Hi, I’m Dr. Tiffany M. Smith
The way you live your life moves you either toward wellness or illness.
But what happens when a solution that is supposed to move you towards wellness is actually toward illness or nothing at all.
As a medical professional, I would find myself questioning if I would take the medication that I was giving to my patients.
My answer would always be ...maybe?…
The truth was I began to notice some concerning patterns in the prescribed treatment amongst patients in our healthcare system:
Patients would start one medication but had to take 1-2 more just to manage the side effects
Although some patients were improved on the medication, nothing was done to discover the cause of the issue in the first place.
Patients would ask how long they had to be on medication and oftentimes the recommended treatment plan was for a lifetime -- as if there were no other options to wellness
There is a trial and error approach to medication use which can sometimes make a patient more ill than without it
Despite my reservations, I read the research and was unable to find better answers within my field, I trusted my education and the healthcare system that I worked within.
My complacency came to an end when my high speed, low drag, Airborne Air assault, medical combat veteran husband was nearly bedridden due to chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia/hypersomnia, and PTSD.
As a licensed healthcare provider himself, he only had access to all the same medical care that my patients did.
He did the trial and error.
He took the narcotics.
He accepted that we might not ever know the root cause of his symptoms.
But when faced with the possibility of being on medication for the rest of his life with no real improvement, he made a critical decision:
He decided to no longer accept what our current healthcare system had to offer.
HE REFUSED ALL MEDICATIONS!
Internally, I was torn between my professional training and the possibility that my husband might never be well again.
How could he refuse to take medications?
I was so fearful for him but his reason made it impossible for me not to respect his wishes.
He stated, "I don’t want any #!?* narcotics and muscle relaxers because they made him loopy and kept him down for days.”
He continued to state how he did not want to get addicted to any medications.
He did not want to lose himself to the medications.
What was I to do for the man I love that refuses the healthcare system we work in!
We needed help!
He was either sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all.
He did everything to maintain his kind, joyous, and considerate nature, but it was challenged by his pain.
He was unable to stand for long periods and would spend most of his time in bed.
Our family time was limited to mealtime and what could be done at the bedside.
I started to wonder:
Would there be no Disneyland family vacation?
No romantic walks on the beach?
Going grocery shopping together?
I felt alone, deserted, and lost. I had no idea how I could help my husband and kids return to the active, outgoing, happy household we once had.
I was determined to not let our family be torn apart by something that should be absolutely treatable.
I had based my entire professional career on this belief and I wasn't willing to let it go -- even if the system that existed was currently failing us.
The only option was to find another way.
Thank goodness I had my medical experience, science, and the up close and personal experience of exactly what my husband was going through to start.
My husband’s pain was the first order of business because when a person is in real physical pain, nothing else matters until the pain is resolved.
With the old approach, he’d be given a narcotic to treat his symptoms and that would be the end.
At this point, that was not good enough for my husband and I knew if I wanted my family back, it couldn’t be enough for me either.
Armed with this knowledge, I dove deep into seeking out the root cause of his pain.
I spent early mornings and late nights combining a wide variety of approaches and blended them with the best and most important parts of my clinical education.
Finally, I was able to create the first tier of his wellness journey.
Best part, no pills!
I held my breath to see what would happen.
Slowly but surely, he started to get out of bed more.
He began to take short trips to the grocery store.
He started to bond with the kids by playing video games with them.
With this success and his permission, I began to focus on how to support him in improving his mindset and mental resilience so we could continue his progress.
I took my signature mental assessment methods that I had been using in my practice and created a personalized support plan to help him get back to a place where he felt in control of his mental wellness and his life.
He started creating future goals for himself.
He started to plan family camping trips.
And best of all, we started to ( have sex) sorry, go on dates again.
It was time to move to the next level.
Being so fortunate to have created something that was really working, it was time to address how we were living that had contributed to his illness in the first place.
We took action steps that allowed continued improvement in his condition.
Seeing the incredible improvement in his overall health, we chose to adopt these changes as a family, and what happened next, surprised us all.
As he moved through the treatment plan that we created,
His pain went from a 10 out of 10 to a 0 out of 10.
He was more active, humorous, and engaged in the household again.
He lost weight, and his muscles became more toned.
He discovered new hobbies such as ebike riding, camping, and volunteering in military and veteran organizations.
We started doing these things as a family, and it brought us all back together again.
Reflecting on the happiness that returned to our home, I began to think of my clients in my practice.
I realized that most of them had the very same fears that my husband did.
Many of them were self-motivated DIYers that needed guidance on how to manage their health --which meant that they also were very likely to have the same chances of success if they had access to my methodology.
Armed with the knowledge that I had developed a winning, repeatable system to mental health that does not begin with medication and considers the whole person, Aroma Functional Nutrition Psychiatry was formed.
Since then, I’ve watched my clients make incredible steps in their lives.
I’ve watched my clients recover from complete emotional breakdowns.
I’ve seen them transform relationships that were at an end to be the fulfilling, joyous unions they were meant to be.
One client integrated my system to treat what seemed like an interminable period of grief and used it to pull through.
He is now dedicating himself to living his life in his daughter’s honor.
“I was afraid to reach out to speak with a mental health provider because I know they will write prescriptions, but I had to take the chance.I had a fear of being labeled. I had a big fear of being misunderstood. Luckily, I met Dr. Tiffany Smith and I was pleasantly surprised. She was an advocate for me finding a natural approach to me finding my mental health needs. She listened to me and did not pressure me to take pills. I feel she met me where I was and helped me through my challenges. I am so much better than I imagined after working with Dr. Tiffany. I was in a very dark and sunken place but Dr. Tiffany helped me start by seeing a little bit of light and hanging on to that until I was ready to take the next step. Now, I feel empowered and equipped to address my mental health. My transformation has empowered me to take steps to share with others the importance of mental health care.”
But you know what my favorite part of what I do is?
Helping people reclaim the joy and purpose in their lives.
That’s why I have created a community just for you called Free2BU Nation.
So that’s how this all started.
There’s more, but that’s for another time.
-- Dr. Tiffany M Smith