Hello, I’m Amanda.

How does your body react to stress? Do you really know the effects that it can have on you and all the different ways stress can manifest itself? I have had high anxiety from a very young age and it has taken its toll on my body. My stomach hurt all the time when I was in school. Throwing up in the trash bin was a normal thing for me. I would almost pass out from the stress I would experience when having to read out loud in front of people. Simple little tasks would get over-analyzed in my head and it would feed the anxiety monster and bring all my insecurities to the surface, making me feel so uncomfortable in my own head and alienated from all the other kids in school. The only thing that made me feel good was drawing and painting. That was my escape and where I could think clearly. 

As I got older the anxiety took over. Going into my 20s I started to experience panic attacks, more digestive problems and my skin became so sore and red with cystic acne to boot. My doctor would always just give me some sort of antidepressants or anti-anxiety pill that didn’t work for me or they would tell me my skin problem are “just cosmetic” and don’t really matter. It seemed I was just doomed to have anxiety, stomach pain and shit skin for the rest of my life. To add to my discomfort I was experiencing what I was told was chronic bladder infections and given antibiotics that I ended up taking for years before finding out I had never had a bladder infection and this was a weird reaction I was getting from a hormone imbalance. I did not fit into the medical box that doctors could diagnose, therefore they were no help. 

At this point, I wanted to give up on even trying to fix my physical health let alone my mental health which was definitely suffering from all the physical pain I was in. It seemed like any new medication that I took would mask one problem but create more problems. I tolerated life this way never having any relief. To make matters worse, a close friend died unexpectedly. I shut down and withdrew from family and my own artwork. I cut out almost everyone in my life because answering my phone would bring on more anxiety. Luckily I still had some amazing people in my life that got me through the days and helped build me back up, I will forever be thankful for those amazing people.

My husband and I decided on having a kid when I turned 26. It was the best and worst thing I ever did to my body. I threw up for 9 months straight, lost way too much weight, and became more depressed than I had ever been. Doctors still refused to help me and told me I was just being emotional and put me on a suicide watch list. This list involves someone sending you a letter 3 months later asking you if you’re ok. It felt so impersonal, like how the hell is that supposed to help?! Luckily I had help from my superhero husband who supported me through my pregnancy and became the best therapist in the world. I also had an amazing midwife that understood what my body actually needed which happened to be natural remedies. 

After having my wonderful, healthy, beautiful, asshole child, life got… different. I was still having panic attacks. I was tired all the time even when I did get sleep and I didn’t feel connected to my daughter, Magnolia. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. There were few articles and little information at that time about adrenal fatigue, Leaving me with no solutions. Before having Magnolia I would paint and create things to make myself feel better, but with her I didn’t have that time. I felt like mothering did not come easy to me and my kid got the short end of the stick. I felt like a horrible parent and hit the ultimate low point in my life. I knew I needed to do something, for myself and for my daughter because I did not want to live this way.

I knew that prescribed drugs had never worked for me so I thought I would start in the world of pot. Not being a legal thing yet, this avenue of self medication was a tricky decision and it was something that didn’t help my anxiety at the start. As soon as I started using pot to help my anxiety, stomach pain, and anger I saw just a little bit of hope. I haven’t had a panic attack since using CBD oil and my inner rage was now under control. I’m able to enjoy playing with Maggie. I’m less likely to get angry at the little things. This was a huge milestone for me, a feeling I will never forget!

I pushed myself to start getting active. I went on my bike or went to spin class at least 3 times a week. I took a few fibre arts classes and rediscovered my love for all things natural. This spoke to me in more ways than one. It gave me a new meaning for my life. It was exciting! I could now create art at home with my new baby. This was a huge boost to my confidence and helped me feel like not “just a mom” and that was something I was having a really hard time separating myself from. I never held any resentment towards my daughter, I love that kid more than anything but parents are allowed to have a hard time, and that’s ok.

One day, I discovered the light cellar and learned about medicinal mushrooms (not the magic ones, not that I’m opposed) and amazing super foods that made me feel like I was normal. Once I had the energy thanks to these lovely super foods, I pushed myself to be better so that I could be better for my family, so I could be better for me and have the life I know we deserve. I manifested the art career I wanted and I made that shit happen! Having anxiety and stomach problems may be hard things to handle but they have made me who I am a helped me in a way. My family helped me to discover what makes me happy. I can pull myself out of a dark hole because of the things I have learned from these difficult things in my life. I can rely on myself and I always know I’ve got my back. To know yourself and to be able to communicate with your mind and body is an epic thing!

This is not a success story and I still have work to do, love to give myself , anxieties to tend to on a regular bases. It’s taken me what feels like forever to get where I am today but all things that take time are worth it. You got this.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross