Not feeling the best is extraordinarily taxing – mentally and emotionally. Whether you are diagnosed with something specific or are or on the hunt for answers to a problem, feeling unwell is a huge stressor. Having to shuttle yourself to appointments, connect with different professionals and experiment with varied paths to recovery can be simply exhausting. It can be frustrating to not have an answer and you may feel a sense of loneliness or disconnect. As hard as it can be, stay strong. This is your health and as such you have the number one say on how to approach your deeply personal and unique road to wellness. How can you advocate best for yourself?
Find a Professional You Feel Comfortable With.
This is my number one tip. If you don’t feel like the person you are seeing (doctor, naturopath, nutritionist, acupuncturist, etc.) is listening to you – find someone else. I don’t care if you’ve been with this particular individual since you were sixteen, if they’re recommended to you by your husband, or if they’re your friend…those are just excuses. It is vital that you feel like you are being heard and that the practitioner is able and willing to work with within your value system. Naturmend offers free 15 minute consults for just this reason.
You are allowed to interject and ask questions when you don’t understand something. So few people feel comfortable questioning their doctor or other professionals, but if you don’t understand something – ask! You need to understand clearly why the recommendation is such, and if you’ve listened to step 1, your healthcare provider will be totally accommodating with your inquiries. At the same time, be respectful of the doctor’s time. Don’t ask a million questions of them that a nurse or pharmacist would easily be able to answer. Appropriate questions include:
- I’m sorry; you can please explain that again? I don’t understand.
- What is this test for?
- Why do I need this treatment?
- What other lifestyle changes can I incorporate?
- Is this the best source of treatment for me?
Create a Nurturing Support System.
Line up your people and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have that person who can assist with driving, cooking, or simply watching funny movies with you when you are feeling low. Employ your parents to watch your children, and your husband to pick up the dry-cleaning. Bring your most outspoken friend to appointments if you are shy. Pride or fear of being rejected often prompts us to stay silent when we need help, but sickness is a time to rally the troops. You’d be surprised at how willing your loved ones are to help. Let them.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be organized with your paperwork and lab results. Keep a binder or a folder. Have things in chronological order. This will help when you are trying to talk about a specific test or situation. This makes it so much easier for practitioners to be able to easily track your progress, too.
Research…Only if it Doesn’t Stress you Out!
Stay up to date on research on the Internet and through medical journals. This is a good way to see if there are any new, progressive breakthroughs regarding your particular condition. Word to the wise: pay attention to sources! This is a great time for your intelligent, “critical mind” to kick in. Does the source seem relevant? Is the spelling and grammar accurate? Who published this article? Is it peer reviewed? Remember that sometimes being knee-deep on a random medical message board can do more harm than good. Be an informed researcher, and be smart about what avenues for articles you explore. If you notice that online investigation is stressing you out further… stop! It’s not worth getting stressed over, especially as stress can incapacitate the immune system.
Trust your gut, ask for help and surround yourself with a team of people you trust. You are the most important person in this equation. You deserve to be heard, feeel comfortable and be an active participant in deciding your course of treatment.
As your Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant at Naturmend, I am committed to creating healthy communities. I believe in honouring the unique biochemical individuality of each person who walks through my door and in the amazing benefits of a whole food diet. A healthy body and balanced mind are the cornerstones of a happy existence.