I couldn’t possibly have known it at the time, but my sickness was a blessing in disguise. Life had a lesson to teach me, kicking and screaming, because there was no way I could have learned that lesson willingly, nor would it have left the impact it ultimately did.
We live in an age of convenience and quick fixes. Dinner can be popped in the microwave and served moments later. Entertainment is on hand with the push of a TV remote. Products can be purchased and delivered to the doorstep without ever stepping foot outside of home. Landing a date is a mere numbers game of app swiping. Every aspect of our life has become revolutionized, and our approach to healthcare is no exception. There are painkillers available at the first sign of physical discomfort, and anti-inflammatories to save the day in the case of swelling. Antibiotics are used to wipe out infection, and mood-stabilizers set you straight when feeling emotionally out of sorts.
I was raised with the model of quick fixes, and I had no reason to doubt it. I would swallow ibuprofen or aspirin when I felt a headache coming on, and was prescribed a cocktail of antidepressants for my teenage blues. When my acne stopped responding to the vast assortment of cleansers and creams, my dermatologist put me on an antibiotic regimen. I thought nothing of any of this, and kept on swallowing pills, until the poor state of my health could no longer be ignored. I suddenly found myself in a miserable pit of disease. Every mouthful I ate was followed by exhaustion and extreme bouts of heartburn.
My hair began to fall out, as I vacillated between hyperthyroidism that caused drastic weight-loss and racing heartbeat, and hypothyroidism that left me sluggish and shivering uncontrollably. I went from doctor to doctor, appointment after appointment, but none of their solutions were helpful and I began to lose hope. No combination or dose of antidepressants could shake me of my despair. I was out of quick-fixes.
When I received a recommendation to see a chiropractor who practices kinesiology, I was cynical enough to mock it, but desperate enough to try it. With the doctor’s holistic approach, my appointment consisted of a full-body adjustment and some muscle testing, and he sent me home with instructions for dietary changes, supplement recommendations, and a follow-up appointment.
I expected nothing to change, and indeed, nothing changed, drastically. But in the days, weeks, and months that followed, there was no denying the slow but gradual progress I was making. The pain and exhaustion associated with eating steadily decreased, my skin began to clear up, and the stable numbers on my thyroid-testing blood work was all the proof I needed. It was then that my paradigm shifted from “quick-fixes” that achieve no lasting results, to “slow and steady wins the race”!
There was no way for me to continue seeing things as I had seen them before. It was as though a whole new world had opened for me, and I threw myself into learning everything I possibly could about taking a natural and holistic approach to my health. I discovered the way the body works as a complete unit, and the importance of treating the root cause of an issue. It became apparent how problematic the “quick-fix” mentality can be, as treating a symptom is essentially shutting down the body’s cry for help, effectively forcing it to create an even greater distress signal elsewhere. I could clearly understand how I had allowed my body to become a breeding ground for illness, by ignorantly fueling it with unnatural products, and attempting to suppress the warning signals with pharmaceuticals that further exacerbated the issue. I was amazed to learn that everything the body needs to thrive already exists in Mother Nature.
All I had to do was learn to listen to my body, which had lost its ability to communicate effectively after being shut down for so many years. My quest for nature’s healing led me on a journey of reeducating myself about everything I had previously taken for granted. I started viewing the products I was purchasing as a conscious choice, not a given. Every ingredient I came in contact with, be it food, personal-care items, or cleaning products, was present because I wanted it there and trusted that it would not be to my detriment.
The seemingly endless stream of natural approaches that I encounter on my journey are being stored away in my personal arsenal of tips I can rely on for assistance, should my body inform me of the need, without fear of repercussions. As I continue to learn and implement my knowledge, my health continues to improve in ways that have exceeded my expectations. I’m incredibly grateful for this humbling experience, through which I have developed my personal motto- “Do not value convenience of life over life itself.”