From Anxiety to Happiness - A Client's Own Journey

5 Jan 2013 2:53 AMChristine Barnes

I'm in my mid-50s.

According to Wikipedia I have a hypothetical condition. And according to accepted medical knowledge, I'm taking extremely high levels of vitamin supplementation to tackle my hypothetical condition. But after two months of strictly following my naturopath-prescribed protocol, I no longer recognize how I used to feel before I began this course - that is through all my adult life (if not also my childhood).

A few months ago, I was tested for pyroluria and found myself well above the levels for a positive diagnosis. My naturopath explained to me that, in a nutshell, my body was incapable of absorbing sufficient quantities of B6 and Zinc (and other things), and this interfered with various body processes. As a result I experienced different responses to stress compared to other people. 


It took me a while to actually accept there was anything wrong with me. Let's face it, who wants to admit to a condition that affects your mind - the stigma is so huge. I was more than dismissive of the diagnosis but agreed reluctantly to follow the protocol. However, within a few weeks I began to feel differently, as well as noticing real physical changes (including a retraction of a very long-standing facial rash and a craving for alcohol - proof to me that this change was no placebo effect). 


As far as I can remember, up to a few months ago I'd always had a leaning towards the half-glass-empty kind of view - but I'd never considered myself depressed. And although my friends and family had thought I was very shy, the truth was social situations had caused me severe anxiety inside but nobody knew. I'd consistently experienced an over-the-top response to virtually anything that caused me stress or anxiety and as a result had increasingly avoided any sort of stressors (both physical and emotional). I had tried traveling but was miserable and anxious all the time, holidays had been a waste of time and money as I'd never enjoyed them, and I'd hated buying things because generally I'd bought the least worst option. I'd bought a house once but that ownership lasted only a couple of months before deciding to sell because I had never felt good about the purchase (ironically if I'd lasted a few more months in the house, I wouldn't have missed the housing boom that followed, sigh !). I also found it difficult to stay in one place for more than a few years. 


Similarly I'd walked away from long-lasting partners because I felt change would help (any perceived relationship problems it seems were all in my head). I'd also walked away from situations which in retrospect were really advantageous but I couldn't see through my then skewed perspective. I'd been to parties, had hosted dinners, and had done everything normal people would do in social situations, but I'd very rarely felt any of the authentic joy that others obviously did. "Why is everybody else having a good time and I'm feeling lousy?" In the end, I'd worked out for myself a life where I avoided new situations where I knew I would probably be anxious and disappointed:- I avoided meeting new people, avoided doing things, avoided settling down, avoided decisions and, essentially, gave up on interacting with life as much as possible to minimize feeling anxious and stressed.  I put it down to "its just the way I am" and, as I got older, "its just age catching up with me".


Well, it seems I was wrong. I'm only now beginning to realize how wrong I was and understand that, yes, it is possible for me to feel and respond authentically as do most other people. It is possible for me not to over-react to minor inconveniences, and it is possible for me to feel authentic positive feelings - even a genuine laugh !! I look back at my life and shake my head at the lost opportunities and smile - yes, smile !  I can't believe how much I've stuffed up so far, and yet now I'm able to put a positive spin on it, put it all behind me as a very long learning experience, and look forward to opportunities ahead knowing full well that there will be mistakes made as well as successes. What a difference on how I was viewing the present, past and the future a few months ago compared to now !


The point is I have accepted I have a condition which affects my thinking, my view on life and my emotional responses - difficult as that is (and even if WIkipedia calls it hypothetical)! The treatment isn't cheap but compared with everything that I've lost throughout my adult life  (not just in terms of money, but also measured by relationships, and feelings of light, joy and positivity)  the cost is something that is now gladly embraced so I can feel and respond as most people do.




Below are some of the common symptoms that have been associated with this disorder:-

  • Low white blood cells
  • Being anxious, shy or fearful, or experiencing inner tension since childhood, but hiding these feelings from others.
  • Bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion
  • Poor dream recall, stressful or bizarre dreams or nightmares
  • Light morning nausea, preference to not eat breakfast, prone to motion sickness
  • Poor sense of smell or taste
  • Fatigue
  • Late puberty
  • Sugar metabolism issues
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Avoidance of stressful situation due to the impact on your emotional balance.
  • Preferring the company of one or two close friends
  • Becoming a loner as you get older
  • Easily upset by criticism

Please contact christine@thebodyguard - (61) 07 31512183 for a complimentary, comprehensive questionaire to discover if your symptoms are being driven by this disorder or if other factors are negatively impacting your health and happiness.


If you are depressed or finding it hard to cope, help is available 24 hrs a day at Lifeline 13 11 14 24.