My History with Anxiety and Depression, Part I: What is Anxiety & Depression?

This post is Part I of a two-part series on anxiety and depression, which came about as a result of requests for more about my story from listeners of a recent podcast where I described my experiences, and from my audience on Instagram, who requested more details.


Ricki's story of anxiety and depression

When I was four years old, my parents sent me to summer day camp. I loved spending the day messing with finger paints, playing volleyball, singing campfire songs, or simply running around outside–all activities that I found exhilarating as a pre-kindergartner.

About halfway through the season, the counselors planned the Canada Day event (our “July 4th,” for those of you in the US): the idea was to hold a huge pageant with songs and dance numbers, with one keynote speaker chosen to kick off the festivities by marching across the huge stage at the front of the gymnasium, waving the Canadian flag as she regaled the audience with facts and ideas about the importance of patriotism.

That child was me.

Elated to be chosen and determined to do my best and make my favorite counselor, Kathy, proud, I practiced every day for the three weeks leading up to the event on July 1st. I memorized my lines and knew them perfectly. I could hoist the flag upright smoothly and gracefully, holding it aloft so it undulated delicately as I crossed the dais.

I left nothing to chance; I was ready.

On the big day, we prepared ourselves backstage. Five minutes before my debut, Kathy strode toward me with the flag under her arm, smiling broadly as she anticipated my exemplary performance. She proffered the flag pole and, as she pushed it toward me, I blurted out, “I can’t do it.

I could feel the hot flush of blood first filling, then leaving, my cheeks. I thought I might pass out.

Kathy was puzzled. She knew I’d perfected the performance in rehearsals. She knew the audience would love me.

Before she could ask what was wrong, I continued, “I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t DO IT,” my hands trembling, my face ghostly pallid.

With just a few seconds to spare, Kathy brandished the flag above her own head and marched onto the stage herself.

“I’m afraid our speaker has come down with a sudden case of larygitis,” she said, “So I’ll be delivering our opening speech today.”

I was not only devastated; I was humiliated.

And so began my lifelong affliction with high anxiety and depression, which persisted for almost 5 decades.

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Why It Can Be Hard to Get a Clear Candida Diagnosis, Part 1

Candida diagnosis difficulty

Do you feel certain that you have candida overgrowth, yet it seems that there’s no doctor who states this as your diagnosis?

After spending many frustrating months hearing “it’s not candida” or “there’s no such thing as candida overgrowth,” I finally found a holistically-minded practitioner who confirmed what I had been thinking. Up until that point, every time I mentioned “candida” I was told that I was mistaken, or that my symptoms were caused by something else, or that I was over reacting to purely “superficial” symptoms.

Why is it so difficult to obtain a clear diagnosis of candida?

In today’s video, I talk about my own experience and what I learned over the years to explain why those of us with candida overgrowth may have our concerns dismissed or simply ignored by some practitioners.

It’s not that your doctor doesn’t care about your health, and it’s not that they don’t want to help you.

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Quick and Easy Avocado Boats from College Vegan

avocado boats from college vegan cookbook by heather nicholds

[Super easy to prepare and delightfully tasty, these Avocado Boats are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.] One of the requests I hear all the time from readers and students in my programs is, “Can you provide recipes that are […]

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Does Healthy Food Prep Take Too Long? Here’s What To Do

saving time on healthy food prep

Whenever I ask my clients or people in my programs what is their greatest challenge sticking to their dietary restrictions, one of the first answers I normally hear is, “Prepping all that healthy food just takes TOO LONG.” Of course, it makes sense that in our modern society, where we expect almost everything to be […]

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What Is EFT and Should You Try It?

EFT discussion on

What is EFT? EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, is also known simply as “tapping.” It was developed by Gary Craig, who took an earlier technique called Thought Field Therapy from psychologist Roger Callahan and both simplified and modified it so it would be easier to apply in more situations. The Principles of Tapping According to […]

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Homemade Twix Bars (Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Egg-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free & optionally Nut-Free)

candida diet, vegan, grainfree Twix Bars recipe

As a kid growing up in a home where all desserts were from-scratch, I was more or less obsessed with candy bars. I couldn’t wait to become an adult already, so I could buy as many candy bars (called “chocolate bars” where I grew up) as I wanted. As soon as I was old enough […]

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Lessons from Living with Candida for 20 Years

vegan candida diet for 20 years

What’s it like to be dealing with candida for 20 years? How does that even happen?  I can barely believe it myself, but this month marks 20 years since my first candida diagnosis. In today’s video, I talk about what’s been happening in my candida journey over the past two decades since I was first […]

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Matcha White Chocolate Truffles

candida diet, sugarfree, glutenfree, dairyfree matcha truffles recipe

[Perfect for special occasions or to make any occasion special, these Matcha White Chocolate Truffles are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, optionally nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet; Paleo friendly and Keto friendly.] As an avowed sweets lover, I honestly think there’s nothing more decadent and […]

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3 Essential Keys to Change Your Diet Permanently

3 keys to eat better for life

  What does it really take to change your diet permanently?  If you’ve done it, you know it’s not an easy–or a straight–path. But adopting new habits, learning to eat (and love!) new foods, and making the small shifts that are necessary for real, lasting change can be an absolute life saver. When you restrict […]

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The Ultimate Cauliflower Porridge Bowl

keto friendly, grainfree, sugarfree, dairyfree cauliflower porridge recipe

[Winter warmer with added chopped apple, vanilla and cinnamon.] So yes, I imagine you might be wondering about this recipe given its title. Let me start by saying, I grew up as someone who enjoyed a very conventional diet. In fact, I could have been the poster child for the Standard American Diet. Lucky Charms, […]

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