From struggling with Crohn’s disease to Mindset Coach
As a mindset coach, I’m so privileged to have helped hundreds and hundreds of people to live their best lives, to overcome the things that have been holding them back. And I had my own challenges in my early life with my health, mental health, and then physical health.
In this episode, I talk about that journey, and what it took to go from the constant pain of Crohn’s disease to live with health, vitality, and most importantly joy and purpose. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in my early 20s, and my recovery journey lead me to becoming a Psychosynthesis counsellor, Craniosacral Therapist, and now Mindset Coach. The challenges I overcame, the trauma that was healed, and the up and downs of healing body and mind, all contributed to a desire to help others live their best lives!
TW: Some of the effects I talk about regarding Crohn’s disease in this episode are not pleasant, however, I don’t go into detail.
Full Episode Transcript
Are you ready? Let’s begin. Hey, welcome to my podcast. You are here on episode number one, the very first episode, the one that started it all. I’m gonna introduce myself in this podcast. I’m gonna talk about my journey. You know, the journey that took me to this place that I’m in now as a mindset coach, meditation and mindfulness teacher.
I’m so privileged to be able to help hundreds and hundreds of people at this stage to live their best lives, to overcome the things that have been blocking them that they’ve been struggling with over the last 20, nearly 25 years. And I had my own challenges in my early life with my health, mental health, and then physical health.
And so some of the story is around how I overcame that and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. When I was a young woman, I had quite a lot of anxiety and depression, early life trauma, the usual suspects. By the time I was 20, 21, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, so inflammatory bowel disease. And I became increasingly unwell with Crohn’s disease in my early twenties, and really spent that decade in my twenties recovering from pretty horrific symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
So I lost a significant amount of weight. And I wanna just add a caveat here. It gets really good and and I did overcome the Crohn’s disease. I did recover from it fully. But anyway, back to when I was 20, I lost a significant amount of weight. I wasn’t able to look after myself. I couldn’t really say leave the house.
I didn’t have the energy for that Crohn’s disease gives a lot of pain to the people that are experiencing it and it got so bad that I had fistulas and just to be really frank, fistulas are pretty fricking horrible. They are caused by an abscessing that’s happening in urine intestines, and it sort of ulcerates and links with, joins into organs and skin. And the upshot of that is, is that I had to wear an ostomy bag because I had a fistula into my into my abdomen, one of. So I had to wear an ostomy bag for, I think it was open for about a year and a half. Anyway, let’s fast forward. I did recover. I got, well, I went down a really natural healing route and had a naturopath that was willing to take me on. So I’m 52 now, so I was around 24 when I was working with this naturopath, and it was a long road and it was hard and it was difficult, but. My body slowly, slowly started to heal and I got to around mm, 80, 90% better. So I was still quite weak, but I’d slowly, slowly started to put on weight.
I was able to take care of myself. I could eat more food without having a lot of pain. My bowel was slowly healing. But I found that every time that something stressed me, stressed my system, stressed me out, I would fall back into pain and suffering from the Crohn’s disease. And when I look at it now, I can see that it was because my nervous system was being triggered into a fight and flight status, sympathetic arousal state.
And so then the you know, my immune system would flare up and the Crohn’s would flare up, and so that was happening fairly regularly. I’d go along okay, and then I’d be really be triggered by something. And it didn’t even have to be something, you know, significantly traumatic or upsetting. It could be just everyday stresses that would trigger my nervous system.
And so I knew at that point that I’d done a lot of physical work to heal my body and I really needed to go in and do the emotional work. And that’s for me. Things got really interesting. So it was back in the mid nineties and I started studying with master healers and therapists around trauma. And the effects of trauma on our body.
And I did a lot of my own work, somatic therapy, psychotherapy in groups and individually. And this really was my key to freedom. And so I did quite a lot of work in Australia when I was over there for five months, which really opened the doorway for me to healing, not just at the physical. , but at the emotional and psychological and even deeper than that, and I could see that there was so much promise with this for me.
I came back to New Zealand in the late nineties and I started studying body work. So I started, I studied kinesiology and other forms of healing, and I found them really, really helpful. But one of the, one of the first clients that I had, she, wonderful, wonderful woman, and I was doing practice treatment on her, and she came.
She came to me and she had such a significant amount of trauma and the study that I’d been doing around kinesiology and other body work techniques had not equipped me for being able to work with her in a safe way, but also more than that, and in a really effective way. In a way that could really help her to change her life and to reclaim a sense of safety in her body.
She was suffering the effects of trauma, and so I knew then that I had to look deeper. In my own journey and my own learning, and I was living up in Auckland at that time and I was I was temping in the commercial world, in accounting, I really disliked it and I knew that my souls purpose that laid elsewhere. And I stumbled across Psychosynthesis psychology. And lucky for me, there was this amazing institute in Auckland called the Institute of Psychosynthesis. And I went along and did the fundamentals… Oh, I can’t remember how long it was now. So this was in 98 Anyway, it was a week, I think.
Yeah, it was a retreat. But you went there each day and then you went home to your own home and it was about a week long. And I knew when I did this group work that this was for me. That I was gonna do this training, come hell or high water, and I still had a lot of social anxiety. I’ve been, was blessed with social anxiety by my mother, my grandmother.
It can often be quite an inherited trait and so it doesn’t bother me nearly as much now, but way back then, it was a significant issue for me. But even though that was in place, and even though I felt totally unqualified and Ill-equipped for doing a counseling training, I applied to do the psychosynthesis counseling training.
And the way they set it up was just so, so good. You had to do a year of a year of study with them first, which was the foundations year, and that was all about yourself, the concepts of Psychosynthesis, which is a transpersonal psychology system philosophy, and, and so that year of foundation, so I did that and then I applied for the second year, which was the counseling training, and I wasn’t ready for it.
No way, but I was so determined to complete the training that I just, the things that I found really, really hard. Cause at that stage I still found it quite hard to connect with people and talk with people. There was a lot of anxiety going on for me, but I knew that I was gonna do this, and I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone.
The first day I arrived to the counseling training, I was so nervous. I couldn’t speak like my nervous system had gone into this edge of freeze. I was that nervous. But you know, I showed up, I was there and the facilitator who was one of the directors of the institute, I think he just said hello to me and I can still see it in my mind’s eye.
And, I struggled out hello back, I think, or maybe made some kind of noise where my nervous system used to go into that almost freeze state. It would all, I would go into an almost mute state and be, find it really difficult to even say words. And so I struggled with that through the whole training.
And I remember about four months in, we had to start working with clients. I remember we’d done that year first, and then we were doing the counseling arm of the training and we had to start working with clients. And, and I hadn’t got there. And I was talking to another student and she said, Meegan, if you don’t start working with a client, they’re gonna kick you out of the training.
And that was such a wake up call for me. So. Hustled my ass and I got myself a client. So they were practice clients then, you know, free clients, free for them. And I just got in, stayed in by the skin of my teeth and I remember we were doing supervision, group supervision one day with one of the teachers and directors of the institute.
And I was really struggling to speak up in a group. But I had started to make inroads in there. I found this woman quite intimidating. She was very, very powerful, empowered woman. And I was quite intimidated by her. And she asked, she said to me, Meegan, how are you going? You’re very quiet in the group.
You don’t say anything. How are you going with that? And it came from a really caring place, but it was also for me, I suppose, quite a challenge. And I was able to say to her, Well, actually I did speak up in this session that we had and, and she was able to reflect on that. So I remember that as a real pivotal moment for myself because I was able to speak up for myself and thank goodness that this training, it was a requirement that we did our own psychotherapy and it was a requirement in the foundation year, and then in the counseling training year, it had to be a minimum of every two weeks, I think. So picture this, I had my. So oh yeah. Funny story. I, and during the foundation year, I met my now husband and I think I was four months in and I became pregnant unexpectedly.
It certainly wasn’t something that we were planning. We hadn’t been together very long. And so I did that whole foundation year pregnant, and then I had my first child, Jack, and, and by the time, and then I took a year off. And then when I came back and did the counseling training year, Jack was obviously one, one and a half, something like.
And so we were living in New Plymouth then four, four or five hours away from Auckland. And the training was in Auckland. And so I had to travel up to Auckland once every five or six weeks, I think, for a weekend of training. And during that time, So I had to go up there for the training. It was three days in an extra night, something like that three or four days. And during that time I also had to do two sessions of psychotherapy and one session of supervision. And so I had this little toddler and him and Ollie would come with me up to Auckland, my husband. We would all travel up to Auckland and stay with a darling couple that really looked after us.
And so they stayed and hung out with our friends while I went and did, did this training that was stretching me so far out of my comfort. And and then I’d go home at the end of the day and Jack would be there. And of course I’d been gone all day. So, you know what it’s like mamas when your kid hasn’t, hasn’t had that quality time with you and they really wanna be with you.
But I was just exhausted after all of the, all of the deep, deep training that we did. But we did it, you know, and I, I was just so determined to make it happen. It was really, really hard. Physically because of the traveling, but also emotionally and then also in terms of my confidence. You know, I really had to stretch out of my comfort zone and connect with people, try and generate student clients for my student work.
It was just an incredible time of growth and during the second year of the counseling training, we went into the trauma modules and I look, I just really, really appreciate the work that we did. Through that PSYCHOSYNTHESIS training now around trauma because it equipped me so, so well. For the last two decades of work that I’ve done with clients, it has made me a really safe and effective therapist and now mindset coach.
But I remember going through the trauma modules and psychosynthesis is very deep, but it also places a great emphasis on relational safety. So we are doing group work and yes, there is some really deep places that we go to, but they pay a lot of attention to that therapeutic safety, which I valued so much.
But in any case, I was still very triggered by the work because I’ve had my own trauma experiences as as an infant and as a young child and a teenager actually. And I remember I was right in the middle of psychotherapy and. There’s an arc with psychotherapy where you know, you really can deepen into the work if you’re going regularly over a, an extended period of time.
And I was right in the depths of it. And then we were also doing the trauma work. And I can still remember the visual when I showed up at one of the sessions in the group. You know, it was the group training day and I showed up and I stood there and I just felt like I was falling apart. But when I look back to it now, I was thawing.
The frozen part of me was thawing, and it was hard to manage, but I was also really, really supported by my therapist. By the facilitators, by our teachers, by the group container. I can honestly say hand on heart that that Psychosynthesis training changed me at a fundamental level and changed how I am able to show up in life.
And it is informed my work with clients. It still informs my work with clients. I have not found anything that goes to that depth. And so that was my apprenticeship into being a therapist a counselor. And I worked with clients for a number of years, and then I learned how to do, I was really interested in healing and hands on work and, and I could feel that my, my body wanted to learn, my nervous system, wanted to learn how to do, you know, healing hands on work.
So I learned, I think it was about, 10 years ago now I learned how to maybe 15. I learned craniosacral therapy and that was another profound learning for me and, and being able to connect with a client in that way, with that really, really safe contact and support their nervous system to unwind, to resolve trauma, to learn new ways of functioning and new, new doorways to resilience was just such, such a gift.
I’ve been working with clients for over 20 years, coming up to 25 years now, and a couple of years ago, around about 50 when I hit the old midlife, midlife turning 50, going through menopause. So I went into menopause quite early like my mother did, but it was probably also bought on by the stress of having Crohn’s disease and being so unwell for, for a number of years.
So I went into menopause early and we are gonna talk about menopause. Absolutely, because that has been quite a journey for me and I know it is for women. Around our age as well. A couple of years ago I had this career… it wasn’t a crisis, but it was a change that came upon me and I had always said, I will never give up working with clients hands on craniosacral therapy. I just loved it. But my body got to a stage where my nervous system was saying to me, This is too much. This amount of clients each week. I had a really busy clinical practice is just too much for you right now, and you need to pause. And for me, one of the blessings that came out of the whole covid lockdown thing that we had here in New Zealand was that I had to step back for my clinical practice. I just couldn’t physically, I wasn’t allowed, We weren’t allowed to be in the same room as our clients for, for a period of time, and so that gave me the real reset. I pressed reset on my work life and I step back and I let my nervous system, my deeper wisdom, really guide me and it it shocked me that my nervous system wanted me to give up craniosacral therapy and the busy clinical practice and the successful thriving clinical practice that I.
But that was what my nervous system needed and wanted me to do. And so I listened to it and I wasn’t sure where I was headed with it. I knew I still wanted to work with clients, but it just wasn’t gonna be hands on anymore, and that is when I found coaching and I stumbled across Creatrix and Creatrix works with the subconscious and it rewires the subconscious.
It resolves trauma, beliefs, inherited beliefs, self concepts, all that stuff that trips us up. It’s a derivative of nlp. I found this thing called Creatrix. I literally just stumbled across it in a group and somebody was raving about it and saying, I wish I’d found this years ago. And I was intrigued and my heart was like, Mm, you need to follow that thread.
You need to check this out. And I did. I followed that thread and it led me to working to studying and becoming a Creatrix facilitator. I have now really rebirthed my work with clients. So now if you’re a client, you will come to me and we will work together for a period of time, maybe around around three months, and we will do the deep dive work. And the work that we do rests on all of that apprenticeship that I did in Psychosynthesis counseling and psychology in craniosacral therapy of working with the nervous system. And now I have this incredibly powerful tool in the form of create and it is fun to work with, Creatrix.
So we work on Zoom and I work with these amazing women. Honestly, I love my clients to bits. Every single one of them are incredible, incredible women. And we, we go deep. We use the creatrix method. We figure out what’s getting in the way for them, all that stuff. Imposter syndrome, fears, doubts, overwhelm, all that shit we’ve been born with all the, you know, we inherit so much trauma that shows up as limiting beliefs. So we, we dive deep and we resolve that in a way that up levels your emotional wisdom so quickly. It just, it blows me away. It blows me away where these women start from and then where they end up and you know, they come out of the coaching and nothing is stopping them in terms of the emotional mindset, belief stuff.
It just doesn’t hold them back anymore. Now look, of course, we are not robots. We still, I still have emotion. I still get pissed off. I still get triggered. I still lose my rag every now and then. . But what happens when you’ve gone through the Creatrix process? Cause of course I went through the process as well, is that you resolve it so much more quickly.
You gain the wisdom out of that dysregulation that might happen so much more quickly. And for me, it’s like I figure out really, really quickly, okay, so is it something I need to change externally? Is it a conversation I need to have with someone? Is it a boundary I need to set or is it something inside myself?
Do I need to adjust something inside myself? And so yeah, I still have doubts arise, but you know, in the past where they were a 7, 7, 8, outta 10, they might have been, now when they show up it might be a four five. And they are certainly not getting in my way. They are certainly not stopping me from stretching outside of my comfort zone for going after my goals.
And for me, my purpose is about helping you. About helping other women to be able to step up in their own lives. That is my, that is my joy. That is my reason for being, one of my reasons for being. That is what makes me tick. What makes me step out of, of being the introvert. And connecting with people because although I’m introverted, once I start that connection, once I’m relating with someone, I love it.
There might be a bit of hesitation for me to start, but once, once I get going, I’m all in on the conversing, having fun. So that’s a little bit of my journey and I am so grateful for the training institutes for the people. You know in your life when there’s, there’s like pivotal people that show up and, and they help to change the course of your life. I feel so grateful for those people that showed up in those moments when I was at Rock Bottom. That’s my journey. If any part of this has connected with you, if you, you know, you can see yourself in any part of this, let me know. I wanna hear from you as well. Have an amazing day.
Lots of love. Hey, thanks for joining me on the podcast. If you liked what you heard, leave me a five star review. Tell your friends, share the episode. It all helps to get this information into the hands of, other people that can use it to really unwind people pleasing, imposter syndrome, self doubt, cuz we can do without that anymore, right?
We need to step up, step into being the leaders we were born to be. Have an amazing week, my friend.