Have you ever had anxiety creep up on you, left to question why the tightness in your chest, the pause in your breath, and the tremor in your hands hasn’t received the memo that you’re having a good time? Now that you’re aware you’re feeling anxious, you’re travelling back and forward in time searching for reasons. Did I eat too many calories at breakfast? Am I going to eat too many at lunch?
If you can relate, you may have lost a lot of time to Dr Google (that’s a wild ride), actual doctors, self-help books, gurus, and the list goes on, without seeing any real changes or results – except maybe metacognitive awareness which will allow you to be even better at thinking about thinking. Of course this is no fun if you’re a nervous wreck.
Taking a step back to my childhood, though full of love, was made up of different attempts to heal my mother of her depression. Innocently concocting “potions” with plants foraged from the garden, led to library visits and an overzealous interest in methods of conventional psychology. The treatment plans I pulled from books were about as helpful for her as the rose buds I crushed with dirt – the only positive to my backyard cures were that they were never worse than the illness itself, as is often the case when trialling antidepressants.
From past experience, a visit to the doctor is a good way to rule out anything sinister, but when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, all I’ve come to expect is the offering of meds and blank stares. That is until a friend from Paris recommended integrative medicine, an approach to healing that prioritises the whole person, rather than a specific system or organ.
Things like increased inflammation and gut health, for example, sets off a cascade of events within the body that depending on a person’s individual genetic and lifestyle factors can lead to – or be the cause of – depression and anxiety. Who knew? Certainly not the last doctor I saw about my anxiety.
I was lucky enough to discover integrative medicine around the same time River Tree Health opened in Brisbane’s West End, and it was a match made in heaven. Walking in, I would have mistaken the place for a luxe day spa if not for the signs and the lovely lady who greeted me. I was offered a warm towel, local artisan tea, and fruit – all while waiting in a beautiful room, laced with greenery and great books.
The first appointment was with in-house psychologist, Pia, who is also a Clinical Naturopath, and Nutritionist. I was surprised to have received so much insight from one session. Each symptom I revealed, Pia went beyond, finding underlying causes and reasoning that I hadn’t considered – even after years of my own ruminating. Most exciting of all was introducing the basis of my holistic treatment plan. The approach so far includes inflammation testing, mindfulness practices, gut-health analysis, and clinical naturopathy, all in review of the team.
While it may be too soon to tell the results of my explorations, this place truly honours their promises and goes above and beyond.
The verdict is out: I’ve found my forever home when it comes to health care! What are you waiting for?
Written by T.W., September 2017
Photo from Pixabay.