I’m not here to give you tips on how to better cope with anxiety, manage depression, or to provide exercises that may relieve pain. I was once in that position when people continuously offered suggestions to help me manage my symptoms when nothing seemed to work. The more strategies health providers gave, the further I plunged into a pit of debilitating chronic illness. So, I do not want to help you manage your symptoms based on my experiences. I want to tell you how I conquered mine, when I never thought that was an option. My brain and body were once incapable of functioning and the few coping mechanisms psychiatrists gave me, including over a dozen psych drugs, were useless for me. For years, I also tried exposure therapy, yoga, stress balls, and so much more, none of which had an effect on me, except increasing my frustration. Telling me to deep breathe for anxiousness was about the worst thing you could say to me. The more time spent with doctors and counselors, the sicker both mentally and physically I became. In 2016 at 13-years-old, I became so anxious and physically exhausted that I could no longer attend public school or have any kind of life outside my house. Full on, I pursued therapy, saw multiple specialists and trialled various medications. Eleven months later, in March 2017, I had been evaluated by 9 mental health professionals and tried 14 different psych medications, to no avail. That month of March was literally one big panic attack. I could no longer sleep or eat due to anxiety and intense stomach aches, which turned into a week-long stay at Boston Children’s Hospital. In depth and detail, I described my situation to seven highly educated doctors put on my case, desperate for help. By the end of the week, they had come to the conclusion that my stomach aches were in my head, I had an “eating disorder,” needed to increase talk therapy with a psychologist, and should continue searching for the “right” medication. There’s a time and place for therapy and drugs, but I knew this wasn’t it. Only when my family and I realized I didn’t fit the protocols of modern medicine — we wanted to discover what was causing my severe symptoms rather than manage them — did we decide to try other options. With that and open minds, we entered the world of holistic medicine, leading me on a path of amazing healing. Through incredibly knowledgeable holistic providers, I learned why I didn’t fit the strict guidelines of conventional-based approaches. There was a reason for my mental and physical symptoms, beyond the “stress” of a teenager. No doctor I saw told me there were possible cures for my illness, until I left the strict confines of conventional healthcare. I found that while my doctors, like many, didn’t have the time or the training to dig deep into the root of my problems to find out why I was ill, my holistic providers were trained to investigate why my body and brain were acting problematic and treated the underlying cause, as opposed to managing a condition. It was a massive relief to learn that every symptom I had, minor and severe, had an underlying root cause to why my body was exhibiting its behavior. And, there were numerous integrative options for treatment, many which proved extremely effective for me and so many others I’ve connected with as a result. My root causes were a combination of infection unbeknownst to me – long-term Lyme disease and coinfections, resulting in long-time Strep infection that led to PANDAS, hypothyroidism, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), metal toxicity, parasites, and more. It was eye opening to finally be diagnosed after years of not knowing I had any of these conditions, despite numerous visits to conventional doctors’ offices over the years. These illnesses were the reason I had paralyzing anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, digestive issues along with food sensitivities, body pain, and more, which I no longer suffer from now. Thanks to holistic medicine and natural treatments like Magnetic Therapy and hypnosis, I am free of “chronic” illnesses that once rendered me non-functioning. Thanks to holistic providers, I learned I wasn’t a lazy teenager who was incapable of pushing herself. Conversely, I am a strong person who was miraculously able to hold it together through years of unexplained, quiet suffering. Now, at 18-years-old, I am an active holistic health blogger in hopes of passing along what I’ve learned in healing. I’ve become driven for success with a new positive outlook on life and my future, which includes being dedicated to continuing to take care of my body and mind naturally. Don’t get me wrong — I know that medical doctors, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists want to help and do help many. They go into their field of work for that reason and I appreciate the intentions of those who attempted to help me. However, it’s important to recognize those like me who do not fit the conventional protocols of modern medicine, where treatments like drugs, surgery, and talk-therapy are not always the answer. For years, I was told I had to live with my symptoms forever. I was told that I would learn to manage the symptoms. I’m immensely glad I prevailed to find the cause of my chronic illnesses, because fortunately, that didn’t have to be the case. I’m proof that holistic medicine can and does work. It wasn’t earthy-crunchy and only for health gurus, but for a critically ill teenager like I was. For those fighting, I know it’s hard when the light at the end of the tunnel seems nonexistent. From someone who never believed she was never going to get better, please know that true healing, not simply the management of symptoms, is possible.