Personal Medicine and the Healer Within

personal medicine Oct 29, 2010

Imagine that you have a broken leg. You go to the hospital and a doctor sets the broken bone and puts a cast on. In a few months you return to the doctor, the cast is removed and your leg is better. Now ask yourself, "Did the doctor heal your broken leg?"

When you think carefully about it, the answer is "No, the doctor did not heal my leg". In order for the healing to occur, you and your doctor had to work together to create the optimal conditions under which the leg could heal. Of course, the doctor set the bone and created a cast to hold the bone in place. But that was not enough. You had to actively participate in the healing as well. For instance, you had to be careful not to get the cast wet and you had to learn to use crutches so as not to put too much weight on the bone. Actively working in partnership with the doctor, meant that the healing power within you could be mobilized to repair the broken bone.

Something similar happens in mental health recovery. In mental health recovery, many of us find it important to work together with our doctor to create optimal conditions for healing and recovery. Our psychiatrist might prescribe a mental health medication for us. But just like when the cast is set on a broken leg, mental health medicine is not enough. In order for healing to occur, we must work with our doctor in a partnership. We can do that by discovering and using our Personal Medicine on a daily basis. Many of us find that when Personal Medicine and psychiatric medicine are working in harmony, then optimal conditions are in place for our healing and recovery.

Personal Medicine is a powerful idea that shifts our assumptions in 2 important ways. First, Personal Medicine shakes up the view that we are "people who have a lot of problems". Instead, Personal Medicine helps us discover we are more than our problems. Our Personal Medicine reveals us as people who have interests, talents, strengths, gifts and love to share with family and/or friends. We are not the problem. We are part of the solution!

Secondly, Personal Medicine helps us view our doctors and nurses in a new way. We realize that they can’t magically wave a wand to "cure" us. Waiting around for a pill to cure rarely works. Instead, we can get active. We can find powerful Personal Medicines that work in synergy with psychiatric medicine. For many of us, that is the path into recovery.