Okay everyone here I go. I’m coming out of the closet. I am officially someone who believes in Energy Healing, Reiki, Homeopathic medication, Essential Oils, and many other “Out there” healing techniques. Until now I’ve hid this side of myself from most people except those that I feel are safe and won’t judge me. Other people who are close to me have gotten a glimpse of my secret life, like my boyfriend who knew that I have a huge drawer of supplements and that my friend who is my energy healer muscle tests them for me to see which ones my body needs. My boyfriend is now an ex partly because of my tendency to hide my pain and the truth of what I really do to help my pain. I hid this from him because I knew how he feels about what he calls “New Agers” and the fact that I probably fit in this category. Occasionally I’ve slipped up when talking to my Mom, who giddily calls me every time she goes to the doctor to report each new drug regime. When she hears me say things like, “I had an amazing cranio-sacral session today,” I can almost hear her flinch over the phone and see her eyes glaze over. To her credit, after years of knowing some of the diets, cleanses, and supplement regimes I’ve done she now will occasionally call me and ask about things she’s read may help. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis five years ago and is now unfortunately quite aware of how strong a motivator pain can be.
To back up, I feel I must explain that I haven’t always been this way. From the age of 2 1/2, when I was first diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve regularly seen doctors. As a kid I tried hard to be a good patient, and prided myself on grinning and bearing it when I was poked and prodded. I’d dutifully take the aspirin I was prescribed every four hours. I was like a miniature Dr. House with my aspirin bottle, chugging the pills without food or water, never connecting this to my constant stomach aches. I always felt incidental in my own care; most doctors seemed content with my answer of “Fine” when asked how I was feeling, and directed their questions about me to my Mom.
My discontent with the medical model and my desire for something more didn’t come from the way my doctors treated me, or the fact that I couldn’t go on a walkabout across Australia because I needed to be near a pharmacy so I could have access to my drugs, or even the side effects. It was a combination of all of these things along with the revelation that my doctors don’t see me as healthy. They see my arthritis ravaged joints, my swollen knees, my fused wrists, my sed rate. My doctors don’t think “cure,” they think, “control those symptoms, there is no cure.” That’s too bad because the air of futility that I can almost smell when I walk into a rheumatologists office doesn’t give me or anyone else credit for the miracles we are creating in our bodies every day. Nobody comes out of the womb with arthritis which means that every body knows what it’s like to be free from this disease. I know that if more doctors would believe in their patients’ ability to heal, more would do so.
There is something else I have to bring up. I am not against medication for arthritis. It is a tsunami of a disease and I’ve had many a day that I thank God for steroids. However, I suffered in silence for years because every drug I’ve ever taken has hurt me in some way. As a “good patient” you’re not supposed to complain about side effects. The fact that I got cellulitis from a paper cut because my immune system was so suppressed from drugs is seen as an unfortunate consequence of having this “terrible” disease. I’m not going to list all of the things that I’ve had to endure because of the drugs that I’ve taken over the years. But I will say this: I’ve suffered enough.
So, how did I become a “New Ager?” First I had to move away from New York City, where I was too busy to take a deep breath let alone meditate. I moved close to mountains and nature and felt my body begin to relax. I met some people who had really interesting things to say. People with PHD’s who, as a person raised in a very conventional home, I felt I could not dismiss. I began to undersatnd that I wasn’t a “disease” I was a person with a body out of balance. I was finally able to trust the gut feeling I’d always had that I could live in a body without arthritis someday. I learned that this gut feeling is actually intuition. I realized that I’ve actually always been a very intuitive person; it’s a talent of mine. In moments of weakness I wish I had a more mainstream talent like being a good singer, but I know that my intuition has saved my life more than once and for this I am grateful. I began to delve into the world of alternative medicine and found that slowly I became stronger, happier, less lost and hopeless. The arthritis hasn’t completely left my body but the intuition that I can now come out of the closet and admit that I have, tells me that someday it will.
I’m out of the closet and during the next few months I’ll begin writing more about the “Woo Woo” things that have helped me. By the way, I also believe in the power of love.