Biographical background information about Sarah Whittaker, homeopath at Phoenix Homeopathy
My secret life
On non-clinic days, I'm a jeweller, making dainty nature-inspired jewellery for women. My work is stocked in selected galleries, and is sold through Not on the High Street and my own separate jewellery website.
Alongside my more commercial silver & vermeil collections, I also painstakingly and lovingly design and make contemporary matte enamel jewellery. This is my even more secret vice (I barely even sell my enamelled jewellery - it really is that self-indulgent!).
Fiddly, dextrous bench skills are tough to master at the best of times, and tougher still with a disability, but I enjoy my jewellery practice as much as I love my clinic work.
I count myself very lucky indeed to enjoy a balance of caring and creativity in the two parts of the new professional life that has been reborn, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of my beloved lost legal career.
* information about my homeopathy qualifications and training can be found here.
I haven't always been a homeopath.
After a degree in English at the University of Sussex, and a stint working for a blind solicitor at Brighton Law Centre, I went back to college and completed a Law conversion course and then the vocational Legal Practice course.
I completed two years of articles at London law firm Mishcon de Reya (then best known for representing celebs including the late HRH Diana, Princess of Wales). After qualifying as a solicitor, I accepted a job at Mishcons, working as an assistant solicitor in the litigation department.
Moving on to a plum job as a lecturer at BPP Law School, I was quickly promoted to Head of Litigation on the LPC course, and, aged just 28, I had the world at my feet.
Life suddenly took a dramatic u-turn, after a devastating diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1995, swiftly followed by the double whammy of the additional diagnosis of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) and a long spell of being almost completely paralysed in 1996, necessitating in-patient treatment and specialist rehabilitation. Whilst I eventually recovered some mobility to a limited degree, ill-health and disability meant the end of my beloved legal career.
Some years later, the additional discovery of a hormone-havoc-wreaking pituitary tumour, and then a disabling fall (badly damaging my left pelvis and right hip, and shocking my spine), means I live with more than my fair share of health woes and disability, and have had to create myself a life very different from the one I was anticipating.
Thankfully for me, I discovered homeopathy, wholefood nutrition, meditation, visualisation, homeobotanicals, flower essences, and the joy of a creative life, and these are the tools I rely on for wellbeing in my daily life.
Whilst I'm deeply grateful for the support I've had from the NHS over the years (special mention goes to Jodie, an amazing physiotherapist who helped me re-learn to sit, stand and manage stairs in 1996), my view is that homeopathy in particular has helped me, in my daily life, to an extraordinary degree.
As a practitioner, I'm by no means against pharmaceutical drugs (and I never, ever advise others as to the wisdom of otherwise of taking them). My own personal view is that they're best reserved a method of last resort. In any case, my own GP hasn't been able to find a painkiller that has worked for me without unacceptable side-effects (I suspect he's given up, poor chap!).