Anxiety, Nutrition and how I found myself

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a lingering anxiety, it most certainly started in childhood and followed me throughout my life. It started with shyness and social anxiety, which somehow I conquered, turns out I am naturally quite the extrovert! it chopped and changed, as anxiety often does and culminated in what we now call a quarter life crisis. l was literally struggling to get through each day and basically I had what I felt ,no choice but to use antidepressants to function again. It worked for a while but left me feeling numb and listless. I needed to feel life’s ups and downs. I felt none of that, so after 6 months, I decided to give the antidepressants up. What followed was 10 years of ups and downs. I had 2 children and my anxiety waxed and waned, some days it was hard, others, it went unnoticed. The anxiety was always there, sometimes just faintly in the background, other times it took over everything in my life. 

I didn’t feel like fit the stereotype of someone living with anxiety, I was young, healthy, I loved people and enjoyed travelling, partying, living. I was a sugar addict and could drink a one litre bottle of soft drink a  day, but I didn’t think I was unhealthy because I was still always quite slim, the weight started creeping up eventually . Years after that initial episode,  My anxiety disorder was back with a vengeance. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was barely functioning. I still don’t know how I got through those days. I put on a brave face and soldiered on.

I didn’t want to go back on the antidepressants and so began my daily sometimes hourly search out of the hell i felt I was in. I read everything I could, I went to doctors and naturopath’s, I had acupuncture, colonics, you name it. Eventually I found things that worked. I meditated and did yoga. I quit sugar and gluten, I started taking vitamins, minerals and Amino acids and I got better. It took time, but day by day, with a few set backs ,Eventually, I got better.I learnt that I have a  metabolic disorder, that does not allow my body to metabolise vitamin B6 and Zinc, both of which are necessary for the creation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, It is totally controllable through the right minerals, vitamins and diet .I learnt that I am intolerant to Gluten and once I stopped eating it, I literally felt 50% BETTER. I learnt that I need to eat well and look after myself to feel well. had I not delved into clinical nutrition I would never have known.

  The most perfect gift came from my anxiety too, I learnt , after years of searching, what my callingreally was. I was a healer, and so began the rest of my life…..I decided to start learning I could and eventually after three years of full time study, became a clinical nutritionist, working with clients who have mental health issues.

I can not say I never have anxiety now, I certainly do. In normal situations and in normal doses. It in no way affects my lifestyle or prevents me from living the life I had always envisaged.

I have no doubt that most mental health issues are the result of a  biochemical malfunction, often the result of unmet nutritional needs or unknown food intolerances, of increased inflammation or latent viruses. Getting to the bottom of it can truly bring you peace of mind. Had I not suffered to the extent that I did, I would never have found myself. 


Gabriella Ratner