From Struggle to Thrive: Integrative Health Helps Sister Overcome Depression and Anxiety

Sisters Otelia and Tallulah Laurich were having a hard time.

It was early 2022, and Tallulah’s sleep was irregular at best. Twelve years old at the time, she couldn’t shut her brain down. She would wake up early in the morning scrolling aimlessly on her cell phone and wandering around her bedroom, leaving her lethargic the next day. Tallulah was recently diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety.

On the other hand, Otelia was in the depths of depression. She said she had “zero energy and zero motivation” and was debilitated by her anxiety and had “panic attacks all day long.” Otelia, who was 16 at the time, admits that she has suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

“Life hasn’t been easy,” she says. “It was very difficult to have to survive through it.”

Laurich family

Their mother, Lacey Rohrich, was determined to seek help for her daughters. The first step was finding a reputable integrative medicine specialist. Ms. Lacey was looking for a healthcare provider she could trust and that her daughters would feel comfortable confiding in. As a result, Ms. Lacey at Essentia Health led her to Dr. Tejadia Menahari in St. Louis. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.

Consistent with the origins of integrative health, the goal was to look beneath the surface, uncover the root causes of the sisters’ conflict, and devise a holistic and customized treatment plan.

Dr. Diamenahari first met Tallulah. Eventually she also started treating Otelia. There was a lot to do and a lot to cover. And this is another core principle of integrative health, and one that is not easily resolved. Success requires transparency from patients and willingness to try new things.

The Laurichs almost immediately agreed. Their level of comfort with Dr. Diamenahari allowed them to open up and share “some serious things.” Long initial conversations gave Dr. Diamenahari a complete picture of where his sisters were coming from and what needed immediate attention. With a solid foundation established, Oteria and Tallulah were open to new and unconventional therapeutic approaches such as acupuncture and self-hypnosis.

“It requires that they speak to me openly and trust my suggestions,” says Dr. Diamenahari.

Watch: In this video interview, Otelia and Tallulah discuss their integrative health journey with their mother, Lacy, and Diamenahari, MD.

Essential to integrative health is the belief that people have an innate ability to heal. But all too often, external stressors such as school, work, nutrition, screen time and sleep interfere with that ability.

People end up “in a place where they feel overwhelmed and stuck,” Dr. Diamenahari says. “The way out of all these problems is really difficult, and it takes time.”

According to Dr. Diamenahari, drugs can reduce symptoms and play an important role in the healing process, but they don’t always address the root of the problem: “That’s our goal in integrative health.” … apparently …

Lacy said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, as her family spent more time together at the Everest home, she began noticing small quirks that eventually became red flags.

Lacy says Otelia was “always like a little adult.”

“When she was in first grade, she would wake up in the morning before school to make her own eggs and help her sister,” Lacy recalled. “Suddenly I was like, ‘Why aren’t you doing your schoolwork? Why isn’t this happening? Why isn’t this happening?’

“And I felt that something was really wrong. She (Otelia) said, ‘Mom, I need your help.’ ”

Otelia needed to realize that something was wrong before she could progress. It was her idea to initiate a meeting with Dr. Diamenahari, thanks to positive feedback from her Tallulah.

“Normal people don’t like dying, so I had to recognize that something was wrong,” says Oteria. “We need to see if we can change this.”

Tallulah, Lacey, Otelia Laurich

Integrative health focuses on a holistic approach and combines conventional medicine with other evidence-based natural therapies. Medications may be prescribed, but they are just one tool in his toolbox. Lifestyle solutions, such as increasing your intake of whole foods and improving your sleep quality, play an important role. At Essentia, an integrative medicine clinician works with each patient to develop an individual care plan. This may include mind-body therapies such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation and yoga. nutritional counseling. supplement. Prescription drugs. Referral to behavioral health, chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulative therapy providers. It also includes recommendations for classes and support groups.

Encouraged by their openness to new ideas and their admirable work ethic, Otelia and Tallulah experienced a breakthrough with Dr. Diamenahari. Successes piled up. Their sleep schedule has improved. Otelia no longer needs her 25 milligrams of melatonin, her self-prescribed dose, to fall asleep (1 milligram is a typical starting dose). She learns self-hypnosis, and if she practices it before bed, she says it will make her feel better in no time.

Similarly, Tallulah, who was homeschooled at the time, once took two hours to get out of bed after waking up. Her thoughts overwhelmed her as she started her day.

“So we ended up starting school around noon because that was when I was finally ready to do something,” said Tallulah.

Today this process takes about 15 minutes.

Anxiety and depression were reduced along with improved sleep. This improvement was further facilitated by drug treatment. Both sisters say that not only have their woes been reversed thanks to Dr. Diamenahari and integrative medicine, but they now have the resources to help themselves.

“Once I got my sleep under control and had a good night’s sleep, my anxiety went away,” says Oteria. “I had no panic attacks, no anxiety attacks, and I didn’t get nervous easily in my daily life.

“A few months ago I was calling a suicide hotline. I was taking all kinds of medications. I was taking all kinds of supplements. All kinds of doctor’s visits, consultations. , I received treatment. After two months, I don’t need to do anything like that now.”

“They now have this resilience that they have been able to recognize in themselves,” said Dr. Diamenahari.

The progress is not communicated to others.

“I was reviewing my notes from the first visit. They’ve come this far and it’s not my fault,” says Dr. “It’s because they worked. If they hadn’t put in the effort and said, ‘Yeah, I need to do this myself,’ they wouldn’t be where they are today.”

The work is not finished yet. Lacey likened Dr Diamenahari to a tour guide, guiding her sisters on their journey and helping them prepare for life’s turning points.

Laurich family snowboard

“It’s been great to see them grow up and be able to help themselves,” Lacy says. “It is very reassuring to know that when my children grow up, they are going to keep these things on hand and continue to use them. I know what to do.”

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