I’ve hit rock bottom many times in my life and this will sound outrageous to many but I look forward to it finally happening. The dark spiral downwards is scary and you don’t think it will ever end but when it does and you know you can’t go any deeper, there’s only one way you can go and that’s up!

Hitting rock bottom recently is the wakeup call I needed to slap myself out of the lifestyle I was living. An unhealthy lifestyle of burning the candle at both ends, bandaiding my anxiety with prescribed and holistic medications and using caffeine, sugary food & alcohol to get me through each day. The story I was telling myself was that I needed all those unhealthy things in my life just to survive the day but what if they were actually just fuelling the problem?

Close to a month ago I was randomly drug tested before work and THC was found present in my system causing a positive test and being stood down from my position. Now I was well aware I had THC in my system as I had started taking CBD oil to help treat my anxiety in March. I purchase it from a reputable Australian company that ensures the percentage of THC is no higher than 0.03 which is under the legal limit allowed. If it didn’t contain THC it wouldn’t have the positive effect it does for those suffering from anxiety and other medical issues however such a low percentage does not cause any mind altering effects like if you smoked it.

I was on nightshift the day I was tested. Before arriving to work I had taken the oil, had only consumed a coffee and had produced urine that was not diluted in anyway making it the most concentrated sample that could of been tested. After five days of crying, drinking and completely losing control of my mental health I finally got the news that I would keep my job but only just!

I was lucky this time around and personally what I went through over those five days, I couldn’t put myself or my family through again. CBD oil is still such a grey area in Australia and it was the same for the company I work for however without a doctor’s referral or script any drugs that can show up in a drug test can mean disciplinary action and most likely loss of job. Living in the trying times we all are at the moment I am grateful to still be employed and no way am I going to take that for granted and play with fire by taking anything that may jeopardise my job.

I was worried that I was going to find everything too overwhelming when I stopped taking the CBD oil so I increased my prescribed medication by 10mg per day yet I couldn’t stop thinking that there had to be a way to feel better than I did without having to up my meds all the time. I would be literally dragging myself out of bed in the morning, having a coffee because I didn’t think I could stay awake if I didn’t, binge eating all the wrong foods and consuming large portioned meals and drinking most days to take the edge off. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a solid nights sleep and woke up feeling well rested and energised. I knew I had to start changing things but I’d done this many times before with an all or nothing mentality and got nowhere long term.

Currently still in lockdown in New South Wales I have no access to a gym and can never seem to stick to at home work outs. I need to physically leave the house and have me time when I train so I decided to concentrate on what I could work on at the moment and something even more important than working out and that was what I was putting into my body. Now when I started this I never said I would stop drinking coffee or alcohol but reduce to having both in moderation however it’s just worked out that I haven’t consumed either for ten days now and I have felt like a totally different person.

I always knew coffee and any form of caffeine heightens anxiety but the story I was telling myself was that I was already on edge what harm could a coffee a day do and I just wouldn’t survive without it. Man I was so wrong! Since removing coffee I haven’t felt jittery and on edge which was a feeling I had just accepted. It’s been so refreshing not to have the body sweats and be snappy and overwhelmed by everything. I’m not saying I will never have a coffee again but if it means I won’t feel this good that day I think I’d prefer to substitute it for a tea.

Medications to treat anxiety & depression don’t come in a one size fits all unfortunately and I’ve been on the same one since 2018 and instead of trying a different one, I’ve just increased the dosage as time has gone on. A work colleague reached out to me after the posts on social media about my struggles and suggested a different type of medication that has fewer side effects than others, so I consulted with my doctor to give it a go. It’s called Valdoxan and unfortunately it is quite expensive as it isn’t covered by Medicare but I’m open to try anything. It also has the benefit of not having to slowly reduce the dose to come off of it which is what I’m currently doing with the Citalopram. I’m down to half a tablet a day to then be able to swap over yet I’m still feeling really good and I’m wondering whether my change of lifestyle means I could actually ditch the meds altogether?

Now before I start getting you all to believe I’ve performed a miracle by going completely cold turkey and curing myself, I haven’t. I’m also not attempting to become an influencer that sells ice to eskimo’s so anything that I share is products that I’ve stumbled across and have honestly felt they have legitimately helped.

Scrolling through social media and conveniently an ad for The Happy Mammoth kept jumping out to me. It was only recently I was reading more and more about how much our gut health can affect us in a positive or negative way. Not new research at all and some will say they’ve known this for years, well I’m a bit behind the times and just getting to grow my knowledge on this topic. So I did the quiz on their site to learn what products would apparently benefit my concerns. There was a lot! And I thought fuck it, with all the money I had spent on unhealthy things maybe it was time to invest in my health. I was particularly interested in introducing a pre and probiotic into my daily routine as I had a colonic cleanse early this year and there was candida found in the waste which the therapist told me would be causing my sugar cravings so pretty much I had been feeding the bad bacteria in my body for years now.

I went all out and purchased The Complete Happy New YOU System (because who wouldn’t?), The Complete Gut Detoxification System (to repair a leaky gut), Prebiotic Collagen Protein and Ultra Absorb L-Glutamine. The Happy New YOU has a super green, energy drink without the side effects of jitters and crashes plus reduces stress at the same time (how does this even exist?) and a deep sleep drink. I can honestly say I have slept better the last ten days than I have in years. I fall asleep straight away and if I wake I fall back asleep instantly without lying awake staring at the ceiling. Seriously, where has this product been throughout my entire motherhood journey? I am also literally bouncing out of bed in the morning and instead of coffee I am having tea. My skin is glowing and is baby bottom soft. Covid has aged my appearance by at least five years and since giving my lifestyle a kick in the arse I have got that back already.

I was offered take out at work this week, I refused and said I was starting to clean up my diet especially with the warmer months coming up. The response I got was “Oh are you working on your summer body?” I’ve got a mum bod that is perfect for any season and have finally accepted it for all the warrior scares it has that makes it mine. I’m cleaning up the way that I eat because I don’t want to feel like shit every day with no energy. You can scrape by in winter feeling like that and hibernating but once summer hits I need to be on my A game to be out and enjoying life with my family. I’m not restricting anything, I’m just planning my eating better and adding lots more salad and veg to stay fuller for longer and reduce that need to binge because I’m not eating healthy.

At times when I was the most anxious I would resent my husband so much. Every little thing he’d do or not do would drive me insane. I’d snap at him for no reason because I had a build-up of all the things he was doing that were pissing me off circling around in my head on repeat. This week those thoughts and feelings have just disappeared. I’ve been noticeably happier by him and others. People probably think I have upped my meds but I’ve actually done the complete opposite and reduced them?

I can honestly say I don’t recognise the person I am at the moment but in a good way. I wait to feel overwhelmed or lose my shit and my body has just stopped reacting like that. I can’t even remember the last time I felt this good or if I ever have? Could the answer have been there right in front of my eyes the whole time? Was my unhealthy lifestyle that lead to poor gut health escalating my mental health? It couldn’t be that simple or could it? Only time will tell.