How I overcame my anxiety and panic attacks without a single dose of medication

Panic attacks and severe anxiety disorders are real issues, my friends. Some people just think that it’s this emotional barrier that you have to psych yourself into getting over, but take it from one who has battled this head-on for years – there is nothing like a good old-fashioned panic attack to make you feel completely out of control of your own mind and body.
Oh yes – BODY, not just MIND. Panic attacks are not just mental experiences, as many people believe. They trigger intense physical symptoms like you wouldn’t believe! I think that’s really what makes them so terrifying… People who go through this, especially those who experience them frequently, can attest that these physical symptoms are very real, and that panic attacks are FAR from a purely mental battle.

This is just a small list of physical symptoms that I have felt during my panic attacks: Cold sweat; sudden, rapid heart rate and rapid breathing; nausea; dizziness; muscle tension and knotting, muscle aching… these are just a few.
What’s worse, I’ve had panic attacks that actually have woken me from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and made it nearly impossible to go back to sleep. The mental game would kick in at that point, and suddenly, my mind would start to say crazy, horrible things like, “What if my kids aren’t breathing right now?” or “What if Chris (my husband) dies tonight at work?” or “What if someone comes into my house and attacks me and my kids?” This triggers an obsessive check of my house, even though I know the doors are all locked (because I checked them just an hour ago), or a million phone calls/texts to my husband to check if he’s still alive, or walking into my kids’ rooms to check if they are still breathing…

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I never thought I would be able to get over this major issue in my life. Never. I certainly was never going to be willing to be on medication of it. After all, I’ve always had an irrational fear of pills for crying out loud!!!!!
Transition now to this next scenario. A few months ago, I hit a major weight loss plateau. I had a goal to be back to my pre-mommy weight, but despite all of my efforts to eat totally clean and exercise regularly, I was noticing that my hands were still extremely swollen and that I just couldn’t kick my water weight, despite being able to fit into smaller clothes. It didn’t make any sense to me, especially since I was doing everything right as far as the traditional weight loss “formula” was concerned. I’d done this whole thing before after my twins – why was this feeling so different?

After seeing a doctor and getting absolutely ZERO answers about how I could gain LITERALLY 10 POUNDS OVERNIGHT sometimes (that is not an exaggeration at all – I’m 100% serious), I started doing my own research to try and figure out what the freak was wrong with me.
One day I was listening to a podcast about PCOS and Endometriosis for a work assignment (I work primarily with women, and my employer wanted me to learn more about these conditions for a website we were building at the time), and the woman started talking about hormone imbalances in general. She started listing my weight-gain symptoms, and suddenly, it clicked. I HAD A HORMONE IMBALANCE.
This woman’s focus was natural remedies for conditions like PCOS and Endometriosis, and while I don’t have either of these conditions, I had a feeling that her suggestions could also help me if I indeed had a hormone imbalance. What did she suggest? Get off dairy, and get off gluten.

Somehow, after hearing her say that, I just knew that my struggle with water weight was about to end, and just like I predicted, it did. For the next 2 weeks, I was strictly dairy-free and gluten-free in my diet, and the water weight was gone. I lost 13 pounds in those 14 days, and I had never felt better. But even more interesting than my weight loss was that suddenly, my panic attacks VANISHED. I don’t mean that they simply got a little bit better. I mean that ever since then, I have not had ONE. SINGLE. PANIC. ATTACK. Not one. I could never have predicted that removing these food groups from my diet would eliminate my panic attacks… I started this journey to lose water weight for crying out loud – I never even imagined that it would also positively affect my mental state!

Once I reflected and realized what had happened, I started researching even more. What I found is¬ that, in particular, ingesting dairy is a major cause of hormone imbalances in people. Why? Because milk naturally contains its own hormones that are specifically formulated for a helping newborn calf gain an enormous amount of weight quickly. These hormones were never designed to benefit humans, just like human breastmilk was never intended to benefit a calf. So imagine what mixing cow growth hormones is actually doing to your body… Do you think that this is something that could mess you up a little bit? Heck yah.

Now, granted, some people are more sensitive to dairy than others. Based on what I’ve read, those with hormone issues, especially those who have given birth recently, are more likely to experience sensitivities and inflammation due to the ingestion of dairy products. However, it’s undeniable that dairy definitely creates problems in many people, especially in women.

So – to recap – my panic attacks stopped. Like, 100% stopped, after years of struggling with them. It was totally freeing and amazing. Additionally, I felt like I suddenly had this extremely firm grip on my emotional state, when before I struggled with mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. I was sleeping through the night, no longer waking up with my sheets drenched with sweat or feeling my heart race and jolting from a deep sleep. No more random, horrifying thoughts about how I might die in my sleep or how my children would be taken from me in the night. There was a newfound brightness in every day that I hadn’t experienced for many years. A newfound joy filled my life without any extreme effort. In short, it was amazing.

Now some of you are probably thinking, “Ok, this girl is a legit PSYCHO. Dairy increases anxiety? Pu-lease…”

I really don’t blame you if you have that mentality. Believe me – I know how crazy it might sound. I was skeptical at first, but when I listened to that podcast, I was at a point where I would try ANYTHING to fix my water retention problem. Had I heard that woman’s message any earlier in my life, I would have snorted in laughter, chalked it up to the new Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free fad, and forgotten all about it. But I was prepared for that message. I was so desperate for a solution that I was able to receive it and willing to try. And I did. I cured myself by eliminating dairy and gluten from my diet.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I don’t have anxious thoughts come up from time to time. I do. However, I’m not fighting against my physical symptoms anymore, which takes away much of the battle. I can manage those thoughts. I’m able to recognize that my thoughts are irrational, because my body isn’t reacting to the stress in the same way that it used to. That’s my point. When your physical self is unresponsive to the mental side of your anxiety struggles, you can breath and speak peace to yourself. You’ve got your power back again at that point.

So if you are experiencing panic attacks, I would really invite you to give this non-dairy, non-gluten thing a try. It may not be the end-all-be-all for you like it was for me, but I can guarantee you it will help you move in the right direction. All I know is that I’ve never felt better in my life. I want that same thing for you, and I’ve seen many, MANY women take this challenge, and they too have experienced the same, freeing effects of a non-dairy, non-gluten lifestyle. It truly is amazing. And heck – if it does nothing for you, what have you really lost by trying?

So it’s true – I overcame my panic attacks without a single dose of medication… And I am so grateful!!!!!

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