Mental health issues affect one in five adults throughout their lifetime. As the stigma surrounding mental health slowly lifts, more people are coming forward to share their stories. Thanks to people courageously stepping forward, more are starting to recognize their own struggles.
Nobody has to suffer alone anymore. In hearing these stories, people are seeing pieces of their own struggles in the lives of others. Witnessing this firsthand helps people come to the important conclusion that, “it’s going to be okay. If somebody else can get through this, then I can, too.”
One person sharing their inspirational story with the world is Macgill Moore Frutchey. Better known to the 180,000 plus who follow her on Facebook and Instagram as MacgyveringMom, Macgill has fought panic attacks since she was 17. Now a mother of three, she hopes to educate other moms, friends, and even her children on ways to manage anxiety and depression naturally. Here is her story.
MacGyvering Mom Explains Her First Panic Attack
People say, “you never forget your first time,” in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner. However, this rings true for Macgill, who will never forget her first-ever panic attack. This unprecedented event happened a year before she entered adulthood at a time where stress levels are about to hit a fever pitch.
It was English class, and students in Macgill’s classroom were set to make presentations. Not known for being shy, Macgill felt okay about giving her speech prior to the class commencing. Then, halfway through the period, things started to change for Macgill. Unlike other times, the future mental health advocate was about to experience feelings throughout her system that she never felt before.
As Macgill recalls, fear started to creep up on her right as she was about to give her speech. Her chest began to tighten, and when she went to speak, her voice cracked. She surveyed the room and noticed all eyes were on her.
This realization caused more panic to set in. Macgill felt the color leave her face. Nervous, Macgill’s heart began to pound. Finally, crippling fear rushed through her veins. It rendered her almost paralyzed as she embarrassingly trembled through her presentation.
Although Macgill had heard about panic attacks, she never saw one or experienced it first hand. When her first panic attack hit, it never even crossed her mind what this could be. Now, she knows all too well. Panic attacks soon became a regular part of Macgill’s existence and would follow her well into adulthood.
Panic Attacks in College
Anxiety among students is a common condition that continues to grow in numbers. In fact, in the mid-2000s, the number of teenagers suffering from anxiety climbed 20% over a five-year span. Macgill was one of the many included in that statistic.
Presentations weren’t the only school event that would cause Macgill to tense up. Just going to class was enough to trigger the symptoms of a panic attack. Macgill recalled one of the first days of college, when students have to go around the class and introduce themselves to their peers. While considered an icebreaker, Macgill froze up instead.
To avoid embarrassment, physical pain, and fear, Macgill began to skip classes. Scared there was something wrong with her, the future social media star would keep her problems to herself. Unfortunately, these burdens would become too much for her to bear.
Anxiety into Adulthood
Adulting can be emotionally exhausting. For an anxious person, those feelings are nothing but exasperated. Just ask Macgill.
Even after graduating, Macgill continued to hit road bumps in her journey. One of the most trying was when she was diagnosed with cancer. During her treatment, Macgill underwent 10 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 treatments of radiation. Each trip to the clinic caused immense fear throughout her body. However, Macgill refused to be defeated and tried to keep a positive mindset. She attempted everything from meditation to prayer. Yet, nothing seemed to improve her disposition.
She dealt with these issues as best as she could for 18 years. One of the ways she coped was taking Xanax. Like the 48 million others who are prescribed Xanax, Macgill experienced horrible side effects. Most notably, she would get sleepy. As a woman starting her career and eventually becoming a mother, lethargy is the enemy. Therefore, Xanax was a temporary fix.
Throughout her adult life, Macgill attempted to find the right balance between a quality life and medicating. Eventually, she had enough. Macgill met the straw that broke her back.
Anxiety Sparked by Life Events
There’s no denying that driving can cause anxiety. Now, toss in the stress of relocating from one state to another. That’s a recipe for a full-blown panic attack. This is exactly happened to Macgill.
Over the past two years, Macgill found it increasingly difficult to manage her symptoms of anxiety and depression. She finally had enough when she decided to move her family from Georgia to North Carolina.
Although her panic attacks had already been bad, this trip set the condition into a tailspin. For the first time in her life, Macgill suffered three panic attacks within one road trip. Admittedly, Macgill wasn’t sure what caused this reaction. Sure, moving is stressful. However, she was actually excited about this next chapter.
Scarily enough, the last of the three attacks caused Macgill to experience numbness in her arms. These tingling feelings were followed by a growing knot in her chest. Finally, she started to feel dizzy.
Fearing for the safety of herself and others, Macgill and family pulled off into a restaurant parking lot. They even contemplated leaving the car in the parking lot because Macgill’s husband was afraid she was going to drive off the road. It was at this moment that Macgill felt powerless to her condition. She began to wonder if the anxiety won. However, she took her dreaded Xanax and ventured on.
Reaching a Breaking Point with Panic Attacks
Just as the panic attacks followed Macgill from high school to college, her post-move life saw these episodes increase in frequency and severity. It got to the point where Macgill couldn’t drive her children to camp. Every time she left the house, the tightening of the chest and shortness of breath would start up. She wasn’t living her life anymore. Instead, Macgill was living a nightmare.
Taking a look in the mirror, Macgill didn’t see the badass woman she used to be. The person suffering from panic attacks driving her children around town didn’t seem like the same woman who survived cancer by creating hysterical memes while walking down the halls of hospitals attached to a chemo IV. It was then that she made it her mission to find that beast from within.
Taking the Reins to Control Panic Attacks
Macgill was desperate and almost sacrificed her belief system to feel better. She was about to pick up the phone and ask her doctor to prescribe her medication fulltime to deal with these ongoing panic attacks. Thinking long and hard about her distaste for Xanax, Macgill’s mind wandered.
She thought about what used to bring her joy before panic attacks controlled her life. Reminiscing brought Macgill back to the last time the panic attacks were almost manageable–her college years.
During her college tenure, Macgill earned a bachelor’s degree in food science and dietetics. Before she succumbed to a life dictated by panic attacks, Macgill was a huge proponent for holistic health. She became downtrodden when she realized that her zest for homeopathy hit the wayside in order to barely survive a panic attack. Now, she was faced with a huge decision. Did she want to give in to the meds just to get rid of these panic attacks, or did Macgill want to manage these symptoms on her own?
Homeopathic Care for Panic Attacks
Remembering her college thesis, Macgill started to think about nutrition and its role in the growth and prevention of diseases. As a mother of three living a fast-paced life, Macgill thought about the stress she faces each day and how it can chip away at the nutrients in her system. Furthermore, she started to think about all the preservative-heavy foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Thinking back to her thesis, Macgill decided that she needed to live a more natural life if she wanted to manage her panic attacks. Putting her degree to good use, she reintroduced herself to a litany of herbs and supplements that could help her cope with the persistence of panic attacks. This re-education would prove invaluable as it would forever change Macgill’s life for the better.
Herbs for Panic Attacks
As Macgill explains in her Facebook post that details her journey, “We’re just not told about herbs because there’s no significant money to be made off of them. Herbs can’t be patented. Most doctors don’t tell us about them because they simply don’t know, and it’s not their job. Their job is to perform surgery and prescribe medicine because that’s what they’re trained to do. And thank God for that!”
Macgill empathizes with medical professionals. They have a place in this world when it comes to making us feel better. However, they can’t be with us for all hours of the day. A lot of the heavy lifting needs to be done at home.
Realizing she was onto something, Macgill hit the books. She familiarized herself with courses she proudly received A’s in:
- Organic chemistry
As Macgill recalls, “Once our bodies start to become depleted of the vital nutrients that are constantly needed to sustain us at our maximum neurological level, such as tryptophan (the amino acid that is the basic precursor to serotonin), Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (or GABA), L-theanine, and all of the B-vitamins, then the anxiety/depression starts to hit the neurological fan.”
MacGyvering Mom and All-Natural Supplements for Anxiety
There are several all-natural products that Macgill now uses to keep her nutrition and mental health in check. Off the bat, she mentions CBD. Macgill professes that since taking CBD oil three times a day, her anxiety has dropped 90%. She notes that at the first sign her breath is becoming shallow, she applies drops under her tongue. Macgill says that when this happens, the anxiety feels like “it just fades out of my body somehow. It’s the damnedest thing.”
The reason Macgill experiences this change is due to the endocannabinoid system. This complex communication board regulates many autonomous functions, including our thoughts.
On top of CBD, Macgill added some other supplements to her regimen, which has seemed to improve her mood. For one, she’s using probiotics. Through the gut-brain-axis, Macgill manages her mental health by replenishing her body with beneficial stomach bacteria. That way, probiotics can help fight off other harmful bacteria that may be triggering a negative response from the vagus nerve.
This complex set of nerves sits at the end of the brainstem and communicates back to the system how the environment within the gut looks. When harmful bacteria sets up shop, it creates a negative stimulation for the vagus nerve, which follows up the brainstem. Therefore, when your gut health is out of control, so is your mental health.
Also, Macgill makes sure she gets plenty of essential vitamins that most people are lacking. Research shows that up to 75% of people don’t meet their daily recommended magnesium intake. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 bodily functions. Therefore, lacking this crucial element can cause some of the communication throughout the brain to misfire. For better absorption of this essential magnesium, Macgill gets a chelated version of the supplement.
She also is sure to supplement with vitamin D. As anyone who worships the sun knows, our solar system’s biggest star can make us feel happy. However, many of us, including working parents like Macgill, spend the majority of their days indoors. Therefore, one billion people and counting have low levels of this essential vitamin. No wonder panic attacks are on the rise!
Tranquilene for Panic Attacks
Tranquilene is formulated with a litany of botanicals that are essential for healthy brain function. Namely, it incorporates several herbs that are staples in Ayurvedic practices. Some of these botanicals and organic compounds include:
- GABA: Calming neurotransmitter in the brain
- L-theanine: Amino acid that is a precursor to GABA production
- Ashwagandha: Ayurvedic root shown to help lower stress levels
- Tryptophan: Converts to serotonin
- Passionflower: Reduces anxiety and may help with opiate withdrawals
- Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri): Improves focus and studies compare it to Larazopram
- Vitamin D3: Critical vitamin for mood regulation
- Magnesium: Essential mineral for over 300 biological functions
As you can see, Tranquilene contains many of the vitamins and minerals that Macgill decided to add to her wellness routine. No wonder this product was at the top of her list of effective supplements for panic attacks.
Here is the exact post she made which has helped many people struggling with anxiety and panic attacks:
“This post is long. Like, wtf girl stop writing a novel long, but please read all the way to the end if you or someone you love suffers from anxiety/depression/panic disorders. After last nights post and seeing so many DMs and comments about many of you suffering from anxiety, I thought i’d open up and share with you about what I’ve been going through lately and what has helped me deal with this beast. I didn’t share before bc I wanted to figure out what the hell was going on with me first, and find some relief before I did. 🖤💞🖤 Meme posted from my new sweary & inspirational account Inspirational AF 💫
I was 17 the first time I ever had a panic attack. I remember it vividly. Right there, smack dab in the middle of my English class, giving that presentation I had one. It came on out of nowhere. I had given numerous speeches before that, and had never experienced this problem. I didn’t know that what I was having was even called a panic attack, but I was equally mortified and terrified all the same. What must everyone be thinking of me right now? Can they tell? My trembling voice, the look of terror on my pale face. I felt like I was silently hyperventilating and suffocating all at the same time. My mind unable to focus, my heart pounding like it was about to explode. Terror rushed through my veins as though I was being forced to walk through a room full cockroaches (another fear of mine) except there wasn’t a cockroach in sight. It stunned me and scared me shitless. I know now that this particular type of anxiety is called “performance anxiety” and generally disappears after I’m removed from the stressful situation.
This horrid phenomenon followed me to college and made me DREAD doing things. Simple things, like even just going to class. That whole “now let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves” thing almost did me in. Would rather have kept a cockroach as a fucking pet than get up to speak. I skipped so many classes my first year of college because of it. And I never told anyone, because I thought there was something wrong with me. Yes me, this meme-er who seems extroverted and entertaining and well spoken online, but still struggles with it to this day. If it’s a group gig, and I have an inkling that I’ll have to speak in front of a crowd, I avoid it like the plague.
And it gets worse. 18 years later, after only having to deal with this shit when speaking in public, it started to creep its way into my every day life. 5 months ago, to be exact. I mean, I have been put through the ringer both physically and emotionally over the past 2 years. But the worst day to date, was the day that we moved from Atlanta to North Carolina. The straw that broke the camels back, I guess. I had 3 massive panic attacks in the first couple hours of driving. For absolutely no fucking reason at all. We almost left my car at a restaurant halfway because my husband was afraid that I’d run off the road due to the numbness in my arms, tightness in my chest and the dizziness in my head. I ended up making the rest of the drive that day by the grace of God and Xanax, but just barely. And I hate taking Xanax bc it makes me so fucking tired.
This ridiculousness continued throughout the first few weeks in our new home, despite using my tried and true meditative state that usually helps me when feeling anxious and my right hand mānn Jesus. Have you met any of the “just chill out” people when talking about this issue? They better never dare tell me it’s due to a lack of positive thinking or faith when this shit happens bc you are talking to the girl who went 10 rounds of chemo and 33 of radiation and maintained a positive outlook the entire time so that I could slay TF outta that beast. I was literally walking the halls of the hospital, wheeling around a damn chemo pole in my left hand, phone in my right, creating memes to make you guys laugh and feel less alone in the trenches of motherhood, just so that I could reap the benefits of what laughter and camaraderie does to the human body. It HEALS. But despite my strong focus on the positive, I started having panic attacks every time I left the house to drive the boys to camp or whatever. I seriously thought I was losing my mind or was experiencing the onset of agoraphobia.
I COULDN’T DRIVE. How was I going to do life and be a mom if I couldn’t even fucking drive?
Just as I was about to put in a call in to my Dr to ask to be put on full time antidepressant/anti anxiety meds ASAP, I remembered my first love. Holistic health and preventative/alternative medicine. My bachelors degree was in food science and dietetics with a focus on holistic nutrition. My senior thesis was a research paper citing dozens of published medical journals, proving that numerous prevalent diseases and disorders today are primarily caused by our bodies becoming out of balance due to a lack of nutrients due to the S.A.D (standard American diet) and (all forms of) stress. Not only that, but that there are a plethora of natural herbs and supplements that are just as effective, if not more than, the drugs that are typically prescribed for them.
We’re just not told about them bc there’s no significant money to be made off of herbs bc they can’t be patented. And most Drs don’t tell us about them bc they simply don’t know and it’s not their job. Their job is to perform surgery and prescribe medicine bc that’s what they’re trained to do. And thank God for that!!
Where would I be without all the amazing drs and nurses that operated on me and administered all the chemo when I was battling cancer? Dead. I be dead ( sorry I’m inappropriate you’re welcome 😆💀) So I’m definitely not knocking drugs and traditional medicine, or telling you to stop taking anything that you’re already taking, but when I find a natural alternative that has no side effects and works just as well, then I’m all in!
I’ve finally found a combination of things that are genuinely helping my social anxiety and panic disorder. From what I learned in biochemistry, microbiology, organic chemistry and anatomy & physiology (which I made all As in oh snap! not sorry 😆💅🏻) and what many people don’t think about, is how equally important nutrition is for our mental health, just as it is for our physical health. Nutrition is closely linked to the brain and nervous system health.
And once our bodies start to become depleted of the vital nutrients that are constantly needed to sustain us at our maximum neurological level, such as tryptophan (the amino acid that is the basic precursor to seratonin) Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (or GABA), L-theanine, and all of the B-vitamins, then the anxiety/depression shit starts to hit the neurological fan.
And the more they become depleted, the worse we can mentally go off the deep-end. And for many, replacing those nutrients on a regular basis, plus supplementing with some hard hitting herbs, you’ll begin to shift back to your best neurological level/self.
So, long story short, fast forward to my findings.
The combination of oils (one is CBD) and vitamins/herbs that I’m taking 3x a day have now reduced my crazy anxiety by about 90+% When I feel anxiety coming now on or a panic attack encircling, on a scale of 1-10, it escalates to about a 1-3 (when it used to be a 9-12😭😭😭) and then it just dissipates. It’s the damndest thing. When I feel the tightening and dizziness start and the breathlessness begin, they escalate as though you’ve just switched on a fan and then immediately turned it back off. It just fades out of my body somehow. And this is no doubt an answer to many prayers. That’s usually the way he works with me— never zapping me with a *que maniacal voice* “MIRACLE!!!” but once I’ve put my thoughts on him and asked for guidance, his miraculous and living presence shifts words and images into my mind, leading me directly to where I need to go; I just have to take the action.
I’m not being paid to promote these products btw, and before I share these with you, keep in mind that when taking the holistic route, it’s going to take many more steps, effort, money upfront and time for results to show up. CONSISTENCY IS KEY WHEN IT COMES TO NATURAL MEDICINE. It’s not like popping a Xanax where 30 minutes later you feel calm and drowsy, it’s more like about 3-5 days in you’re like “ok ok, I think I’m workin’ with something here” and then 15 to 30 to 45 to 60 days in you’re like HOLY SHITEBALLS I’M ME AGAIN AND I FEEL CALM AND HAVEN’T BEEN HAVING ANXIETY OR PANIC ATTACKS WTF IS THIS STUFF😭😍😍😭 See also: zero side effects 😍🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
So check it, just call me your zen dealer if you dare here we go😆
• Probiotics – important for gut healing thereby helping the rest of the nutrients you’re buying to be better absorbed. Preferably over 10 billion cfu’s per capsule (that’s not a lot, I promise🧐😄)
• Chelated magnesium – standard American diet is void of it and most people are depleted – is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body
• Vitamin D3 – again, many people are depleted in this vitamin that helps regulate the immune system and the release of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters affect brain function and development — and consequently, your mental health.
****Tranquilene (if you purchase nothing else, just get this product & CBD bc they’ve helped the most) its a product I found that combines several ass kicking herbs (passionflower, ashwaganda, Bacopa monnieri – all used in eastern medicine to treat panic disorders/anxiety) that work as well as Xanax, plus L-theanine, GABA, vitamin D3, all the b-vitamins (essential for healthy brain function and are easily depleted from stress and alcohol— 👀👀👀 looking at you, parents ) There are others on the market as well, several at health food stores, ‘Calm Now’ is a pretty good one I found at Whole Foods, but I like tranquilene the best. 2 to 3 capsules a day.
• Whole spectrum, 3rd party tested CBD oil — 5 drops on the tongue 2-3 x a day
• organic, cold pressed, black seed oil — 2 tsp 2 x a day ( maybe get this in capsule form because it straight up tastes like turpentine from someone’s butthole 💀 It comes from the nigella sativa plant and I’ve actually learned to love the spicy taste of it bc of how fucking much more chill I feel and have less aches/pains (it’s great for pain, lowering blood sugar, blood pressure) it contains thymoquinone, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may just be the next wonder herb even though it’s been used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries
• molecularly distilled fish oil with at least 1000 mg of omega 3’s per serving
• I also drink a “green drink” every day that has every green plant known to man in it, so it’s out-the-ass full of chlorophyll, which is chemically similar to hemoglobin, a protein that is essential in red blood cells as it carries oxygen around a person’s body. Actually I’m pretty sure this is why I was one of the first patients my Dr had ever treated with that much intense chemo that never had to have a transfusion throughout all 10 rounds. Thanks chlorophyll!!👏🏻🤩
Alrighty, my novel is over, and I swear if even one of you read this all the way to bottom and it helps you stop suffering from the nightmare that is anxiety/depression/panic disorder then I can go to sleep happy tonight. Meme ya later betches, God bless 🖤😘” – Macgill