A few words of encouragement for those of you dealing with mental health or physical health issues and are feeling discouraged by the resources and healthcare providers available to you. You are not alone and there IS hope. This is for anyone who needs it.
Who has felt neglected by the health care system.
Who has felt ignored by their healthcare providers.
Who have been told their symptoms are psychosomatic or that they should see a psychiatrist instead of continuing to look for real medical answers.
Who have had to wait weeks or even months to see a specialist for their health issues.
Who have felt lost, hopeless, incurable, abnormal, broken, or beyond ‘fixing’.
Who feels exhausted dealing with insurance companies.
Who wishes more resources and providers were available to them.
Who feels lost, stuck, or trapped.
Who feels like a prisoner in their own body or mind.
Who is SICK of being SICK.
You are NOT alone.
I felt called to write this post after a recent appointment with the psychiatric nurse practitioner I see for medication management and therapy.
Once a month, I drive almost 2 hours away to see a man (I’ll call him R for the sake of anonymity) that I can truly credit with saving my life. R is without a doubt the most incredible healthcare provider I have EVER worked with….let alone one of the best humans I’ve come to know. He is compassionate, validating, ….not to mention INCREDIBLY knowledgeable about his field and the human psyche in general. He uses his own life experiences to guide his practice and always reminds his patients that we ALL have issues…including healthcare providers themselves. No one is above struggle or pain and being seen as an equal by a provider is SO refreshing. I’ve described R to people as a total “breath of fresh air” when it comes to people in the healthcare industry. My mom and I sometimes discuss how his dedication, kindness, and expertise should be the standard of care not only in the mental healthcare system, but across the medical field. We joke about wishing we could clone him often! 😆
I’ve been under the care of doctors on and off for over 10 years; for various physical and mental conditions. It’s taken me to nearly 25 years of age to feel truly cared for, respected, listened to, acknowledged, and like someone is on MY SIDE.
I am so grateful to have found R, but also sad that it has taken this long to find proper medical care. Care being the operative word. So many healthcare professionals are completely desensitized. They go through the motions every day, treat patients like numbers or an occupied bed, and don’t have the motivation to acknowledge that every patient is individual and go the extra mile to truly help them.
And I am not placing total blame on the providers themselves. I KNOW that they are short-staffed, work too many hours, have too many patients to see, and are lacking resources as well. All that is just more proof of how broken our healthcare system is. I think I could write several posts on this topic…but for now I’ll just share more of my own journey and why I think it’s crucial to not give up looking for proper care/treatment.
What’s Made the Difference
I been asked a lot lately “with all the physical issues you have going on, how do you stay so happy and optimistic?”
It’s the result of a few crucial factors…
- Finding a provider who loves their work and truly cares | Most people are turned off of therapy after their first attempt because they don’t connect with the provider or feel uncomfortable. I am here to tell you….DON’T STOP LOOKING for the right person. Talking to R for me is like talking to a close friend or family member. I feel totally heard and seen. I feel comfortable expressing myself, being vulnerable, and discussing any of the current thoughts or feelings. It’s a SAFE space and because I feel so comfortable opening up I’ve been able to learn so much about myself in each one of our sessions.
- Discussion, Reflection, Practice, Repeat | We discuss the current struggles I’m having, reflect on why they are occurring and how they can improve, then I practice the new coping skills….and REPEAT. For the first time in my life I have REAL coping skills and am actually using them. Sure, it’s hard to use a coping skill over a maladaptive behavior, but R has taught me to not place a judgment value on any thought or action I have. Simply learn from everything I do and think and use it as a learning lesson to improve in the future. Side note: R doesn’t even have to be doing talk therapy with me…technically he is supposed to just manage meds. But because he is so dedicated to his work and his patients, he spends over an hour with me every time I see him. A stark contrast from one of my old providers who would have me in and out in 3 minutes…I timed it once. 😕
- Being on the right medication for ME | R recently did a gene/DNA test on me that tells us which medications my body responds to and metabolizes properly verses which ones don’t work in my body or give me unwanted side effects. This was EYE OPENING. I came to find out most of the medications I’ve been on for the past 10 years or have tried are NOT right for my body and in fact have caused adverse side effects. My first thought after getting the results was WHY IS THIS NOT THE STANDARD OF CARE FOR ALL PATIENTS!? Doctors pretty much prescribe medication like a blindfolded kid trying to pin the tail on the donkey. There are so many different meds in each medication class, so some are bound to be better for you than others. A few medications I’ve taken have landed me in the hospital and now I have the scientific proof that I never should have been put on those to begin with.
- Biological causes for my issues | In addition to finding out what medications I should and shouldn’t be taking, the DNA test also revealed that I am in the 3% minority of the population that cannot convert Folic Acid….otherwise known as the MTHFR mutation. So what does this mean for me? Read this article for all the details…but essentially, not being able to convert Folic Acid causes myriad mental and physical health issues, including depression and anxiety. So now I know I need to be taking L-Methylfolate for the rest of my life and should be able to get off the anti-anxiety medication I am currently on in a matter of time. This was amazing to find out and for the first time in my life I felt that everything is NOT my fault. It is SO easy to blame yourself when things go wrong with your health, you feel mentally off, or just aren’t yourself, but now I know there is a real biological basis for everything that I’ve been through. It’s so empowering.
I started working with R at one of the LOWEST points of my life. Rock bottom, if you will. But now, I can say I am happier and more mentally stable than I have been since adolescence.
For those of you going through a dark tunnel and seeing no light in sight, I can tell you things DO get better. I am on the other side of a lot of difficult times in my life. I still have a lot of health issues and mysteries to deal with, but my change in mindset and attitude has made it possible for me to get through these tough seasons of life without breaking down, isolating, or wishing I was dead. I am confident in my ability to handle ANYTHING life throws at me and to still enjoy life/thrive even though things aren’t perfect.
It’s possible for YOU too.
I know, I know. When you’re in the thick of it, feeling hopeless, or convinced that things can’t get better, it’s almost impossible to stay positive….let alone get through the day.
So I am asking you to trust me. Don’t worry about rationalizing it in your own head right now or making yourself believe. Let me hold the burden for you and put your faith in me as someone who been through hell and back.
I’m here for you. I care for you. You are important. You matter. And you DESERVE to have proper care and treatment. Don’t give up until you get it.
I don’t know if R will ever read this, but if he does I want to know how important and special he is. He’s changing life for the better and 1000% making a positive impact on the world. Thank you.
Just a note….posts like this are super difficult to write. It is VERY hard being vulnerable and opening up about personal health issues. But I will continue to speak out and share my story in hopes that one of you out there who lands on this page feels less alone, more hopeful, and decides to keep fighting.Stay connected:Subscribe to Healthy HelperInstagram: HealthyHelperFacebook: Healthy HelperTwitter: @Healthy_HelperPinterest: Healthy_HelperBloglovin’: Healthy HelperTumblr: Healthy Helper BlogSnapchat: KailaProulxBuy my BUDGET TRAVEL EBook!Shop with me on Amazon. Favorite products, fun finds, and more! Want to get FREE products for review and make money as a blogger? Check out Linqia!Vacation budget a little tight? Get a discount on your AirBnB booking!