written by Cassandra Fernandes for Autumn Bear at autumnbear.com
Starting this week, we'll have a weekly post from a guest blogger, Cassandra Fernandes. Cassandra is 32 year-old New Yorker from Canada, and a new client. She's a little curious and very open-minded. So we're encouraging her to share her thoughts on acupuncture with all of you. Herewith, the first post:
Where to go from here?
I’m unhealthy. Sure, you wouldn’t pick me out of a lineup of almost thirty-two year olds as the unhealthiest: I’m about five feet tall and weigh a hundred and fifteen pounds. At most, I look like I have about five to ten pounds to lose. But I’ve had this awkward rash (tiny bumps that flare up once in a while) on the right side of my face for over a year; I can’t jog for more than five minutes without panting like a Labrador retriever; and I’ve been avoiding looking at my naked body in the mirror for so long that I don’t know what it looks like anymore. So yeah, I’m unhealthy. Like any self-improvement project dictates, that needs to be acknowledged first and foremost before I can make progress.
It’s not like I used to be a paragon of health and virtue before. Although I’ve weighed considerably less in the past, I’ve never been what you’d call a healthy eater. Rice, Pasta, Chocolate, and spicy South (and South East) Asian food are my go to comfort foods when I’m bored, and I’m bored a lot. I also eat when I’m depressed. This seems to be a common thing for a lot of people to do. But I don’t always do this. Sometimes depression turns me skinny. Once I got so depressed over a breakup that I stopped eating and lost twenty-eight pounds. Oh, to be that sad and nearly dead again. No, a particular kind of sadness needs to take over me for me to start eating. It’s not a specific sadness directed at a single event or person, but more of an existential malaise that demands I fill the emptiness in my heart with cholesterol, and add plaque to my arteries.
To be fair, going to an alternative medical practitioner about this kind of emotional problem isn’t the first thing I thought of. It’s just that the go-to New York problem solver, a therapist, didn’t do it for me. Sitting on a stranger’s couch twice a week (yes, twice) for three months and talking about my childhood only made me more bored. Plus, no matter what they say, therapists do have their own agenda: to get you (and me) to keep going back. Why tell you to snap out of it and think about someone or something else for a change when they can drug you up and make you dependent on them for reassurance? All I learned at the end of three months was that I had anger and abandonment issues. At two hundred dollars an hour, I’m expecting to hear something more profound than what my high school counselor told me at sixteen. So no, therapy didn’t help me to become a healthier or more proactive person.
Going to a regular doctor wasn’t all that helpful either. They don’t tell you anything you can’t find on the world wide web in about two seconds. I know I need a lifestyle change. I know I need to stop being proud of never having had a gym membership. I know I need to eat healthier and maintain a more balanced lifestyle that doesn’t feature Netflix and Facebook so prominently. But who can help me? Who can make me see what I’m doing to my body and force me to acknowledge that I need to change or die trying?
So I decided to give acupuncture a shot. I’ve heard of acupuncture before. My Dad, for instance, swears by an acupuncturist he knew in Sri Lanka. In ten short sessions, this miracle man cured my father of the sinusitis he had suffered from his entire adult life. What intrigued me about the whole story was that it only took ten sessions. No more follow-ups; no pills to take. And the best part was that my Dad really was cured. I was too young to remember my Dad having had Sinus headaches but I do know that I’ve never seen him suffer from anything like it as far as I can remember. So it worked, at least for one person that I know. But it didn’t involve any lifestyle changes. And I’m looking for a wakeup call that would kick my ass into gear.
Would an acupuncturist really be able to help? I heard they’re supposed to treat your mind and body. Not that I’m expecting every session to devolve into a therapy. I do think there’s something good about the idea of a medical practitioner who wants to treat the body and mind as one entity. Almost everyone with any sense understands that both are connected. But very few people in the field of medicine refer to it explicitly. Physicians don’t care about your mind and psychologists don’t care about your body. It seems that alternative medicine is the only field that looks to treat both as one. So I want to give this a shot. Starting this week, I’ll be blogging about my sessions. Stay tuned.