In my “invincible” early twenties, I lived and worked around the world—in India, Turkey, Kosovo, France, and America—with my husband Sam. It was a dream come true, but something wasn’t right. I began to notice health problems—fatigue, weight gain, dizziness, blood sugar drops, and more.
In the middle of my fatigue, I had a baby. James was pure delight, but my postpartum body and mind were a disaster zone. Having never learned when to slow down (a product of my upbringing by strong, Midwestern women), I took a new job and moved overseas again to France with a four-month-old and no sleep.
Four months later, I was so sick, I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks at a time.
I continued trying to work for two years. Each time I hit a wall, my symptoms got worse. My throat swelled up for months, and I developed nausea and stomach pain. I began reacting to foods, mold, smoke, light, and emotional triggers. I was exhausted, foggy, and fearful of when my next symptom would hit. Doctors couldn’t make sense of my illness. I had endless blood work and tried multiple medications, some of which made things worse.
Finally, my husband and I decided it was time for us to move back to America, where we’d have family support and easier communication with doctors. I quit work and decided to take a sabbatical to pursue healing.
When I finally slowed down, I began to examine my life and health. I realized that I’d been abusing my body, mind, and spirit for years. I ignored my body’s pleas for help, pumping caffeine, sugar, and medications into my system to mask the signals. I buried past traumas instead of seeking therapeutic help. I put all my spiritual energy into my work in missions, rather than enjoying my relationship with God.
I needed to change. And slowly, I did. At my husband’s urging, I gave up most of my responsibilities at home. We cleared our calendar to only the essentials. I began to rest, play games, make art, and spend time in nature. I went to therapy and read everything I could about emotional and spiritual trauma. I started using natural products that would be gentler on my system. I replaced my beloved coffee with green tea. I stopped eating dairy and red meat, and began filling my plate with veggies. I incorporated meditation, mindfulness, and stretching into my routine. I started listening to my body and heart, and setting meaningful boundaries. I tried natural methods of healing—supplements, diet, massage, limbic training—and made friends with a whole lot more doctors and nurses.
A year later, I’m not completely healed, but I feel healthier, more peaceful, and more joyful than I’ve been in a long time. I have learned so much about myself and what I truly value. I’ve become so much more aware of what I do, and the impact it has on myself and others. Even if I never fully regain my body’s capacity, I feel like I have regained myself. And that is the journey I’d like to invite you on today.
My motto right now is “go slow, live ethically, and heal fully.” I write about a lot of different topics from food to parenting to fashion, but everything revolves around those three ideas.
I write new blogs here every Monday and Friday (health-permitting). For questions or just to say “hey,” you can email me here.