It has taken me a long time to get where I am. It has been 34 years if you take into account my whole life, 18 if you start from my first venture into the world of psychiatry. More than half my life, just to be here. But here is a great place and was worth the journey.
Here, as I type this, is in my office, between patients. The broader, less literal picture of here is that I am in a very healthy and stable place, in the healthiest relationship of my life, and with a healthy appreciation for myself, just as I am, diagnosis and all. And yes, I meant to say healthy so many times. You see, I am a naturopathic doctor, and health is tied into everything that I do, day in and day out. I am also a person who happens to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
At the present moment, I don’t intend to use this space as a place to share the details of my story (I will, however, be giving a webinar including that story on January 15th for those who are interested). Instead, I hope to give some practical information from the perspective of both a doctor and a patient who has experience with both the conventional and the natural aspects of medicine. Occasionally that information will be related to a personal story that can be applicable to others, but I will try to keep those to strictly hope inspiring asides.
But before I write blogs with that intent, I thought you might like to know just a bit about me and where I am coming from. Although I am a naturopathic doctor, I am not fundamentally opposed to conventional medications. For some people, and in some circumstances (including my own), these medications can be life saving. But for many, they can be hard to stay on for one reason or another, or they become less effective. I operate from a standpoint that there are certain things that can be done to make sure ANY treatment you use is more effective, and that is what I intend to share with you in my blogs. That being said, the best medicines are individualized, so what I can share in this format will be broad and should not be taken as treatment advice. As always, you should consult your doctor before you make any sweeping changes.
Now that the professional stuff is out of the way, I will share that I did have my life saved by pharmaceuticals once. I also had it saved by naturopathic medicine once. I am no longer on pharmaceutical drugs, and haven’t been for years, and to be perfectly honest, I never thought I would feel this good. I no longer have to worry that every happiness is really just the beginning of a manic episode that will end in destruction and humiliation, nor do I have to worry that sadness will take me to the darkest depths of depression where continued living seems like the worst torture. I have come to a place of acceptance and beyond, to advocacy. Not only have I dedicated my professional life to helping children and adults who suffer as I used to, I have made it my personal passion and purpose to help end the stigma of mental illness so that people can seek the help they need, whatever form that might be, without fear of what will happen or that they are inherently less than like I once did.
I look forward to sharing from my professional and personal experience. I hope you look forward to reading it.