Hello again, and happy Tuesday! I am happy to share a reflective writing piece, originally written for academic purposes. I was prompted to write regarding what being a naturopathic physician means to me, and why I chose naturopathic medicine.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you’ve imagined.” -Emerson
For me, a naturopathic physician is a healer and community servant that integrates the art of healing and the science of medicine for the betterment of humanity. A naturopathic physician wears many hats, unique to the naturopathic profession.
They are teachers to their patients and the community at large. Education and compassion is the foundation for their practice. Their compassion allows them to be an emotional support for patients who are grieving or experiencing effects of trauma. Healing comes from within, and naturopathic physicians assist to stimulate this beautiful process.
Naturopathic physicians heal and educate to eliminate disease and pathologies. They take it a step further and educate health promotion and facilitate holistic healing and help stimulate our bodies’ abilities to thrive.
Naturopathic physicians help patients and the community understand that we must nourish to flourish. They facilitate the essential process to create new and improved health practices and lifestyle modifications—this includes support, education, treatment plans, resources and encouragement.
I perceive naturopathic physicians as inspiring pioneers that go against the grain of the conventional medical model. A determined and resilient perspective allows them to honor values and naturopathic principles, despite outside criticism or close-minded views.
As an individual who has survived an acute bacterial meningitis hospitalization crisis, I fully understand the delicate value of life and its finite time. Time and time again, my body has shown me firsthand, its ability to heal, if barriers to health are removed.
In this past two years, I have embarked on a holistic healing journey. My journey was without the assistance of a naturopathic physician. However, I fully incorporated naturopathic principles and philosophies. Interestingly, at the beginning of my wellness journey, I was not aware of naturopathic principles. I realized I had reached a state of disease, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. I told myself that I would no longer search for quick fixes or band-aids. I realized that I was long overdue for this healing, and I mentally prepared myself for the long journey ahead.
I started to truly understand that my state of health did not occur overnight, and that it would certainly not go away overnight. I adopted a gentle and forgiving mindset for myself, which made all the difference. I am still in the process of healing, forgiving myself, and others. I believe this will be a life journey for me. Instead of focusing on destinations for joy, I celebrate special milestones, my small personal victories.
In a way, I feel like I wandered into naturopathic medicine without realizing it. As a New Jersey native, naturopathic medicine was not commonly discussed. I attended Rutgers University and worked in a nearby hospital. I had a fairly wide range of medical exposure, yet did not know anything about naturopathic medicine.
I ultimately abandoned my pursuit for naturopathic medical school, when the incredibly high standards (coupled with my struggle for perfectionism), my life degraded into a state of very poor health. I was mentally, emotionally, physically drained. I gained a great deal of weight and experienced extra self-imposed stress.
With the way things were going, I felt like I would become a medical student and a physician who would be in poor health. How could I say I understood health and become an icon of health, when I couldn’t even incorporate it into my own life? It seemed like I would be an imposter and very hypocritical. So, I abandoned my dream for medical school, feeling that the medicine I dreamed of, did not exist.
Consequently, I began to focus on within and heal myself so I could harvest my true purpose and passion. As a result, I began to live and practice naturopathic principles (without evening knowing it!)—it was so natural to do, once I rewired my mind.
Then one day, I watched Food Matters in July 2014; I watched an ND talk about all the values I believed in. Eyes wide, I pulled out my laptop and started to quickly research into this medicine. I found the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and the rest is sweet history.
My first phone conversations with Dr. Laura Mittman and Jen from admissions confirmed the chemistry I felt towards the school dynamics. Since then, SCNM has become my home away from home. How beautiful that my dream ultimately came to fruition. It feels surreal, as I now sit in a medical school library to reflect on such a beautiful process. I am on my way to becoming the physician of my dreams!
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your own intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself” -Alan Alda
In good health, Gigi 😊