This Is How Going Vegan Cured My Pain And Anxiety


– I cannot breathe, I do not feel my arms, I do not feel my body, I do not feel my body!!!

2012-05-16 S:t Görans Hospital:

– You’ve got a panic attack. Two Atarax will put you to sleep, the doctor said.

It was like a punch in the stomach; anxiety. I had a panic attack. I seriously thought I had become a nut allergic cause I remembered that I’ve eaten nuts earlier that day. Me panic attack?! No!

It all started a few months earlier when I studied my first year at the university, I had just taken my driving license and started a new job. It was a lot at the same time. I started to feel small little” tinglings” in the toes, numb arms, most in the left side of the body. I ignored the symptoms for a while, but decided in the end to book a doctor’s appointment. The doctor examined me from head to toe.

Everything was good, there was nothing wrong with me.

When I went home, I felt a relief. I was healthy. But what was it that I felt in my body? Weeks went by, and the symptoms continued, it would not give up. I decided to book an appointment with a chiropractor.

– It feels as if the left side is numb, as if you would bend a hose and try to blow air into it, but the air stayed in the middle, I said to him.

The naprapath squeezed and touched, massaged, and pressed. It did not help. I booked a follow-up, and came back three weeks later. He pressed at the same places as the time before. It did not help.

There were many visits to different doctors for a couple of years. I was just waiting to get a diagnosis. A neurological disease that would made me end up in a wheelchair or something like that. All the symptoms described on the internet on how for example Multiple Sclerosis starts where pretty much exactly what I felt. A death sentence that would mean the end of my life. It was hell. My doctor prescribed sleeping pills that I sometimes had to take to fall asleep. I had never ever had a problem sleeping, I could sleep anytime anywhere and in two seconds if I wanted to. Now I had pain in my whole body which I could feel in every cell (yes even in my hair follicles and eyelids). I cried myself to sleep very often of pure pain. I just wanted to know what was wrong with me.

When I went to school I was like a zombie some days, because the pills were still left in the body, and some days I completely had to go home because I was so tired or because I felt these strange physical symptoms that I could not understand. It made me terrified.

My doctor sent me to a neurologist and a CBT -therapist. Everyone said the same thing, you have anxiety. There was no disease that could be diagnosed as something physical. But it was physical. I know now that mind and body are connected. They are one. So, yes it was physical. My body was speaking to me and holding up big red warning signs that said: STOP!! I didn’t listen.

The meeting with CBT therapist was not the best. I didn’t really connect with her. I never felt that I could be 100% honest. I was ashamed to be there.

I started to feel a little better, but then the physical symptoms came back again. Then I decided to seek the help of a kinesiologist, I found this “alternative doctor” after a little too much googling. It was my last hope, I just wanted to get rid of the pain.

The meeting with the kinesiologist made me think about what I was eating. According to the kinesiologist, the pain was about the diet and my feelings for myself. She told me about the importance of eating what MY body feels good with. She gave me the advice though to stop eat pork, wheat, barley and cowmilk. I did.

She also recommended to drink more water than I did before, 1 L per 30 kg. So, in my case 2 L of water a day, and I wasn’t close to that before. I just drank water to food. She also talked about that I would feel better from eating organic food. I felt better, but the pain did not disappear completely.

After a while I stopped feeling the need to eat meat at all, and became a “flexitarian”. I really didn’t miss eating it, but when I wanted to, I ate it. Two years later I started to call myself a vegetarian.

It also felt wrong to care about environmental questions and animals and continue to eat them. So yes, it was a question of pure moral as well to become a vegetarian. I mean, humans don’t need meat to survive. In fact, more scientific studies prove that a vegetarian/vegan diet is the most suitable for humans. I also read somewhere that everything in this universe has a vibration and that meat doesn’t vibrate on a level that works well for humans, and the emotional and physical pain that the animals feel when they are captured in cages, beaten, and killed gets transferred to our bodies. Maybe or maybe not. If one must eat meat, at least it might be worth a try to eat a bit less of it. I love this quote from Leo Tolstoy:

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”

As the time went by I started to feel much better both in my body and soul. Today I’m also a vegan, which mean that I excluded eggs and dairy products completely.

It started to become obvious to me that it was a mix of eating healthy and having the right thoughts that I needed. But I was still very anxious sometimes and had a lot of pain from now and then.

I met another CBT therapist. She helped me a bit further down the road. The most important thing she did was to tell me that she felt the same thing in her body when she was my age, but then they knew so little about anxiety that she sent her around to different doctors for six years before she met a doctor who told her it was anxiety. It meant so much to feel that someone really understood me. I believe that real understanding can only be based on own experience, and she obviously had that.

I became a hypochondriac of the extreme anxiety I felt in the form of pain. I became so body conscious and felt every signal in the body. If there was something that did not feel “normal” I felt it within a second. I also happen to have a wild fantasy so I’ve probably had cancer throughout the body at least 100 times (in my mind). The good thing about this is that I’ve started to get to know my body because of the pain. I now understand that it needs a lot of love in the form of the right food and the right thoughts. It’s a challenge, but I’m getting better at taking care of it every day.

Today talking about anxiety and not mentioning pills is almost impossible. It has never been for me though. The sleeping pills made me a zombie which made it hard to function. I’m not going to say if it’s good or bad for other people. But it was not for me. I know it has helped a lot of people, so everyone must decide for themselves.

I’m glad I have been trying to understand the root cause of anxiety, and not just treating symptoms of living and thinking wrong.

I am not so hypochondriac anymore, I’ve already had all diseases. I can still have pain nowadays, but it’s not very often anymore. When that happen, I know I’m stressed or did something against my moral values and must relax a bit, and remind myself of what’s important – my health and well being! Guilt as a feeling causes physical pain as well. Forgiveness and letting go is the cure for that (not forgetting). Sometimes this ends up in deciding to make a healthy change of some kind in life.

To sum it up, I have learned that it is important to listen to our bodies. They are smart and they don’t lie, but it takes time to get to know it and we are all different. If we stress too much we forget to listen to them. We forget how to breathe and we don’t take the time to make healthy meals.

Our bodies are very precious, and they will give back well being and health to us if we treat them with love and respect.

Anja Sofia Nilsson is a swede who loves philosophy, hiking, music and to cook new vegan recipes.

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