Since I was a young girl, I lived with a variety of gastrointestinal challenges due to severe childhood stress and trauma.

As a young adult and young mom during my pregnancy with my son forty-one years ago, I was subsequently diagnosed with IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, specifically Ulcerative Colitis, and IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Both of this disorders cause a variety of symptoms systemically. These symptoms range from widespread joint pain, chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation, a skin rash, lethargy and even brain fog among other symptoms. With UC, I experienced an acute attack of IBD in my pregnancy bleeding profusely from my rectum needed high doses of IV steroids and hospitalization.

Much later in life, I was diagnosed and treated for Lupus.

Lupus can present with similar symptoms of systemic joint pain, brain fog, and even chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation as a side effect of the stress of these debilitating symptoms.

For the first time in my experiences with these disorders, two weeks ago, I broke out into a rash/hives, which the doctor said appeared to be an allergic reaction. I was baffled! To what? I eat very clean and cook all of my own food. Hmmm.

However, simultaneously, I was experiencing symptoms of either Lupus and/or IBD/IBS. I remember a top gastroenterologist at Columbia Presbyterian told me decades earlier that if our intestine is filled with undigested food that sits in the colon for weeks, or even months, also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, it will manifest in arthritis, joint pain, rash, eczema, fatigue, etc. I was also told in the past year that I was not absorbing nutrients, or malabsorption.

Six months ago I began with incessant itching on the back of my neck which the dermatologist said was eczema. However, I decided to investigate this further. I’ve never had a skin condition. My training in holistic health provides me with the knowledge I need to treat my symptoms in conjunction with traditional medicine.

I stopped eating solid foods for one week because I was unable to have a normal bowel movement, sometimes going two weeks without moving my bowels. I was also experiencing severe bloating, hiccups when I ate, acute anxiety, and an overall feeling of being unwell.

I began drinking lots of bone broth, herbal teas, extra water, ramping up on my Pre and Probiotics and Gut Support powdered supplements to promote healthy microbiome where we increase our good gut flora, extra rest, slow walking outdoors, sitting outdoors for Vitamin D, taking Magnesium and Vitamin B for brain health, using Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, and monitoring my own symptoms.

The “eczema” cleared up completely. No itching. The rash/hives cleared up completely. I felt clear headed and no joint pain. I began having bowel movements daily.

As I began to re-introduce solids, (I only eat organically, no gluten, no sugar, as a 90-10 rule, and no wheat, no processed foods, no GMOs,) only whole foods such as organic protein, nuts, veggies, low sugar fruits, the fatigue, swelling, itching, and pain returned.

I visited a local gastroenterologist and in the office, the rash appeared prominently. He said “I never heard of this with IBD/IBS. Call your dermatologist.” Whaaattt????!!! I’d already gone down this road, unsuccessfully!

I did not correct him, but when I got home I sent him specific information in an email about Leaky Gut. I KNOW MY OWN BODY.

I also had to ask the doctor to run blood work for “inflammatory markers,” which reveal inflammation in the body, as I am very knowledgeable on what blood work will provide important information so that I will know how to take care of myself. I am awaiting those results.

Many traditional doctors do not believe in this disorder, and therefore do not identify with these symptoms. He suggested a “drug” to increase bowel motility, and a colonoscopy. I agreed to the colonoscopy, but decided against the drug because I KNOW the root of my disorder.

S T R E S S…………..

Over the last sixteen months, my mother passed away after suddenly and out of the blue getting very sick, we were living in isolation in a pandemic where I was required to teach reading to elementary school students in a Google classroom where I had no experience and this caused me deep stress and worry, my son got very sick with COVID, and has since moved out of the country, my daughter had a baby but we are not allowed to visit because of the Delta variant and she is too afraid to have any visitors, further isolating me from my family, only to see each other on FaceTime (which I am so grateful for,) ending a long term relationship/friendship that was so dear to my heart, and going back into the school building to work a few weeks ago where I was required to do excessive walking/standing doing other “duties” in addition to my position as a reading specialist that caused a flare of Lupus symptoms.

On a merry-go-round.

I’ve also experienced the “good type of stress…eustress.” This type of stress promotes motivation and encourages us to get things done! Like finishing my book which will be published in December!

Write Pray Recover:A Journey to Wellness through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care.

And hiring a digital marketing manager for ongoing support in my business, as well as a business coach, who I recently began collaborating with in creating a long term mental health and wellness course using writing and meditation to heal stress and trauma. This has been my second full time job over the past year, including coaching clients in recovery as a certified peer specialist and mental health and wellness coach, and providing my trainings to school districts.


Yes, S T R E S S…

I am over-burdened, although I practice an hour of self care every day. I am engaging in a new yoga practice that I am hoping will be of further relief for my “allostatic load,” which is a chronic burden of stress that directly affects our physical health. And, my physical symptoms are a manifestation of my mental stress.

When we are using all of our tools, and we are still feeling unwell, I highly recommend talking to someone, a professional, as I am doing today. I have hired a new therapist as part of my treatment team so that perhaps I can avoid taking on so much stress in the future. Talking and writing is proven to reduce stress. Our “load” is lightened when we share our burdens.

I am very lucky and blessed to be trained in nutritional counseling, body, mind and spirit, and so I am able to turn inwards, connect to my higher self in order to know what my body needs, and what to release.

We are ALL experiencing ongoing stress, and we all have mental health. It lies on a continuum and on any given day for any given reason, we will move along that continuum. It can be a biological factor, environmental factor, or even how we are, or are not practicing self care.

In my mental health and wellness trainings, I teach about the body/mind connection and the gut/brain axis. It is filled with tips, strategies and tools to help you to turn inwards and tune into what you need, and what you need to release.

I am offering my workshop Whole Person Wellness in Recovery via Zoom for FREE for the month of October! And, just for signing up, you will receive a FREE E-BOOK on using my S.P.E.A.R. and S.W.I.M. into Wellness program!

Registration is open! Go to www.harmonioushealth4life.com to sign up!

Even I, who works in the field, and has a deep understanding of the body/mind connection and the gut/brain axis, and how stress changes the trajectory of our mental and physical health, becomes challenged when the load becomes toxic and too much to carry. And, I don’t beat myself up. I am, after all, human. I remind myself that I have the necessary tools to heal, that I am resilient, that I have healed before, and that I will heal again.

I used my mantra as I slowly walked outdoors today, “I am well, joyous and grateful! It feels good to feel good!” And my most comforting mantra, “God is always protecting me. I am never alone.”

When we feed our body and our mind healthy thoughts, healthy food, healthy relationships, healthy environments, healthy practices, we heal on a cellular level.

Ask for what you need, and honor yourself with wellness.

For more information, email me at wendyblanchard044@gmail.com.

Love and blessings,



Wendy Blanchard