Wondering who’s right when it comes to all of the health information we see on the internet?
I used to assume that illness was more about the “luck of the draw” than about my lifestyle or dietary choices. In fact I was quick to dismiss anyone who suggested anything otherwise.
This changed in 2008, when in 8 months I visited 60+ doctors in hopes of resolving my children’s issues with vertigo, migraines, abdominal pain, vision disturbance, rashes, urinary issues, and much more. (Read our story here.)
As physician after physician encouraged me to seek psychiatric help for myself and my children I was forced to re-evaluate. I decided to research.
I was astounded by what I discovered. Thanks to the Internet I made the connection between our toxic home and our health. In addition, I learned about gluten-free living and life without chemicals. I discovered fermented foods and learned the meaning of the word “enterocyte.”
Our health, however, did not improve as quickly as I had hoped. It became clear that our conditions would not vanish overnight. Thus my research time escalated. So did my level of anxiety. Instead of being a lifeline, the Internet became a major source of defeat and discouragement.
The questions were endless. Am I doing everything wrong? One says use this diet, another says use that one. Am I missing something that will turn us around?
I stayed on course, however. I had seen enough progress to know that personal ownership of health is a positive step.
It’s been six years of health research. I have found a place of measured rest when it comes to the Internet as a source of help. Are you struggling? Here are 5 sanity-saving suggestions:
1. Expect to be overwhelmed
With the massive amounts of health information readily available, it’s completely natural and normal to feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean that the information is bad or good, it simply means your brain can only process so much at one time. If your health is compromised you have even less brain space for processing information. This is a Catch-22. Taking charge of your health is a good thing, but embracing the help can be extremely challenging. There’s no fix for this – just know that being overwhelmed is part of the process. And if you’re overwhelmed, the truth is you may be headed in a good direction.
2. Resist a sense of urgency.
One of my weaknesses is to believe I have to do everything right now. I remember reading something about greens and detox and staying up most of the night coming up with a plan for the family. The transition proved to be pivotal but easily could have waited a few more days, weeks, or even months. Give yourself room to sit with new ideas.
3. Remember that everyone is unique
There is not a “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to your health. Genetics, mindset, background and environment all play a role. What is helpful for one may not be for another. What works for one may have a different effect on another. While this makes it difficult when trying to address your own situation, it is a sanity saver to remember that there is no magic pill, diet, or procedure that will cure everything for everybody.
4. Take a break
In the early years of our journey I had to rip myself away from the computer. I was a desperate mother searching for answers. We had gone through so much loss. I wanted answers. But I realized that one more hour on the Internet was not the ultimate determining factor in recovering our health. In fact taking a break can help you return with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
5. Know that no one has all the answers
When I see someone suggest they have the miracle supplement or diet, I see a red flag. I don’t dismiss them because I may glean something helpful, but I read with a sense of caution. I am careful to avoid putting all my organic, pastured eggs in one basket. I have come to see health as a journey rather than a destination. I am drawn to sites that offer a sense of balance.
Navigating your way through the Internet when it comes to health information is not easy. It’s easy to get confused and give up. Don’t give up. Muscle your way through and see if you come out healthier on the other side!