Have you ever heard the phrase “you are your own best doctor”?
In many respects, it’s very true. I tell this to my patients all the time. When you have any kind of health concern, who is the person most in touch with the presenting symptoms, with how they are showing up and when, with how they either improve or aggravate with this food or that supplement? Of course, it’s you.
As an ND, I do my best to ask the right questions and get a good case history as well as do a thorough investigation towards root cause… but much of this is based on what you are able to tell me about what you are feeling.
I have been an avid journal-writer for most of my life, essentially since learning to hold a pencil the right way. Well before entering this profession, I learned to self-doctor. I’d try this or that thing and tell myself, via journalling, how it felt for me.
After a few very-disappointing seasons of rec basketball, I penned to myself that I’d be retiring my free-throw – i wasn’t enjoying the games and it was only bringing me down. I’d meet a new friend and, after some weeks or months of feelings-on-paper, I’d re-read and realize how those interactions were making me feel, for better or for ill. I’d try some new fad or style of eating and would take stock within the pages of my Moleskin. When I finally found yoga, then meditation, and then mindfulness…oh, the things I would say!
When I look back into those journals, what I see again and again is me, telling myself (from past me to future me) Remember this, Ana. Remember that when things get tough, when you need to be bolstered or buoyed in the days hence, these practices / routines / foods / etc. really work for you. Do them again, like your life depended on them, and you will be well.
In order to know which ropes to grab when you are at the proverbial bottom of the well, you have to have thrown down a few ropes prior and checked them for yourself. And the more you’ve reminded yourself which were the strongest for your frame, the more likely you are to reach for those when your brain and body are tired, overwhelmed, or unwell.
These are likely to be the most effective medicines you could ever use. Designed, tried and tested by you, individualized to you. And they are available, without cost or prescription.
Have you journaled about, told others about, or in any way made note of the things that have worked for you in the past? If you have, make a point of remembering these medicines and reminding yourself. Write them on post-its and look at them daily. Then do them. When you need them most, sure, but also when things are good. Prevention is the very best of health strategies.
Like with anything, it’s the collective, consistent use of these strategies that makes a felt difference. So do them often. You’ll feel it. You’ll have self-doctored in the best of ways.