It’s probably not the one you’re thinking of, I promise. What I want to talk about is what a lot of people both get sucked into and have probably also noticed about the chronic illness community if you’ve spent any time around the online community. But first, it’s so important for me to put a heavy disclaimer on this post and on my thoughts and opinions around it.
*Disclaimer: This does not in any way mean that all views in the chronic illness community are like this (not AT ALL), nor does it downplay any legitimacy. This just sheds light to a trend I’ve seen and shares a point of caution.
SO, with all that being said. Let’s talk about the trend of my least favorite 4-letter curse word. CURE.
When you spend a little bit of time within the online chronic illness communities, you’ll notice a few key things straightaway:
Don’t get me wrong, none of the above is meant to make fun – but it is meant to *somewhat* exaggerate so that you get the idea of what is out there, of both sides of extremes (because the above two examples actually exist in real life, I’ve personally seen them both on a daily basis). And don’t even get me started on the new fad that is “sickstagram.” All these late teens/20-year-olds – it’s not the cool thing to have multiple, debilitating, chronic illnesses. For all the legitimacy that still exists, I’m so sorry – I hear you, and I’m there for you. I’m just not sure when it became cool to be bedridden, with tubes, or drawers full of medications, weeks full of doctors appointments. But I digress.
What I really wanted to bring to light was the danger of the word: CURE. There is a big trend out there of sharing ways to “cure” your chronic illnesses or autoimmune diseases by diet, exercise, supplements, etc. Let me start by saying, please don’t confuse me shedding light on this as being equal to me disagreeing that diet, exercise, and some supplements are good for you. They are! And with proper medical guidance, you should be incorporating those into your treatment plan. However, they aren’t going to “cure” you. If autoimmune diseases or chronic diseases were currently “curable,” modern-day medicine would be shouting those claims from the rooftops.
Now you can certainly manage your symptoms and, potentially, put yourself into remission with homeopathic methods. That’s fantastic! I’m all for it. But remission is not “curing” yourself. Remission is a goal for all of us, but don’t be fooled that remission can’t be taken from you in an instant. I am a FIRM believer in the middle-ground. I am a FIRM believer in modern-day medicine + homeopathic medicine. It’s how I address my health issues, autoimmunity, and my chronic diseases on a daily basis. I am the first to try most things, but believing I will be “cured” by them would be naive.
All of this is not to say that I think we should all be negative and mope around in our illnesses all day — far from it! But on the other hand, I think it’s very dangerous to be touting you’ve been “cured” when so many others either 1) won’t have symptom relief from the same resources you used, 2) will think that a “cure” is an attainable and realistic goal, or 3) may go off of doctor-prescribed treatments and do unintentional harm or long-term damage.
Here’s where a smart online community comes in – where you have to be smart enough, brave enough, savvy enough, to challenge what you read. To consider the source, to do your own REPUTABLE research. If what you are reading is only one sided, and to that affect very extremist on one end of the spectrum or the other, that should be an enormous red flag to you. Find a community that is full of patient advocates that support a variety of different treatments and ideas.
At the end of the day, who am I? I can’t tell you what to do – I can only share what I’ve learned and what I see. But I can also tell you I have tried A LOT of different treatment ideas. I can also tell you that I have seen way too many people in devastation because they thought that treatment A was supposed to “cure” them because so-and-so on Instagram said so.
Remember when the tried and true advice was Everything In Moderation? Guess what – that is still the best piece of advice. Follow it. 😊