My Story of Stress & Anxiety
Last weekend, I spent Saturday picking peaches with my family, watching my son play outside on the slip-n-slide, making homemade peach ice cream, and cooking (and enjoying) a gourmet meal. It was truly the perfect summer day. But the best part about it wasn't any specific activity or aspect of the day – it was the fact that I was fully present and able to enjoy every single moment.
It wouldn't have been this way a year ago. A year ago, no matter how great the day was, I would have been distracted by anxiousness, worry, and a numbing ache inside of me.
If you’ve ever watched someone suffer through depression, you may have wondered how it’s possible to get that low. I have also wondered that, and never would I have expected to be in that low place. I have always believed that happiness is a choice, yet no matter how good or how bad my circumstances were on a given day, something was eating away at me inside. I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with me.
The last four years of my life were incredibly difficult, and while I wouldn’t wish my experiences on my worst enemy, I am surprisingly grateful for them. I used to believe everything happened for a reason. Now, I don’t so much believe that, but I do know God can use everything for good. God used my difficult and painful experiences to teach me some very important lessons – lessons that have shaped me into a better version of myself and given me a heart to reach people in a way I never would have before.
These experiences have changed my entire perspective on achieving health.
I now understand that the mind, the body, and the spirit are truly ONE. Not just in theory, and not as a “woo-woo” concept, but as both a scriptural and a scientific principle that should guide all of our health pursuits. Simply addressing one aspect without the others is a vain attempt at achieving the wellness we desire; the wellness God intended us to have.
For me, I tried to use nutrition to correct my body and my mind. It helped, and I honestly can’t imagine what I would have done without it, but it wasn’t enough. In fact, at times when stress and anxiety were at their worst, there was no diet good enough to keep my digestion from suffering. My stress brought on new food sensitivities, which ultimately only made my anxiety and depression worse.
I still passionately believe in the healing power of nutrition. Time and time again, I have seen the evidence that nutrition can be the very catalyst that allows the body to heal from conditions that would otherwise have been assumed to be permanent. I have dedicated my life to helping people understand the power of nutrition, and teaching them how to use it to find better health.
But nutrition alone misses a key element: the faith element.
You may have seen the You Are Well tagline, “a different approach to health.” That approach is one that encompasses complete mind-body-spirit health, encouraging us to take responsibility while also relinquishing control.
Once I fully comprehended that my level of responsibility was different than my level of control; that my life, my purpose, and my confidence weren’t based on any of my accomplishments or my wrongdoings; and that only God-given peace and joy could fulfill me and heal me, I began to get better. As I write this email to you, I am in awe of how different things are now. I still have my struggles, but I’m approaching my whole life differently. I’m making better choices about how I structure my days, how I respond to situations, how I make commitments, and how I spend my time. These choices have impacted how I think, how I love, how I parent, and how I feel inside and out. My mind is better, my digestion is better, and my stress… well, some days I quickly fall back into old traps, but that’s getting better too.
Yes, life is better now, and I’m thankful for each and every moment of my journey that has brought me to where I am today.
Thank you for letting me share my story of stress and anxiety with you. I hope that it has given you hope and encouragement, and that you know, no matter what you're going through, you're not alone and there is hope.