On Anxiety: Celiac Disease

celiec disease

[Guest Post by Casey] – At the age of 24, I had everything I wanted; and all of a sudden, none of it meant anything.

I had just finished up my master’s degree, received a great job offer and moved in with my boyfriend of three years after dealing with long distance most of our relationship.

If I wasn’t feeling anxious, I wasn’t feeling anything at all.

I dreaded going out; I was snapping at loved ones and it took every ounce of discipline I had to drag myself out of bed. Nothing was fun anymore, including me.

There was no Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I was straight up Ms. Hyde 24/7.

I was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety, handed some medication and sent on my way. Unfortunately, the life-changing results I was looking for didn’t follow.

I don’t know how to explain it, but one day I woke up and I just knew God was going to fix this for me.

It was the first time I’d stepped foot inside a church for more than holiday services since I was nine years old. I stood alone and cried through most of the services, but I kept going.

I just knew I needed to be there.

Fast forward a few years and I’d been through the worst break up of my life- you know, the one where you think no one will ever love you like that again. I had a new job, a new apartment and the same anxiety, which was then managed by nothing but prayer and some insanely supportive parents.

I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

All I kept thinking was, “I am so blessed. Why don’t I appreciate my life the way I should?!”

I even went to see a counselor, but my mind was always racing and I still wasn’t happy with the person I’d become.

At the age of 27, I contracted a virus that left me worthless for six months.

I couldn’t work my regular schedule and all of these weird things were happening to my body. None of it made sense. I was tired of hearing that I just needed to take it easy, but how do you tell a doctor you have a feeling they’re wrong?

After all, I was the one with the mental problems, right?

I started reading PubMed, checked out books from the library and researched new doctors and nutrition. I was more determined than I’d ever been. Things were starting to make sense. And then I received a “suggestive” diagnosis of celiac disease. That basically means doctors won’t rule it out, but they can’t technically say, “This is it!”

All those feelings that made no sense were the product of damaged guts.

I’m the biggest advocate you’ll ever meet for educating people about the gut-brain connection. I have this fire inside me that just keeps going because I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.

There are no words to describe what it feels like to have feelings again, to wake up happy and sincerely grateful.

Today, I’m finishing up my health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I practice a holistic approach to wellness with people, which means I look at how all aspects of someone’s life affect their health, including spirituality, career and relationships. I emphasize consuming the foods God created because I figure he must have known what he was doing when he designed our amazingly complex bodies.

I still doubt my own knowledge and abilities at times, but every time I start to doubt myself, He intervenes.

My experiences with anxiety and celiac disease have absolutely been blessings in my life and so is the opportunity to help other people.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

Casey is a holistic health coach who helps people make healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes.

[Photo: Ibai Acevedo, Creative Commons]