Did I Ever Tell You How I Got Where I Am?

Most healers find themselves in this profession because they’re trying to heal themselves.  My story started no differently.

I was 15 when it all escalated.  I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, tense and shivering from the cold sterile air that fell onto my face, arms clutched around my belly as I hunched over in pain.  “It could be an ulcer, but that would be extremely rare for someone this young.  We could test for gallstones, but I don’t think that would lead anywhere either.”

This was the fourth doctor I’d seen in a matter of weeks, telling me the same thing those before him had said… you are fine.  But, I wasn’t fine.  Anyone could see that… right

I ended up in the emergency room a few weeks later, where surprisingly I was told the same thing.  I remember the look on my mum’s face when the nurse said, “All your tests results are normal, you can go home now.”  Mum and I shared a mutual glance of, what now?

I was given a referral to see a gastroenterologist and have an endoscopy, where they put a little camera down your throat to see what’s happening in your stomach.

I arrived for my appointment, and I was hopeful this would give me some answers.  “I don’t want to do the procedure, you’re too young”, he told me.  I felt my heart sink and tears well in my eyes… what now!?  It was as though I wasn’t sick enough for anyone to help me.  No one seemed to care about how my life was being affected by not being able to eat and having excruciating gut pain.  I felt so unheard, and so alone in my quest to find answers and get better.

All I wanted was to understand why I wasn’t well, and how I could change that.  I didn’t want to have my life dictated to me by my stomach pain.

As a last resort, (like so many of my clients) my mum took me to see a Naturopath.  This was the first time I’d ever heard of Naturopathy.  I sat in this cosy little chair across from the Naturopath’s desk and she asked me lots of questions about my stress, school, what my childhood was like and how I was feeling.  She looked into my eyes with a little torch and touched my shoulder as she flawlessly repeated traits of myself as though she’d been a fly on the wall all my life.  It was the first time that I felt truly heard and understood by a health professional.  As it turned out, everything was not fine (hallelujah!), but I had been looking for answers in all the wrong places.  

As it turned out, my high levels of stress and anxiety that no one had ever asked me about were a huge contributor to this pain.  After all, the gut and nervous system share the same neural pathways.  So, I took a herbal spray under my tongue three times a day, and a combination of little tablets and powders, and through a holistic approach, I started to get better.  That moment, sitting in that cosy little chair, watching pieces be put together about my health, my interest in health and natural medicine was sparked.  That spark turned into a flame as I began my studies fresh out of school, at the ripe age of 17.

But all of that at 15 wasn’t the end of the road for me with health problems.  At 16, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety and reluctantly medicated for a short period of time.  At 19, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos thyroiditis (autoimmune condition leading to under-active thyroid function).  Both of these life-changing diagnoses had me feeling the same way as that 15 year old, in pain and being told everything was fine.  I felt unheard, misunderstood, and felt that no one was on my side.  I didn’t want to be put on medication for the rest of my life, but no one asked me what I wanted in the first place.  I was given no other options, and so I sought to find my own

My studies in Naturopathy were fuelled by a desire to change the approach to health and disease; to give an understanding to those that know something isn’t right even if their pathology says “everything is normal”; to redefine the way we look at health and disease; to provide a space to be heard, guided and supported. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not knocking doctors.  I highly respect them, and I work with them on a day to day basis.  In my opinion, there's not a "one or the other" approach.  Both modalities are important, and working together yields fantastic results.  Sometimes, we need care that the medical system is not built to offer... and mainly I have found that to be time.  Consultations that are thorough and comprehensive, learning about the trigger points of disease and the day-to-day aggravating factors that can be changed.  This is what naturopathy offered me, and what I continued to offer my clients.

You see, as human beings, we are intensely complex – and health is no different.  But, I do believe that we will only find answers to better health if we are uncovering the fundamental aspects of our individuality and working with these factors… and if we are focusing on how the body functions in optimal health, not only in a disease state. 

All those blood tests I had that were “fine” actually held a lot of valuable information about my trajectory away from health, not towards it.  A set of eyes trained to see that would have been able to explain to me exactly how things weren't as fine as I was led to believe.  Looking not only at tests, but also at your medical history and current state of health, from the perspective of “What is not functioning optimally?” and “Where did it all start?” brings a lot more answers to questions that otherwise remain unheard.

There is a big difference between being well and being free from disease, and it is this grey area that I wanted to focus on bringing light to.  It is the action we choose to take or not take in this grey area that defines our trajectory.

I knew I wanted to be involved in the lives of those that want to be empowered to take control of their trajectory, and I wanted to know everything I could to make this easier for others, because I didn’t want anyone to have to go through the same things I did in my quest to find help in health.

I studied everything I could about health.  I learnt Jensen and Rayid iridology, pathology, live blood analysis, integrative functional medicine, traditional herbalism, helminth therapy, reiki, muscle testing, facial analysis… everything under the sun that would help me understand my clients better and help them faster, I did it.

Working in multi-modality clinics, I was pressured to move away from the fuel of my fire as a therapist.  I had treatment programs dictated to me and was heavily encouraged to promote the same structured consultations and remedies to everyone that walked in the door.  I did it and saw it fail over and over.  I realised, once again, I felt so unheard and so misunderstood.  I was more encouraged than ever to find the power and freedom to work how I wanted; to treat the individual and take a stand against the notion that one-size-fits-all.  I had only one option to achieve this and truly express my purpose in helping others; to open my own clinic.  So, I did.

My path fatefully crossed with Wendy’s (we had met all the way back at college!) again and immediately I knew we were both here to serve the same purpose.  Though we had different experiences in our health journey, the way that we felt in the process of trying to find true authentic help to be our best selves was the same, and it wasn’t pleasant.  I knew she had the same purpose as me; to be a reprieve for those that felt how we did.  To help those that were searching for answers, and to look deeper and broader to see how the pieces fit.

So, Verve became a team of two and we continue to expand on our knowledge day in and day out, in a space where we can work in the presence and honour of the passion that fuels our fire, not despite it.  

We are not about just understanding and treating a disease process – we are about understanding and treating you.

We are about diligently looking for and correcting patterns that are hindering you from amazing health and wellbeing, so that you can learn how to get well and stay well.

We have built our clinic on the foundation that our bodies hold the answers to our questions, and it is our utmost privilege to play our part in finding those answers, for true long-lasting wellness.

If you have been on a health roller coaster... if you have felt defeated... if you haven't known where to turn or what to do, please keep going!

You are meant to, and deserve to, experience vibrant health and self-empowerment... to feel liberated by your body, not separated to it... and I believe where there is a will, there is a way to reclaim your health and live your best life.  

Emily Banks