breathing would go super shallow and I’d be struggling for air.
After the second time it happened, I finally bit the bullet and found a shrink. She came recommended, and was apparently one of the ten best psychologists in the country. She taught me some ‘diaphragm breathing’ exercises, and helped me to get my breath back, at least temporarily.
By this point, I was up to seeing three different shrinks on two continents, but the more I talked to them, the worse I felt. At some point, someone suggested that going on medication might be a good idea for me, to ‘get me through the bad patch’ – and when I heard that, I bolted.
I come from a family that abhors doctors and mistrusts medicine, and when that instinct kicked in big time, I ran away from all my shrinks. Truth be told, it wasn’t so hard: they were costing me a fortune and I no longer had the money to pay for it all, plus the results had been pretty pathetic, and the thought of having to try to analyze another dream was making me feel nauseous.
That’s the first time I got God involved in my healthcare: I was sobbing my eyes out again, unable to get off the couch and make supper, or interact with my two small girls, and I raised my eyes to the heavens and silently screamed at God: ‘God! Help me! Get me out of this mess! I can’t carry on like this!’
Two days later, my depression lifted, and it’s pretty much never been back since.
But while the depression disappeared at that stage, the stress, anxiety and tension I felt was only getting worse. I was becoming paranoid about terrorists, and terminal illnesses, and pollution, and going bankrupt and having to live out on the street – you name it, I worried and obsessed over it.
When I was 35, I developed some weird lumps in a breast overnight, and that sent my panic-o-meter into overdrive, because I was convinced that I must have cancer, God forbid, and that I probably only had a few months’ left to live.
Around six weeks’ later, the specialist reassured me it was nothing major and would go away by itself – but the mental damage had already been done, by that point, and physical illness became my bete noire. If anyone in my family coughed, had a headache or seemed to be more tired or exhausted than usual, that would set off a wave of panic and anxiety that literally had me throwing up from fear.
It’s hard to describe the sensation to anyone who hasn’t had the misfortune to experience it for themselves, but when you get trapped in the grip of an overwhelming emotion like fear or anxiety, it literally tears your soul and sanity to shreds. You just feel so gross and horrible that you’ll do almost anything to get it to stop.
Anything could set the horrible feeling off, and I felt completely powerless to stop it. I couldn’t run away from it, I couldn’t drown it out, I couldn’t ignore it, and sleep was the only respite I could find from it – and even that didn’t always work, as sometimes it would follow me into my dreams and give me the worst nightmares ever.
Thankfully, that stage ended after about three months, when we decided to move to a much quieter, rural location, and a lot of the external stimuli that had been setting my anxiety off disappeared.
My husband had a good job, we’d moved to a quieter community, my kids were in a good school. I was really hoping that after the last few years of intense difficulties and emotional and physical health problems, I’d finally get to take it a little easier, and have the chance to figure out what God wanted me to do, when I actually grew up.
A couple of months after our move to the quiet idyll, I started to get weird headaches and stomachaches, that I’d never experienced before. I ignored it as long as I could, but then my eyes went really blurry when I was driving on the motorway, and I realized that ‘the problem’, whatever it was, had gotten urgent again.
I booked myself for an eye exam with a specialist – nothing. I went to see my GP, who wrote me a prescription for a whole bunch of antiobiotic eye drops – which I decided not to take. Because at that point, after many years of secondary infertility and dealing with all manner of arrogant, unpleasant doctors, I’d come to realize that most of them had very little idea what they were actually talking about.
But as my eyes continued to be blurry, and my headaches continued to pound, I knew I had to do something, but I had no idea what.
That’s when a friend told me about a natural healer who was making housecalls to my community once a week. I booked an appointment, and the man was a revelation. For the first time ever, here was someone explaining to me about how my food and nutrition was affecting my physical health!
I’d been skipping lunch for years, avoided lettuce like the plague and thought a fruit smoothie was the epitome of healthy. All of a sudden, I started hearing how bad table salt is, and how nasty margarine and soup powder mixes were, and how important it was to drink enough water, cut back on the sugar and eat way more vegetables, if I wanted to make my health issues disappear.
Wow! Who knew? So I enthusiastically embraced the healthy eating creed, threw away all my white bread, switched to sprouted spelt and started making green smoothies. And the first couple of months, I felt great on the new diet. My eyes cleared up, I started to have energy again.
Then my husband’s father died very unexpectedly, and my life once again got turned upside down. We went through a period of super-stress involving a lot of family infighting and disagreements, which led to my husband getting so depressed he couldn’t work for a couple of years, and me getting so stressed my whole body was tense like a bow string, and my mouth was dry all the time.
I found another alternative healer who diagnosed Candida – the fungus that lives off yeast and sugar – and suggested I cut out all sugar, and start to take grapefruit extract every day.
Again, the pattern continued: a couple of months feeling good, but then either the old symptoms and issues would return, or I’d get some new issue to deal with. Like super-itchy skin; or losing my voice for weeks; or developing a very stiff, painful neck; or having a flare up of strange lumps in my mouth, or other places; or a complete lack of energy; or insomnia – and many other things, besides.
On the emotional front, the paranoia, panic and depression and mostly gone, but I just felt out of it most of the time, like I was living life detached from my surroundings, family and friends. As the stress and the arguments swirling around us reached a crescendo, I woke up one morning feeling like I was dying.
I had these weird electrical impulses running up and down my spine that were painful but not like anything I’d ever experienced before. I literally felt as though my body was coming apart at the seams, and that I was being turned inside out.
I debated going to hospital, but something stopped me, and I decided to do a big talk to God session instead, where I really asked Him to show me what on earth was going on with my health and my life, and what He wanted from me.
After a couple of days, I started to get some answers: Firstly, I realized I was actually having a very early miscarriage – which after 10 years of infertility had caught me completely by surprise.
The second thing I realized was that there had to be more to health than healthy living – because here I was feeling like I was dying even though I’d been juicing, walking for an hour a day and making quinoa cookies religiously.
The third thing I realized is that ‘something’ had to change, as I really couldn’t carry on like this anymore, lurching from one emotional or physical crisis to another, and never feeling properly well, grounded or in control of my life.
The next week, I went to visit a naturopath who told me in no uncertain terms that negative emotions like hatred and anger could be stored in the body, and could do even more damage, healthwise, than even the biggest bar of milk chocolate. She advised me to make my peace with the people I was feuding with, and to adopt a very strict macrobiotic diet, full of seaweed.
I took half her advice, and made up with a whole bunch of people. I felt instantly better. But still not 100%, which prompted me to start learning more about holistic health, and how our body, mind and soul really all fits together.
At that stage, I qualified as a trained aromatherapist and kosher healer, trained as an energy medicine practitioner and learned all about the Chinese energy meridians and how they interconnect with our emotions.
Some of my old workaholic habits returned, and I set out to read up on everything and anything I could find that would teach me more about human health really works, and where God fits into that picture.
Here’s what I’d already figured out by myself: Human health was complex, and most physical or emotional health problems couldn’t be ‘fixed’ by focusing on just one area or practice, like eating healthy, meditating, or taking your meds as prescribed.
There was an interplay going on, and from my own experiences I could see how God had been using my health issues to send me messages about what needed to be fixed or changed in my life.
Sometimes, the messages were pretty simple and obvious, like ‘eat better and stay away from margarine.’ But other times, the messages were far deeper, but I hadn’t been able to figure them out because I’d been completely unaware of the links between my physical health problems and my underlying emotional issues.
When I thought I was dying, for example, the naturopath told me that my spleen and gallbladder meridians were both incredibly weak. It’s only later that I learnt that the spleen meridian is connected to things like compassion and sociability, and being able to deal with the outside environment and negative emotions, while the gallbladder meridian was connected to anger, intolerance and judgment.
At the time, I hadn’t realized just how angry, intolerant and uncaring I was becoming towards others, or how overwhelmed I’d gotten from all the toxic emotional fallout of having to deal with so many ‘difficult’ people and circumstances. If I’d known earlier what messages my physical health problems were sending me, it would have saved me so much heartache and grief.
The next thing I figured out was that including God was a crucial part of solving the mystery of human health, because nothing happens randomly, for no reason. God always starts out small, and it’s only when we keep missing the clues and the prompts He’s sending us to change course that the messages start going up to scary, unmissable proportions.
Once I got the message that I needed to rethink some of my beliefs and attitudes and behaviors, most of my health issues cleared up fast, without any other big changes to my diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
I realized that the only way to figure out what those messages really are is to have a full and frank conversation with God about what’s going on with you and your health, because NO-ONE ELSE can properly make those connections for you, no matter how well-meaning they might be.
When I was going through what I was going through, a lot of people had their own theories as to why it was happening. We were too extreme! We weren’t extreme enough! We just needed to eat more chlorophyll! We needed to loosen up a little! We needed to absorb more magnesium by regularly bathing in the sea! We needed to avoid using bleach in our home! We needed to get our act together!
On and on the conflicting, pointless advice went, and in nearly all cases, it was completely wide of the mark. Most people have their own inbuilt bias or lense for how they view the world, and they tend to filter everything through that, and react accordingly.
That’s why the healthy eating guru will tell you to take more herbal preparations, while the more spiritually-minded advisor will tell you to give more money to charity, while someone else will advise you to spend half an hour focusing on your breathing, as the ‘cure’ for all your issues.
Who’s right? Maybe, all of them – or maybe, none of them. In my own case, I had to do a lot of talking to God and figuring things out on my own before I finally started to make some profound connections about why things were happening.
The other reason why God has got to be in the mix somewhere is because it’s inevitable that at some point, you’re going to hit a problem or difficulty that you simply have no idea how to solve or resolve.
At those points, if you’re holding God’s hand you’ve always got somewhere to turn, and someone to ask for help. But if you’re not, those apparently unsolvable problems can sometimes break you into pieces, and make the process of recovery a whole lot more fraught, traumatic and drawn-out than it needs to be.
Ultimately, this is what I realized, and what I now want to share with you:
Maintaining good physical and emotional health has to be tackled across all three levels of body, mind and soul, together. Leave any one of these areas out, and you won’t get a clear, accurate picture of what is really causing your health issues, or what you can do to resolve them permanently.
In order to figure out the messages contained in your health, you have to be able to decode them across all three of these levels– and that’s what my system can teach you.
A lot of the information is already out there, but no-one else has put it together in such a comprehensive, easy-to-understand and practical way that will teach you everything you need to know to figure out why you’re getting ill, or miserable, and what you need to do to turn things around and start to enjoy your life again, and to feel great.
As a result of implementing the God-based holistic health system in my own life, I’ve seen the following things happen:
If you want to take the next step with me on your journey to better health and happiness, join my email list, where I’ll be sharing some invaluable tools, tips and techniques with you for how you can also start to love your life again, and to figure out how your emotions and physical health issues actually hold the key to developing true happiness, and good health.