Updated: May 27, 2020
We all know stress is bad - but it's like one of those things that you know isn't good for you, but you don't really know how much it's effecting you. Especially in our crazy, hectic lifestyles where working around the clock is a social norm and getting 4 hours or less of sleep is a badge of honor.
This mentality and way of life has led many people to seek help through Nutritional Psychology and Consultations with me for balancing their hormones and reversing the damage that stress has done on their body. And often times, one of the first things that needs to be done is to simply slow. down. (If you're interested in how stress effects your hormones, check out my free natural hormone balancing series on YouTube HERE).
Because your mental state and physical state are both tied together. If your body isn't healthy, then neither is your mind and vice versa. The body is a system, completely intertwined and reliant on each other.
Today I want to share a story of someone who listened to her body cues and put her health truly first. Meet Dominique. Dominique is a health and fitness writer and business owner who has lived the crazy, sleepless nights of a writer on a deadline... and also the negative health side effects as a result.
I first met Dominique through work - I remember she was outgoing, extremely smile-y (if that's a word?) and genuinely excited about health and wellness. Over the years, I've gotten to know Dominique on a more personal level and we bonded over our shared history of anxiety. Just last year, Dominique did something that some people might think is extreme (spoiler alert, I think it's awesome)... she quit her job for the sake of her health.
I've asked Dominique to share her experience so that you may find inspiration to take a big step toward achieving your own health and wellness dreams. Granted, not everyone needs to quit their job in order to get healthy (you can do other things like a DIY Wellness Retreat and proper nutrient timing). For Dominique, it was necessary. But find inspiration to take that step toward achieving true wellness for yourself in Dom's story.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Dominique; I’m in my 20s, living in San Diego. I’m a writer (mostly writing about health and wellness!), author (my first book is coming out soon!), new dog mama (to a beautiful floof ball named Stella), and overall happy human being who loves the beach, travel, food, cozy nights in, good books, Chanel everything, Pilates, and Disneyland. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been this year!
At what point was your anxiety the highest/health the lowest?
There was a span of time between late 2016 and mid 2017 in which things were sliding downward and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was off; there were a lot of highs to offset the lows, so I pushed through. After I got back from a trip to Europe in September 2017, things took a more drastic turn; I could identify that I was legitimately depressed and my health was at an all time low (and continued to get worse), despite being a fitness and health editor in one of the healthiest cities (SF).
Between November 2017 and March 2018, after going to the emergency room, being tested for Crohn’s with some seriously invasive procedures, going in and out of urgent care multiple times, getting the flu four times in one season (at two weeks a pop), enduring an excruciating rupturing cyst from PCOS, and spiraling deeper into a near-crippling depression, I finally started having dissociative panic attacks with no apparent triggers. They’d come from out of nowhere and put me into a blacked out, drugged kind of state. I was diagnosed with general anxiety and panic disorder my a primary care physician who prescribed me Ativan and a 12-week medical disability leave from work.
Why do you think it got to this point?
There are a number of reasons I think it got to this point. The umbrella to all of this was that chronic stressors had crept into my life silently and sneakily, and we live in a cultural climate in which this kind of stress is normalized. Here’s my assessment:
- Environmental factors: my living situation was not conducive to giving me a healthy home base or respite, and the actual weather climate in SF contributed to poor mood, low vitamin D, and seasonal affective disorder; living far from my best friend group and family didn’t help either.
- Work stress: I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus or throw shade with details, but I will say that I was not in a healthy nor balanced work environment and this contributed to a significant amount of stress. As my psychiatrist puts it, it was “not a fair or reasonable relationship."
- I didn’t give myself a break: I never gave myself permission to take a break until I had hit a low point. I didn’t feel justified until things got so bad, I couldn’t function. HUGE mistake! But we learn the most from these challenges, don’t we?
- Stress is sneaky: as I mentioned, stress crept in silently. Everyone’s stressed. Everyone’s burnt out. Everyone’s working hard. This is normal, right? Just keep pushing through! This is all such a messed up mindset. Life shouldn’t make you feel like you’re drowning every day. You shouldn’t ALWAYS be tired or ALWAYS be getting sick or ALWAYS feel like you need a glass of wine or gallon of coffee to survive. Because stress can be sneaky and can