Growing up with parents who worked towards living self sufficiently in a rural NSW Southern Highlands property opened me up to a world of living that was all about experimenting with what was possible. We drank rainwater, attempted to grow our own veg and made our own bread, jams and skincare. Mum also used natural remedies to treat whatever came up. We didn’t have a TV or phone and I ran around feral in the bush from dusk til dawn.
This way of living gave me a deep connection to nature, to its power and healing and was the catalyst that started my bigger love affair with plants and food as medicine. An important part of this story is the contrast in my life that followed after we moved to the suburbs of Perth WA. This was a huge shock to me and the way I had been living. The larger schools, fast food, TV and junk food were new and exciting but also overwhelming.
I lost my connection with nature and myself and my nervous system felt it. I spent the best part of my early adulthood trying to be skinny by smoking, drinking and eating chemical filled ‘diet’ foods. When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (autoimmune condition) at the age of 30 I slowly returned back to what I knew to be true and this became the life saver I clung to. It is because of this detour in life that made me truly recognise that living close to nature, reducing chemicals, managing my mind and engaging in the wisdom of ancient herbalism and plant nutrition was the answer to my over stimulated, roller coaster way of being. I was fraught with stress without even thinking I was ‘stressed’. Stress is an overused and misunderstood term.
The effect of this on my life was feelings of overwhelm, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, digestive problems, tiredness, achiness, sleep disturbances, times of deep sadness and an overall feeling that I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was up and down and rarely ever consistent. I thought there must be something wrong with me and that there must be something inherently broken inside of me. I was in a constant cycle of trying to control my surroundings so that I felt safe, calm and good in the world which was impossible to maintain. I was surviving on Adrenalin, drinking Redbull, V and excessive caffeine. It wasn’t a matter that I was doing too much; it was that normal life became too much and too exhausting. I felt happy and satisfied in my life but then I wasn’t at the same time.
My happiness was why I found it hard to relate to being ‘stressed’ because it wasn’t a concept that I understood. I was overstimulated – sure.. but I wasn’t stressed. Little did I know that it was the same thing. My adrenals were shot to hell. My confidence was low and my mindset was crap. Now, I won’t tell you that adaptogens were the magic pill – because they are not but they can supplement your life. I started taking them along with a couple of healthy habits – improved my sleep routine and started journaling to get all the things out of my head.
Adaptogens helped improve the quality of my sleep. They helped give me sustained clean energy, more focus and calmness throughout the day. They made me feel like I was Neo in The Matrix and I could move the speed of the world around me by how I was impacted by it. They helped give me the edge, the clarity and the peaceful mind that I was looking for that I would not of been able to achieve with healthy habits alone. My journey to aligning with my own energy began as I ran feral in the bush as a child and the understanding in the importance deepened because of my detours. I now know what feels good and what doesn’t and these have become the map to lead me back to myself.
Adaptogens have been instrumental in supporting me adapt to modern life, evolve to be the person I want to be and to thrive – because who the hell doesn’t want to win at life.