Today, I am a healer.
I guess it has always been there, inside of me, waiting to be called forth at a time when I was ready; ready to cross that bridge, into a time and place where I was needed.
This being my first blog post, I would like to take the opportunity to share MY journey with you; to give you a clear sense of who I am, but also to inspire others who may feel the stirrings within to be called into service to help others. My story isn’t glorious or extraordinary, but it is mine and I am proud to walk this path. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this, and hopefully future posts as I share my journey with you. Namaste, Beckie.
Ever since I was a child, I felt a call to do something, to be a part of something bigger than myself. Of course as a 5 or 6 year old kid, I couldn’t articulate these thoughts precisely, but I knew I was meant to help others, be it human or animals. I can remember taking part in the “Hands Across America” movement and standing on the street in my hometown holding hands with complete strangers, not sure what we were standing for, but I knew it was something important!
I was often told as a child I was a dreamer, living in a fantasy world where there was only love, no anger, no hatred, no hurt or sickness….this the world I wanted to see and be a part of….I didn’t care if others thought me silly or childish. In fact, I remember hearing John Lennon’s “Imagine” and tears streaming down my face, thinking “this guy gets me!”
I loved all living things, and hated to see animals or humans or even plants and nature suffer. I was always an advocate for the environment and humane treatment of all creatures. I believed in loving one another, because I knew we were all part of the same human race regardless of color or religion. I often joked that I was born in the wrong era and have always been a Hippy flower child of the 60’s while growing up a child of the 80’s and 90’s. Always feeling like somehow I just didn’t belong in this time and place, but not understanding why.
As I grew into my teens, I began to develop severe anxiety and depression, especially following the divorce of my parents, and the death of my grandmother. I was placed on antidepressants by age 14, and spent most of my high school years struggling mentally and emotionally. By college I had developed severe, frequent, and often debilitating migraines. Once again I was placed on heavy doses of medication to “deal” with the pain. I was always the Type A kid, the over achiever, with extremely high standards of expectation for myself. My struggle with anxiety and depression grew inside, yet on the outside I was the quintessential young adult; excelling in my study of Special Education in college, with many friends, and lots of potential ahead of me.
After college, I entered the field of teaching Special Education in the same town where I grew up. As always, I was passionate about helping kids with disabilities and advocated for their rights. This passion was fueled by personal family experiences of individuals with disabilities being treated poorly by their peers and society. I was driven to make a difference in the lives of children, to leave the world a better place than I had found it.
Two years into my teaching career, after getting married, I was diagnosed with PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and was told that I would have great difficulty trying to conceive and it was recommended that I receive hormone therapy and IVF. Being the tenacious, stubborn, driven person that I am, I decided to prove the medical doctors wrong and get pregnant naturally. I was working part time at a local health food store, and decided to do some research on my own. I learned about natural solutions such as changes to my diet; preferably a low carb, high protein diet, as well as herbs for balancing women’s hormone cycles. Within 3-4 months, I successfully conceived my first daughter. Even the doctor couldn’t believe it, in fact she told me that I probably couldn’t support this pregnancy and she expected me to miscarry, go home, put my feet up and call her when the bleeding starts. That was the last time I ever went to THAT office!
I didn’t miscarry. Thankfully. And 9 months later my daughter Emily was born. Two years later, I conceived naturally once again and while I endured a difficult, higher risk pregnancy, going into preterm labor at 30 weeks, and being placed on bed rest; I was able to deliver my second daughter, Jessie at nearly full term of 36 weeks.
This is where my journey into holistic health truly begins; with my children.
My oldest daughter Emily has Asperger’s syndrome and Sensory Integration Disorder. My younger daughter Jessie, due to her prematurity, had severe asthma as well as being diagnosed at 6 months old with Bilateral Renal Reflux disease; essentially her lungs and kidneys were the last to form in utero, and were her weakest areas. Her kidneys did not function properly, causing a constant back up of urine, leading to chronic kidney infections and urinary tract infections. She was placed on a prophylactic antibiotic taken daily for 18 months, until she eventually had to have surgery to correct both kidneys at age 2. Luckily the surgery successfully corrected her kidney and ureter formation, however, the damage done by the long term antibiotic use became evident in her poor gut health and weekend immune system. Jessie was chronically ill in her first 3 years of life. Whether it was a severe asthma attack requiring an ambulance, oxygen and an ER visit; a “breakthrough” kidney/bladder infection with fevers up to 104-105 requiring an ER visit, or severe vomiting and dehydration due to norovirus and rotavirus, requiring a 4-5 day stay in the hospital; I constantly worried about my daughter’s health.
I kept questioning all of this medical intervention, wondering if there was something I was missing. How could this little girl be so sick, ALL the time? What was I missing? Did I do something wrong? Was there something MORE I could be doing to help her? (Remember, I’m an over achiever!). On top of all of Jessie’s physical health issues, I watched helplessly as my older daughter Emily struggled more and more each day with her social, emotional, behavioral and psychological health. She required so much time, attention, and patience, and honestly, I just didn’t have it to give to her because I was so drained from caring for Jessie.
At age 29, I had a nervous breakdown. I could no longer keep the demons in my head at bay, silently struggling inside while presenting a calm demeanor to the outside world. It was just TOO much. Not many people know I had a breakdown, only a few of my closest friends, and mostly it was after the fact; I only share this story now, years later, because I have learned so much since.
The anxiety, depression and newly developed severe obsessive compulsive disorder got the better of me. I lost drastic weight because I couldn’t eat. My migraines had intensified. I had become suicidal and was sent to see a shrink because my mother and (now ex) husband insisted I “get my shit together”. I was placed on three heavy duty medications for anxiety, depression and OCD. The meds helped numb me out, and I finally got some sleep. But I wasn’t ME. I was a ghost of my former self….the compassionate, spirited, tenacious little girl who wanted to change the world was gone, I assumed she was dead; and all that remained was a shell of a young woman who had given up hope.
As a result of my failing mental health, my marriage and family relationships suffered. I couldn’t be there for my children; and I knew I needed to change myself. I needed to heal myself so I could be the kind of mom they deserved.
This is where Yoga comes in, and I credit it for saving my life. Yoga and meditation have helped me in ways no formal therapist ever could. I began researching natural treatments for anxiety and depression, and practiced yoga several times per week. I began exercising; mostly just walking or jogging at the local park; and I began to connect what I was eating to my moods. I realized that I was most likely Gluten intolerant and that gluten and foods in general could also be connected to my migraines. After being on medication for anxiety, depression, OCD, and self medicating further with alcohol, I became determined to get off all meds and get control over my eating and drinking habits.
I began to find my passion once again: yoga, and natural holistic health. I read every book and article I came across on the topics; excited to put what I was learning on my own into practice for myself and/or my children’s health. That old feeling of doing something big, something important, began to resurface within me. Sadly, my (now ex) husband did not share my newfound passion for all things holistic, and we often argued over the best ways to raise and care for our children.
By age 31 I was off all medications. At age 33 I left my first marriage and took the scary leap of faith into the great unknown on the path of self discovery. There were those who thought I was “crazy” but I didn’t care. I was walking this path for myself.
Two years ago, I remarried my soul mate, Anthony. He is the one who has encouraged me and believed in me to pursue my dream of taking my passion and knowledge and turn it into a career of healing others. I will never forget sitting in an Irish pub here in Red Bank one wintry afternoon, as Irish Football blared on the TV, sharing a pint of Guinness, and he said, “You should do this for a living; yoga, nutrition, health…..you’re good at it and love helping people. You would be awesome.” I had never had someone encourage me to follow my heart before. I sat there shocked, but the wheels had started to turn.
Within two months of that conversation I had researched schools and programs that offered holistic nutrition; that’s when I found EHI – Energetic Health Institute. I knew INSTANTLY that this was my path. I loved everything this school stood for, and after having my initial phone consultation for enrollment with Dr. Henele E’ale, I was eager to get started!
In June of 2016, after 15 years in the NJ Public schools, teaching Special Education and working as a Literacy coach in the town I grew up, I handed in my official resignation. It was time for me to move on to the next leg of my journey. My friends were shocked I was actually resigning, but those who knew me best, weren’t surprised, because they knew once I put my mind to something, I will achieve it, come hell or high-water!
Crossing that bridge, from being a teacher with a steady salary, benefits, job security, where my work friends had become part of my family; to becoming unemployed, trying to finish school and start my own business, was a scary stretch of road along this journey. But one that I wouldn’t trade for the world! I was doing it! I had set the goals for myself and was achieving them little by little.
On January 31, 2017, after nearly 2 years of study, I proudly graduated from Energetic Health Institute as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. This accomplishment meant more to me than my undergraduate and graduate degrees combined! This was something I had done FOR ME, to honor that calling, to be a part of something greater than myself, to make a difference in this world; to cross that final bridge to becoming a healer.
The journey has been long and arduous at times, but I truly believe everything has happened as it was intended to; the greatest challenges in our lives are often our greatest lessons learned.
So now, the door is wide open before me, and I walk proudly, through it, into the unknown, to become what I have always known myself to be: a healer.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end, which is really just the beginning!
Check back each month, for blogs covering different health topics and holistic, natural treatments such as using food as medicine, as well as herbs, essential oils, energy/Reiki, yoga, and meditation.
If there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please comment below.