My Health Story
I became passionate about health and wellness in a way that many people often do – through getting tired of being unhealthy and unwell. It’s been more than a decade since my own health problems began, and it’s safe to say that my health has impacted my life in a way that I never thought possible. In fact, my health has been probably the most influential factor in shaping my life and who I am today.
It all started when I was only 14, when I began to experience unexplained, debilitating migraines along with chronic fatigue. At first, it seemed that it would be easy to fix these problems. I’d just go to the doctor and figure out what was wrong. But things didn’t really work out that way.
Instead, I spent years and years trying everything under the sun (everything from conventional medicine to acupuncture to mind-body techniques). Unfortunately, nothing was the cure-all I thought it might be, but this ever increasing exposure to new ways of thinking about health and healing started to create a shift in me. A change was brewing in the background, even if it would take me a long, long time to realize it (and even longer to act on it).
In the meantime, though, with little improvement and a lot of getting worse, I started to lose hope in ever feeling like myself again. I was tired all the time, in pain most of the time, and generally pretty miserable. Through college, I studied myself into a stress ball whenever I wasn’t stuck in bed, and that’s pretty much it. That kind of life became the new normal.
To say my life was out of balance is an understatement
I put on a happy face through all this – as much for myself as for those around me – and convinced myself that I was fine.
I plowed forward with a lifestyle that wasn’t very good for my body – a body which was decidedly pretty sensitive and didn’t stand up well to high demands, inconsistency, and stress. All the things I was unapologetically throwing at it. I continued on this way for years, ignoring the warning signs that things weren’t okay.
At one point, I even had to take a leave of absence from college and transfer schools because my health was so bad. But somehow, even that didn’t clue me to stop and reassess.
The tipping point
It took a few more years for things to sink in. The tipping point came for me when I was graduating from college. As most others were off applying to graduate school or their first “real” jobs, I was stopped in my tracks. Because I'd spent the last chunk of my life with my head down, plowing forward through stress and pain, I hadn't really seen how bad things really were. It came as almost a shock to realize that I could not realistically manage a full-time 9-5 job because my health was so bad. I would use up my sick days in a matter of weeks, and on top of that I'd probably wind up in a major mental and physical breakdown in no time.
The night of college graduation, I sat on my bed and cried, breaking down out of sheer exhaustion. I’d made it that far, but I was too tired to keep going.
Finally, this woke me up. The spell was broken. I realized that I couldn’t keep up this façade any longer and that something had to change. This was upsetting, sure. And it was scary to actually feel how low I had gotten. But at the same time, a wave of overwhelming relief swept over me. I was tired of living a life that wasn’t good for me, of making choices that didn’t allow me to really enjoy my life and feel alive. And I was so relieved to get the change to finally let myself off the hook.
All of a sudden, it seemed so absurd to not put myself – and my health and happiness – first.
So I decided it was time to choose ME. The bright, joyful, vibrant, thriving version of myself that I knew was in there somewhere.
Whether or not I could cure my ailments, I could choose to create a better life for myself.
Over all the years of trying out everything you could imagine and more to treat my migraines, I’d learned a lot about alternative approaches to health and wellness. So I had a lot of guidance and ideas and recommendations to draw from. Whether it was acupuncture, meditation, using food as medicine, or whatever – I’d been exposed to the idea time and time again that our bodies want to be healthy, and that there are a lot of choices we have the power to make to become happier and healthier.
So I finally took my involvement in my own health to the next level. I was no longer a passive player, taking supplements recommended to me or receiving whatever treatment was suggested. I started to look at what I could do, myself, to change.
I started to take baby steps, little by little, to begin to take back my life. And in the process, I began to transform who I was. There were a lot of setbacks along the way, and there still are. I had to draw on all my strength, and so much strength of others, to get to where I am today. And today isn’t perfect. But it’s better than yesterday, and progress is what is important.
I’ve designed a life around myself where I now have the energy and time for things that help me thrive and feel nourished, like:
- Exercising regularly (in ways that I enjoy and that bring me energy)
- Eating well, and experimenting with what foods make me feel best
- Getting enough rest with a regular sleep
- Finding support through time with family and friends (and learning how to lean on people when you need them)
- Making time for fun and relaxation
- Avoiding stress
That last one has been the big one for me. And more significantly than learning how to just avoid stress by designing my life better, I’ve learned how to not get stressed in the first place, even when things that are hard or challenging or time consuming or hectic come my way. I’ve learned to not create stress for myself all the time, because I realized stress was just that – something we create, not something that we have to live with.
This wasn’t just a lifestyle change; it was a mindset overhaul.
The outcome: Me, and who I am today
The transformation that occurred, through relearning how to be a better, more balanced version of myself, opened up so many wonderful and amazing opportunities for me. I developed relationships with a whole team of amazing healthcare practitioners (the kind that really deserve the title of "healers"). I personally experienced the power of dietary changes and physical activity and meditation. I found communities of people who were passionate about the same things I was. I continued my education, on a path that finally felt completely right.
My journey towards better health and wellness took me on a path of learning and growth, and eventually inspired me and allowed me to become the health and wellness coach I am today.
I am so grateful for my own health challenges, because they really did change my life. Before the transformation they allowed, I was on track to stay stressed and busy and burned out, pursuing a high-stress career and putting achievement over fulfillment. I was on track to never quite get to know myself or to slow down and enjoy my life.
Now, I am a health and wellness coach. I can hardly call this “work.” It’s a career that I know was meant for me, one that is fulfilling and beautiful and inspiring. One that helps me take care of myself while also helping others take care of themselves. How much better can you get?
It is my hope, as a coach, that I can help support others in their own journeys towards a life of health, happiness, and balance.
If my story has touched you in some way – I hope you reach out.