For a few years, I was stuck: caught between all of the doctors I saw, who thought there was something wrong with me psychologically, and the fact that deep inside of me was a calm, inner voice that knew it just wasn’t true.
Feeling as though I’d run out of other options, I became really interested in alternative medicine.
I still wanted an explanation for my pain that had something to do with my physical body.
I wanted to be seen; I wanted to be heard: I wanted to be believed. And the alternative medicine practitioners I saw were able to provide me with that validation. They believed me– of course the traditional doctors hadn’t been able to solve my problem.
For a while, I went a little bit off the deep end. I read just about every book I could find on energy healing. I started taking turmeric capsules instead of Advil; I bought crystals.
I began to see traditional medicine as somewhat of a sham, propped up by the pharmaceutical companies. And I thought anything that fell under the heading of “alternative” medicine had to be good.
I had a lot of reasons to reject the “establishment” view. The establishment, after all, is what failed me. I’d slipped through the cracks, so many times; the safety nets I’d counted on had turned out to have holes in them. Of course, it made sense that what was “traditional” had failed me again.
Now, I don’t want to offend anyone by insulting or dismissing an approach that has been helpful for them. But if I were to give you the complete list of everything I tried, well, just about every “alternative” treatment is on it.
However, the truth is that nothing I tried worked, and all of it cost me a lot of time and money.
Looking back, there were definitely times when I must have been “that crazy person,” insisting to people that they try this same new treatment I was doing, or that they consider the fact that their headaches or thyroid problem could be entirely caused by blocked energy flow in the body.
My views have changed a lot since then– the science classes I’ve taken have opened my eyes to just how much we really do know, using “regular” science.
But I still have a lot of empathy for the “crazy” people, because I was one. I know how easy it is to believe a convincing claim from a caring person who probably genuinely thinks they’re going to to help you. Especially if you don’t have much of a scientific background.
I used to believe some crazy shit I’d be really embarrassed to admit to you now.
That’s why, even though my perspective has changed, I don’t believe in shaming people, or embarrassing them, for trying to do something to heal themselves. Everyone is on their own path… and some of our paths can get a bit convoluted.
I’m not trying to say that alternative medicine doesn’t help anyone. I believe there are some treatments that are probably more legitimate than others (for example, acupuncture has been shown to have some pretty significant effects for pain relief, although evidence suggests it may be more due to the body releasing endorphins in response to a needle than anything else).
But at the end of the day, I was struggling from the effects of central sensitization, which none of these belief/treatment systems had any means of addressing. There’s no way any of these treatments were going to help me, because even my original “diagnosis” was always wrong.
I felt better, emotionally, when I was given an explanation that had to do with my physical body… but ultimately, all of the treatments fell short.
After all, there was no way any school of thought was going to help me, if it didn’t even have a name for my problem.
To be continued in Part 6!
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