In episode 3 of Hope for Anxiety and OCD, I interviewed Melanie Lowe, NP to discuss how undiagnosed physical conditions can contribute to anxiety. Melanie also helps Christians understand why there is no shame in taking medications for mental health issues.

  • Various health conditions that can contribute to or increase anxiety
    • sleep apnea, thyroid malfunction, or vitamin deficiencies
  • Why it’s important to have a Primary Care Physician 
  • Taking medications for mental health as a Christian 

Resources and links:

By The Well Counseling
Cornerstone Primary Care
Study on exercise and antidepressants

More podcast episodes

Transcript of Episode 3

Hope for Anxiety and OCD Episode 3

Today on the show, I am interviewing Melanie Lowe who is a nurse practitioner at Cornerstone Primary Health Care in Hendersonville, Tennessee. I was really excited to be able to speak with a medical professional on the show to talk about some physical issues that may be causing or contributing to anxiety. A lot of people don’t know that when you’re experiencing anxiety, a first stop to the primary care physician to get some testing and blood work is really in order. Melanie and I are also going to talk about being a Christian and taking medication for mental health. Let’s get to the show. 

Getting To Know More About Melanie Lowe

Carrie: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in the medical field and kind of the decision, the process to start your own medical clinic?

Melanie: Sure. My name is Melanie Lowe, and I graduated from Auburn University. That’s where I did my undergraduate in 1994. I practiced nursing in an Open Heart Surgery Center for three years and then decided to go back and get my master’s in nursing, but that was in nursing education. 

My ultimate goal was to teach in the nursing programs there in Auburn, which I did for three years. That was a great experience because as a nurse, we just love to be educators as well. So, after that period of time, we started a family. My husband and I have two children. I took eight years off from school to raise the kids and then once they got into school, then I said okay, it’s time for me to go back and get back into the nursing field, which I did. So I went to work. We moved from Indianapolis to Hendersonville, Tennessee, and I went to work for Vanderbilt in the cardiovascular unit there. And then I decided after two years that I was ready to go back and get my nurse practitioner degree, which I got in 2008. That’s the progression as I got to be a nurse practitioner and that is my ultimate, ultimate goal and love. I just love it.

Different Titles In The Medical Field

Carrie: Maybe you can help some of our listeners because I know we hear different titles in different fields. What is the difference between being a doctor and being a nurse practitioner?

Melanie: Doctors, of course, have different degrees: primary care provider, internal med, physician. They go through a course in undergraduate medical school. Some of them do different extended studies if they want to be an endocrinologist or specialist in cardiology, things of that nature. We have mid-levels, which are nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They do similar jobs. They work alongside doctors a lot of times in various clinics, but nurse practitioners and PAs can also go out on their own like I have and open up their own medical clinic in the State of Tennessee. We have to have a supervising physician. So you will see that sometimes when we write certain medications, narcotics, we have to have a supervising physician sign off on that. They have to be in our practice at least once a month just to sign, not to actually see patients but need to be overseeing us at least once every 30 days. Mid-levels can prescribe just like physicians. They can order imaging. They can make a referral. When it comes to medical care, we can all do the same thing. It’s just that nurse practitioners have less schooling than physicians.

Benefits of Seeing A Nurse Practitioner

Carrie: Do you feel like there are benefits at times to seeing a nurse practitioner over a doctor?

Melanie: Well, as most people probably know, generally, most nurse practitioners will spend more time with their patients. I think that’s one of the big differentiating things between mid-levels and a provider, that’s a physician. What you’ll find though is that in a corporate clinic, there’s a schedule that dictates how much time you can spend with each patient.

If you go out on your own and start your own clinic, you can decide how much time you want to spend with each patient, depending on how in-depth you want to go. For us being a Christian-based clinic, we have the opportunity to talk about emotional, spiritual, physical, all of the aspects versus it just being like you’re in here to get your medications refilled. 

We’re moving on to the next station, so we have a lot of flexibility with our schedule and how long we want to spend with our patients. That’s one of the biggest things. The tagline actually for my clinic is the full extent of medical care with the heart of a nurse, and I think that kind of encompasses everything so we can do the whole medical ground. With the heart of a nurse, let them understand that we want to sit down and get to know their families and their children and things that are going on in their life. That gives us hope, a little portion of the heart of a nurse.

How Melanie Started A Christ-Centered Clinic

Carrie: I think that’s really huge because health is so interrelated. Our physical health and our emotional health and our spiritual health are very interrelated and a lot of times, unfortunately, seeking help or treatment, we’re only isolated on one aspect of those when we really need an all-encompassing approach.

Melanie: Right. That’s why where the vision came with my husband and I. We decided in 2010 to start a clinic. We didn’t know what that clinic was exactly going to look like but we did know that we wanted to be Christ-centred healthcare, and therefore, that’s the name Cornerstone. We wanted Christ to be the cornerstone of the practice. The biggest thing for us was to do the physical, emotional, and spiritual health with that, and because that makes up each individual. You’re right, if you take out one portion of that, then usually if you’re great physically, then maybe emotionally or spiritually, you’re not doing so well and that affects us physically. Each one of those is so interrelated. 

I think that’s one of the biggest reasons that patients when they see a Christ-centered or Christian-centered clinic they’re more apt to come in, feel open to share their faith, discuss what’s bothering them, or maybe a struggle that they’re having, so that’s where we have found our biggest benefit we think to most patients.

We have lots of stuff around like we have lots of artwork that’s Christian. We have scriptures that are on the walls and I think one of the biggest things for us is we have a prayer board out on the wall. When patients come out, we have little cards that say prayers or blessings. If they have prayer requests, we don’t put anything, identifying who they are, but we put those on there, and we put them on our wall. As they come in, and we hear that their health issues have been resolved, or they got to buy the house that they didn’t think they were gonna get, then we move it over to the blessing side so that people can see how we’ve transitioned and how prayers are being answered. 

Other people are coming in because they just want to sit down and have you pray with them because they’ve gotten some bad news and maybe they have cancer. They’ve got some kind of diagnosis, and they will literally stop in and just ask if they can go to a room and pray. They’re not here for an appointment and so it kind of gives you that welcoming and inviting part. You’re right, that’s how this is all together physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Melanie’s Chosen Ministry

Carrie: Those are very unique practice concepts. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard of anybody that’s practicing medically in that way. So, that’s pretty unique.

Melanie: We have found that it’s a lot more accepting than most people would. I initially feel that we have believers that come in who are Christian. We have people of other faiths. We have non-believers, but if they’re struggling with something and you ask if you can pray with them, I have yet in 10 years had anybody tell me that they didn’t want me to pray with them. Amazingly, they’re very accepting of that. We don’t push it on them but we just say, “Hey, is that something that you would allow us to do with you?” They are very open. It’s our ministry. This is kind of a ministry. Each person has a ministry field and this is what it is for me. I can actually have my ministry field and my work all in one.

Why having a primary care physician is important?

Carrie: So one of the things that I see in my practice, I will always ask people, when they initially come in, “do you have a primary care physician?” And unfortunately, we’re living in this day and age where many younger people don’t really see the value in primary care. They don’t see the value in going to the doctor for just a general wellness checkup and so they’ll tell me things like “if I get sick, I just go to that little place in the drugstore and they take care of it.” Why do you feel that it’s important for people to have a primary care physician that they go to?

Melanie: That’s a great question. We have a lot of people that do the same thing, especially the younger people who maybe don’t have any chronic illnesses like you’re talking about. We’re thankful that the urgent cares are open on the weekends and after hours, but what we would hope is that someone would call their health care home. We want to be the home of the person so that they can go somewhere else if we’re not available. 

Ultimately, the importance of primary care would be to begin to build a relationship with the patients and then if there are changes that come along the way, whether it’s maybe something that you see, and then something physically you see or in the lab, you can watch trends, and you can start seeing those changes, but that’s overtime. It’s not something that you would normally know if you went in to get a sinus infection and then the next time you had a urinary tract infection. Well, nobody’s really keeping up with all the other aspects of your life. So that relationship would be one of the biggest things.  

The second thing would be trust. If you go to see somebody on a regular basis, you build that trust with them, and then they’re more apt to open up and tell you maybe some internal struggles that they’re having, or “hey, this is kind of embarrassing” or “I don’t really want to tell you about it,” but then they will feel that they trust you enough and know that it’s in confidence that they will tell you things that they won’t get a chance to tell somebody that’s in an urgent care. Something that is brought up with screenings, we see a lot of people who don’t get theirs once a year.  

Annual Screening Is Necessary

Annual screening and those screenings are so important because you can catch things really early, and so that you can take care of them and treat them before they become a more serious and more difficult-to-treat problem. Screenings are super important whether it’s wellness exams for just your overall annual physical, whether it’s a pap smear or mammograms. We try to do all of the screenings to keep people up to date on those. If you’re going and you’re not having that continuity of care, nobody’s keeping up to when your last mammogram was or when your last physical exam. It’s super important to have that relationship so that that can be developed along the way, and then there are ultimately better outcomes for the patient when you do that.

Ruling Out Anxiety and Other Health Conditions

Carrie: That absolutely makes sense to me that someone can see your whole health history across time and start to notice patterns maybe before you do or before a one-stop-shop would. Sometimes people come in, and they may feel intense physical symptoms, and you may rule out medical causes and it looks like it’s anxiety. Can you talk with me a little bit about that process? How do you know or differentiate if this person who’s maybe presenting with difficulty breathing or rapid heart rate? How do you know if that’s anxiety or not?

Melanie: Most people who struggle with anxiety know that some of the common symptoms would be things like a headache, or rapid heart rate like you mentioned, palpitations, difficulty sleeping, their mind is racing. They might have a lot of GI issues, diarrhea. Amazingly, that anxiety can cause symptoms and multiple body systems. Other things to rule out can be done through blood work, EKGs. You have to figure out if it is the anxiety that’s causing the physical symptoms, or if [it’s] something physically making them have anxious feelings. 

For us, if you rule out efficiencies such as vitamins like B12, B6, and iron, those deficiencies can cause people to have anxious feelings. If they have a hormone imbalance and that hormone could be the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism where your thyroid is in your neck, and it controls a lot of different parts of your body but one of those is how rapid your heart can go. If you have hyperthyroidism, you are in overdrive and so you have a lot of thyroids which increases your heart rate. If somebody comes in and they’re having no symptoms, and you do a simple blood test, you can find out if that’s the cause. You treat their hyperthyroidism, and then their anxious feelings all go away. Anemia is another one. If someone is either losing blood or maybe not making enough blood, so the red blood cell counts are low. They’ll have a rapid heart rate, they’re short of breath, which is very similar to what people experience with anxiety. If you rule that out as a cause and find out why they are anemic, give them some iron, build their stores back up. Amazingly, they can get rid of some of those symptoms. 

Some people actually have underlying heart issues where their heart will race or they’ll have skipped beats. That can be from electrolyte imbalances, like magnesium and sodium, and potassium or it could be an underlying heart issue. Again, once you take care of that, it will help with the anxiousness.

A lot of people drink too much caffeine. They’ll have caffeine in the morning, and then they’ll have some monster drinks. All of those caffeine or any other drug or alcohol abuse that they might have can cause withdrawal even from similar symptoms. 

Trust and building that relationship with a patient will let you ask questions like, “Do you struggle with taking too much pain medication?” or “Do you struggle with some of these things?” Obviously, you wouldn’t have that opportunity in urgent care.

Sleep deprivation, if somebody has sleep apnea, for instance, they don’t even know it, and they’re not sleeping well at all over time. When they’re sleep-deprived, anxious feelings, inability to think clearly, all of those occur. Simple things can rule out the physical and then you can determine if the anxiety is really the underlying cause, or if it’s something else.

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Sleep Apnea

Carrie: I’m glad that you brought up sleep and sleep apnea because I have had several clients that went through the sleep study process [and] found out they had sleep apnea. As they started to wear the mask at night and get that treatment, their mental health has improved dramatically, not to say that all of their anxiety or depression has gone away, but they feel so much better physically, which helps them feel better emotionally. A lot of times that goes undiagnosed for a while, right?

Melanie: It does and not everybody falls into the typical category of what you would expect somebody with sleep apnea to have. A lot of times they always say if your neck is greater than 17 inches, like if a man’s dress shirt is above that, then you might be apt to have sleep apnea. A lot of people wake up and they are just as sleepy when they wake up in the morning as they were before they went to bed. That can give some people some idea. Those who have partners or married, they’re the ones who can say “I witnessed them stop breathing, and they’re having issues.” 

Sleep deprivation and sleep apnea can lead to things like those we talked about other hormones. That can be lower testosterone, specifically, and estrogen. So if somebody has sleep apnea and they have the symptoms of low testosterone, they can feel anxiety, depression, things of that nature. If you take care of their sleep apnea, amazingly, a lot of other things fall into normal, and then they can rule out what’s left.

How Important Is Sleep To The Body and Mind?

Carrie: I’m curious about what you think about this issue related to sleep is that we also are living in a society where people seem to think that sleep is optional like I can sleep six hours a night, and then down an energy drink in the morning, and then have maybe a cup of coffee in the afternoon, and I’m good to go, everything’s fine. What are we really missing out on medically and physically when we’re missing sleep?

Melanie: When you have very short spurts of sleep, or you’re using things such as caffeine to keep you awake, and then some people will use alcohol to get them to sleep, those things start to mess with your circadian rhythm. Your sleep cycle gets off completely. What happens with that is when people are using caffeine or other things, once that sleep cycle gets off, you have to go through a withdrawal period of those in order to get things to cycle back into normal. 

You’ll see some people who may need five or six hours of sleep, other people do not function well without seven or eight, if not more, so when you wake up in the morning, you can’t think clearly. You feel like you can’t even recall a name. You can’t think of what you did yesterday and all of those are symptoms of not having enough sleep in a long time. 

Sleep is really important. That’s the time your body has a chance to restore itself, heal up and reprocess, and put memories in place. It’s amazing what your brain does during that time of sleep, and it needs to have it adequately each night for you to feel that way.

Carrie: There’s definitely a connection between trauma and sleep disruption. That inability of the brain to process that information at night can really cause more problems during the day is something that I’ve seen from the mental health side.

More Patients Are Coming Out About Mental Health Conditions

Carrie: So do you see quite a few patients in your practice that present with anxiety? Is that something that you see on a regular basis?

Melanie: Yeah, we see it every day. I think one thing that surprises people is that probably 60 to 70% of patients that see us on a daily basis are coming in with some type of anxiety, depression, a combination of that. It is just amazing how many people and how prevalent it is, and even our young people. I think there’s a lot of pressure for young people to get into colleges. I think it’s starting out a lot younger now. I treat 12 and above, so I don’t see a lot of really young patients. In adolescence, it’s just that they’re all competing to get into a certain college, and they’re trying to study for certain tests. There’s so much competition, and that I think is part of that source. We’ve seen that starting in young people and then we have everything from it could just be life circumstances. It could be that during this COVID. 

We have noticed a remarkable number of people who are having the mental health aspect of it now not as much physical. We have not treated anybody so far with COVID but during this pandemic, we are seeing it escalate. People who have never been on medications before or starting them or those who are already on something, we’re having to increase it just to help them cope through this, but it is more prevalent. I think now it’s exciting that the stigma is not there anymore. We openly talk about mental health issues with patients every day, because it’s not that stereotype where we feel like we can’t tell anybody what’s going on. So we do try to make that something that we bring up in conversation, “Do you struggle with anxiety?” or “Do you struggle with depression?” and that opens the doors for people to discuss that with us. It’s a daily thing for us.

Presenting Different Treament Options To Patients With Mental Health Conditions

Carrie: I think that’s a great thing because a lot of times the medical professionals can be a gatekeeper to people seeking out counseling or mental health treatment because like you said, they do have a relationship with you, but maybe they’re concerned about going to a counselor and you can talk with them about it, that it could really benefit them and work alongside the medication that they’re taking to help them see even more improvements.

Melanie: Right. I think a lot of people end up either they get themselves shamed into not taking medication. They get shamed by friends or family, or even within themselves. They feel nervous about taking medications because they’ve been told “you need to pray harder and your faith is not strong enough.”

I think that’s very difficult for the patients when they come in here because they already are dealing with the guilt of having to come and ask for help. We try to make it as easy as possible and just present all of the options that they have and let them choose what’s best. Just making the decision to go on medication or to get counseling, admitting that they have an issue with anxiety is a huge thing for them but once they make that and commit to it, it’s amazing how much benefit they get from all of these, whether it’s medication counseling, it doesn’t matter. There’s a huge benefit with all of those together. Some people are open to moving past that and getting that help, which is what we love to see. We love to help them.

Explaining Medications To Patients

Carrie: Right. Because this is an argument I hear, a lot of people will say, “I’m concerned about getting on medication because I don’t want to become addicted or dependent on something” or “I don’t want to have to be on this medication for the rest of my life.” What do you say to someone with that type of argument?

Melanie: That’s one of the things that we discuss with patients when we start those medications because what we found is when patients start them, it doesn’t necessarily have to be lifelong. We tell them it all depends. It could be their life experiences. They could genetically be predisposed to have some of these mental health issues because of family genetics, life experiences, and so they may need to be on something long-term. They may have realized that they’ve been struggling with this since they went to kindergarten and so they are probably looking a little more long-term. 

The majority of the people that we started on may just be situational. It may just be that they have just lost a loved one or were recently divorced, and so they’ll take medication for six months to a year and try to see how they are doing through counseling, journaling, and all the lifestyle modifications and then come off of them. 

I think the other thing too is a lot of people still have that thought that the medications are going to somehow change their personality, that they’re gonna withdraw from people or people are gonna know that they’re on something. Amazingly, the medications are so mild that they just take away the symptoms. It actually gets rid of all the cloudiness or the things that maybe were suppressing their personality. It actually removes all that. That’s the old so-and-so that I knew before. They started to see those personality traits that they had, but they hadn’t seen those in a long time. So it’s not necessarily lifelong. Some people need to spend two or three years but a lot of times we can just use them to help them transition through some circumstances and then come off the medication.

Carrie: I actually did that in my own life. When I went through a divorce, I got on antidepressants for six months. I was in counseling during that period as well and I followed up and talked with my counselor and talked to my doctor about coming off the medication, and they were both in agreement that it was time and then I was feeling more hopeful and better and functioning better in my life. That was a huge help for me for those six months to have that because it made it so that I could continue to work and could continue to function and be a responsible adult.

Melanie: It is amazing like you said, there are so many different types of medications now that we aren’t just stuck with a certain class. So we as primary care providers, will start somebody on something and take care of them. If it ever escalates and needs further combinations of medications that we in primary care are not as comfortable in prescribing, that’s when we’ll send them to a psychiatrist or someone else who can put together medications that we do not feel comfortable putting together. The majority of the people, we can treat in primary care, just like with any other disease process.

That’s one of the things I would say, a lot of people feel that mental health medications aren’t as important. I think that’s why they try to tell people not to get started on because think about diabetes, that’s a chemical imbalance. Think about hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, it’s a hormone issue and chemical imbalance and we would not look at those people and say “just keep praying.” We wouldn’t tell them and shame them into not getting help. We would never tell them that, “Hey, if you pray hard enough, your blood sugar is going to go down from 500 to 200.” 

We would treat them and I think we need to understand that and most people are on board with this and use this as another chemical imbalance. That’s why I feel like the stigma is gone and we just need to talk about this openly because so many people struggle with it. There are options. It would be different if we had nothing to offer, but there are too many things that we can do to help them.

Carrie: Right. I agree. I like that you brought up that there are different classes and different types of medication that people can be on because they may start on a particular medication and it just doesn’t work as well for them. People’s body chemistries are a little bit different and they may have to try a different medication or increase or adjust the dosage in some way in order to feel better.

Melanie: That’s exactly right. A lot of the times we get that information from counselors, like maybe a patient goes to see a counselor first and they’re the ones that say, “you know what, I think that this person would really do well with starting a medication” and that’s I think confirmation to the patient as well that they have two different people like you said, you got your counselor, and then you’re with primary care and now together, you’re gonna see them in your office. You can tell if you can think clearly, and you can see some improvement and benefits from the medication, or we can say from our end “okay, you’ve had a lot of weight gain, it looks like you are still really struggling, and you’re crying a lot”, and so together as a team, and this is, again, one of those team approaches where we just all need to work together. If there’s a side effect, speak about it. Tell us because there’s a lot of options, and we can change it up and make it work best for both.

Healthy Lifestyle Can Help Improve Mental Health

Carrie: Right. Awesome. Let’s talk a little bit about how lifestyle changes can impact us in a positive way, our physical health, and our mental health.

Melanie: That’s a great one. Because a lot of times people may not have given as much thought to maybe their diet and exercise and we asked them about that a lot. A lot of people don’t realize how that can actually impact mental health as much. If you think about diet, when they used to say,  “what goes in is what comes out,” but to be honest with you, there’s so many foods and so many different diet plans and stuff that people were on. Not all of them are best when it comes to nutrition. I would say, definitely read through and find out which diet plan is best for you whether it’s just losing weight, or is it just eating more healthy anti-inflammatory foods, meaning things like reducing your gluten, reducing your dairy, and reducing your sugar that is probably the three biggest things and those are the best tasting things usually. 

It’s hard to get people to realize that but if you just reduce those gluten, sugar, and dairy in your diet, amazingly, people feel more energetic. Their joint aches and pains, everything that can be inflamed, it amazingly helps that and so that is one huge dietary thing. If I can impress on anybody, it is to try to use that kind of diet. Don’t go strictly keto, and don’t go strictly whatever. I’m just saying, just do a balanced diet with a reduction in those three things. 

I think people would feel better overall, along with exercise. It’s hard. People are struggling with time. They can’t find enough time between family and work and other outside responsibilities, taking kids to their different activities.  I think part of that would be to find 15 or 30 minutes. It doesn’t take a lot. You can actually find videos that do 10 minutes of high impact in the morning or in the evening. I think each one of us could find 10, 15, 30 minutes a day but the goal is somewhere around 150 minutes a week. So if you can pick out 45 minutes, three to four days a week, or just 30 minutes, five days a week, and find out what you love. Just get up and move. It doesn’t matter. Just do something like gardening, mowing the grass lawns, that sort of stuff, walking the track and then along with this, as well as getting out there and having support. Get out with your friends and do something that you enjoy and get that accountability because it’s so much easier to do stuff with other people. Plus you can talk to them and solve all your problems while you’re walking and you’re doing your healthy stuff as well. Those are just some of the things that in addition to medications and counseling and things that would be helpful for mental health.

Carrie: Absolutely. Before the pandemic started, I was very involved in group fitness and that was just a lot of fun to get together with some other ladies and do a dance workout or a boxing workout and it’s just fun and it’s helpful. It keeps you going to have somebody else there with you exercising. I think it keeps you committed to it. 

I know that there have been studies done where they’ve actually compared people who were on antidepressants and people who exercise and people who did both. A lot of times the people that fared the best did both. But the people that had the exercise, sometimes they did as well as the people that were on antidepressants, so that’s pretty incredible too.

Melanie’s Story of Hope

As we’re getting to the end, I think this has been very helpful information that you’ve shared with us. I like to ask every guest to share a story of hope, which is maybe a time that you received hope from God or another person. 

Melanie: Mine probably doesn’t come from a specific person. I would just say that God has given each one of us certain gifts and talents that we’re supposed to use to bring others to Him and to further His kingdom and to glorify Him. I think if we find something that we’re passionate about and that we love, and we keep God first and focus on the perspective of putting Him as a priority. He will be steadfast and He will be the one that gets us through and makes us feel fulfilled. 

Back in 2010 just opening up this clinic, it was stepping out on a limb and it was stepping out on faith. There were times when there wasn’t a single patient when we first opened. There may be one patient in an eight-hour day. There could be two. There were times when there were financial difficulties, “when are we going to stay open?” or “are we just going to sell out to a corporate or just slow down?” 

There are lots of things along the way but continuously, God will put people in place or the patient would come in. It’s like “let me pray for you” and it was amazing how it became almost like a community. It was over and over. God was just like, “just be steadfast, continue on this path, even though you can’t see what’s going on, and then rely on me.” 

Now during this pandemic, here we are moved out of our old place where we rented. We built a building and during this COVID, when everybody else is furloughing people, we’re hiring and growing and the Lord says like, “just be patient, just continue and be patient.” 

I think that would be just the sign of hope for anybody that’s trying to think of something that they’re passionate about but they’re afraid to maybe step out. 

I would say just step out in faith, and just continue to pray about it. If it feels like it’s not gonna work out, just continue to be in prayer, and have others pray for you and amazingly, it’ll work out or you’ll find out what you need to do next. 

Carrie: God has a way definitely of coming through right when we need Him and that’s awesome. It’s an encouraging testimony. I appreciate you sharing all of this helpful information and taking your time to be on the show. I hope that this podcast really encourages people that if they don’t have a positive relationship with a primary care provider, they can have that and that they can find somebody that they can connect with and trust and have as their health home.

Melanie: Thank you so much and like I said, I agree with you. I just want people to reach out and ask for help and not go through this alone. 

Carrie: Absolutely. I enjoyed this interview.

I hope you found the information helpful. When we look at a symptom that our body is experiencing such as anxiety, it’s important to evaluate what is the message of the symptoms we’re experiencing. What is the meaning to it? Sometimes this may mean that we’re having physical issues such as a malfunctioning thyroid. It could mean that our body is responding in response to past trauma that we haven’t processed. Anxiety could be the result of constantly living in the future and worrying instead of learning and focusing on being in the moment of what’s actually here right now. 

Anxiety being such a broad symptom, I just really encourage you to look at what is that symptom or what is your body in a way trying to communicate to you.

You may need some medical help or some counseling help to help you figure some of that out and tease it out and that’s okay too. There shouldn’t be absolutely any shame in getting what you need. It doesn’t matter if that need is physical or emotional. 

I hope that this episode prompts you to think about how you can take better care of yourself too. 

Until we meet again. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram, or always at 

Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum, and audio editing is completed by Benjamin Bynam.