We all have a story that is a culmination of our experiences from childhood to the present. It includes our struggles, our successes, our losses and our joys. It is the road we traveled to get to where we are personally and professionally. All of our stories are important. When you listen to someone’s story it helps you get to know them and see if you connect with it enough to want to know more. This is a little bit of mine…
I grew up with a single mother who worked relentlessly to support my sister and I. My sister, Kate, was born with Cerebral Palsy and mental retardation. She is quadrapalegic, non verbal and non ambulatory. She is the reason I am an empathic person. Her body is limited, her soul is filled with love. My mother is the most resilient woman I have ever known. I did not have a relationship with my father at all even up to his death a few years ago. It took me until his death to forgive him for not being in our lives. I am so much lighter after doing so. It is true forgiveness is a powerful thing.
So from the initial family unit, our stories unfold. As a child I was smart and athletic. I functioned quite well in academics and sports in the midst of a pretty intense anxiety disorder brewing. There was plenty of love and plenty of challenges. Although I had many friendships, I struggled with the vulnerability real human connection requires. I learned to run, bike, swim or party out my emotions rather than process them.
I studied psychology in college and went to graduate school for Rehabilitation Counseling. I had myself together enough to get these things accomplished, I even ran the NYC Marathon. Throughout my education, I worked in the mental health field. I was passionate about changing the prison system, working with adolescents, and really understanding anxiety. I was inspired by and learned so much from so many people over the years both colleagues and clients. However, personally I was still functioning from a foundation of anxiety and fear. At the age of 37, I started to feel exhausted all the time. I had unexplained pain all over my body, skin issues, headaches, diarrhea, and I was sick all the time. For months I went to doctor after doctor as I got sicker and sicker. Each doctor visit ruled out another major disease and left me hopeless and with no answers. After seven months of doctor visits, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. These health issues are real and can devastate your quality of life. The treatment suggested was painkillers or antidepressants. This was not the route I wanted to go.
I went from working full time to barely being able to get out of bed. My adrenaline junkie, keep it moving, don’t feel too much ways of coping were not accessible anymore. I could feel the anxiety make my nerve pain worse. I started to learn about the connection between stress and the nervous system. I could not function the way I functioned anymore, my body literally wouldn't do it. I had to find a way to shift out of an anxiety fueled way of living. And to do so, some deep emotional healing had to take place. Thankfully, I was already interested in more alternative ways of healing the body and mind. I started regular chiropractic care to heal my nervous system and immune system (that's actually its true purpose), saw a therapist, started meditating, doing yoga, working on my relationships etc. etc. I was consciously writing this chapter of my story. At the time of the acute health crisis, I had been a hard core vegan for 12 years. After seeing a naturopath, I learned about the Blood Type Diet and eating in a way that supported cellular healing. I began to add in animal protein starting with bone broth. I realized being overly restrictive with food was not healthy for my body. My body was unable to mountain bike or run so I started walking and doing light yoga such as Yin and Restorative. As it turns out, my old way of using exercise to distract from dealing with trauma and difficult emotions wasn't healthy either. I was learning to define “healthy'' in a new way.
I went back to school to become a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Heather’s Healing Kitchen grew organically out of my two passions, psychology and healthy eating. The two are inextricably connected. Our relationship with food (it is a relationship) is similar to our other relationships. It requires awareness, healing, and conscious choices. When we begin to heal from the struggles of the past, process our emotions, and calm our minds, we can begin to learn to nourish ourselves from a place of understanding and compassion.
That’s what I would want to do for you.
If you connect with my story, then working with me will be a safe place to tell your story and to heal and grow as you write your next chapter.