As their final project our 4th years from last year were required to write about what led them to study homeopathy. Here is Sarah’s…..
Once upon a time, I lived in blissful ignorance where life was simple and uncomplicated. There was no one to consider but myself and my own needs. Although, I have always been slightly out of what is generally considered the ‘normal’ zone, I had never needed to question the conventional advice that I was given. Some of that comes down to upbringing, my parents always trusted the academic and medical profession. I accepted that trust, there had been no reason for me to think that such trust was misplaced in anyway. Despite this, I also used alternative therapies and advocated them. I had not questioned conventional medicine and its role in health, so I in many ways was totally unprepared for the huge journey of discovery that having children and questioning the status quo was going to be; how it would make me question my own childhood, my ingrained beliefs, the feelings of isolation from friends and family, my own sanity at times right through to the strength and belief in my ability to choose what is right for my family and accepting the right path is different for everyone.
When I was pregnant with my first child, there was so much well meaning advice from family, friends and even complete strangers who felt the need to touch ‘my bump’ and offer their pearls of wisdom. Yet, nothing truly prepares for you for how you are going to feel when the realisation hits you that you are totally responsible for this new little person. To start with, I went along with the status quo, feeling that ‘they’ know what is best, blind faith in the system. Over time, my questions could not be answered, the solutions offered were not solutions to the problems but sticky plasters to cover the issues. The offered solutions became more incredulous to me. The final straw was when the GP offered to ‘burn off’ my child’s molluscum contagiosum (a viral infection which affects the skin, mainly in children and can last up to two years) which may not cure it and would most likely leave him with permanent scarring, not to mention that the procedure would be painful. I was horrified, had I stepped back into the Middle Ages? How could that possibly be a viable solution to such a minor ailment? Who could put a four year old through such a process? There had to be a better way. Little did I know that moment was first step down a path from which there is no turning back.
The research began. Information was sought. Advice taken from friends. Until finally, a friend who I had known for years mentioned Homeopathy. I had not encountered it before; although I had tried other alternative therapies, Homeopathy was something completely new to me. The Internet contains a great wealth of information but as always, there are the two extremes of any argument with a massive amount of fear-mongering around Homeopathy. Despite this, I knew my friend would never use something that did not work or was as damaging as these articles made out. So with great curiosity, I booked my first appointment with a Homeopath for my son, completely unsure of what to expect. The questions really surprised me; why did she need so much detail about his health generally from conception to now? I realise now looking back, how gentle she had been with me, she realised that this was the first step in a new direction for me, recommended a couple of books to read and gave a very brief simplistic outline of homeopathy. I left happy and a bit bemused by the sugar pills. Though I was still unsure about what Homeopathy was really all about and could not fully remember the whole explanation I had been given at the time, I was happy with the explanation that I had been given. Therefore, my husband and I decided to give it a go and to my complete amazement two days later it was gone. Completely vanished, no scars, no evidence at all that the molluscum contagiosum had ever been there. I was in absolute amazement, how could the GP not know about this? Why would they not use it? It was brilliant! My husband was less convinced by the miracle before his eyes, so I took our youngest child to the Homeopath to see what would happen this time, as she too had molluscum contagiosum. This time it took three days and exactly the same result, all signs of molluscum contagiosum ever having been there had disappeared. From that point on I was hooked; what was this stuff? I need to know more.
Books were bought, remedy kits were accumulated and the family experimenting began. Then I signed up for a six week “Homeopathy First Aid” course for parents wanting to use Homeopathy at home more effectively. It was an absolute eye-opener, the course was complete wonderment to me, along with the people on the course, the variety, their experiences and open outlook on health. By this point, I was becoming a ‘Homeopathy bore’ and could not understand why everyone else was not as excited about this discovery as I was. As the dust settled, I quickly realised that many of my friends and family, thought it was craziness, one family member even started to question if I had post-natal depression! Even though they had seen how my children had been cured, it was very much a case of ‘it probably would have happened anyway’.
Then I started to question myself. There are no definitive research results to show exactly how Homeopathy works, it became difficult to answer the challenges. So I quickly learnt to stop talking about it with certain people. The learning and research continued, I met new people, more like-minded people, along with more what seemed extreme opposing beliefs from the direction I had come. I found myself in this bewildering world of new information, unsure of where my family and I fitted in it all.
The last of all my doubts, disappeared when I was recommended to look into Dr Jane Donegan, GP. Her story was amazing, a GP who went from pro-vaccination to believing there was a better way to deal with illness, in addition she was a fully qualified Homeopath. She even had to fight through the medical courts for her right to be a GP due to others disagreeing with her research on vaccines, a case which she won. Dr Donegan, travels the country giving a series of lectures. Several of which I was lucky enough to attend, where she advocated knowledge about good health and how to manage illness, totally resonated and inspired me. After which it became apparent to me now that there was no turning back, that this new path had become our family norm.
There were (and are) still periods of disbelief that I go through. How could governments allow certain things to happen and exist? How have large organisations become so faceless that any human (conscience) element has been lost, and the only thing that is important is profit regardless of any consequences? Why are debate and different beliefs so threatening to some? Why are they not even prepared to have a discussion about certain issues? Often when asked why is that correct, how does it work then, explain it me, they are unable to provide an explanation. Sadly, this does not just belong to the ‘extremist out there’, where to me they had always been faceless. I started to discover them everywhere, in places I least expected them, amongst friends and family. Over the years, it has become clear who is open to alternative viewpoints and who is not. Some of my friends have fallen by the way-side, as differences just became too great which in turn has allowed new like-minded friends to enter into our lives. Family, is different, you cannot choose them! Some try to understand and occasionally will ask, but on the whole it is one of those things that remains unspoken; we have made a truce of ‘agreeing to disagree’.
My family particularly struggled with my announcement to study Homeopathy and to become a Homeopath. “Couldn’t you train in something more conventional?” was their general, politest response. Thankfully, they know me well enough, to know that once I have set my mind to something there is little point. But over the four years of training there has been a small shift, even if they still disbelieve in what I am doing, there has been an acknowledgement of the learning and effort that has gone into my training. They have seen me change and felt that change in our relationships. Subtle shifts but important ones (not that dissimilar to Homeopathy!). I no longer have a need to prove my point to those who are not interested or able to have a discussion about different ways of doing things. In a sense I have become immune to them. They no longer impact on my life, even when they try. With knowledge, training and experience, a new acceptance has been found. I have developed an appreciation and understanding that everyone has their journey, lessons to learn in life and that everyone is responsible for their own actions. I accept that everyone has the right to their own journey. I believe that acceptance itself, is a choice. I appreciate that there is more than one way of doing something. I recognise that the decisions I make, have to be what is right for me and my family and that those choices will not be the right choice for other people. If what you are doing works for you, then great. I still question, why there is often so little ‘live and let live’, so much anger and need to be right, ‘the only way’, is still a source of great bemusement to me. The need to spend so much time and energy berating and attacking others who just want to live their lives in the way they see best astounds me.
Have I become a conspiracy theorist? No, I do not think so, though some may see me that way. I now just take information that I am given with a degree of scepticism, research it and then make an informed choice. Information and education are key; using fear to persuade people to maintain the status quo, in my opinion, is not a responsible or a healthy way to live. Being fearful of illness is not healthy; understanding the immune system is a system that needs to learn, enables people to have a positive attitude to health. There is considerable research now that demonstrates how the mind affects the physical health, like it is a new thing – Homeopathy has been treating the whole person for over two centuries. Ultimately, everyone has the right to information and education, so that they are then equipped to take responsibility for their own health and decisions. We do after all, allegedly, live in a country where there is freedom of speech and the freedom to live your life as you see fit.
Now I look back at my early transition time differently. As a big fan of science-fiction, I still remember that ‘blown away’ feeling as I left the cinema after watching The Matrix back in the late 1990’s. Little did I realise that as I embarked down a path with my own family, that I too would start to know the world as two separate realities. One which the vast majority of people are happy to accept and fiercely protect verses the one which questions main-stream beliefs about health and individual choice to make informed educated decisions. As in The Matrix, once you have been unplugged, there is no turning back, no matter how much you may want to at times. Without a doubt the journey has been worth it and I would not change a thing, not even the negative situations, as they have made me stronger in so many ways, which I doubt was ever the individual’s intention at the time.
Soon the next phase of my development is about to begin as a practitioner of Homeopathy. The transition from one world into another is complete, yet it does not feel like the end of the journey, it is only just the beginning.