Jigsaw Puzzle

One of the problems with Western medicine is its view of the human being as a machine.  Change-out the faulty gear and fix the machine.  Patch the leak in the hose and fix the machine.  Cut out the appendix. Medicate the schizophrenia.  Exercise to prevent another heart attack.

Eastern and alternative medicine view human beings as whole systems.  Trauma affects psychology affects physiology affects lifestyle affects spirituality.  Genetics, environment, and pollutants act on the mind.  Prayer, sound, and mental stress act on the body. Changes in the body affect the mind.  Every part of us is interconnected in ways quantum physics, psychology, and religious studies have only begun to discover.

Twenty or so years ago, a drunk driver hit me.  My face hit the windshield, and I ended up with chronic neck and back pain.  When I started on antidepressants, that pain went away.  It wasn’t until I stopped taking medications this past fall, and the pain came back, that I remembered I even had it once.  But, when I told my psychiatrist, he brushed me off.  “Maybe you have fibromyalgia,” he said.

Two years ago, I got serious about exercise.  I started walking at the Y for thirty minutes every day (I had to start somewhere).  I developed pain in my heel.  I got new shoes and told myself the pain would go away once I lost some weight.  But, when I stopped taking medication for my bipolar disorder, the heel pain got worse, too.  So, yesterday, I went to a podiatrist.

“You’ve got several things going on,” he told me.  “Achilles tendonitis, outward rotation of the left leg, and pronation of the left foot.  There’s probably someone else in your family with these same genetic defects.”  So, he taped a splint on the bottom of my foot and told me to wear it until I see him next week.

Since my neck and back sang with bright pain, I went to my chiropractor right after that.  Dr. Ozzie is a quiet, mild-mannered man, who usually says very little.  But yesterday he asked lots of questions about my visit with the foot doctor.  He was supportive of me going off medication, and now we’re working at keeping my nervous system healthy with chiropractic to see how that affects my bipolar symptoms.  After his adjustment, I went home and slept for five hours.

The deeper I explore this path of bipolar disorder, the more side trails open up.  The body throws out clues.  Signs point in different directions, but the trails seem to meet up farther down the road.

Medical intuitive Carolyn Myss says:

…every second of our lives—and every mental, emotional, creative, physical, and even resting activity with which we fill those seconds—is somehow known and recorded.  Every judgment we make is noted.  Every attitude we hold is a source of positive or negative power for which we are accountable.

The lesson for me is to remain curious and open, not to lunge at a solution and cling to it as The Answer To All My Problems.  As a nurse, trained in Western medicine, my default reaction is to look for the Fix, the pill, the surgery, the replacement valve that will make my machine run smoothly again.  But as a student of Eastern medicine, someone who has practiced energetic healing and meditation, I can hold the jigsaw puzzle without needing the entire picture to be clear.  It’s enough that some of the pieces are coming together.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Visionary
    Mar 02, 2011 @ 11:58:30

    Something you said hit personally, medicate schizophrenia… That’s a concept that haunts me. Western medicine seems very determined to medicate that which they don’t understand, put people into a stupor. I’ve found I’ve had much more success with energy work, chakra therapy, and things like that to at least keep my system in check. It’s by no means “cured”, but I do think it proves your point about Eastern versus Western philosophy in medicine.


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