May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this week is Mental Health Awareness week. Apart from Spring being in full swing, this is one of my favourite times of the year, because it’s the perfect opportunity to shine a light on Anxiety, the mental health condition that brought me to this path.
Mainstream Medicine and Mental Health
Before Functional Medicine, I studied Psychology with a focus on Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology. Then I trained as a CBT Hypnotherapist following the passing of my grandfather. He was a victim of a medical system that looked at his anxiety and said, “Here take this pill”, and he did.
For 20 years.
Until it damaged his brain beyond repair.
He suffered multiple strokes as a result, leading to vascular dementia. If you listen to the mainstream, you’d believe there’s nothing you can do about anxiety or dementia. But knowing what I know now, both his anxiety, and his dementia are completely preventable.
Traditional treatment routes focus on talking therapy and psycho-pharmaceuticals. The latest trend has been to raise awareness and break down stigma by being brave enough to openly share your personal struggles with co-workers, friends and family.
How the Integrative Approach Can Help
What if I told you that your struggles don’t have to be permanent? What if, with a little effort on your part, you could understand the root of your anxiety, from a genetic, as well as lifestyle perspective, and then take steps to change it, naturally?
The world of Functional Medicine and Integrative Health combines cutting-edge diagnostics examining genetics and gut microbiome health with personalised lifestyle interventions such as exercise, meditation, nutrition and supplements. The aim? To discover YOUR unique bio-neurochemistry and then work specifically to modulate nutrient deficiencies, as these have been shown to drive neuro-psychological symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog, low mood, and even poor memory.
One condition may have many causes, and similarly one root cause may manifest as multiple conditions. In my case, my gut health was in such a state that I had anxiety, asthma, eczema, food allergies, IBS, insomnia, migraines, irregular periods, and zero energy.
The traditional medical approach meant that I’d have to see an ENT specialist for the asthma, a dermatologist for the eczema, a gastroenterologist for the IBS, a sleep specialist for the insomnia, a neurologist for the migraines, an OB-GYN or endocrinologist for the hormonal imbalances, and a psychiatrist for the perceived low energy / low mood.
Tending to your Internal Garden
You’re probably wondering WHY was my gut so damaged? Well, I was raised in the ‘80s, and antibiotics were handed out like candy back then! Each chest, ear, sinus, and tonsils infection meant a trip to the doctor and a course of antibiotics. We now know this wipes out your gut microbiome for up to a year! What we also didn’t know was that the gut microbiome is home to 90% of your serotonin, your happiness neurotransmitter. It is also responsible for up to 70% of your immunity.
It meant that by the time I was a teenager, I had zero internal immunity. My gut was so damaged that my hormones were completely out of whack. This meant that when I started menstruating, I suffered excruciatingly each month and was dependent on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. We now know that those damage BOTH your gut and your liver!
Another trip to the doctor to manage my hormonal imbalances led to a prescription for the contraceptive pill. This also alters the bacterial balance of the gut. It was the perfect storm for some unwanted critter to crawl in there, set up shop, and wreak further havoc, which led to an IBS diagnosis in my 30s.
If you didn’t know it before, we are actually more microorganism than we are human, which is why it’s so important for us to tend to the internal eco-system within our digestive tract.
Reversing a Life Sentence
Though I found Functional Medicine in my 30s, it wasn’t too late for me to reverse the perceived life sentence of multiple health conditions. By addressing the root cause, i.e. my overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria and microorganisms, and cleaning up my nutrition, I was able to repair my gut lining, and re-balance my hormones and mood.
I now enjoy more energy, more peace, more happiness than I’ve known in decades. I’m here to let you know that you can too. You don’t have to suffer endlessly stuck with a label or a diagnosis. With a personalised, functional approach, you CAN heal.
If my story resonates with you, and you’d like to work on your anxiety using this integrative approach, then click the button below to get started.