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Square Peg, Round Hole

Do you ever feel that way? A square peg in a round hole? Like you are out of sync with your environment? Or like the person you used to be isn’t you anymore? The decisions you made when you were younger are not the same ones you make, today. The world we live in is not the same, today, so why do we think we should be? Why do we trap ourselves in situations that we feel we can’t get out of? We can change things. We can take small pivots and change the direction our lives are heading.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse (mostly because that’s where I saw women in the workforce), but then I went to college for elementary education and quickly realized that was not what I wanted. I played with a few different majors and decided I was just wasting money, so I quit school and got a full-time job at my school’s financial aid department. I was so excited the first week at my new job, but it quickly became mundane.

I learned everything about my new position in just a couple weeks and every day seemed just like the last. I got a promotion a few months later, but after the initial training period, even that was boring. I hated being in an office environment and felt out of sync with my coworkers. I liked them, but I didn’t fit with the office aesthetic. So, I quit. I gave my notice 2 weeks before my vacation, and I didn’t go back. I had some savings, so I lived off that for a few months.

Then, 9/11/2001 happened (yup, I’m dating myself here). Our nation came together in a way I had never seen before. There were so many brave people helping others, and I was just eating, sleeping, and watching television. What was I doing with my life? Shortly after, my mom came home with an application to the local pharmacy. “It doesn’t have to be your next career, but you should probably get a job.”

But it did become my career. I fell in love with pharmacy. I love pharmacy because you can never know absolutely everything about it. There is always new information, new medications, new discoveries, and new studies! I thought it could never feel boring or mundane. However, when I was working for a big chain, I started to feel like a part in a vending machine. Prescriptions comes in and pills go out. Something had shifted and I felt out of sync again. I still love pharmacy, but I’m a pharmacist that believes prescription medicine should be used as a last resort (well, maybe a step up from something more invasive like surgery). I was eager to learn a new way of doing things, because the vending machine model was not working for me. I discovered Functional Medicine. I took a deep dive into what the vitamins and minerals are doing in our bodies, what food does for and to our bodies, what role genetics plays in the functioning of our body systems.

Our diet should be used to support our natural body functions and systems. If we get sick, we can use diet and rest to support our immune system. We need to work with our bodies to give the nutrients it needs when it needs them. If we cannot supply enough in the diet (or exposure to sunlight, like with Vitamin D), we can use supplements to give us a boost. If we are eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, reducing stress, taking the right supplements for our body, and still need something more, that’s when prescription medications can be helpful.

Unfortunately, that is not what our current system gives us. Our current medical system looks at symptoms and gives a prescription. They do not look in depth to find root causes (such as certain deficiencies in vitamins and minerals). They try to fit a square peg into a round hole with prescription medications that just mask symptoms.

So, even though I still work as a community pharmacist, I cringe every time I check a prescription, because I know that my patients could focus more on the foods they are eating and probably not even need the pills in the bottle. If they focus on giving their body what it needs to function optimally, we wouldn’t need most of the prescription medications on the market (and that scares the big pharmaceutical companies). I try to reach as many people as possible, but I need your help!

So, get the word out. Start making small pivots in your own life to change the course of your health. Stop trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Are you ready to PIVOT to functional health and wellness?

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