Did you know essential oils are highly concentrated and far more potent than dried herbs? Did you know essential oils have been used medicinally for different conditions in history? Here Diane talks about how she has used them for calming anxiety.
I met Diane, a lovely woman with a lovely Scottish accent, at a holistic bazaar in the city a while ago. She enticed me with her heavenly collection of essential oils and I had to stop and chit chat for a few minutes, learning more about the essential oils she had.
I had already been a user of essential oils (and my interest in essential oils increasing day by day thanks to my essential-oil-enthusiast friend) so I was eager to learn more about her essential oils.
At her workshop I attended a few weeks later, I learned of the struggle she had with anxiety and depression and how she used essential oils to support her overcoming it.
Having gone through depression and overcoming it myself, I was very inspired by her work in sharing her story and showing people how to use essential oils to support them in similar situations.
Here in this interview, Diane shares her story and some of her favorite essential oils she uses for emotional support.
Where are you from?
Originally from Scotland. I’ve been living in New York for about 16 years. I came here initially to travel--I lived in Australia before coming here--and then I met my husband so I ended up staying in New York.
What got you into essential oils?
A very good friend of mine who is a holistic Chiropractor introduced me to essential oils about 3 years ago. I had been struggling for many years with anxiety and panic attacks and was searching for something that could help calm me down and help with emotional support. When I started using essential oils I was a little skeptical but over time and with consistent use I found that they were really amazing to help calm me. I continued to use them daily and they have helped me a lot to manage anxiety.
Tell me more about your anxiety.
Looking back, I probably had anxiety as a kid and just never realized what it was. It wasn’t until I was 24 and living in Australia that I had my first big panic attack. It was almost like someone switched my brain overnight. I don’t know why it happened and there was no real explanation to it. I think it was definitely a build up over many years. It got to a point that it was so difficult to control my mind and I felt very depressed. It is such a debilitating disorder.
I was traumatized anywhere I felt trapped, on a train, in a car, and even in a crowded place with lots of people, my mind and body would go into a panic, which then triggered irritable bowel for me. It was very uncomfortable to be in many situations where I felt like I couldn’t control my mind and my body and I would avoid going places to try to avoid the panic.
How have essential oils helped you?
Essential oils are not a cure but they have really helped with getting my body back in balance. If the body is balanced, the mind is in balance, the digestive system is in balance, and then the nervous system is calm, and the body will function in a way that it’s meant to function. When you suffer anxiety, your mind goes 100 miles an hour and it gets completely out of control. Your body then reacts like there is a bear in the room and you live in constant fear.
You feel like you have no control over your mind, when you actually do, but it took me years to really be able to calm my mind with the help of many therapists and healers. You have to spend time and face your fears as well. The support I had using essential oils has helped me do that.
Which essential oils do you use to calm anxiety?
Lots of essential oils are calming but the ones that come from trees are great. Trees are very grounding so they are very very calming. I apply them to the bottom of my feet and it just helps me stay grounded.
Lavender oil is great, too. Lavender is also know to be very calming, so I use that daily as well. Wild orange is also wonderful. I call wild orange my happy oil. It’s very uplifting to the mood and it can help with feelings of despair and hopelessness.
When you say tree oil, what are you referring to specifically?
Frankincense is one that is a very powerful essential oil. It is supportive to the brain and I find it very calming. It’s also supports cellular health.
Which oils are your favorite?
The ones I mentioned are definitely my favorites and I love Vetiver for calming and Basil is really great to support the adrenal glands. If you are in a heightened state of anxiety, your body is always in fight or flight. I realized that I was in a constant state of fight or flight for 17 years. When you’re constantly under stress, your body is never really resting and the adrenal glands become exhausted. So I found basil essential oil to be very supportive. I would apply a drop directly on top of my adrenals. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, which I would often feel, I would diffuse basil and wild orange together. I love that combination. Another oil I absolutely love is peppermint oil. If I am feeling panicky on the train, I start inhaling peppermint oil. I put 2 drops in my hands and inhale it.
You mentioned putting basil oil on top of your adrenals. How else do you use your essential oils?
I put them on the bottom of my feet. The bottoms of the feet have the largest pores in the body so it is absorbed quickly into your system. Lavender, I love to put on the back of my neck and the inside of my wrists, I love the smell of it and it’s very calming. I also like to diffuse oils so I can inhale them for mood support and I ingest frankincense. I put 2 drops directly under my tongue. I find frankincense uplifting to the mood so if I’m feeling low it helps me feel better. It is also very calming and grounding if I’m feeling high stress and feeling nervousness or anxiousness. You wouldn’t want to ingest any essential oils as most of the oils on the market are not pure so you want to make sure you have a really high quality and they are therapeutic grade.
What made you decide to make selling essential oils a career?
If I can overcome anxiety, I know anyone can. I have spent the last 10 years searching for something to help me. I’m not saying that essential oils have completely cured me of anxiety, but they have helped me in a huge way. I have had years of therapy, seen many holistic doctors and healers and spent thousands of dollars trying to heal myself. I believe if we can get the body back into a state of balance, the body can heal itself and I have found essential oils amazing to help balance the body. I want to help other people overcome health challenges so they can lead a full life.
Many people will turn to drugs or alcohol, or they turn to medication. I have taken medication and I absolutely feel that there is a time and a place for it but I didn’t want to be on medication forever. The easy way out for me was to stay on an antidepressant because it can help get you out of the black hole that you feel you are in. I had to push myself every day, and I weaned myself off antidepressants and faced my fears. It was a huge struggle, but the more you get through your fears, the more empowered you become and the more you want to empower others to do that, too.
There are so many women out there who are completely living in fear, and the biggest thing about something like anxiety or depression is we hide it. We are completely ashamed. We feel like our minds are out of control and we have a mental illness. It is a hidden disorder. I was very ashamed of it and I hid it for many years. There are only a few close friends that really know my story.
I started sharing my story when I started teaching about essential oils but I still feel very vulnerable sharing in front of many people. It still feels very raw, but I know that by sharing my story, I can help other women and kids as well. There are so many kids that suffer from anxiety and they don’t know what’s wrong with them. I thought I was going crazy. To be able to help others see that they’re not going crazy and that there are millions of other people going through this too and they can overcome it, is very rewarding. It’s always great to talk to a therapist--I had a wonderful therapist--but having something like essential oils as well that can help support the body to calm your mind is really amazing.
What did you do before?
I was an office manager in a holistic health center and then I started my own business as a professional organizer and feng shui practitioner. I have always loved to organize and I would help people organize their homes and offices and clear out their clutter.
What do you do for stress relief?
Meditation. Not enough though but I do like to meditate and have quiet time. And sometimes I just need to get away. Yesterday, I went to the park and sat by the river. That’s a huge stress relief for me. I love to be in the park and be near the water. And I use my oils. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I put some oils in the diffuser and I inhale deeply.
What do you love about New York?
There is definitely a love-hate relationship at times. I love the opportunity in New York. It kind of baffles me why I came here because when I arrived 16 years ago I was very anxious and I came to one of the most stressful cities in the world, but I really believe that I came here to get over this. If I had been at home in Scotland maybe I wouldn’t have been so challenged to face my fears. I’ve pushed myself through many fears over the last few years, I’ve had to in New York, or I would have never left the house. It would have been easy to stay home and be depressed but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to get over my fears. I knew there was so much more for me and New York has given me an amazing opportunity and I met amazing people. I have a beautiful family here. I love my neighborhood. There is so much diversity and acceptance here. There are people from every country in the world here and people from every religion. I love that about New York.
What do you not love about New York?
What I don’t love about New York is how busy and crazy it gets. Different areas in the city are so busy and I wonder why I am here. You can feel the stress. I’m very sensitive and sensitive to the people around me. Maybe that was one of the reasons I would feel very anxious on the train. I was feeling everyone else’s energy. It’s been tough, but it made me toughen up and I think that’s what I needed to do. I needed to keep facing my fears every single day. I do love New York and I would miss it if I left but sometimes I love to get away from it all.
Do you have a personal story with essential oils? Please share in the comment below!
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