Your Declaration of Independence
April 23, 2019
Take Care of Yourself
It's cliché, and we've all been told this at least once or twice throughout our lives. But what happens when you are trying? When you've followed the well-intentioned advice from every professional you encounter, read every article, tried what feels like every medication, and still, nothing seems to work?
The internet provides easy access to millions of articles, studies, blogs, and advertisements for remedies and medications; some of them making unfounded promises to get you better quickly, most of them contradicting one another. So, what is the person that IS trying to take care of his or herself to do when nothing seems to work?
Wellnicity was born with a sole purpose in mind, to put the individual's health and wellness back into their own hands and allow them to declare their independence. Independence from day to day struggles affecting their quality of life. Independence from failed therapies. Independence from feeling out of control and under-informed about their basic human-rights.
Independence that we are striving to bring to your doorstep.
Meet Our Founder
For someone who was once terrified of anything unfamiliar, Pam Machemehl Helmly has been shaking up the wellness world for over a decade. Pam was one of the first clinicians to provide at-home testing with customized vitamin packs and solutions to her clients. This included neurotransmitter testing; a science that, at the time, was relatively new to U.S. soil but well-established in Europe.
With insights to specific bio-markers through at-home testing, Pam was able to provide effective, customized, professional-grade supplement regimens to her clients who were failing medication therapy. Pam expanded her at-home testing beyond the brain and included gut health and hormones in her scope to help her clients take a holistic approach to wellness. But long before Pam was helping thousands of people take their health and wellness into their own hands, Pam was struggling to achieve this goal herself.
It didn't take Pam's parents long to determine that she was, well, "unique". While everyone acknowledged that Pam was reaching developmental milestones long before her peers, it was the behind-the-scenes behavior that concerned her young parents.
Pam, even in infancy, did not nap. She required constant stimulation to remain calm while she was awake. She experienced sensory issues, was over-stimulated by loud noises and could often be found engaging in self-soothing behaviors such as rocking with a blanket over her head.
While her parents recognized the challenges at home, it was reporting from Pam's kindergarten teacher (at age three) that confirmed to her parents that she was unique (more commonly delivered to them as "difficult").
Phrases such as "on-the-spectrum" were not commonplace in at the time. There was no Google. No neurotransmitter testing that could reveal what might be happening. What did exist was two hard-working parents with demanding careers without the tools, information or direction to understand that they had an undiagnosed Asperger's child on their hands.
The Dutch Solution
In early grade school, Pam's family moved to the Netherlands. Something that ended up being the perfect environment for someone in her situation. The level of engagement was different abroad, with classes focused on languages and music, lunch spent at the beach, and a diet that was more focused on fresh foods and protein and less on the processed foods trending in the U.S. Most importantly, Pam wasn't getting sick like she was back in the states.
What she later determined as the reasoning behind this was the fresh foods, the lack of dairy and gluten in her diet, the extensive amount of exercise and walking, and most importantly, the fact that they practiced preventive medicine rather than reactive medicine.
Following the move, Pam's parents were introduced to nutrient therapies such as Omega-3's and L-tryptophan to keep her calm and healthy. It was the beginning of a discovery that would change everything.
The Renegade Returns
Upon her return to the U.S., Pam began getting ill frequently as her diet and lifestyle returned to her pre-Netherlands state. During this period, Pam was also found to have dyslexia and ADHD, further complicating her parent's goal to help normalize her.
When Pam entered high school, she quickly became known as "the fun friend", with her adrenaline-seeking behavior. What Pam's parents didn't recognize was that this was yet another one of Pam's self-soothing, self-regulating behaviors. It was a telltale sign of neurotransmitter imbalances, something that we analyze in our at-home testing capabilities, but it would be many years before this information came to light.
Despite her struggling immune system and compounding issues, Pam was valedictorian of her graduating class. She had not lost sight of her goals and was determined not to let her issues define her.
As Pam entered college at Texas A&M University to pursue her degree in Scientific Nutrition, it felt like she was dealing with 15 different insurmountable issues at any given time. During her freshman year, while living in a dorm room, Pam began to realize how unique she really was.
Her roommate's absence of anxiety and irrational fears, normal sleeping patterns, ability to wear different textures such as blue jeans EVERY DAY intrigued Pam but also brought her to feel an insecurity about herself that she hadn't felt before.
Pam married her childhood boyfriend prior to graduating from A&M. Within months of starting birth control pills, Pam had to have blood clots removed and was forced to discontinue the medication. She ended up walking across the stage at graduation not even realizing she was pregnant. It was a six-week post-graduation hangover that would mark the beginning of what would prove to be a very difficult pregnancy.
Underlying hormonal imbalances that had gone undetected resulted in Pam delivering her first-born child thirteen weeks premature. The pregnancy and following hospital stay exacerbated Pam's neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances, heightening her symptoms - a cycle that only continued as she returned home to raise her son. Two short years later, Pam found herself in the hospital again on bedrest with her second premature child.
It felt like the world was closing in. Pam was experiencing severe post-partum depression and began to lose hold of her sanity. It was suggested at one point that Pam was experiencing post-partum psychosis, but Pam and her family disputed the suggestion as she never felt compelled to harm her children.
Pam's family sought medical intervention which lead to her being institutionalized 6 times over a five-year period. During this time, Pam's doctors tried numerous psychotropic medications to help her normalize. Some made her feel worse. Most had no effect at all.
During her final hospital stay, Pam decided that enough was enough. Her marriage had failed due to the stress and she knew her children needed their mom back. She decided to draw on her clinical knowledge to take a holistic approach to getting herself better.
Pam's Delcaration of Independence
Pam assessed her life and tried to pinpoint what was she doing and not doing during the times in her life when she felt her best. She joined a support group for mothers with post-partum depression while working diligently to recreate the diet she consumed as a young child in the Netherlands, including the removal of gluten and dairy.
Pam began researching her combination of symptoms and suspected a thyroid imbalance. It took years for her to convince a doctor to test her thyroid levels and write for thyroid support. Pam learned of a German scientist who was testing neurotransmitters in urine. Having long suspected that her neurotransmitters might be at the root of many of her issues, she tested her levels and confirmed her suspicions.
Working at a local compounding pharmacy in Austin, Texas, Pam began utilizing amino acid supplements and gastrointestinal support supplementation to clean up her gut and balance her brain. Pam still recalls her emotional response when she was able to experience her first full-night sleep.
Getting on Track
Things were beginning to normalize but there were still bouts of depression that tended to occur at the same stage of her menstrual cycle each month. Pam experimented with progesterone cream and was amazed by the difference, but still felt she had some improving to do.
She tested her hormone levels and confirmed that she had a progesterone deficiency. Armed with her results, Pam was able to determine the optimal dose of progesterone to help balance her hormone level just as she had done with her neurotransmitters.
Pam ultimately left the pharmacy group to open a private practice focused on neurotransmitter testing and targeted amino-acid therapy with additional testing to assist in gut and hormone health. Pam provided this systematic approach to fellow practitioners from Nutritionists to Neurologists who incorporated Pam's Brain Wellness Program into their practice.
Pam retained her own practice specializing in the brain chemistry of internationally and domestically adopted children and children with emotional traumas. At that point, Pam saw her life starting to come full-circle. She was able to take what she learned in her life and use it to help out those who really needed it. To help them find their declaration of independence. Something more rewarding than she could ever imagine.