The inspiration for my work, and my hope to support others through their healthcare journeys:
In 2011, at the age of 35, I almost died of an unnamed illness that began with a neck injury. Doctors all but laughed at me when I came to them for help. Their condescending attitudes were expressed by their eyes glazing over with irritation when I attempted to tell them my story and symptoms. These appointments mostly ended with the doctors saying, “maybe you’re just anxious,” in a voice usually reserved for dim-witted 5-year-olds. After almost a year of this treatment, or lack of treatment, I accepted that Western Medicine didn’t have what I needed to get well and turned to alternative therapies for help. Changing tacks saved my life, and I want to share the knowledge that I gained in my pursuit of wellness with others who are on the same journey.
There are 30 million Americans who suffer from undiagnosed diseases, and 45 percent of the population has at least one chronic disease. That’s a lot of people who are likely to be going through the same difficulties that I went through. In my work as a licensed and practicing psychotherapist, I have had multiple referrals from medical doctors who had decided that a patient’s symptoms must be psychological in origin. However, most of these cases proved to have physical medical problems in the end, and the process of being told, “it’s all in your head” is demeaning and time consuming, and can lead patients to feel very alone and un-cared for in their suffering. However, they are not alone, and there is help for them if they know where and how to find it. Giving this information to the public is the inspiration for writing my book, I’m Sick, Not Crazy: How I Took Control of My Health when Western Medicine Told Me it was all in My Head.
It was ironic that medical doctors continuously told me that my problems were psychological. First, I knew that they were wrong. My problems were clearly linked to a neck injury, and I told them so on every occasion, but they wouldn’t listen to me. Second, I’m a licensed and practicing Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), and have a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, giving me years more education and experience in mental health than these doctors, who were using mental health diagnoses as a way out of saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” which I maintain would be a much better and more validating thing to say to patients than, “this is caused by anxiety,” a medical opinion which they had zero evidence to support. This expertise in mental health puts me in an excellent position to debunk the medical mythology that people with unusual symptoms are manifesting anxiety, depression, or some other mental health problem physically.
I’m excited about sharing the information that I’m Sick, Not Crazy contains with multiple populations. For one, it will make sick people feel less alone, and will help them to widen their search for help to alternative healthcare options. Another exciting market is medical doctors who can use the information contained to increase their compassion for patients and adjust their attitudes toward people who are experiencing “outside of the box” symptoms. Alternative healthcare practitioners and yoga studios are also an excellent source of readers for I’m Sick, Not Crazy, as their students and patients will gain more understanding of how alternative treatments such as acupuncture and craniosacral therapy will help them to improve their health.