In yesterday's inbox was a packet from a former patient who sent her twenty page college essay entitled "Taming Mental Chaos:an integrated approach to treating anxiety disorders." Because we had spent years together managing her anxiety in all of its manifestations and trying a variety of approaches ---I write this blog with her permission, without mentioning names--, she thought I would be interested in how far she has continued the exploration. Not only has she incorporated relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques into her life, but she has gone on to become a certified yoga instructor and to teach others! This paper is her expression of gratitude toward and recognition of all that yoga can do to promote a more mentally, and physically, healthy life.
As a parent, a physician, and a teacher, there is hardly a more gratifying moment than the realization that one has passed on something important to a child, colleague or student. At the top of her paper was a quote from Plato who said back in the day: "The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated." Since what adolescent medicine physicians are fortunate enough to do best is to integrate body, soul and mind in their practice, I felt moved by what my patient sent, knowing that some of the seeds of her discovery were planted at my desk.