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.
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.
That’s how I coped with all the stress and misery I felt, until the age of around 27, when my first daughter was born, and my anxiety levels started to zoom through the roof. I felt a permanent panic that ‘something’ bad was going to happen to my child, God forbid. In the day, I worked even harder, stuck her in childcare for as long as I could, and tried to avoid any quiet ‘down’ time.
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 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.
She advised me to come visit her twice a week – which at more than $500 a pop quickly became a habit I couldn’t really afford. But I was scared to stop, and convinced that it wouldn’t take much longer until this super-ace psychologist would finally work out why I was turning into a nervous wreck, and cure me.
In the meantime, we moved country, to Israel, and my life fell apart in a big way. The day after we moved, we got word that the court case we’d been fighting with the mortgage company had gone against us – wiping out all of savings.
A couple of months’ later, we were burgled, and the robbers cleaned out all the expensive equipment we had in our home office, plus my jewellery. As we’d just moved, I hadn’t got around to insuring anything, so we had to pay out of pocket to get everything set up again.
Next, my husband’s main client declared bankruptcy, leaving us to deal with tens of thousands in unpaid bills. And then my beautiful, lucrative, successful business tanked overnight. It went from earning around $50k a month to earning less than $1k.
At that point, I’d taken on a few employees to keep things ticking over while I moved country, and I was optimistic that this was just a temporary blip, and that things would swing back up to prosperity soon. I marketed my tail off; I applied for new contracts all over the place. I cut my prices. All to no avail. Six months’ later, I’d completely run out of steam to resuscitate my company, and I’d gone into heavy debt trying to keep all the salaries paid while I was waiting for the work to return.
I fired everyone – and wished I was dead. My depressions had never really gone away even in the good times, but now that my life had hit the skids in such a spectacular way, they were back with a vengeance. There were days were I felt so heavy and sluggish, I literally couldn’t get out of bed. I’d mope around the house all day, crying my eyes out about how difficult, bad and horrible my life was.
Nothing could get me into a happy mood. Not family outings, not entertaining, not holidays, not even spending the little bit of money the bank was still giving us on a shopping splurge. Life seemed black and hopeless, and I spent most of my days wishing I was dead, instead of having to suffer so much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maintaining good physical, emotional and spiritual 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's really causing your health and happiness 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 (at least, in the English-speaking world....) 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.
I’ve taught many, many people this system over the last few years, and I’ve seen some huge breakthroughs happening.
- I’m not so scared of my physical symptoms anymore; they don’t have me panicking, throwing up or running off to the doctor every 5 minutes, because now I know they’re just a message.
- I usually sleep really well, and I don’t have any problems with insomnia now.
- I feel much calmer and more relaxed – my body doesn’t feel like a coiled spring any more, and I’ve learned a bunch of different techniques I can use to calm myself down, when I need to.
- I barely get down these days, let alone clinically depressed. And when I do feel ‘the blues’ starting to creep up on me again, I know exactly what to do to keep them at bay and make them disappear.
- I don’t get overwhelmed by emotions or knee-jerk reactions the way I used to, which means I can deal with social situations much more confidently, and I’m not scared to try new things, and to go new places in life.
- I don’t feel paralysed by fear and worry any more, which means I can make decisions much more easily, and I feel more confident that my decisions are realistic and are reflecting my authentic self, and what I really want and don’t want.
- My relationships with other people are the most genuine and mutually-satisfying they’ve ever been, particularly with my husband and kids.
- I’m much more resilient and optimistic now, which means that I feel happy most of the time.
- I have far fewer aches and pains or physical health issues now – and when I do get a symptom or issue, using the God-based holistic health system usually clears it up pretty fast.
- I like and appreciate myself now, exactly as I am.
If this system could work for the chronically depressed, anxious, nervous, and physically-ill person I used to be, it can work for anyone! That’s why I wrote the book ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health’, and that’s why I’m putting together a number of new, online courses that I’m going to start sharing with you over the coming weeks.
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, good health and a more authentic and satisfying spiritual connection to God.