Hi! My name is Annie and I’m 23 years old. Up until 5 years ago, I was a normal, athletic, adventurous teenager who loved hiking, skiing, and anything FUN. I had always dealt with strange health issues, like rashes, stomach aches, and ear infections, but never anything major.
The summer after I graduated high school, I had a lot of underlying stress but was generally loving life and preparing to go to college. However, a week before college started, I began feeling like I had a flu. By the next morning, I was completely incapacitated with fatigue, fever, jaundice, a burning throat, and about 20 other symptoms. That day changed the course of my life, and I began a scary, isolating journey with chronic illness. I spent the next 2 years housebound.
Somehow, I managed to go attend college during my third year of illness and even studied abroad, but every day was still a living hell. Doctors offered me no help and no one in my life could understand what I was going through. It was extremely isolating and mentally challenging on top of very intense physical symptoms.
By the time I graduated college, I had learned about holistic healing through my own research. My family has been extremely understanding, so with their support, I decided to take a year “time-out” of life and focus on healing. I completely changed my diet, quit my job, finished school, and moved to Costa Rica alone. There, I spent hours grounding, breathing, resting, eating nutritious foods, fasting, trying plant medicine, in therapy, journaling, calming my nervous system, doing yoga, healing my gut, and more. I had tried just about everything I could think of at this point, and nothing was out of the question.
After 4 months, I moved home to my parent’s house and continued to completely focus on my health. My year of healing just came to an end, and I am now functioning between 50 and 80% depending on the day. I can work, socialize, travel, and moved out on my own. Although I am not completely healthy yet, I have come a long way. I empathize with everyone out there who is still facing the pain of chronic illness, and who are on their own journeys. Hopefully, we can all find the community and support we so desperately need, and most importantly, hopefully we can all find healing.