I started this clinic in 2020 because I never want any woman to go through what I have been through in my life sofar. I had IBS all my life which largely became a complicated gut health condition called SIBO (because of undiagnosed anxiety and 15 years of stress I endured caring for my mum who was living undiagnosed with dementia since her 50s). Back then I didn’t know about the gut-brain connection and that if you have an anxious mind that this makes the gut anxious and can in turn reduce the amount of stomach acid you are producing or turn it off making digestive flow very slow and making the intestines very dry so pathogens can take hold. I was never diagnosed because I was high functioning, keeping every area of my life running.
I felt high levels of stress from age 23. I spent my 20s running it out of me. Literally. Alot of exercising did work until I was maybe 28. I didn’t know those feelings of overwhelm was called anxiety. A lot of major events happened in my 20s. I built a career, a house and home and mums depressive condition was worsening. At age 29 I went looking for medication for the stress but they would only prescribe me CBT, Psychotherapy and Mindfullness. My mum had suffered with undiagnosed stress anxiety and depression since she was 20. From watching her in her dressing gown and always in bed at weekends as a 15 year old I realised that if this ever happened to me that I would do my best to get on top of my own condition to avoid it affecting my family life. Mum did not accept the anti depressant medication until she was 62 but by then she has caused a lot of stress in our family life. Her marriage had broken up and we had left home cause it wasn’t a nice place to live in.
It was only around then that it came out that 4 of my aunts and my grandad on my mums side all suffered with mental health issues with everything from social anxiety to generalised anxiety disorder to severe depression or a mix of both. Back then a depressed person was called “a person that had trouble with their nerves”. People didn’t routinely take the medication and people didn’t know how to treat it. My grandad was sent off to St Patricks hospital for a few months every year to get on top of this condition and it was held from our family for years until my aunts got bad in midlife. As a family we then realised that mental health difficulties were running in our family and we talked openly about it with our cousins and it definitely made a difference for us younger ones to pursue their condition and get earlier diagnosis and treatment.
My early 30s were the toughest, my dad passed away from a sudden brain haemorrhage. My siblings had moved to Canada, I had no help with mum, mums depressive condition worsened. I had desperate digestion and anxiety for several months around my wedding and work pressures in my early 30s. But I also knew until I found a doctor or alternative therapist who could treat the anxiety, I knew my digestion wasn’t going to get better.
I knew if I didn’t change my life I was gonna end up in hospital. I reduced my stress levels by taking redundancy from a corporate pharma career and started a family. I started my own skin clinic, had 2 kids very close together and then life became very stressful again as my hormones were in disarray post natal I wasn’t sleeping at all which made the anxiety much worse. I realised after I put mum in long term care-that it was my mum that was the source of much of my stress but also I had the condition called anxiety and depression. “It was still there” even when I was working from home, living my dream life when there was nothing stressful happening. Taking HRT has been part of my journey to wellness aswell as being on medication so i sleep well every night. Poor sleep for years contributed to alot of health issues for me. If you dont sleep you dont repair.
Taking medication has been once of the best things I have ever done for myself or my family. When you find the right medication, you wont have side effects. It takes time to increase the dose but if you cant get to the bottom of it with the GP ask for a referral to Psychiatry. I also got to see a consultant psychiatrist and he prescribed a medicine for epilepsy for my monthly depressive epidsodes before my period. Finally a medicine I could tolerate that wasn’t causing side effects. It works by slowing the activity of the brain. It is a specialist drug only prescribed by consultants not GPs. So if you can’t get sorted with your local GP then go to see a consultant psychiatrist. They’re the most experienced and will be able to help you.
Watching what my mum and I had gone through and the lack of knowledge about our conditions led me to start a womens health business. To help women filter the medical jargon and understand why the gut is so important to your mental health and why depression cant be treated with supplements. I started gowithyourgut.ie during 2020 and it is a continuous success story for me over the last 12 months and I have treated so many empowered women. Someday I hope to go on to pursue functional medicine when my kids are older. Everyday I get up knowing I make a difference in a woman’s life fills me with joy. Eternally indebted to you who trust me with your health.
To learn more about gut health and mental health see Blog – Go With Your Gut (polished.ie)