When women come in for their first appointment with me, they often start off by saying, “I just don’t feel like myself!” or, “I look in the mirror, and I don’t recognize the person looking back at me.” They tell me they’ve lost their enthusiasm and motivation, that life just doesn’t feel the same. The wonder where the version of themselves they once knew went.
As an Age Management practitioner, I know that these are indicative of real health issues, but many of these women have previously seen non-specialist doctors who have told them it’s all in their heads. The professional opinion they received was basically just, “get over it,” or “it’s part of getting older.” Oftentimes these women are then given anti-depressant medications for their symptoms, which in turn can make a lot of their symptoms worse. What they really needed was to simply be heard.
I was taught something very valuable in my medical training: the patient will tell you what’s wrong with her, it’s your job to listen. Unfortunately, most physicians tend to interrupt before a woman can truly tell her story. The average amount of time she’s listened to before being interrupted is eight seconds.
So what’s the first thing I say when a woman comes in saying she doesn’t feel like herself?
“You’ve come to the right place.”
I know that for women “I don’t feel good” and “I don’t feel sexy” are health issues. As we grow older, we face new mental, physical, and spiritual challenges. Often these challenges show up in ways that are hard to describe. Being out of alignment with your best self is not something to be taken lightly, so having a practitioner validate your feeling of being “off” can be transformative. It’s no surprise that simply saying “I hear you, let’s work through this together,” brings an audible sigh of relief!
What happens next is a totally individualized process, different for each woman.
Of course I look at medical records and what they’ve written on the forms they filled out when they come to the office. But just as important: What they say, in their own words, which means I ask them to tell me their story.
The path for a woman rediscovering the best self begins with someone who will listen to and continues on with being asked the right questions.
I ask simple but key questions that you can ask yourself as you’re reading this blog. What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing during your day? When’s the last time you really felt like yourself? What are your ambitions and dreams? It’s telling that so many women have a hard time answering these questions. And it presents a challenge: If you can’t even verbalize what you want, how do you move toward it?
Of course, there are prescriptions to fill and actions to take to improve your health, but that comes after some real investigation into you. If I give women hormones, sure, it will make them horny and lose weight, but it won’t fix everything, because there really is so much more to a person’s health than their physical ailments. Being familiar with and encouraging different treatment modalities such as meditation, inner spiritual work, and more is essential to treating the person as a whole.
That’s why finding the right doctor is key: A doctor who helps you grow and age in a healthy way will be attuned to your feelings and thoughts as much as your symptoms, to help you achieve the best version of you possible.
If you’re looking for an Age Management practitioner who is ready and able to listen, contact Dr. Jill Stocker at The Body Well today: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 874-9355 today.