Why did I become an acupuncturist?

Years ago I was an unhappy, miserable person who hated getting up and going into work everyday. I didn’t want to be there and couldn’t leave. I was tired, depressed, and angry. I overate and drank regularly to numb my brain and I wanted to sleep all the time. I had no joy in my life.

This wasn’t a new feeling that happened overnight. I had felt hopeless like this on and off since my teenaged years. My family doctor diagnosed me with depression in 2004, prescribed me antidepressants and got me in touch with a psychologist for counselling. At first the pills did not help, but after a few years and trying different types, my mood was finally stable.  Counselling allowed me to move on from past traumas and to heal.

Part of the pathway to healing was doing some self-care. I started regular sessions with a registered massage therapist. It was ninety minutes of getting the knots out, plus conversation with a person who had a different outlook on life. It was on her recommendation that I try out acupuncture for my depression.

Acupuncture helped me to calm my mind and settle my spirit – in the FIRST TREATMENT! I felt like a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt almost euphoric and energized. I started going every four weeks. I was sleeping better. My menstrual cycle became regular. I had more energy. I felt less stress at work. I didn’t feel irritable and depressed anymore.

The more I learned about acupuncture the more I wanted to know. I started looking into what it takes to become an acupuncturist. I applied for the Acupuncture Diploma program at MacEwan University and was accepted. I went from being a full-time employee to a full time student at age 42.

With the support and encouragement of my family and friends, I studied hard and was an excellent student. I was amazed by the philosophies of the ancient Chinese scholars whose theories and experiences build the foundations of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Throughout my training, the determination to learn how to help others with their mental health in the way that I was helped, gave me inspiration. It was a tough three years of full-time school, clinical training, and many hours of studying and practice. The Covid 19 pandemic didn’t help matters much, but eventually I got my clinical hours in and was eligible to write the national acupuncture licensing exam in October 2020. I was successful and got my license as a Registered Acupuncturist in January 2021.

Do I still have depression? Yes. I am also still taking my medication and receiving regular acupuncture treatments. I still have the odd bad day occasionally, but overall, I feel better. I don’t get hopeless feeling or irritable. I don’t feel like sleeping all day. My mood has been stable for over 10 years. I have found joy in my life again.

At both the school clinic and in my professional practice, I have had the opportunity to help people with their mental health. Most people are ashamed to admit it, due to the stigma of having mental illness, and many do not seek treatment from their physician because they don’t want to be on medication or have had reactions to medication in the past. As a health care professional, I encourage you to seek help for your depression from your primary care physician. They will help determine a treatment plan that is suitable for you. Let them know that you are interested in trying acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment will not interfere with any prescriptions or counselling. It will help you get feeling more like yourself sooner.

DEPRESSION SUCKS! But it doesn’t have to! You don’t have to feel hopeless and lost, angry and irritated, sad and upset, or empty inside. I am here for you when you are ready to seek treatment.