My health journey

The back of a girl in a pale pink dress on a garden path with lavender

Health. Can I look back and say I was brought up a healthy kid? Yes and no. I mean, mum didn't rush us to the doctor every time we got sick. When we got sick... it was one whole clove of garlic in ya job - munch munch munch until your head feels like it is going to explode, followed by a swig of lemon juice, neat, ending with a heaped teaspoon of honey. Which mind you, was quite a soothing finale given the horrendous affects of initially munching on a WHOLE CLOVE OF RAW GARLIC. FOR... A... child????! Cruelty I say! Ha ha no! She knew the benefits of natural medicine. In fact, when I became sick as a person in their 20's, the whole garlic-lemon-honey thing would be resurrected. Most of our food didn't come from packets. Mum baked cookies, bread, muffins, made pasta sauce, the pasta itself, lasagne sheets, curry pastes, ice-cream, dried fruit naturally... so many foods from scratch! Impressive hey! I can remember tagging along with mum to shop at the local health food store. Playing in the backyard as mum tended our organic vegetable garden. But! I had my fair share of sicknesses. Be it bugs, earaches, colds, flus, measles etc. I've had it. In fact, I've completely lost count how many episodes of gastro I had! You could say the concepts of healthy eating were introduced to me as a child. But living healthy as a child was not my history.

When the teenage years hit I developed acne. It started mild, just a few spots here and there. Blackheads, small red bumps, sometimes yellow (gross! I know! But I think this kind of detail is relevant!) By the age of 17 the acne was moderate, eventually turning severe by age 19. Cystic and nodular (deep, big pus-filled bumps - more of an infection than pimples, I'm talking about the painful stuff!) My skin was bad. People approached me with all sorts of remedies. Or looks of disgust... or shock... or even comments such as "what's wrong with your face?!" This problem affected me emotionally and socially. Sometimes parties were avoided because I just didn't feel like being in a room with a bunch of people who had porcelain, silky spot-free complexions!!! (A little bit of an exaggeration?) Mum went with me to several doctors appointments, we talked about cleaning routines, diet, the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), Roaccutane and low dose antibiotics. I tried the antibiotics for about 10 months, didn't do too much for me to be honest. I later tried the OCP for 1 year with definite success. Sadly the side effects, namely weight gain weren't so good! So I stopped taking the OCP. It was only a matter of time before Roaccutane was recommended by a dermatologist. Regrettably, I used this drug for 1 1/2 years. While it worked wonders for my skin short-term, my body suffered. For those of you who don't know what Roaccutane is, it is a SYNTHETIC form of Vitamin A. Made to stop the skin's pores from producing oil. Back in the old days NATURAL vitamin A would be used in high doses for a period of time. Oh dear, the side effects, even the serious ones, are familiar to me. Who truly knows the damage Roaccutane did to my body. Praise God for the inbuilt ability our bodies have to heal, given a healthy diet and lifestyle.

From the get go and in between all these pharmaceutical-based treatments I tried the natural. Treating my skin became my life at times, especially if the treatment involved diet. Eating 100% raw, doing a juice fast or two, avoiding all forms of sugar, dairy etc. Unfortunately, most of these treatments were often done only partially and never seen through to completion due to my struggles with weight. By struggles I mean an eating disorder bulimia.

So while the concept of having lots of fresh vegetable juices and eating raw are lovely for the skin they didn't work for me. Bulimia meant never sticking to a treatment properly. It is a complex disorder which lead me to over eat (often on unhealthy food) and throw it all up again. Yuck hey. Bulimia is disgusting... perhaps the reason why it's not an outward disorder. We bulimics are masters at hiding our behaviours. It shocked my family and friends to learn that I had bulimia. The reasons as to how and why I developed an eating disorder are a mix of mental, emotional and social reasons. I won't go into the details here except to say God healed me.

To keep things simple, there is always the short and long version of things. I pick the short version because it is kinder to those who read! During my 20's health struggles included; anaemia, lack of concentration, severe insomnia, panic attacks, depression, acid reflux, tooth decays, poor digestion including 2 episodes of extreme pain followed by fainting, bronchitis, tonsillitis, influenza.. the list may go on but nothing else comes to mind (thankfully!) Natural medicine was used to treat almost all of the above. Mostly with success.

Though it would be lovely to have never faced any of the conditions listed above, to live with less disease and health challenges, the past has made me wiser and stronger. Now that I'm in my early 30's I have an incredible amount of knowledge. I love learning and discovering new remedies for health challenges faced by either myself or my husband. God has blessed us with an ABUNDANCE of food and herbs to nourish, keep us healthy as well as heal us.

At this present time, and for the last couple of years I have been working on my mental health. Sadly, I have had to endure many hard and difficult years. Affecting me on every level... burying the pain only made it worse. Allowing myself to feel and experience the pain, accepting the past. These are the ways to healing. It's not about burying and forgetting the past it's about bringing things into the light! Forgiving and loving. Nourishing and protecting. God has revealed SO much to me. About who he is and who I am. I LOVE Him and I LOVE me :) The life I share with my admirable husband is heading in the most beautiful fulfilling direction. Could not be happier. Truly. Enjoying each and every new moment. Growing with every set back. Life is good because God is good :)