This week’s interview is with Jess of Healing Jess. She is a wellness advocate & tickborne illness warrior. I have been inspired by her openness and bravery in sharing all sides to her healing journey. You can really get a sense of her personality shining through her posts.
Hello Jess, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your wellness journey?
My name is Jess and I am 26 years old. I was recently diagnosed with Babesiosis, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Mold Toxicity, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome & Small Fiber Neuropathy.
My wellness journey officially started one year ago but I have been unknowingly battling my illnesses for years. I was in a pretty toxic period of my life; unhappy in a relationship, finishing a degree, working full-time, raising a puppy who had multiple health issues and I was gaining weight pretty consistently. I was up against some pretty heavy bouts of depression, anxiety and fits of rage.
In January of 2018, I ate an enchilada and broke out in hives and went into near anaphylaxis. Over the next few weeks, every meal I ingested resulted in an allergic reaction whether that be hives, wheezing or swelling of my face. I even became allergic to toothpaste, essential oils and anything that could somehow get into my system. I instinctively knew there was an underlying issue to these episodes that I needed to investigate.
I spent the next few months putting my entire life on hold and working with multiple conventional doctors to try to find answers. After realizing that conventional medicine was getting me nowhere, I started to do my own research and become an advocate for my own health. In July of 2018, I pieced together (through the help of social media) that a lot of my symptoms were lining up with chronic tick-borne illness, so I sought out a specialist in Seattle, WA. It was in October of 2018 that I was officially diagnosed.
Ever since diagnosis, I have chosen to be an advocate for others who are struggling with illness because I know how lost they feel. I created my own blog where I document my personal story as well as provide tips on managing invisible illness. I utilize social media to connect with others who are struggling and confused about the next step in their wellness journey.
I don’t have all the answers yet and I am still figuring out parts of my own story but to help remind others that they are not alone when no one else is around them and understanding their journey. That means more to me than I can ever explain.
What does healing look like to you?
To me healing is listening to my own body and gut instincts 100% of the time. I have met with multiple doctors that I instantly did not get a good feeling about, that is immediately a red flag for me because this journey is already uncomfortable, you can’t waste time with a doctor that only makes that feeling stronger.
I have learned to be very in tune with my body. My body tells me when I need sleep, when I need alone time, when I need social time, when I need to focus on certain treatments more often. Once you learn to do this, healing becomes second-nature.
Walk me through the process of how you find inspiration and decide what to talk about on Instagram.
I honestly try to post whatever comes to mind and feels right. I do try to document different parts of what has helped me thrive as an illness warrior. This includes: treatments (supplements, medications, detox methods), nutrition/diet and short videos explaining how I am feeling during different moments (good & bad). I also try to provide an encouraging quote on my feed every few posts because it’s a nice reminder that people often need.
Can you share three things you’re grateful for right now?
My mental/spiritual awareness
My family, friends and fellow spoonie community
My dog (my best friend)
What does your self-care routine look like?
My self-care routine includes putting my hair up in a bun (this is a very important step), putting on a sexy bikini and sitting in my infrared sauna while BLASTING the dirtiest rap music I can find.
Is there anything you’re working on that you’re excited to tell us about?
I am actually going to be a guest on a friends podcast that will be coming out within the next few months. I am very excited to share my story and get a chance to meet a fellow warrior who has been an inspiration to me during my own journey.
Is there something you’re passionate about spreading awareness on?
I am passionate about spreading awareness of the chronic illness community and how many of us are suffering, it is a huge epidemic.
Tell me your favorite…
“The chaos within me found balance”
This is my favorite quote because to me, it symbolizes how much my illness truly was a blessing. I am healthier now than I ever have been before, coincidentally.
“If it doesn’t bring you income, inspiration or orgasms – it doesn’t belong in your life”
This affirmation is a daily reminder for me to only focus and waste my time/energy on things that actually provide a positive to my life.
Bite Me – Ally Hilfiger
This book is about how Lyme Disease affected her childhood.
If you are someone who struggles with staying positive while battling chronic illness and haven’t listened to Jordan Younger yet (of the) The Balanced Blonde, I highly recommend.
Joe Rogan is also a favorite because he brings in a lot of nutritionists and all different types of doctors to discuss very important health topics.
People Magazine. They recently featured a young girl battling Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (which I battle with as well) and it was so inspiring to see MCAS recognized, especially on such a public platform.
Get Social with Jess
This interview is part of Holistiq’s Wellness Warrior series – a celebration of those battling and surviving chronic illness with mindfulness, strength and encouragement to others.