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Suit Yourself!

Have you ever opened one of my newsletters, only to quickly close it when you see an article suggesting you’re doing something wrong? Does reading articles on the internet contribute to a growing case of hypochondria (“Oh, no, maybe I have that disease!”) or orthorexia (an eating disorder where fixed ideas about health cause one to restrict or control their foods to an unhealthy degree)? Egads, not my intention, as you might imagine. Before you unsubscribe, let’s rethink the problem!

How’s your current health? You know best whether you have any serious health problems – and you often know about them before your doctor can come up with a diagnosis. If you’re in that unclear state where you don’t feel well, but not sick enough for a doctor’s treatment plan, you’re not alone. A lot of us are there. In that case, you might benefit from reading an article, so long as you keep a healthy sense of “Well, this does NOT apply to me!” as you learn a bit about sleep disorders or the loss of muscle strength.

If you have a diagnosis, you are probably followed by a physician, so why bother with the website? Only read what I’m writing if you have a sense you could be doing more for yourself, perhaps enabling yourself (with your doctor’s approval) to reduce or eliminate prescriptions.

If you have a family member about whom you worry, there might be some insights about what they might do for themselves. Unfortunately, it's a sticky individual question as to how to best present that information to them, and so far I haven't written any articles about that.

If your health is excellent, congratulations! If I write an article about avoiding gluten, and you tolerate gluten without any problems, that advice does not apply to you! I have always enjoyed the truth of patient individuality: no case of diabetes exactly matches another case of diabetes. Even strep throat is different from one person to the next. Some people tolerate gluten just fine. I just spent a few days with an old high school friend who totally breaks my rules about sleep: she stays on the computer til just before bedtime, shuts it down and goes right to sleep! My sleep articles are not for her...unless she's just curious.

So please, enjoy the articles or don’t read them! Not everyone is as curious a health geek as I am – not everyone wants to know the latest thinking about our current auto-immune epidemic, for instance – and I’d much rather you play outside with your dog or your family than sit inside reading something that just brings you down. (By the way, watch for an article soon about that auto-immune epidemic!)

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