Using Real Health to Alleviate Anxiety: A Co-Learner’s Journey
By Erin Manning
What I have discovered as a patient of the Riordan Clinic has literally changed my life and the dynamic of my whole family.
Although I have never struggled with chronic illness or physical health, I battled crippling depression and anxiety for more than a decade. As a young mom I was miserable. I was torn between being in love with my tiny little miracles and at the same time feeling bitter, sad and overwhelmed. It was so much more than just postpartum depression.
My husband was confused and felt helpless as he watched me cycle through emotions. I went to see a wonderful doctor who put me on a medication for anxiety. It helped. For a long time, it helped. It never quite resolved it but I felt like I was more able to control myself. But for years it was a battle. It was a battle to force my behavior. It was a battle to make myself take medication that I didn’t want to because I just wanted to be myself. It was a battle to know that my kids were growing up with an unpredictable mom that sometimes yelled so much that everyone in the house was crying – even me! My life was inconsistent and I still felt like I had very little control. Even with medication my anxiety and mood changes were better but definitely still rocky.
I worked hard to keep these emotions out of my professional life and away from my coworkers. Which made it that much harder when I got home. It was like the vault I had been storing it all up in was opened up every night. My husband dealt with the worst of it. He saw me crying, rocking on the floor, scratching at my own skin trying to get some of the anxiousness out. He saw me yo-yo between happy-go-lucky and stark raving mad. It was really hard and I felt like such a failure. And the whole time, I was on anti-anxiety meds.
Then in 2013 I had my first lab testing at the Riordan Clinic. Our goal was just to check it out and see if I needed to modify my diet and/or supplement my general nutrition. I had no idea that what we would discover would soon set me free of prescription meds, and more importantly the anxiety, indefinitely.
We discovered that my Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 levels were barely registering on the graph. Dr. Mead immediately started me on high doses of both, including weekly injections of B12 and daily oral supplementation. I also focused on making sure I added Vitamin C every day.
A couple of weeks went by and I was feeling calmer. I wasn’t so sleepy in the afternoons and my overall mood was more consistent. A few more months and I felt like a whole new person. Not a different person because for the first time in my adult life I felt like ME. Like the heavy, wet blanket of anxiety that was causing me to work through a fog of hurt and confusion was lifted off of me and what was left was just plain ol’ me. And plain ol’ me was able to handle the daily ups and downs of life without panicking. And soon I would realize the connection between balancing my nutrient levels and balancing my mood.
Three years later and I have never refilled my anti-anxiety prescription. I take my vitamins regularly and know that when I’m going to be in an increased situation (i.e. traveling or in a busy, new environment) I need to be even more diligent in not missing a day or maybe even take a little more. I still feel anxious but now it’s at appropriate times and I’m able to stop and breathe and work my way through it.
If someone would have told me that I could be completely rid of the anxiety attacks, depression and erratic behavior I probably wouldn’t have believed them. But now when I’m filling out forms and they ask about medical history I don’t even check that little “anxiety” box because that’s not who I am anymore. Now I’m just… me. Happy, whole, healthy. Not a forced version of it but… REAL HEALTH.
I am so thankful that what started as a curious desire to check my nutrient levels turned into a life changing realization. The take away is that something is causing your anxiety. Instead of trying to mask what it is, find it and correct it! For me, It was Vitamin D and B12. For you it could be something different. Dr Ron asked me once what the most important vitamin was. The answer? The one that you are deficient in!! Call. Get tested. Let yourself hope. There is a better way… find it.