Let me begin this post by saying–shocker–I am not a doctor. That’s why I’ve included this Bulletproof podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Bland, only the Godfather of functional medicine, and author of The Disease Delusion.
That said, I am constantly frustrated in conversation with clients/strangers/friends/family who have accepted their diagnosis/diagnoses as gospel.
I have anxiety.
I have a thyroid thing, which is why I can’t lose weight.
I’m this …
I’m that …
I say this only from experience. Remember when John’s Hopkins Dermatology diagnosed me with eczema, an auto-immune disease, and sent me on my merry way with a tub of steroid petroleum ointment?
“This should fix it!”
Quieting the symptoms, last I checked, isn’t fixing anything!!
In fact, I later learned that covering up those symptoms could have led to further inflammation, which would likely have resulted in something far more serious down the road.
Same goes for depression. There were several different bouts where I exhibited bipolar tendencies. I went through a short-lived but clearly unstable cutting phase, a bloody knuckled, punching trees phase, a suicidal phase. The highs were high, no doubt, and those lows were oh so low. Instead of seeing a professional, I self medicated with drugs and alcohol, certainly only making matters worse.
I know adults who are still on meds because a psychiatrist diagnosed them with bipolar tendencies when they were 18, and now they’re too afraid to come off.
As a matter of fact, when Elisa and I met seven years ago, she was just coming off the highest dose of Zoloft prescribed–a dosage that her psychologist suggested she’d take for the rest of her life.
Recently, I heard from a client that her bipolar diagnosis from her psychologist also came with the caveat that she’d never be consistently happy.
Needless to say, I’m not a fan of professionals who make obnoxious sweeping statements. Huge red flag! #secondopinion
In a perfect world, I’d love to see every Dr. address sleep, stress, diet, relationships, work/life, etc. before handing over a diagnosis. Or if they’re not qualified to do such, or don’t have the time … understandably so, they should be outsourcing clients to holistic/functional practitioners who get this 360 approach, therefore working in tandem with each other, cultivating a team.
The lack of discretion and context in diagnoses really bothers me, because what I see time and time again is this acceptance of a life sentence.
I have ____________, therefore I will always have ____________ and can’t do _______________ or ___________.
Pardon this mild rant, which is only meant to empower you. I hope to drive you to ask questions and not accept a prescription as your only option.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of western medicine. If I’m ever struck by a car, I’d much rather go to a hospital than see a holistic healer.
Doctors though are not omniscient and all powerful. They are fallible humans who make mistakes, just like the rest of us. They are data driven and often don’t have time to see the patient as an individual, case specific, so instead they work off statistics.
Again, not hating on doctors here. My grandfather was a prominent doctor in his community; I have the utmost respect.
All I’m encouraging is more research. Do the work they don’t have time to do. It’s all out there. Find the people who are flourishing with your condition, follow their suggestions.
It’s all trial and error, anyway–regardless of who you trust. Every BODY is different. What works for you might not work for somebody else, or vice versa.
The basics we know: sleep, stress, diet, movement all play a big role. Those need to be addressed first before anyone can get an accurate read, holistic or MD.
The other option is, of course, to accept the victim approach, the shitty cards we were dealt, to use the band-aid approach and merely keep symptoms at bay.
And yet symptoms are the only way our body knows how to communicate with us, so when we shut them off, we lose even more touch with our intuitive system.
Soooooo, let’s not go there anymore.
A lifetime of fulfillment, wellness and happiness is within our reach, but first we must let go of our delusion of disease!
I leave you with this: Are you thriving with a condition that otherwise might be considered debilitating? I’d love to hear about it!