I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t give people health advice under any circumstances.
First, it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, nurse, space alien, shaman, mime, dog trainer, marathon runner, or whatever. Nobody will actually change their behavior based on what you say.
Unless it’s something weird such as ‘eating raw pineapple will cause you to grow a second row of teeth.”
Second, I recently sent in a tube of saliva to have my DNA analyzed. Supposedly this includes some genetic markers. It is a gol-danged mystery what might or might not have genetic components, including whether you have hair on your toes or a double-jointed thumb. No matter what happens, people now have the option of blaming their genes rather than external inputs.
Third, after COVID-19 I just don’t know.
I can tell people that COVID is real and that you probably don’t want to find out for yourself, so wear a mask, but anyone who would listen to me has probably been doing that for a long time. Again, what I say to someone will either be preaching to the choir, or it will have no effect.
All I can do is offer for friends who know someone with COVID to have them text me.
Even then, what can I do? I can talk about my experience, but that might not be theirs. For instance, I lost my sense of taste and smell for three weeks, and it came back, but for some people that loss appears to be permanent. Why? I have no idea. Is there anything they can do to get it back? I have no idea. It appeared to happen naturally in my case.
Did anyone read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
Remember the part where Arthur Dent came home, ate something spoiled out of his fridge, and unknowingly cured himself of some space infection that would have wiped out all of humanity?
What if I did do something to help myself get my sense of smell back, but I had no idea? What if it was... eating pickles? Something that I have done my entire life, and would never stop even if it caused my skin to turn green and warty?
What if there are multiple inputs in my personal environment that combine in such a way as to cause certain issues in my life and eliminate others?
That’s probably the main problem with trying to give other people health advice. We can’t do it in isolation, one factor at a time. Maybe we do twelve things, the combination of which is necessary to get our results, and maybe the other person is only willing to grudgingly do one of them?
I can say that while I had COVID, I ate a lot of broccoli and cauliflower. That is true. Whether it had any effect whatsoever on my healing will never be known, because nobody did any kind of tests or measured any health metrics while all that was going on. It’s guesswork.
This is where I think most people get into trouble with giving advice: singling out a particular input that they like and wanting to broadcast it to everyone.
Example: Someone I know believes that she can’t get coronavirus because she drinks a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day. This is why she won’t get vaccinated.
I utterly 100% think this is wrong, and that all the health effects it can cause are smelling like a salad...
Or at least I thought that until this same person needed major surgery and took months to heal.
Will anyone tell her that maybe her vinegar habit did something bad in her life rather than something good?
Gosh, I hope not!
Will she stop telling people that vinegar is a miracle healing cure?
Are they related?
What it would take to test something like this requires an entire scientific framework that is, for some reason, under scrutiny. The scientific method is the exact part that so many people are skeptical about.
It seems to work like this. I will trust this advice and follow it scrupulously, every day, and tell everyone about it all the time. I will pay good money for it. I will drive many miles for it. I will rearrange my schedule for it. But only if it does not come from a mainstream health practitioner.
Food and health are the new religion, and they have been for some time.
We get into these things because we are desperate for a feeling of control over our lives. We want so much to feel like we can do or not do something very specific, and it will protect us from our mortality.
This is why we want to get other people on board with our habits, because it builds and strengthens that sense of confidence and control. Now we are a team, and together we are unbeatable! Now everybody get that vinegar ready and let’s drink, one two three!
I used to feel that holy fire myself. At that time in my life, I was surrounded by people who were almost entirely on a different wavelength than myself. Many of them were struggling with issues that I had beat, and I wanted to help.
All I did was annoy people.
Then I moved and changed my social group, and instead I was surrounded mostly by people more fit and active than myself.
That shut me up!
Now I’m working on recovery after a year of being blitzed by long-haul COVID. While I’m pleased to be able to run up a flight of stairs again, I still struggle to carry heavy objects, lift my arms over my head, or become very tired after doing a few things that used to be routine, like putting something on top of the fridge. I have a long way to go.
Not that telling someone, “I’m tired too and I struggle with simple things too” would feel like much of a bonding exercise.
What people really want is for someone to deeply validate what they are saying, and that does not include expressing that you had the same experience, because they want to feel seen and prized as a unique individual with unique issues.
This is why I’m not giving health advice these days. All I can do is report something back from my recovery, such as, one day soon I hope to be able to put on a shoe without leaning on something.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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