A friend once told me that true healing is like a pie with many pieces. He had me at ‘pie’, but I asked him to explain.
He went on to say that there really isn’t one fix-all thing to do when it comes to healing an issue. That there are many pieces that all fit together to create a whole solution. Some pieces are larger than others, but all are required and have a very important purpose.
He mentioned this analogy in passing many years ago, but it’s one I’ve never forgotten. And I’ve kept it in mind many times as I’ve considered various treatments for my own healing journey. Especially lately, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
While there are a lot of pro’s and con’s to taking medication, there is mostly a negative stigma around it. From viewing it as a personal weakness to horrible side effects to evil big pharma companies to how unaffordable medication has become.
And yet, despite how we all seem to feel about it, we frequently treat it like it’s the only option and the only solution to treating an issue. We throw in the towel, take the pills, and then get frustrated when it doesn’t fix all of the things.
But what we often forget is that it is only one piece of the pie. And in a lot of cases, it can be a wonderful and glorious piece, but we are too busy hating the fact we have to eat it to notice.
We also forget that there is the rest of the pie to taste and all of the pieces are needed to be full. Ok, now I’m craving pie, so perhaps moving on to my personal experience as of late will be more helpful. (It’s a tad long, so feel free to scroll down to In Conclusion for the wrap up.)
I’ve written before about my journey with depression and how developing a regular self-care practice has been my saving grace over the years. But I know I’m not alone in saying that this Winter has been a rough one.
I’ve dealt with depression ever since adolescence, and it goes back in my family for generations. I’ve been on and off medication, had many victories and defeats with how it’s influenced my everyday life, and have been able to heal a lot of it on a very deep level.
But when I’m truly in tune with myself, I know and have accepted that the ways of depression will always be something I need to stay mindful of. That part of me will always need some form of medicine, and that I always need to stay open to what that combination of medicine is, since there are so many things that can influence my mental health.
I’ve taken various levels of pride in the fact that I haven’t needed medication since 2009. I have been able to treat depression naturally by doing the dirty work of digging deep in all sorts of therapies, changed my diet, moved my body more, and developed daily habits that keep me in check. And really, it’s all been great medicine.
But over the past few years my life has changed a lot, I have changed a lot (as you do), but I didn’t realize that my medicine also needed to change with me.
I’ve always been open to going back on medication if needed, but it was my last resort. That if all else failed, I would accept my fate as a Zoloft slinging, happy pill needed.
Through some frustrating and humbling moments a few months back, it became clear to me that my usual treatments were not cutting it anymore. That despite my best efforts implementing all that I knew, I still felt like I was moving through sludge. I still had this odd brain fog, and my moments of feeling like myself were short-lived and took all of my energy.
So I meditated like crazy. Journaled. Talked it out with my prestigious circle of trust (mom, dad, husband, close friends), and doctor. And decided it was time, along with some other lifestyle changes, to give ‘old friend Zoloft another go as a valuable tool in my tool belt.
And you know what? I am in. love. We picked up right where we left off and went frolicking through the forgotten bright green meadows on my mind. It’s like my brain chemicals where like, “Ahhhh, for the love of all that is true, thank you!!!” And this past month has felt like an incredible journey of coming home to my weird, fun, imperfect, adventurous self.
It’s crazy how differently medication has influenced me when I treated it like a piece of a pie and not a defeated failure of a solution. And also recognizing that it wouldn’t have worked this well if I wasn’t doing all of the other things I do to treat my mental and physical health.
It all works together, you see. We aren’t these compartmentalized, one size fits all beings. There is no separation between the mind and body or depression and body pain or stress and the flu, except when we decide to separate it.
But when we willingly accept our current state and are open to what we need to heal from western and eastern (and everything in between) medicine, that is when true healing can occur.
Understand that my journey is going to be different than yours. You may have different ailments, different reactions to different treatments, different treatments to try, but what we have in common is the need to complete the pie.
Don’t turn your back on medications that really help you if they really help you. Treat them with respect and gratitude for however long they need to be in your life.
Don’t use them as a crutch or an escape, but as a tool to deregulate and bring you to a point where you can seek out complementary treatments. When used this way, there is no reason to feel ashamed or weaker than.
While it might not be the yummiest piece, it could be the missing one to make you whole. Follow your nudges and your inner physician. Get curious. Tie a napkin around your neck and eat up.