Stop saying, “you don’t look sick.” The pain is real. I always hid behind a smile and appeared to have it all together. Many people closest to me didn’t even know my life until they read my book, “From Hell to Rebirth.”.
As a part of our “Unstoppable” series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle L. Potter.
Michelle L. Potter is a traditional naturopath at Naturally Thriving with Michelle, a certified NES Health practitioner, a YogaFaith instructor, the owner of online clothing shop mi-Chalet boutique, and a chronic illness and Lyme Disease survivor. Potter has completed studies and received certifications from Trinity School of Natural Health, YogaFaith and YogaFaith University, and NES Health. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of South Alabama and a Master of Arts and Human Development degree in educational leadership and administration from George Washington University. Potter’s journey to becoming a traditional naturopath began with her health deteriorating from chronic health conditions, complications from Lyme Disease and coinfections, mental illness as well as fatigue from constant doctor shopping and collecting prescriptions. A Louisiana native, Potter enjoys spending time in prayer, reading, practicing Pangu Shengong and yoga, meditating, gardening, and going on adventures with her family. Potter is a mother of two and the wife of the love of her life, Steve. She currently resides in Gibson, La.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Absolutely! My name is Michelle Potter. I was born and raised in Gibson, LA. Sick with chronic illness and mysterious symptoms most of my life led me down a road of
self-destruction. Then, I was officially diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2014 and reconfirmed in 2016. Now I am a thriver instead of a survivor. I do not let my illness dictate my life.
Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you became disabled or became ill? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?
My symptoms of illness began when I was a child and doctors just attributed it to worry most of the time. Over the years, I had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH); depression; hyper-mania; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); hyperthyroid and hypothyroid individually, and then later, became Hashimoto’s, anemia, Epstein Barr virus; fibromyalgia; MTHFR Heterozygous 1298C, plus quite a few other genetic mutations; concussion; mold syndrome; continuous cold; upper-respiratory conditions; flu diagnoses. About 600,000 dollars -worth of misdiagnoses later, and someone finally suggested I research chronic Lyme disease.
Knocking on death’s door seem to be my specialty all of these years, and quite frankly I needed to change my attitude and perspective on healing. The shift in my life began when I opened up my personal Pandora’s box and began to bring light to the deep darkness that was hidden in my soul. I had stored it all away for my whole life, refusing to deal with it. I learned that I was only just beginning to peel layers of years of traumas. I realized that I had invested a lot of energy and time into negative thoughts, negative emotions, negative patterns, and self-pity into my illness and my life journey — and it needed to stop! I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.
Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your disability or illness?
My greatest accomplishment is the release of my first book, “From Hell to Rebirth” detailing my long-term suffering with chronic illness, addiction, and Lyme disease.
What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?
There is no one size fits all treatment plan. You have to find what works for you and your body. Be mindful of your thoughts and where you are directing your precious energy. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and not tear you down with their judgments or gossip. Most of all be grateful that your heart is still beating and you are ALIVE! You are a precious gift!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Yes. My family is my world. Steve, Brynin, and Kylie never wavered on support, care, encouragement, laughter, and unconditional love during my darkest hours. We are grateful for our family’s new beginnings, and we make sure every day is about going on new adventures and making new memories together.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I help others who are suffering mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually with chronic illness and mysterious symptoms. I help them with a plan to start regaining their life back and start walking a path forward not backwards. Life is precious and meant to be lived. For more goodness, please visit www.naturallythrivingwithmichelle.com .
Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.
1. Lyme is called the “Great Imitator.”Many are walking around with debilitating illnesses and the possible root cause is Lyme. This is my definition of what these limitations imposed on my life. This nightmare’s ulterior motive is to kill its host with a painful and slow death. It eventually breaks a person down to their core and rots out their insides and eventually breaks down their organs. It takes away their quality of life, creates emotional distress, spreads and hides in different parts of the body; it is highly intelligent, and its ultimate objective is to kill its host in the most painful, slowest, and most deceitful way possible so that their death certificate reads: “Died of natural causes.”
2. Be kind and show compassion. People are fighting daily battles that many know nothing about.
3. Be a great listener. Most of us want to be heard and told we are not crazy.
4. Most of us have tried many different treatments. If there was a “cure” we would all have found it by now.
5. Stop saying, “you don’t look sick.” The pain is real. I always hid behind a smile and appeared to have it all together. Many people closest to me didn’t even know my life until they read my book, “From Hell to Rebirth.”.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” ~ Caroline Adam
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
There are so many I would love to meet. Being that I have to choose 1 person, then I would choose Ally Hilfiger. She is a woman of courage and strength and a voice for so many who are suffering from the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease. I relate most to her story because I was also told I was a mental case and should be admitted to a psych ward because I was mentally unstable on the verge of a nervous breakdown.