When I was a child, I lived with prolonged uncertainty about my parent's marriage. To hide my anxiety, I tried to become the proverbial "perfect child." This caused me so much internal stress that my immune system was weakened. As a result, I suffered from numerous illnesses: rheumatic fever, mitral valve prolapse, systemic yeast infections, gastrointestinal problems, severe hormonal imbalance, Epstein-Barr virus and more.
Seven years ago things took a turn for the worse when my father, who had left my mother 30 years before, returned to my hometown with his new wife. Within weeks he was diagnosed with brain cancer and died. Needless to say, I was devastated; this was the second time in my life that I had lost him.
Still reeling from his death, I entered a time of even greater stress in my personal life. I had an emergency hysterectomy, my brother became addicted to drugs, my husband and I had marital problems, my oldest child left for college, my middle child rebelled, my youngest child was diagnosed with a learning disorder, and in the midst of it all, I was working on my Ph.D. in nutrition.
My situation looked bleak. I began to experience crippling panic attacks.
One night I admitted my helplessness to God. I fell on my face and cried out: "Dear God! I am completely broken." The answer came instantly, "You must go through it to get to it."
That night, I rededicated my life to the Lord. He filled me with His peace, joy and love, and they overflowed into every area of my life. He also gave me valuable insight about my emotional, physical and spiritual health.
With a renewed spirit, I turned to the world of natural medicine. I removed all the obstacles to healing, including sugar, caffeine, wheat and dairy. I detoxified my body using specific herbs to cleanse the blood, liver, colon and kidneys.
I drank pure spring water and ate natural foods. If it did not rot or sprout, I did without! I replaced dairy with soy or rice milk. I ate millet bread instead of bread made with white flour.
I drank a green drink each day that was loaded with chlorophyll for healthy blood and for cleansing benefits. I ate nothing that would worsen my yeast problem and used anti-fungal herbs, acidophilus, and digestive enzymes to rebalance my digestive and intestinal tracts.
In less than six months, I was glowing with health. It was a miracle! I had rebalanced my body in spite of the fact that it had been weak for so long.
But I still had to find an answer for the panic attacks that appeared suddenly four or five times a day. Searching for the cause of these, I discovered groundbreaking information about the brain.
Just as other parts of our body become depleted when undue stress is placed on them, so does the brain. The brain starves because it must have amino acids, the building blocks of protein, to keep brain function optimal. Protein is used by the brain to repair, rebuild and create the neurotransmitters that dampen anxiety and curb depression.
GABA is one amino acid that is particularly important in this process. It can be used to prevent the area of the brain where anxiety is generated from overfiring and producing an excess of adrenaline. GABA is a natural alternative to anti-anxiety medications. When I started taking it, the results were no less than amazing.
Today I am whole, healed and set free from the past and all its pain. My life is dedicated to helping God's people live "totally healed" in their bodies, minds and spirits.
But I was the patient before I became the doctor. God allowed me to walk through a myriad of illnesses so that I would be able to understand other people's pain.
Don't be afraid to "go through it to get to it," as I did. Job went through it, the disciples went through it, and Jesus Himself went through it. But there is purpose on the other side of your trial.
So keep your body nourished, your mind free from worry and your spirit fed from the Word of God. And take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus is "with you always" (Matt. 28:20, NKJV).
Janet C. Maccaro, Ph.D., C.N.C., is a leading expert on natural health. She holds doctorates in nutrition and naturopathy and appears frequently on national radio and TV programs. She is the author of 90-Day Immune System Makeover and Breaking the Grip of Dangerous Emotions (Siloam Press). Maccaro lives in Central Florida with her husband and three children.