Three years ago, I was a mess. My stress levels were disproportionately high, which caused my nervous system to take over and derail everything else. My body was completely out of balance: hyper-ventilation, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, loss of memory, insomnia, depression, vertigo, loss of balance, candida, migraines that stopped me in my tracks, piercing earaches… The works. I was overly exhausted daily, like I had swallowed bricks, and also been hit by a few in the head.
The frustration that goes along with being dysfunctional is surreal, and it unfortunately also increases stress. So there I was, seemingly powerless, caught in a vicious and highly detrimental cycle.
My doctor prescribed medical leave from work (read: toxic workplace) and with what seemed to be a gift of time, I went on a foolish rampage to get well. I had to get better, FAST. So I made long lists of things to do and appointments to keep. I consulted with a naturopath, a homeopath, an Ayurvedic doctor, a Chinese doctor, an energy healer, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and a psychotherapist. I kept a day-timer that was fuller than during my time at work. I was staying as busy as possible, and not at all following doctor’s orders to rest. I had to feel a sense of accomplishment. I convinced myself that I could not just sit there, that it would be LAZY.
I was wrong.
I learned the hard way that you can’t rush wellness. The more time went by during my leave, the worse I felt. It was interesting to experience stress rising to the surface once my adrenaline levels were no longer in hyperdrive. I was soon after diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which made things even worse.
But there was hope.
When done naturally and without pharmaceuticals, healing is a long-term process that requires discipline and patience. The body needs time to heal. It can take months, even years to eradicate the stress that has plagued the body.
By understanding that rushing things does not work, I learned that slowing down is important. In my case, vital. So I had to relax gasp and stop drafting to-do lists. I had to let things flow. No planning, not for now. I had to bask in the harsh reality of “I am not well. I can’t function properly. I will get better eventually. Patience.”
This was the most difficult thing I have ever done. We live in a society that measures success on busyness, and multitasking ourselves into illness is a backwards and completely twisted way toward optimal living. So when I had no choice to stop and slow down, I was an anomaly. In contrast, my friends called me a hero. They said they were proud! What? To me, this was incomprehensible. They explained: “You are taking control of your life before it’s too late. This takes courage, and for this, you are amazing.”
After meeting half a dozen healers, each with opposing doctrines, I called upon my friend Guillaume. His blog is intriguing, to say the least. It describes health at the biochemical level, and how the body functioned physiologically. This was alien to me. It was an approach I had never heard of before, yet his scientific reasoning made sense.
Guillaume was a high school friend, and I trusted him. I wrote to him personally to tell him I admired his blog, and thanked him for all the information he was sharing. I was also honest in relaying that I didn’t quite understand his counter-intuitive recommendations, and that everything seemed very complicated, almost inaccessible. The truth is that his information is indeed quite thorough, as it relates to the anatomical complexity of the body’s biochemical functions. Yet once properly understood, what he shares is fundamentally simple and straightforward.
With my somewhat obsessive mission to feel better, I would read wellness articles on detoxification, how to live a stress-free life, and optimal health. It’s the latter that caught my attention. Optimal health. How do I truly achieve that? I had been a health nut from day one. When I grew up, there was no soda, no chips, no boxed juices, no processed foods, and no condiments except Dijon mustard from France.
I was on the right track. Yet symptomatically, which is essentially biochemically, I was imbalanced. As I mentioned before, I failed to understand the power of cumulative stress, and this was not at all optimal.
Essentially, if you sleep well, exercise regularly and eat great food, all measures toward being healthy are completely eradicated if you are stressed. Stress is a virus, a poison, a plague. It takes over everything like an evil, unforgiving authority, exerting itself on all bodily functions. So someone like me suffering from PTSD has an even lower threshold for stress than someone who has not gone through something traumatic. In other words, something mundane feels like something major. For people suffering from PTSD, nothing is minor, everything is a massive, stressful ordeal.
It’s no fun.
Guillaume advised: “If you follow everything I say diligently, you will heal, but you must listen to me and not question anything I recommend.” This sounded forceful but since I had already tried so many other avenues, I was willing to comply. After all, how could a high school friend genuinely concerned about my well-being steer me wrong?
Guillaume’s passion for wellness and all his supportive research was very convincing, and made his advice definitely worth following. So I went for it. He also insisted: “You must forget everything about your past, everyone who has steered you wrong, everyone who has been a disappointment to you. You must understand that on a healing path, you cannot focus on negative things. You must believe that things will improve, and that you will feel better. Because you will.”
My journey began at the molecular level. It was tough and went against anything I had ever done, and took eight months for me to feel a change. On month four, I caught a terrible flu, lost track of my optimal health routine many times, had increased headaches, worsened sleep; it seemed Guillaume’s advice was not working at all. He continued to be supportive and encouraging. I’m not exactly sure how an astrophysicist working full-time for a space agency, who has a family of his own, finds the time to advise a cross-Atlantic high school friend in another time zone, but I was very grateful.
During that ghastly flu where I felt I had been hit by a truck, my body was actually undergoing a lengthy and natural detoxification process, eliminating everything I had accumulated over the years. My body was rebelling to the deprivation of sugar and starches. It was screaming for the addictive cosiness of high insulin levels in my blood, and it was not happy about it.
It was horrendous, and it was worth it. My body has undergone major metamorphosis. I lost body fat I didn’t know I had. My high school shape came to the surface without any specific exercise regime whatsoever. I was becoming my true self, and was on my way toward optimal health. To achieve it, I had to follow, and continue to follow, Guillaume’s diligent doctrine.
In the beginning, I didn’t believe doing any of these things would help. I was exasperated. I cried. I stayed up late worrying. I sought fulfillment from the wrong sources. I ignored Guillaume’s advice. My candida soared. My insomnia persisted. I suffered. My symptoms grew stronger. Seemingly, nothing had changed.
Guillaume continued to coach me, offering me constant reminders to follow his recommendations. He was almost annoying, repeating himself all the time. In reality, I was the one being annoying by not being disciplined enough, and by not honouring my promise to follow his advice.
I remained on the path of wellness, green juicing every day, eliminating foods and supplementing with vitamins and minerals as per Guillaume’s strict recommendations, and here’s what I noticed:
Flawless skin void of acne, with no blemishes, and less wrinkles.
My mood improved. No more tantrums, no more road rage, no more impatience, no more inner turmoil.
Sound sleep. Guillaume recommended a minimum of eight hours, with bedtime no later than 10pm. I understand everyone is different but I function best on eight to ten hours per night. Resting as much as I can without being lazy or giving up was key, and I quickly understood that restorative sleep is paramount for optimal health. I suffered from insomnia for five years, sleeping only two to four hours every night, and sometimes not at all. During my leave, it took me almost two years to get a good night’s sleep and I’m still working on it, easily derailed by unexpected and/or consistent stress.
Decreased cravings. Everyone has cravings, and I am living proof that there are ways around it. By eating clean, I noticed my cravings change from convenient foods to food made from scratch and homemade smoothies with coconut milk and berries. Every bite counts! I also drink lots of water, which is not so hard when I’m being mindful about everything all the time.
Cured candida. This was my favourite part. Candida is a yeast overgrowth that causes mind fog, insomnia, depression, and more. So being stuck in a stress vortex due to being overworked as well as having an eruption of candida on my body that is causing even more stress is demoralizing, to say the least. This was where Guillaume was most helpful. He recommended mineral salt baths with baking soda and drinking a teaspoon of baking soda with water every morning on an empty stomach before my green juice. Low and behold, my candida disappeared within a week. Diluted baking soda may not sound appealing but it’s a natural healing process that I’ve grown into. As soon as I’m stressed, however, my candida returns with a vengeance and I’m back to square one. So staying balanced with optimal foods, sound sleep and minimal stress is lots of work, but essential.
Increased vitality. With the elimination of candida, improved sleep, intensive exercise, and clean eating, I transformed my body from the inside out. My outlook has changed. My energy levels are slightly higher. My immune system is strong. Less headaches, no mood swings, not even during my menstrual cycle, and no colds or flu.
When faced with serious life challenges, I still suffer from insomnia and stress-related symptoms which is the curse of PTSD, but I am on my way.
I still thank Guillaume to this day. I would not be on this path without him. The magnitude of health-related information is often contradictory, and Guillaume gave me consolidated insight I was having a hard time filtering on my own.
Even my family physician is familiarising herself with Guillaume’s posts, and has been recommending his blog to her patients.
Guillaume is a gem toward natural healing, and he has also taught me that in the end, optimal health is up to me.
Thank you, Guillaume, for all the time and energy you spend on helping others attain optimal health, for being so patient, and for not giving up on me. I wish you hundreds of thousands more followers! Healthy people = happy people. : )