I’m a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) who wants to help people avoid, reduce, or even eliminate their need for medication(s).
I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a pharmacist—most of that time working for the pharma and biotech industry. I learned firsthand about how the industry works and about what really matter to the big stakeholders. And unfortunately, most of the time, I saw that the #1 stakeholders are not the patients who actually take the medications being prescribed and sold to them.
This is why I left the industry–so that I could follow my heart and my conscience. No more “growing the market” or “building a brand”. I want to help inform people and potentially protect them from potentially harmful effects and drug interactions.
Being a Doctor of Pharmacy means that I spent nearly 7 years (2 pre-pharmacy, 5 pharmacy school) studying how the body functions, how disease and chronic conditions affect it, and how a plethora of drugs may be used in efforts to treat those conditions—from migraines to toenail fungus and everything in between. I found pharmacology fascinating—I loved learning about a drug’s “mechanism of action”. I loved the idea that medications could help solve people’s health issues. But now I see that most of the time, they don’t solve anything. In fact, they often just cover up symptoms without truly addressing the root cause(s). And they can even contribute to the development of other diagnoses and health problems. That was really hard for me to finally admit to myself. At times over the past 20 years, I felt like I had completely chosen the wrong profession–that I had been misled. I felt angry at “the system” of healthcare in America, I felt angry at myself for actually participating in activities (as a pharma employee) that I now believe have gotten our nation into quite a mess health-wise. I took part in helping to perpetuate the pill culture that into which we have evolved. But then I realized, my journey is not for naught! All that time in the industry gave me a perspective that relatively few will ever obtain. I now see that medications are not the primary fix for what ails ya. I know this not just because of my professional experience, but because I’ve lived through it personally, too.
Ever since my late teens, I have struggled with depression—and it’s gotten really dark quite a few times. I’ve tried 6 different antidepressants (sometimes in combination) over the past 2 decades. I’ve experienced the flatness, the tremors, the nausea, insomnia, irritability, palpitations, lack of emotions, and other effects these drugs produce. I occasionally had to take sleeping pills for the anxiety and insomnia. I know what it’s like to go through what the medical field euphemistically refers to as “severe discontinuation syndrome” (aka withdrawal)–I would sleep for hours and hours each day because when I wasn’t sleeping, I was crying and literally wanting to die. I felt like I was falling down the rabbit hole again, “relapsing” into depression. I finally stopped trying to quit the meds first, and instead focused on taking care of myself everyday. For me, that meant exercising, sleeping, and eating foods that made me feel strong, stable, and able to face challenges. Only when I had this strong “foundation”, was I able to eventually stop the Wellbutrin and Effexor.
I now see that depression has been a blessing to me in one sense. It’s made me stronger, and it’s taught me what I can do to (1) prevent depressive episodes and (2) reverse depression when I sense it coming. Most importantly, I’ve come to see that depression is a symptom that something else is awry underneath. Because I’ve lived with depression and anxiety and am still prone to them when I get off kilter, I am determined to use my personal experience and my training to help others. We have so much power to heal ourselves, we don’t have to turn it all over to medications.
Bottom line is, I’ve been there. I’m a real person. I do not ride a high horse. I know how hard it is sometimes to ignore that voice or urge telling you to go against what you know is best for your body, mind, and soul. I still struggle with my own health issues, but I’ve found many tools that I can use to come through the tough times stronger and more determined than ever to keep getting better!