What Getting Sick Taught me About Integrity
While I wanted to feel better, I also wanted to eat highly processed foods, rely on the latest and greatest pharmaceuticals (despite no long term luck with them), and be at the mercy of my physician. This is how it was for years! I so badly wanted to feel better, but I wasn’t able to see outside the box. It was not my fault, nor anyone’s fault that things ended up the way that they did, but I came to realize that it was my responsibility to find a way to get better.
I started to see a Functional Medicine Doctor and the first things she told me to do were “stop eating processed foods, take these supplements, and make sure you are avoiding these things.” But something stood out to me about these appointments: rather than tell me what we needed to work on, she put a lot of it in my hands. She would ask me what next step I wanted to take and she would add guidance when needed. She let me lead which was something that I was not used to. There were so many instances where my conventional doctor would not acknowledge what I was feeling or what questions I had. I remember asking my conventional doctor why I was tested for celiac disease countless times, but I didn’t test positive until the very last time. He told me “not to worry about it, you have your diagnosis now.” I remember telling my conventional doctor that I thought the ritalin (concerta) was contributing to my panic attacks and that I wanted to eliminate it. Instead he prescribed me xanax because I “needed ritalin to help me get through school.”
The biggest difference between Functional Medicine Doctors (by the way, most Functional Medicine Doctors are conventionally trained MDs who had their own health crises and were forced to turn to integrative medicine to finally heal) and conventional doctors is that Functional Medicine Doctors empower us. They empower us to take responsibility and take control. They coach us through these changes. They realize that our choices are the biggest driving force to our health (poor lifestyle directly puts you at risk for chronic disease). We can take all of the supplements in the world but if we aren’t eating well, we are not going to get better. When we are constantly turning to others for the answers, we give up our power. I truly believe that we all have the answers within, but we have to be tuned in with our bodies to be able to find them.
I learned what it means to “be in integrity with myself” when I took responsibility. I learned integrity when I stopped following all of the conventional doctor’s orders and trusted my gut! I learned integrity when I realized that MY food choices were making me sick. I learned integrity when I fired my conventional doctor because he continued to tell me that nothing was wrong. I learned integrity when I was no longer at the mercy of my physician. I learned integrity when I took responsibility for every aspect of my life.