Picking up the pieces: Anxiety, MTHFR, Candida, and Adrenal Fatigue

So many of you have seen that we had to postpone/cancel our book tour, and I just wanted to write a little bit about why that has happened.

A photo posted by Primal Palate (@primalpalate) on

As many of you know, I have been trying to work on health issues pretty much since we got married. It’s been a really tough roller coaster ride, and somedays I feel like the more I do, the further away I get from any end result. I’ve been avoiding writing about this, because it’s hard for me to talk about it. It’s exhausting, emotional, frustrating, and embarrassing. Pretty much any negative emotion you can think of, and who wants to re-live that in a blog post? To save myself from carpal tunnel, and an additional emotional breakdown, I’m going to generalize a lot of this stuff, so I’m sorry that it’s not going to be in extreme detail, but none of us have time for that. Ha.

So what is the deal? Well, it started simply with anxiety. I’ve had anxiety and panic ever since I was little. It started with a phobia of vomiting when I was 8 years old which I suspect is due to having a close family member who struggled with bulimia. I’m not 100% sure about that, but every therapist I’ve talked to says that is why, even though I don’t remember it. When I was very young, and all of that was going on things were really challenging for me. As I got older I had much more control over my emotions and anxiety issues, and it stopped affecting my life. I had other struggles that showed up, since I’ve always been kind of OCD about stuff. I pick one thing in my life that isn’t working, and obsess about it. For a long time it was my body, which ended up leading me to Paleo, so although I struggled with body image and weight issues for a very long portion of my young adult life, a blog, and books, and a career came out of it. The best thing that happened from it all was that Paleo helped me heal from years of disordered eating from trying many different fad diets and cleanses. Once I stopped trying to eat to look a certain way, and started eating to heal my body, all of those old issues disappeared and I started loving my body, and lost weight, and never put it back on. That is something I thought I would never in my life be able to accomplish, which gives me hope that I can tackle this as well.

2012/2013 was a big year for us.

We got engaged, wrote Gather and The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking, and planned a wedding. All of which seemed totally do-able, and never did I ever think any of it would be hard for me to do. By the time we got through the books, and were mainly focusing on the wedding I started to realize that I was feeling different. I was experiencing different feelings of stress that I hadn’t experienced before. I was on thyroid medication, which seemed to work for a little while, and then become too much for my system. I developed some hypochondria around this time also. If I saw a mole on my body that looked a little off I would get a blast of fight or flight, break out in a sweat, heart racing, the works. The feeling you get when you are driving and almost get hit by another car. I had myself freaked out that I had a million diseases, and it was all totally irrational.

As we got closer and closer to the wedding I started experiencing more stress related symptoms. Bill and I planned the wedding ourselves. We were the hosts, and I really wouldn’t let anyone help. I didn’t want to put anyone out. I wanted it to be my responsibility, and nobody else. For anyone who has never planned a wedding, it’s extremely stressful. For some reason weddings bring out the worst in family, and everyone finds something to argue about. Between family wedding drama, and the physical act of planning all of the details for our wedding, I started getting heart palpitations or arrhythmia. I didn’t really understand what was going on, except that my heart would feel like it was fluttering in my chest every so often, and if I cried at all it happened a lot. So of course I became scared to cry because I thought it would make me have a heart attack. Through all of this I never once thought that I couldn’t handle any of the stress, I just felt like it was uncomfortable. I was still so excited for our wedding, and couldn’t wait for the big day. I was planning my dream wedding, and it was going to be perfect! On top of the stress of just planning a wedding, we found out the day we picked up our wedding invitations that the owner of the house we were renting wanted to move in, and wanted us out immediately. So we had to find a new place to live 4 months before our wedding. That was fun… nothing like losing weeks of work because you have to pack up your house and move. Not to mention the part of having to find a house first!

The week of the wedding was pretty normal for me, no red flags at all. I hadn’t experienced any anxiety that prevented me from doing something since I was little, so why would I think that it would happen now? I didn’t even remember what that was like! The day of the rehearsal went as planned. I got my hair done, and we did all the last minute things we had to do. I had butterflies in my stomach, and didn’t have much of an appetite, but none of these things were odd to me. When we got to the venue it was the same. Nothing seemed off, just usual nervousness. Then at one point I was walking down the hall, and had started talking to some family members, and all of a sudden I felt really, really strange. I got really over heated, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and felt sick to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and unzipped my dress, trying to breathe. What the heck was going on? I felt fear rush all over me. A feeling that something was really wrong, and I had to get away from it immediately. This wasn’t just butterflies anymore. Oh and remember that old phobia of throwing up? Yeah that was the icing on the cake, because I felt so sick. I tried to pull myself together, and zipped up my dress, and went back out. Any feelings of calm that rushed over me were now strangling with fear again. I grabbed Bill and went into a private room. “I think I’m having a panic attack” I said as I unzipped my dress again. “Oh my god, okay, what do I do.” Bill said looking completely alarmed. (She’s right, I was beyond freaked out. -Bill)  “Get my mom.” I wont go into more detail of what the next 30 minutes were like, but I’ll just say that I was scared to death by that panic attack, and tried to leave my own wedding rehearsal. I was sad, and extremely embarrassed. Just typing all of that up again is enough to send me into an almost panic attack. It was really traumatic. I did make it through the rehearsal, and moved on from it laughing and joking about how I had a panic attack and tried to leave my wedding rehearsal, but my appetite was gone for the rest of the night, and I was crushed. My appetite really didn’t even come back until after the wedding the next day, and I spent the entire wedding scared of having another panic attack.

Paleo Wedding - Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate

After the wedding I went back to my normal self, and didn’t put too much energy into what happened. Weddings are stressful, so it seemed relatively reasonable to have had a melt down like that. I did however put a lot of guilt on myself for spending my entire wedding day anxious, because it kept me from enjoying it. For the next two-three months I was back to normal, but started to notice some things here and there that seemed different. I went from planning a wedding to planning Bill’s 30th surprise party (which isn’t exactly easy when you work together from home and share everything), and we also hosted Thanksgiving, both within a span of 3 days. To make a long story short, I relived the anxiety of the wedding all over again on Thanksgiving and Bill’s birthday (Bill’s birthday was the day after Thanksgiving). It wasn’t as bad as the wedding, but as soon as I sat down to a meal extreme nausea kicked in and I got over heated, and my heart raced, and I couldn’t eat. I was confused, and embarrassed. After talking with my mom I thought maybe I was pregnant. Hey that would be awesome, and mean that my anxiety disorder wasn’t back from the dead. Unfortunately I was not pregnant, and I was terrified that I was experiencing debilitating anxiety after years of not having it really at all.


Bill Staley surprise party - primal palate


I have spent since Thanksgiving of 2013 trying to figure out the root cause of my anxiety, and I do believe that there is a root cause. I don’t believe that humans are just meant to suffer, and be broken, or mentally ill. I started by trying amino acid therapy, but I couldn’t kick my sugar addiction, and didn’t seem to be getting better just from amino acids. I would feel sick to my stomach from a lot of the supplements I was taking. From that I found out about MTHFR, then tested for heavy metals, and then found out about Candida. All of these things can be underlying causes for mood disorders, but I never had a real answer about any of them. I know I have the 677 mutation for MTHFR, but I didn’t know if I was over or under-methylating. I know that I have some heavy metal toxicity, but everyone does to some degree. I know that I have a serious candida problem, because detoxing made my life a living hell. I just never figured out what the root cause of all of it is, so unfortunately it just made it look like (to my family) I was just jumping around from treating one thing to the next, because nothing was working. Part of me also feels like trying to detox from Candida made me worse, but I think that’s because I’ve had 29 years of toxins built up in my body that can now come out because of addressing my methylation defects, so it’s like a flood that I can’t really slow down. I also have had serious digestive issues ever since I was in high school, but I never realized I had them, and my first 3 years of Paleo were all focused on how to look a certain way, and battling years of weight issues and sugar addiction, so I never did anything to heal my gut. If anything, I probably made it worse.

So how did all of this impact the book tour?

Well, through all of this I never stopped or slowed down. We wrote a book, continued to work, traveled, helped other authors with projects, all while I was trying to address a serious infection, and life long issue. By the time we were done with the book, it was time to plan the tour, and I was still feeling so sick from trying to detox candida. For those who aren’t familiar with methylation issues- typically people with methylation issues cannot detox well, so I think that’s a big reason why my body just got so overwhelmed by finally trying to rid itself of toxins. Detoxing made me so sick, that I became scared of being too far from home because of how sick I would feel.

To prepare for the book tour, I backed off of all antifungals, and my methylated b-vitamins (which after adding those back in this week, I’ve realized was a HUGE mistake, and could be part of the reason I crashed). I thought I could have myself in a place where I could just make it through the events, and then continue on with my healing when we got home. I was worried that it would be hard for me, but I didn’t think I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. Then on Friday the 13th (funny, right?) I woke up after being asleep for two hours and my heart started racing. This threw me into a panic attack in the middle of the night, and for the first time in my entire life, I thought I had to go to the hospital. Bill helped me breathe through it, and reasurred me that I was just having a panic attack, and not actually dying. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night, and was scared out of my mind. How could this happen just two days before we had to leave for our book tour?! I was doing so well! Well it did. The insomnia put me over the edge. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, something was really wrong. This wasn’t just anxiety anymore. Something was wrong. We post-poned Portland and Seattle, because I thought if I could just get a couple good nights of sleep I would be okay for Chicago and Denver. I had family members telling me to just be okay with feeling uncomfortable, and that it would pass, and it was good preparation for kids. I went to see my old PCP and he told me I needed an SSRI because mental illness runs in my family, and there’s nothing I can do about it, except take drugs. He wrote me a script for Ambien and Xanax and sent me on my way. I was encouraged by family members to take the drugs to get me through the book tour, because it’s just anxiety so I should be able to do it. I don’t take prescription sleeping pills or antianxiety medication, so this was a whole new experience for me. The Ambien (which I only took twice) helped me get through the “omg will I ever sleep again, I’ve been up so long I don’t even know how to sleep anymore” phase. I didn’t seem to have a bad reaction to it either.

When we left for Chicago, I still didn’t feel right, but I was given two options by family. Go and just get through it, or stay home and let Bill and Caitlin go. Neither one of those options seemed very supportive of me and my health, but if I didn’t at least try to go then I would be left wondering- and I just have anxiety, so it’s all in my head anyway, right? At this point I was still experiencing physical symptoms that didn’t just seem like anxiety. I’ve had anxiety my whole life, and done plenty of things while having anxiety, and this felt different. My vision was weird. It was like I had tunnel vision all of the time. I was extremely fatigued. My blood sugar seemed to get low easily, and any small amount of stress was sending me over the edge. Just the act of traveling completely wiped me out. By the time we got to Chicago I felt like I had nothing left in me. I was extremely fatigued, my blood sugar seemed low which really freaked me out, and I felt like I couldn’t see straight. Bill and my sister told me I was probably just having a panic attack and to try taking a xanax, which seemed to calm me down a little, but not much, and just made me feel like a depressed shell of a person. At that point I got a call from my old PCP and he told me that my thyroid levels seemed a little off. Nothing too alarming, but I *could* be entering a hyperactive state. I got off the phone and started bawling in the hotel room. I was a mess. I felt so incredibly sick, and was away from home, and had to try to make it through a book signing. I couldn’t do it. Bill went to the signing alone, and came back crying. He said “(making) the New York Times (bestseller list) isn’t worth your health. This is not who we are, medicating you so you can try to make it through a book signing, instead of taking care of you.” He booked us on the first flight home, and the rest of the tour was called off.


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So what am I left with after all of this?

I feel sad, embarrassed, scared, confused, guilty, and really impatient because I want to be better NOW. I’ve had people telling me that it’s all in my head, and can’t be fixed without prescription drugs, which definitely makes me feel broken. I have never felt more deflated in my entire life, thinking that there’s nothing I can do to make myself better than to take a drug with a million side effects that may not even work, or may work for a little and then stop working. Plus all I want is to be able to have kids, and you can’t have kids on drugs like that, so even if it covers up my symptoms of anxiety it’s not making me well. The thing that is really interesting about this whole experience, is that a lot of the physical symptoms I have had, my good friend Brittany also has with her similar health issues (Hashimotos, Candida, Adrenal, MTHFR), however unlike me, she doesn’t blame herself for them. We’ve both experienced some of the same things, but to her it’s thyroid/adrenal/detox because she doesn’t have an anxiety disorder. For me, it’s the blame game because my primary symptom of being out of balance is my mood. It really gives me a different perspective, especially when so many people have told me it’s all in my head. No. It’s not. I didn’t even realize I was having a thyroid or adrenal problem until she kept saying it to me. I just kept saying, “I’m having panic attacks, I hate myself”, and she kept saying “you have adrenal fatigue!” Never once did she try to make me feel like I was broken, and it made a huge difference for me. She’s a really great friend.

hayley blood draw

Since we have been home I have seen 3 doctors. A new doctor, Dr. Nori Onishi who uses The Walsh Approach to balance brain chemistry and methylation issues. He is testing me for a ton of stuff (IgG food allergy, saliva adrenal/cortisol, Lyme, full thyroid panel with antibodies, mold, histamine, copper, and zinc, as well as Pyroluria), and he did an ultrasound of my thyroid. My thyroid looked normal, but he did pause at one point and then said “Well…hmm. I’m not saying anything until I see your labs.” So I have no idea what that’s about, but hopefully it’s okay-and I do know that my thyroid is a bit overactive right now, maybe not enough to cause concern, but enough to make me uncomfortable. After seeing him I saw my usual doctor, Franne Berez. She wants me to do a few tests that Dr. Onishi didn’t have me do, which I wanted to do. Organic acids, neurotransmitters, and stool (eww, Bill knows about this one). Franne also sent me to another doc who does these meridian scans. It’s a machine that picks up your energy/vibrations from your body and organs to see whats going on inside of you. It was pretty cool, and definitely picked up on things that we’ve been trying to treat like candida and my adrenals. It’s energy medicine, so it seems like crazytown, but I was into it.

So heres the thing… Yes I have anxiety and panic disorder, and have since I was little. Yes I have mood issues, a lot of people do, and yes it is affecting my quality of life right now. However, I truly believe that there is always an underlying cause, and even if I need therapy, meditation, and positive affirmations to get past things that have happened in my life, or stories I’ve told myself, or fears I’ve had, they can and will be more challenging if I don’t address the underlying issue. Luckily, my doctor (Dr. Berez) is married to a big time psychiatrist in San Diego, and she has assured me that I’m on the right track, and there is an underlying cause making my mood more challenging for me. I’ve had anxiety my whole life, and when I was little I was put in therapy. If therapy was the only path to a fix, then I wouldn’t be in this position at 29 years old. So many things can affect your mental health. The goal is to be in balance, and right now there is definitely something out of balance for me. It has taken me 5 days to start to feel just a little bit back to where I was before we tried doing this book tour, and it’s not just feelings of anxiety. That’s something more. I know in my gut that something is off, I just don’t know what it is (but it’s probably something in my gut).

I’m not sure that I believe that just detoxing from candida will cure me of a lifetime of anxiety issues, because a lot of what I have going on is deep rooted emotional issues, but I think carrying a major toxic load in your body or having digestion issues that prevent your brain from getting the proper neurotransmitters makes it much more challenging to work through! I will always be at a disadvantage if I have an infection or hormonal imbalance that is altering my brain chemistry and mood. I’m trying not to focus on a diagnosis, and I am trying to tell myself that I am strong, and my body is capable of healing and wants to be healthy. Every time someone says I’m sick I die a little on the inside, because I know that’s not where my body wants to be. It’s not where I want to be! My body wants to be healthy. I want to be healthy, and happy, and do fun things, and have a family! I really believe that the body can heal itself as well, but sometimes it just needs a little help. Up until now I really have just been guessing about what’s going on with me. Trial and error with some clues from some testing. Hopefully with all of the new tests I will have something significant that I can work on, while doing the work I need to do emotionally and spiritually to heal as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as much as I want to be healed and “normal” again right this second, it doesn’t really work that way. Often times things like this get worse before they get better, and I think the worse stage is still with me for now.

Thank you all for all of the support you have given me the last two weeks. It means more to me than I can say.



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    1. March 1, 2015

      Writing about this is hard! Thank you for sharing your journey. And you’re right that your body wants to be healed and healthy. That reminds me of something Stefani Ruper says – that your body is always trying its best.

      YOU are always trying your best.

      Thinking of you. <3

    2. gem_im
      March 1, 2015

      First off I want to applaud you for telling your story. I know from experience how hard it is to talk about something so personal. Just know that by you opening up helps so many people, probably more than you will ever know. I too have dealt with anxiety/panic disorder most of my life. Unfortunately I was given an SSRI at the age of 24 because I could barely make it through the day at one point. Fast forward 10 years later and a TON of research and I finally was able to get off of the medication. Just like you, I do not want to be on medication while trying to get pregnant or throughout my pregnancy. Not to mention the medication was just putting a band aid on the main issue. (At least that’s how I feel). Lately though, I too have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms you have mentioned and reading your story opens my eyes up to more. I have recently been reading about candida, adrenal fatigue and MTHFR and I also just purchased a kit that test for hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue and cortisol levels through saliva samples, so I’m curious to see the results of that. Hoping to find an answer to my suffering just like you. I hope you find your answer soon so the unknown will be a thing of the past. Just know you are not alone! Sounds like you have an amazing husband just like I do! Take care of yourself and stay positive! XO

    3. March 1, 2015

      I am sending a squeeze to you. It is very courageous to share this, and I am sure this will help so many people who are in a position similar to you who feel scared. It is so hard to know what the right way is especially with so many people caring about you and wanting to help you by giving advice. I had a similar experience when I was 23. It was terrifying. Like instant agoraphobia and panic. I wished and prayed and visualized the future me (who was all better) to come to the anixiety-ridden me and tell me everything would be fine. I would lay in bed and imagine what the me ten years down the road would say to help me feel better. I could not drive a car. I could not travel. I had to drop out of school. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry. I know you are going to be ok and get through this. I would also add that there is not any wrong way to do this. You are doing it the right way just by trying. We will all be rooting for you. And your vulnerability to share you story and struggle is so very beautiful and inspiring. xo-jessica

    4. Gloriasingleton
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing your story. I have suffered from depression for most of my life. In the last 4 years I started taking my health into my own hands due to doctors not doing anything and making me feel like it’s all in my my head. I have suffered from many different ailments: depression, anxiety, fibromylgia, gerd, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, many digestive issues. about two years ago started following the paleo lifestyle before I even knew it was called paleo. A lot of the things you wrote on your post have been things I have felt for so long. I understand your pain, frustration and sadness. I too have been on this journey to just want to feel good and be happy. You are not alone on this journey. Praying that you can figure it out. I had tears in my eyes as I read you post. I finally know it’s not all in my head. Thanks for all the new info also.

    5. clouds626
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing and making me feel that it’s ok to have anxiety. I wish you the best in your journey!

    6. amonty
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing! I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for a long time. I spent many years working with a therapist and doing some CBT. Im a psych nurse now because of my past history that drove me to want to help others. I hope you find something that helps you!

    7. wholefoodfoodie
      March 1, 2015

      I don’t know if you’ll ever see this comment but I’d like to add a suggestion if you haven’t already tried it: chiropractic, and not just any chiropractor. I work for a chiropractor that is a part of a network of chiropractors that specialize not only in spinal realignment but also restructuring and stabilizing your spine. Your neck should have a 45 degree curve. If you lose that curve it puts pressure on your brain stem, causing a hormonal imbalance. This could cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, irritability, and much more. Most chiropractors adjust you and then send you on your way. This may relieve symptoms for a few days but the bones will eventually shift out of place again, usually within a few days. We teach our patients how to do very specific exercises that restrengthen the little muscles surrounding the spine. If these muscles are strong, they will hold that correct adjustment in place.
      If you are in the Pittsburg area there are 2 of these specific chiropractors near you. The first is City of Bridges Chiropractic in Brentwood. The other is Cranberry Family Chiropractic in Cranberry Township.
      I know this all probably sounds crazy but please just make an appointment with one of these amazing doctors so they can explain more in detail what they can do/how they can help.
      Your body was not designed to be sick. Your body was designed to function perfectly and to heal itself. Just by reading how you feel about taking meds for your anxiety, I know that you know true healing happens from the inside out. Don’t let anyone tell you any different, and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re crazy. You are on the right path and you will figure this out soon.
      When you make an appointment with one of the above chiropractors, tell them you were referred by Smith Family Chiropractic in Austin, TX.

      1. March 1, 2015

        Thank you for this information. We’ve been getting regular chiropractic care for a few years, and currently go to Health Horizons (I have scoliosis), but this is the first I’ve heard of what you are talking about. I’m a little hesitant to switch to another chiropractor, but I’ll try to look more into what you are talking about, or give one of the offices you recommend a call.

        Thanks for the support!

    8. March 1, 2015

      Thank you so much for sharing Hayley! I can’t imagine how hard it is to share everything and that in itself took a lot of courage! You put out a beautiful cookbook that will sell itself with or without a book tour. Sending positive thoughts your way and hoping you find a root cause soon!

    9. smilingjudy
      March 1, 2015

      I can relate SO MUCH to everything you’ve shared here. Thankfully, I’m a little bit on the other side of it now. You will make it through. Hang in there.

    10. tutters
      March 1, 2015

      Please go to “stop the thyroid madness” website. You are not alone. Many people including myself have gone through what is happening to you. Your body can start reacting to your thyroid medicine because of adrenal fatigue and/or low iron problems. There are solutions to the problem.

    11. jenniferkeyes
      March 1, 2015

      We’ve emailed about our Candida commiserations….I’m so so sorry to hear about all of this, but thank you for sharing it all! Also really glad you have some great sounding doctors helping you out (I’m slightly envious actually). I can SOOOO relate to wanting to be fixed NOW. My quality of life isn’t bad, it’s just not what everyone else’s is. And it sucks! I’m so over it. I told my dr last week that if I could just be tube fed until my body is detoxed I would do it. After a full course of antifungals for candida, and a strict diet, the candida is back in full force. Seems like i’ll never get rid of it. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. But, I just have to keep telling myself I’m far better off than where I was 4 years ago. So I’m REALLY hoping you will get some helpful answers from all your testings. I’m curious about a lot of them, too, so I might pick your brain down the road. And I really really really hope you start feeling better ASAP!

    12. dolce0909
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing your story. This could not have come at a better time. I have hashimotos, MTHFR 677 & 1298 mutations, I’m currently detoxing from candida, and I have so many similar symptoms. I have been thinking my problem now is adrenal fatigue. My husband is a pharmacist and says it might be that my iron is low. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I am always telling hubby that I’m having panic attacks over the stupidest things. I can’t handle any stress at all. I am winded from walking up stairs and I can’t make it through simple workout without having to stop because my heart is pounding out of my chest. My energy is zero. I gained 20 pounds rather quickly when I was being switched from synthetic thyroid to natural desiccated thyroid. I never wanna get out of bed. I feel for you and I hope you get the answers you are seeking.

    13. desidou
      March 1, 2015

      Have you looked into EFT? I’ve had great success with using EFT for decreasing my anxiety. There’s a free online seminar going on now at http://www.thetappingsolution.com….it ends this week. One of the presentations was by a woman who practices energy medicine, her name is Donna Eden. She has a book out that’s available on amazon. I applaud your honesty and transparency about what you’ve been battling. Best wishes for a full recovery.

    14. March 1, 2015

      Thank you for writing this. I’ve felt like I had a similar experience this past year, so I can relate to where you are now. I’ve been anxious my whole life, and I also have PTSD because I watched my mother die suddenly in front of me as a child. But I went to therapy, and everyone, including myself, felt that I was pretty well adjusted regardless of the trauma I experienced.

      A few years ago I was diagnosed with candida and chronic adrenal fatigue, and then a year later Hashimoto’s. I had beaten the candida back some, but this past year I felt like it was coming back, so instead of going to see my functional med doc, I thought I’d treat it myself. I tried a slightly different protocol, and soon felt like I had annoying pains in my stomach and scary black stool (sorry, TMI) I stopped the Candida protocol, and while I no longer had the scary black stool, the stomach pains continued.

      Over the summer, my husband and child were out of the house every day (he works at a camp, and our daughter gets to attend!), but I was all alone. I had some at home work and I was teaching a night class, but most of the time, I felt isolated and extremely anxious. I had weird pains and aches all over my body, especially my legs. One day I felt so bad, I couldn’t do anything. I could barely breathe, and my legs hurt so much. My mom had died of a blood clot, and I was positive I had clots in my legs. I was just in a panic. It took all I could do to drive to the ER. They checked me out, drew all sorts of blood, including my thyroid, because I told them my levels might be off, took x-Rays, everything. No clots, no thyroid being off. I was the picture of health. Except why did I feel so bad? They told me to call a shrink about my anxiety.

      A few days later I was having breakfast with a friend, and all of a sudden my head felt weird. I can’t even explain how bizarre I felt. And my stomach hurt so much. The night before I had taken betaine HCL and ibuprofen within a few hours of each other, stupidly, trying to deal with my low stomach acid on the one hand and the weird aches on the other. I had my friend take me back to the ER, but again, they told me I was the picture of health and to be sure to call that shrink.

      Time passed, but my stomach pains still persisted though the other weird body pains went away. My doctor and I decided to treat as though I had an ulcer, given my symptoms, so I went on a massive gut healing protocol. But then in November, it felt like I was having gallbladder attacks. My chiro did a couple of gallbladder releases, as I would like to keep all my organs, but after he did the second one, while I was supposed to be enjoying a weekend in Newport, I spent mostly in bed, trying not to feel like I was dying. Waves of pain going under my rib, going between my shoulder blades. Absolutely awful. Finally though, I managed to heal that problem. Ox bile really helped my system get back on track there, but my stomach pains persisted. I had to travel and felt miserable, though not quite as severely as I had before.

      Now it’s March, and at least I know now thanks to a barium swallow that I do not have cancer or ulcers, but that I do have GERD. I plan on doing a test for SIBO, which may answer my lingering digestive problems. My anxiety seems calmed down now that i know my organs are at least not completely betraying me, so my stomach pains are significantly less. I will also be testing my food sensitivities and allergies, and I want to be tested for MTHFR. I am angry that my brain causes me so much physical pain, and I am determined to figure it out. I know you will, too, Hayley. You are strong. We both need a rest, proper answers, and a way forward. We can do it!

    15. Elizabeth
      March 1, 2015

      Hayley~Thank you for sharing your story. I have suffered from many of the same things for most of my life. It comes and goes and I, like you, always want to know what the reason/cause may be. I live in San Diego and would appreciate it if you would share the name of the psychiatrist that you mentioned above. I will be thinking about you and following along with your journey. Best wishes for healing and comfort.

    16. darcialaska
      March 1, 2015

      Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing! Anxiety is horrible and a vicious cycle. I spent my whole adult life trying to figure out the “core problem”, I tried so many things to stay away from medication that is looked down on by so many..Some of the homeopathic things would bring me temporary relief. I am 45 now and a few years ago I was talked into finally trying SSRIs, The only thing I have to say is I do not have ANY symptoms of anxiety anymore, totally free of the crippling fear and symptoms that go along with this awful thing called anxiety.. I pray that you find relief.

    17. Alonna
      March 1, 2015

      Aww…I’ve been following you guys on Instagram ever since your Rosemary Balsamic Chicken recipe became a staple in our house (and made the whole family love beets)! I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles, and I hope you and the doctors find the right path to help you heal.

      I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since my teenage years, I can relate. My family has always been in a precarious situation, so I’ve never been able to afford to see doctors for it (aside from when I was diagnosed), but I’ve been mostly treating it with my diet as well. My mood is extremely sensitive to too much caffeine (which, being a tea blogger, is a very tricky balance to maintain), gluten, and sugar. I’ve been self-medicating with diet all of these years. I had to quit jobs because of it, but I’ve started blogging about my anxiety and being open about my recovery as well in order to help me keep a record of what might trigger it (as well as break the stigma around this sort of struggle).

      I know it was so hard to type what you just did, and it takes great strength and courage to be open about it. Please don’t be ashamed about any of it, you’re very brave to deal with this head-on! As much as it is tied to emotional issues, it’s a very physical thing, and it probably does have to do with our “gut feelings.” I read an article the other day (this one: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/25/probiotics-new-prozac.aspx) that mentions how we have neurons in both our brain and our gut, and how medication that only adjusts the serotonin levels in our brains is only addressing half of the issue. I don’t know what additional challenges are present when you add MTHFR or Candida into the equation, but I’ve always felt that medication is only a small part of the solution. The rest of it seems to be a combination of slow and steady lifestyle changes (and a good support system).

      Take it a day at a time, don’t rush your healing. Please rest, and I wish you the best in your recovery!

    18. Heather L
      March 1, 2015

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve suffered from anxiety since high school. Late last year I was having issues that i think stemmed from the stress of upcoming holidays. My anxiety use to stem from a fear that I was dying. Now my fear is that my children are sick. I was waking up every night in a panic feeling like someone was in my house and that something happened to my kids. I felt like I was going insane. My mom called me one night and I just lost it. The insomnia was really starting to get to me. I started taking a magnesium, zinc, calcium vitamin and started laying down for bed at 9 instead of midnight. Within a week I felt like a different person.
      I hope you find your answers soon!

    19. lisasawtelle
      March 1, 2015

      Hayley –
      First of all Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your story. Reading through, I kept saying YES! YES! YES! I am not alone! I am not a freak! It was so reassuring to know that someone else out there is facing the same struggles as I am. And kudos to Bill for being your rock, and knowing when to put the halt to your work load. My dear husband came to the same conclusion with my health a few months ago and I have just been resting and healing since then!
      Know that you are not alone, and that by sharing your struggles, even when it feels like a burden, will truly impact and help so many people!

    20. elissaw
      March 1, 2015

      Thanks so much for this post, Hayley. I’ve also got methylation defects and I haven’t been supplementing with 5-MTHF because a huge Genova panel from January said that my methylation status is spot-on, but I’m feeling a lot like it sounds like you’re feeling. I’m burned out, I’m emotional, and I’m not sure I can keep doing all the things in my life: book tour, jobs, personal life. This post is such an important reminder to look beyond my circumstances and into my body to see what’s going on. I’ve been blaming myself a lot. Thank you for sharing your important story.

    21. JulieK
      March 1, 2015

      I just wanted to send you a hug. I too have struggled with just not feeling good/right, yet everything coming back normal. So I understand your frustration. Just want to let you know that I am thinking of you.

    22. anaveromz
      March 1, 2015

      I feel your pain. Same situation here 7 years trying to find answers, same path as you, I amcurrently taking supplements fir thyroid, adrenals, bioidentical progesterone and 10 more for mthfr snps mutations.
      I found that is very important to remove mercury fillings in my mouth, I found a great holistic dentist and I am in the process of removing 5 amalgams and 5 porcelain fillings, both highly toxic, just one filling has a negative energy charge of -16 (you talk abou energy!)
      Aftet the removal I need a chelation protocol to get all the metal out of my body.
      I hope this info helps you.
      You are not alone or crazy many of us feel just like you.

    23. March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing. You are strong and fabulous. Please stop blaming yourself. I also believe there is a root cause. You got this. Your new Doctor sounds awesome. Please watch the movie Under Our Skin:The Untold Story of Lyme Disease. Please I have been a Lyme Warrior for 10 years. The tests are not accurate. Lyme can cause all the issues you have. There are many other Parasites, Bacteria and Virus but Lyme always seems to be the big one. I am sharing this with all my friends. Your honesty will help many other woman not feel so bad about not being perfect. We are not meant to be perfect just human which is more than enough. I love what Bill said in Chicago my Husbands birthday is also right by Thanksgiving and he has an extra special heart. Take care of you and always be kind to yourself. So much love~Beth Real Food Inspired Me

    24. sheshesgf
      March 1, 2015

      I wish I could give you a giant hug right now. You are amazing. It pains me to hear that anyone has told you to just take the prescriptions and settle. I only recently learned that I shouldn’t have to take antidepressants for the rest of my life and that gave me the greatest of hope. Maybe you will have to take some meds sometime to get you thru the hard times but there is hope. My hubby wants me to write about my depression on my blog but I’m not that brave yet. I journal through the tough parts but it’s pretty raw and Ive gotten such mixed reactions from people when I do share about my depression that I can empathize with parts of your journey. Never forget that there is an entire virtual village who only wants the best for you. Do what’s best for you.

    25. jswant
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you for sharing your story! I too have been battling Candida for a while now, longer probably then I even know. I have felt like I was losing my mind! My symptoms seem illusive at times, going long periods of time fine, then feeling like I have been hit by a truck! Anxiety is something I have death with and have read that it is a side affect of Candida! I haven’t had the panic attacks and I am so sorry you are dealing with them! The heating up, the heart palpitations, extreme exhaustion are all things I deal with! I have also gained weight as a result! Talk about feeling like you’re going crazy! I lost 20% body fat from doing Paleo and CrossFit only to gain it back literally over night! Seriously! One day I could fit into a shirt, the next day it was too small. That happened twice! I am back to the size I was before starting Paleo and never changed a thing with my diet or workout routine. It is a long battle to heal the body from this and I too have wanted it NOW! I don’t want to have to spend 2 years killing it off as my doc has told me it can take! I want my body back! I feel like someone took over and is in control of my body and I am just along for the ride. I hope you truly are able to rest and allow your body to heal! Our bodies didn’t get sick overnight and will need time to heal! Blessings to you!!

    26. 4kiki
      March 1, 2015

      I’ve had my head buried in MTHFR and detox for about a year. My son is homozygous for c677t and heavy metals (Mercury). This summer he was detoxing and maybe too fast. He had OCD and stimming behaviors as a result. This had never happened before and freaked me out. I read a medical journal about a study where NAC was used for children with Autism and helped stims. I used 600 mg a day for 2 weeks. In 2 days there was a big reduction in symptoms and in a week it was over. Detoxing is a marathon and not a sprint. I stopped everything and am starting very slow. We are working with a Function MD. I mention the NAC because it helps regulate neurotransmitters and might bring you the temporary relief you need instead of drugs. They use it with mental illness as well. Lots of good studies out there. It also boosts Glutathione. We’ve done Organic Acid test, GI Effects and Amino Acid tests as well. All good info. If we can share info in anyway feel free to message me. God Bless!

    27. DJHM
      March 1, 2015

      Hi! When I read your story, I thought I wrote it! I have had anxiety my whole life (can’t remember when it started, but I do remember it stopping me from doing things/going places as a child), I have a vomit anxiety (like you, I had exposure to something when I was very young that probably caused that), and anxiety and panic attacks interfered with my wedding day (panic attack on my wedding day), and I had the guilt over it all (especially the wedding!!). But I now know that the guilt is part of the anxiety disorder. I also have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

      Before I tell you more, I want to say that I just turned 50, have two awesome daughters (age 9 and 11), and have had a very successful high performance/high powered career. I did all this despite these issues!

      I didn’t even know what the anxiety and panic attacks were until my early 30’s when I saw an ad for treatment in a newspaper, a “do you have these symptoms” thing. I still didn’t know what to do about it, but a few months later after very stressful time at work, I had the worst panic attack I ever had, while on vacation, and in a restaurant. Restaurants were an anxiety trigger for me, because of the vomit anxiety. After that, I told my husband I needed to do something. I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed medicine; it took awhile before I could find the right meds, but I did eventually. I also started to do cognitive behavior therapy, which honestly helped equally if not more, than the meds. It also helped with the vomit anxiety. I highly recommend the CBT, if nothing else.

      I know meds are not for everyone, and over the years I have wished I didn’t have to take them, but after all this time, I have come to realize that it is just simply something I need to control these issues. In addition, I do a lot of stress management since stress is a very big trigger for me. I have done acupuncture for the Fibro (which did help), and I do a lot of self-care including getting a lot of sleep (fatigue makes anxiety worse).

      I did go off the meds when I wanted to get pregnant. It wasn’t too bad going off, by the way, but here is where the CBT helped. I stayed off for about 4 years, because I wanted a second child very soon after my first (due to my age), and didn’t want to go on them and have to come off again like 6 months later. My girls are almost exactly 2 years apart. I went back on the meds about a year after my last daughter was born, and have been on ever since. I have since found a med that helps my anxiety, panic attacks, and the Fibro symptoms, in addition to self-care. I also have found that at different meds worked at different times/ages in my life.

      I am not telling this story to tell you that you need to take meds; that’s a personal decision and a case-by-case thing, and you may not even need them if something else works which is definitely possible. I am telling you all this because our stories are SO similar, so I completely know what you are going through, and I want you to know that it does get better, and you can go on and do all the things you want to do, whether it’s book tours or having a family!

    28. amywelker
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helps remind everyone that the people we look up to are not perfect and struggle with the same things we do. I’m so glad you are taking the time to heal yourself and in doing that you will help us all know a little bit more about how the body works and how to help it heal.

      Take care of yourself and keep us posted.

    29. laurabbaucom
      March 1, 2015

      I’d like to commend you for the courage it took to write down your experiences for everyone to read. While I was disappointed to find out the book tour was canceled, please know that we all completely understand that your health comes first. I am hopeful that in the near future you will be able to pick up where you left off and really enjoy the experience of meeting all your fans.
      That being said, I cannot believe how similar our stories are, down to anxiety stemming from a phobia of vomiting! My social anxiety began when I threw up in front of a church congregation at the age of 3. Since then I have suffered from often debilitating social anxiety (and a fear of vomiting). In college I was diagnosed with panic disorder with agoraphobia which prevented me from getting my driver’s license until the age of 25. My anxiety peaked when I, too, was nearing the day of my wedding. Then, graduate school sent me over the edge, causing me such distress that my physical health finally suffered. In my quest to figure out what is going on with me (hypothyroidism, chronic muscle/joint pain, extreme fatigue), I learned I have hypermobile joints. I thought it was worth mentioning, because I know you like yoga and hypermobile people tend to gravitate towards yoga. If so, you might be interested to read about the systemic effects of hypermobility joint syndrome. It is my life to a T. Now, I just have to figure out what to do about it. I wish you the best of luck!

    30. audreylucas
      March 1, 2015

      You are such a trooper! I had a similar experience when I was wedding planning, transitioning jobs, and moving house back in 2012 and the feeling of helplessness in, and regarding, your own body can be paralyzing. I would wake up every morning covered head to toe in hives and rashes for months, and have severe allergic reactions to everyday foods to the point of multiple eli-pen injections and eyes and lips swelling shut. On top of back issues and vulnerabilities that eventually lead to full-blown disc herniation. When I finally found the right doctor who tested my adrenals and identified me as hypo-adrenic, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Once I had the diagnosis, I felt better, but it the symptoms and mood swings definitely lingered and noticed that every decision still felt massive, which weighed heavily on my emotional well-being. Almost 3 years later, I feel like I can start to see stability and a pep back in my step. But enough about my story. The details may or may not help you. What I hope does help, is knowing that you are not alone in the fight against your own body & mind for you health. I know what it is like to blame yourself for what your body is not or can not do at the moment, but yet (ironically) never sing my own praises when things start to go well. But looking back, it was all my little investigations and probing, and sometimes even blaming, that motivated me to take action, and find peace for both my body and mind (…still in progress!). When you are in the thick of it, it feels like you will never get out, but you’re doing the right thing by continuing to search for an answer. Sometimes, even the smallest step puts the momentum in your favor and you start to feel like more is possible. Best of luck to you in your searching Haley! 🙂

    31. katie711
      March 1, 2015


      I can’t tell you how much this post meant to me. I am currently struggling with adrenal fatigue, massive candida growth so bad it is giving me terrible rashes on my back, and hypothyroidism. Now my doctor thinks I might have PCOS too. It is really affecting my relationships and quality of life. I am currently getting my master’s in holistic nutrition in Portland and some days I just hate myself for not being able to focus the way I want and need to in class. The stress and fatigue are so bad at times I just want to curl up in a ball in the dark. I’ve been feeling so alone in all of this and your post just made me feel so much better and gave me hope. It is comforting to know others are undergoing similar struggles. Thank you very much for being brave and writing this. It had a big impact on me and I know it did for others too.

    32. chrissee
      March 1, 2015

      As I sit here and read this you could be describing my life right now… I am in tears I know all to well how you feel… I have had anxiety issues for about 20 yrs off and on… Many other issues as well. I thought I had it licked until about 3 yrs ago when I woke up in a cold sweat and heart pounding. I didn’t know what was going on just knew I felt sick…. since then I have barely left my house. I don’t get in my car as I am afraid to drive I don’t go to family functions because of the same reason… My husband does all of the shopping etc… I have been to doctor after doctor and have test after test all my tests come back normal… I wish just one test would come back and tell me something is wrong just so I can start somewhere…I know whatever it is it is more than just anxiety it just seems no doctors have an answer… Hope you start to feel better I will be watching your progress….

    33. Tarabouchard
      March 1, 2015

      wow, the same thing happens to me…i’m always pushing thru it, because i refuse to let it consume me. it did at one point..i had trouble leaving the house. one thing that i really am learning that helps is going to really good energy healers (i know it sounds all airy fairy, but i have tried it all and that and meditation (hilarious too, because i finally went to a western dr and after a bunch of tests, she just looks at me and tells me i need to meditate) on a consistent basis is really the only thing that works) it hasn’t made it go away, but has made it manageable. yeah and trying not to eat sugar helps to…hahahaha but yeah thats a hard one…..but as i read your story it made me realize something about myself. i think my body is screaming at me (the anxiety) to really love and nurture myself. something i tend to blow off a lot because I’m really good at always making myself really busy. its like when i say yes to other people I’m saying no to myself…i’m still learning and moving on this journey. i really appreciate that you are so courageous to share your situation . it helped me to not think i’m “crazy”. a lot of love and aloha to you. Love, Tara B. xoxo

    34. Crazydaisyk
      March 1, 2015

      I basically cried through this whole article thank you for sharing your struggle I know that must have been beyond hard. I finally feel like someone gets what I go through on a daily basis. There are days when I don’t even want to get out of bed because I know that anxiety and stress is going to be waiting for me when I get up and move on with my day. I’ve just started to address my issues and the fact your being so open gives hope to something that feels impossible.

    35. nakedcuisine
      March 1, 2015

      Your vulnerability is beautiful, you can do this <3 Keep at it, you're awesome.

    36. anhenry
      March 1, 2015

      “My vision was weird. It was like I had tunnel vision all of the time. I was extremely fatigued. My blood sugar seemed to get low easily, and any small amount of stress was sending me over the edge. Just the act of traveling completely wiped me out. By the time we got to Chicago I felt like I had nothing left in me. I was extremely fatigued, my blood sugar seemed low which really freaked me out, and I felt like I couldn’t see straight. ”

      This was *exactly* how I was feeling last September. I went to a new doctor, mentioned to her that every time I tried to give blood they turned me down bc of low hemoglobin. Got tested for a million different things, first discovered I had critically low iron levels. Got IV iron infusions, after 4 weeks felt better. I was also diagnosed with celiac disease & quit eating gluten & all grains. Don’t feel like I’ve gotten to the bottom of my issues yet, but starting to feel better through diet (your cookbooks! love) and lots of self care. My point is only – your description, esp the part about tunnel vision, and just the act of traveling wiping you out – that was me. Check your iron etc if someone hasn’t suggested it already. Best of luck in your healing – hugs!!

    37. lab146
      March 1, 2015

      Haley, thank you so much for sharing your experience with this. I had struggled with similar issues for years, and then about two years ago I started seeing a doctor who practices functional medicine. At the time, I honestly didn’t think it was possible to fix any of the things I was struggling with. I thought I was just “wired” a certain way.. that I was just naturally anxious, moody, and had some depressive tendencies (to put it nicely). I also had/have extreme ADHD, which I’d been medicated for since I was a kid, so that was definitely not helping. But I essentially found out that I had a lot of the things that you talked about in this blog post– my candida levels were off the charts, I had a parasite, leaky gut, gluten, dairy and egg intolerances that I didn’t know about, an MTHFR mutation (Heterozygous for A1298C), incredibly low levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, and dopamine, and a severe vitamin B12 deficiency (among other things). The doctor put me on all kinds of supplements (glycine, phosphaline, B12, lithium orotate, candex, etc… you should see my pantry. It looks like the supplement aisle of whole foods). She got me started eating Paleo and essentially turned my life around. Since then, my ADHD symptoms are almost gone, my depression is gone, and with the exception of the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed, I no longer have debilitating anxiety. Was it a crazy ride? Yes. But I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

      Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are so not alone in dealing with this. You’re right to listen to your body, and even though sometimes it may feel like a wild goose chase, you’re on the right track and you’re going to find a solution. Listen to your instincts and keep going. In the meantime, I’m sending lots of positive energy your way xoxo

    38. LaineyBott
      March 1, 2015

      Thank you so much for having the courage to write this. My husband was just (2 weeks ago) diagnosed with Pyroluria and the MTHFR gene mutation. Our world has been turned upside down, but for the better. For 15 years he has seen multiple doctors seeking out an explanation for his debilitating anxiety, depression, mood swings and several hospitalizing panic attacks. A huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders because now there is an explanation and a solution. We know we have a bumpy road ahead and have a lot of learning and adjusting to do but we are so thankful for an answer.

    39. March 2, 2015

      Thank you so much for sharing. I have in the last year been diagnosed with Hashimotos, adrenal fatigue, and a double mutation of MTHFR. I have so many issues with mood and anxiety and it is so comforting to know it’s not in my head and that this is something other people are dealing with too. I wish you all the best in your road to recovery, it sound as though you have good doctors and a very supportive husband so I’m sure you will get on top of this.

    40. christinaHilburn
      March 2, 2015

      I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you for writing this post and to encourage you. I’m 29 years old, have a 4 1/2 yr old and a 14 month old and have struggled with severe anxiety since I can remember. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD and MTHFR. I also struggle with symptoms of candida. The MTHFR has caused three miscarriages, but thankfully I’ve had my girls who are 100% healthy. I have been on Zoloft since 2013, when I was pregnant with my baby. My anxiety got so bad that I was having panic attacks and was unable to care for my, at the time, 3 year old. I couldn’t sleep, eat, think. All I could do was cry, shake and be afraid. Being pregnant, this was very dangerous for my pregnancy because of stress so when I was 6 months along I finally went on Zoloft, an SSRI. Ever since then, it’s been night and day. I’m currently on 100 mg of it and have come down from 150. I don’t have any negative side effects from it and it has saved my life, literally.
      All that to say, one- you’re not alone in this. Many people suffer with things like this. Two- I agree with you totally that there is a link between all of these things and I’m trying to find it and hope you have success with the things you’re doing for answers. And last, but CERTAINLY not least…do what you need to do to be able to function. If you are not going on meds because of getting pregnant, that’s not an issue because doctors are very aware of what is and isn’t safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding (my 14 month old is still breastfed), and there are things you can take that will help you function. That being said, I understand not wanting to take meds and wanting to get to the bottom of it, so I’m not judging you or pressuring you to do anything you’re not ok with, I just want you to know there are options that are safe if you want to have a family and they can make a real difference. My issues are what led me to paleo and I’ve been able to come down on my meds ever since starting without having any real struggles which is a blessing, so I understand not wanting meds! But if you need to take something to be able to handle what you’re experiencing, don’t feel that you’ve given in. It may be a band aid but you can always take a band aid off.
      You’re in my thoughts and prayers and I really am looking forward to what you find out seeing as our symptoms are almost exactly the same. I hope it can lead you in the right direction to healing. You’ll get through this and be stronger for it. Believe me, I know from experience. 🙂
      xo-Christina Hilburn

    41. ElizaB
      March 2, 2015

      First off, you are normal! Not broken! None of this sounds crazy to me and I look forward to following your journey. Like others who have posted I share alot of your same symptoms, including the fear of vomiting and to lighten the mood just a bit I’ll share my wedding story! Survived the wedding, did not eat a thing had a blast! Woke up super early the next morning with my husband and met my mother in law who was taking us to the airport. Made it halfway through 2 hour ride and threw up all over her car. Not only am I terrified to throw up she is completely disgusted by it and my husband vomits on the sight/smell/sound of another person’s vomit. I wanted to die. Insert the craziest most anxious/depressing first year of marriage ever, I survived! Best wishes to you, praying for guidance and great doctors!

    42. jentb
      March 2, 2015

      Thank you for sharing your story. I can understand with how hard it was to tell. I can relate to that innate feeling of just _knowing_ that something isn’t right. Always trust your instincts.

      I think you would get so much benefit from seeing a kinesiologist who specialising in emotional matters. I saw one for a few months a couple of years ago and it helped me sooooooo much. Will make it easier to dislodge some of that emotional stuff that you have unintentionally carrying around with you since you were little.

      All the best with your recovery. Baby steps, take it slowly and be patient with your body. It wants to get back in balance too!

    43. Sutton
      March 2, 2015


      Thank you for sharing your story! In doing so you have helped countless others realize that they aren’t alone in this. Your situation is very similar to mine. I’ve been battling anxiety, MTHFR, candida, SIBO, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune issues and CFS for awhile now after 30+ years of high-strung, Type A living. I totally agree that true healing has to first occur in the gut. I can already see HUGE improvements in the emotional imbalances and my seemingly minor GI problems now that I’ve been tackling the gut head-on with an aggressive holistic treatment protocol. (On a side note, I too have a crazy fear of vomiting and haven’t done so since I was 6 years old!) I also think/understand that the MTHFR mutations make detoxing more challenging for us and finding the right balance of methylated Bs is very important. Best of luck to you. You WILL come through this stronger than ever!

    44. teadump
      March 2, 2015

      A lot of this resonates with me. All my love to you both.

    45. Mteape
      March 2, 2015

      I am so glad I found this post! It is great to know that I am not alone in my symptoms or my struggle in finding and deciding how to treat them. Haley- my wedding story is eerily similar and I tried to hide how I was feeling for a long time out of guilt that I would be perceived as not being “happy” or excited to get married, with my life, etc. Then my amazing therapist finally convinced me to see the phenomenal, groundbreaking, Dr. Kelly Brogan. She is exactly what everyone posting these comments has been looking for. An incredibly accomplished, western trained, medical psychiatrist who went on her own journey to discover the root causes of anxiety and depression and is a holistic practitioner. Her website has a wealth of information but I would encourage anyone with acute symptoms to see her and get quickly back on a path to wellness. http://kellybroganmd.com/

      Christina Hilburn I loved your comments. I also went on Zoloft to save me from debilitating symptoms and am now working with Dr. Brogan on lifestyle modification and weaning off. I had two healthy babies while on it and was managed carefully and now know it was the best decision. I also felt like Haley at first that if I wanted a baby I shouldn’t be on medication but God laughs at your plans. Everyone’s situation is different and working with someone as smart as Dr. Brogan is the key! Thanks everyone for your honesty.

    46. AmandaG1979
      March 2, 2015

      I am so sorry for all you are going through! My heart just hurt for you as I read all you have been going through. I also felt like I was reading my own biography. I hope I’m not overstepping, but I wanted to ask if you have seen a geneticist? Many of the issues you discussed can be very common on a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. A geneticist is the I ly physician that can diagnose or definitively. I also wanted to mention that some of your anxiety symptoms also sound like dysautonomia, or POTS syndrome. There is a website called Dusaitonomia International where you can get more info. Again, I hope I’m not overstepping, but thought these might be helpful things for you to look into. I’m so sorry you are suffering. I have all the same issues you mentioned and I understand how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be. If you do decide to look into Dysaitomia or POTS it’s important to find a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating it. You can find a physician list on the website I suggested. It is diagnosed and treated by specialized cardiologists called electrophysiologist a, or neurologists who specialized in autonomic issues. It can go hand in hand with anxiety and can be misdiagnosed as anxiety. I hope you find answers and releif!

    47. casilva
      March 2, 2015

      My best to you and your sweetie — He’s wise and compassionate- your health does come first.
      I’m not one to give unsolicited health advice -so I won’t – and I appreciate that you are getting tests done to see the whole picture and best course of action. What concerned me in your post is the 2 alternatives – the thought of needing medication for anxiety has you feeling like a failure for not finding the underlying cause and addressing whole heath OR tracking down the underlying cause has you feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed as we all know how hard and long term that investigation and healing can be. It is not either/or. I have done so much to find my underlying causes and address them (hashimoto’s, gluten intolerance, gut issues, anemia) AND I take herbal supplements that address my neurotransmitter deficiencies (Kavinace and 5HTP). In my heart I wish I could heal my body to the point where all I required was good paleo recipes like you create but I’ve accepted that my body is what it is — not so good at producing or perhaps maintaining the neurotransmitters that make my life enjoyable. For me this is no different than taking an iron supplement and a Vit B because my gut is inefficient at absorbing those. Brain is body. Mood issues are sometimes symptoms of underlying issues and sometimes taking pharms just masks those underlying issues. BUT – mood issues are sometimes their own deal – an effect of other damage to my body I may not be able to heal, an effect of my brain chemistry I was born with, an effect of something I may never track down. But treating a mood issue with a natural supplement that supports healthy brain chemistry is not a failure or a bandaid – It’s a vitamin for my brain. I’m still doing all I can to heal my whole body. It is a necessity, just like food, because mood issues are not just in our heads – it’s real chemistry and it makes life a whole lot of fun or a whole lot of misery. I choose health and fun and won’t go a day without my supplements.

      1. March 2, 2015

        I don’t think you are understanding what I wrote. Taking a supplement to help your body make something it’s lacking in is very different than taking a medication that masks symptoms. I take many supplements that I might need to heal my body, and as soon as I get my neurotransmitter results back I will absolutely be taking the supplements I need to treat a serotonin issue. That is not at all what I was talking about in this post. I was talking about conventional doctors telling me I can’t be fixed without a drug.

    48. evangend
      March 2, 2015

      Hayley, you are not alone in your struggles — we’re all on a journey to healing, we’re all broken or damaged in some way, although some have a little more intense of an experience than others. Please take comfort in knowing that you have such a crowd of admirers and supporters out in the world. You are not judged, you are accepted and encouraged for your bravery and your determination. And you’re right — your body wants to heal! You – your body, your mind, your emotional self – are incredibly resilient. This too shall pass. Best, Erin

    49. Lashes
      March 2, 2015

      I could write a novel of a response, but I myself am feeling overwhelmed this morning. So all I will say is thank you for sharing. And you are not alone. Sending love.

    50. mcal
      March 2, 2015

      just remember you are not alone in your struggles ….Jennifer Esposito’s book Jenniffer’s Way.

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