My Healing Journey Home
by: Haleigh Smith
Hi, my name is Haleigh, and I am the lead nutrition coach here at Modern Holistic Health. Like many of the coaches on our team, I also started not as a health coach, but as a client. I had my first appointment with Dr. V in 2019, looking for help with my depression, anxiety, and my overall health. After my first two appointments with Dr. V, where she got a history and reviewed my labs with me, she recommended the 12-Month Mastery program that I now lead for the Modern Holistic Health team! You see, I had such a transformation in not only the health of my body but also the health of my mind and spirit that I became passionate about this type of work and wanted to pass it forward to help others like me. I went back to school for the right certifications and then came to train with the Modern Holistic Health team – and now I get to work with our amazing clients from all over the world to show them how they too can get their health back in all facets of their life, mind, body, and spirit.
Here’s my story and how I ended up as one of the lead coaches for the Modern Holistic Health team. For almost three years (after graduating college), I had been living to travel, working seasonally with the only goal being to chase summer in my Sprinter camper van or by buying a plane ticket to switch hemispheres if necessary. I was living the dream and had no intention of slowing down.
It was February of 2019. I had been living my dream traveling abroad for a seasonal stay in Queenstown, New Zealand. I was there for three months to take in the amazing scenery there and spend as much time riding my mountain bike as possible so that I could take in every bit of one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I was only halfway through this trip of a lifetime when I fully realized something was wrong.
My anxiety that had always been manageable was suddenly gripping me and causing depression too. Looking back, I can now see that I had many health issues going on that I had been ignoring. For years I had been performing like a high-performance athlete, but I had not been taking care of my body so that it COULD perform at a high performance pace (without consequences).
Over the course of a few years, I had slowly developed disordered eating, and my dietary choices were as unhealthy and out of control as ever. In addition, my anxiety and depression swings and negative self-talk were at their peak. Looking back, I can see now that I was in a constant state of misalignment in mind, body, and spirit. In addition to my physical and mental health crashing down, I also felt very alone then, which just precipitated my symptoms and made them worse. (I now know this is a state of being and a reality that I created for myself. This is your reminder that you are not alone either.)
I made the decision to head back home at the end of March because I knew I needed to do something so that I could feel better. I can not take credit for the next step in my story, I have my mother to thank for finding Dr. V and Modern Holistic Health. During my time in New Zealand, I had countless calls with my mother about my health concerns, and I am grateful that she found the right answers for me!
In April I had my first Zoom consultation with Dr. V from the driver seat of an old work truck. I had been working for my parents for almost a month at this point to save up more “fun tokens” (money) for my nomadic lifestyle that I loved so much. I remember our call that day and how Dr. V explained so clearly that I was not broken. That there were answers and solutions, and that her programs would teach me how to find my underlying causes and how to heal myself. I was so clueless to the world of functional medicine and integrative health, but I felt intuitively that THIS was the time to make a change and find answers.
I started my 12-month program with determination and hope! When I reviewed my labs and was able to see what some of the underlying causes of my symptoms were, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted; I was able to see tangible explanations for why I was experiencing what I was. It didn’t feel like such a mystery, I had a target to aim at.
In my program, I learned how to change my diet and determine what I should eat based on how food could support my body to detox and function at its highest. Everything that I learned in my 12-month program allowed me to see my symptoms and conditions for what they truly were and remove the emotion that I had associated with it for as long as I could remember.
Yes, my thoughts, emotions, and belief systems also played a big role in my symptoms and health. Working with the Modern Holistic Health team was amazing because ALL the coaches specialize in different facets of healing, so I had an entire team right at my fingertips who all worked together to teach me how to heal myself.
One of the coaches on my team in my 12-month program was Rosita. She uses many different modalities and tools to help people shift their limiting belief systems, unprocessed emotions, and trauma. Rosita taught me how to look at myself three dimensionally, rather than one dimensionally. She taught me to know myself and how to observe my thoughts for what they really were (or weren’t).
Together, Rosita, Dr. V, Ann, and all of my coaches, provided me with the tools to become AWARE that I had the power to CHOOSE how I showed up in my life and for others. Together they provided me the tools to forgive and understand myself rather than only criticize.
I learned that so much of disease and the ability to heal has not only to do with the physical aspects of the human body, but also with our mindset, our thoughts, our emotions, and our beliefs. I learned so many powerful tools over the course of my 12 months working with the Modern Holistic Health team, and one of those things that has forever transformed me is learning to hold space for others on their healing journey the same way that Rosita, Dr. V, and Ann held space for me during that year of my healing journey.
There were many challenges during that year, but one of the hardest (yet most necessary) was to shed layers of myself. Any healing and growth journey usually requires this of us. I would venture to say that it always does. The only factor that differs is how many times we must do this, and that isn’t a number we have the privilege of knowing at the beginning.
We can only choose to commit and trust that no matter what, that layer that is not serving us and a greater, stronger layer WILL be revealed. We can trust that if we are pursuing our betterment in mind, body, spirit what becomes exposed at the end will always be what was for our ultimate good and highest version of ourselves.
Our Mind/Body/Spirit team at Modern Holistic Health is amazing, and they gave me the courage to shed what was no longer serving me, and they taught me how to get my “learnings” from my past so that I could create the future I desired (in life, health, finances, love, relationships… everything).
I have “lightened the load” that parts of my past life had on me and have learned to nurture a broader version of myself. I get to prioritize my alignment and balance rather than a life of attachment. This only came as a result of addressing ALL facets of health, the tangible and intangible. I am no longer scared of that naked, vulnerable feeling within myself after losing a layer because I know it is making space for the truest version of myself and I can then CHOOSE how to or if I WANT to bring that part of myself back in and to what degree.
I’m never losing myself, I’m finding myself. I wish this clarity and freedom for you too!
Here are some of my takeaways from my journey that I continue to remind myself of, and I hope resonate with you:
- Don’t be afraid of investing in yourself financially and accepting/asking for help if you need to. YOU ARE WORTH IT. Investing in yourself will give you the best return you could ever ask for. The only way out is THROUGH the process, and sometimes that process asks of you to commit and invest from the beginning. It’s an energy flow, a quantum law that to receive, you must give (to yourself).
- Become your own doctor. Become your own guarantee! Educate and empower yourself. DIVE IN. Read books, listen to podcasts. It will build your knowledge on how to really care for your mind/body/spirit, so you can heal. Plus, it will build self-confidence.
- Remember that simplifying does not mean you are missing out, especially when it comes to diet and food. It can provide space to see food for what it truly is: nourishment and fuel to live our best, most energized life.
- Write yourself your very own manifesto. And every time the going gets tough, you have it to refer back to. STAY IN IT. Your WHY is your most important tool.
- The more empathy you gain for yourself, the more you will have for others. This is a beautiful side effect and can feel like a superpower that starts with choosing your OWN healing and health journey.
- Don’t underestimate the ripple effect that choices you make in order to better yourself will have on others around you.
- It won’t be perfect… ever. And that is okay. Perfection is the enemy of progress.
- There will be periods of grief for those layers of yourself that you shed. This is also okay. Be brave, there is nothing to fear. Make space. Write, cry, laugh, yell, dance. You will prevail. I repeat, STAY IN IT. Then welcome in the new with a gratitude for your past self that ultimately led you to this point.