The Wrong Way to Approach That Mysterious Illness - Part One
Updated: Jan 26
Is it just me, or have you also noticed an uptick in out-of-the-blue health challenges recently?
And for clarification, the five bullet points below are NOT from people who accepted the covid injection--i.e. they aren't suffering from an "anything-but-vaccine" blindspot.
Yes, the covid shots have left a wake of carnage that is still coming to light, but...
In the last few months, I've encountered people who told me stories of...
Strange and concerning cognitive changes
Intermittent paralysis (a teenager, and a 40-something)
Never-before-experienced debilitating headaches
Vast changes in energy (borderline, non functioning)
Two stories of diagnosis-to-death in little more than one week
Given all that's coming to light about the injections it would be irresponsible to rule that out, but at least for some of the people I've talked to, even shedding doesn't seem to be a possible/likely explanation.
So, dear reader, regardless of whether you...
Accepted or rejected the covid injection(s)
Have just been hit by a mysterious health challenge
Have a long-standing chronic condition that puzzles you...
I write today in hopes that I can sharpen your thinking and clarify your focus.
MY ADMITTEDLY AMBITIOUS GOALS FOR THIS SERIES
For anyone wrestling with (or helping someone wrestle with) a mysterious health challenge, what I hope to accomplish in this series are three things:
Provide a mega-dose of perspective and hope.
Simultaneously ground both of those in realism.
Avoid the pitfalls of oversimplifying or overcomplicating health--and wasting a bunch of time, money, and energy in the process.
Part one (this post) will be about finding principles from which to build a solid strategy.
Part two will be about a practical framework for doing just that.
Part three will be about emotionally calibrating to difficult circumstances, especially those where you're the caretaker, not the one who is sick.
Put your thinking cap on for a few minutes and I think you'll be glad you did.
LET'S FIND SOME FIRST PRINCIPLES
In the search for bedrock from which to begin dealing with a mysterious health setback, we first have to return to some glaringly-obvious, but often-forgotten principles so we can spot wrong turns in our thinking.
Principle #1: Health is about wholeness
It's unfortunate we live in a culture that overvalues reductionism and specialization, and undervalues symbiosis and synergy.
Don't get me wrong, reductionism and specialization can be great tools in "kind" environments like physics, math, construction trades, and (sometimes) emergency medicine.
However, reductionism and specialization are hopelessly inept and offering solutions to "unkind" problems like crime, immorality, relational tension, healing from abuse, or...overcoming mysterious health challenges.
"Riches" might be found in "niches," but health isn't.
A mysterious health challenge is as unlikely to be cured by one (niche) specialty, as theft is to be eradicated by posting more "Keep Out" signs.
Health (or the absence of it) isn't about one overlooked or undiscovered variable.
It's about the symbiosis/synergy of a LOT of variables, that, in isolation don't mean much.
In other words, building and maintaining health is about doing many diverse things well, and doing them consistently.
Yet, a mistake I often (understandably) see people make is they overlook this important principle, and instead keep looking for the "one thing," and when that doesn't work, they look for the "next thing" (NOTE: I'll discuss this "sequencing" problem in part two).
The problem isn't as much our effort to get well as it is the resources we waste when we don't have clarity on where to focus.
Here is where we must begin the dance of not oversimplifying or overcomplicating.
That leads me to...
Principle #2: Simplicity (i.e. clarity about a productive path forward) is located on the far side of complexity.
Think of it this way: To play the piano well means you have to...
Get past being overwhelmed by the number of keys--88.
Understand the funny looking marks on paper so you can read music.
Develop the hand/eye/foot coordination required to play beautiful music.
Accept the grinding number of hours of practice it takes to become proficient.
Getting to the simple answers (or beautiful music) starts with accepting complexity and creating a process to work through it.
In our search to find answers, we often skip the process of sitting with nuance and complexity and in our eagerness to do something we often latch on to overly-simplistic "solutions" and miss our chance to locate the most needle-moving options.
So, what then is the fastest path to finding such simplicity when it comes to our health?
That leads me to...
Principle #3: Unburden and Empower
There is no neutral when it comes to health.
Every day, your choices and habits are either building your health or eroding it.
Imagine your body has a stress bucket.
It has multiple methods to empty the bucket, but if there is more stress coming in than the purging systems can keep up with, the bucket will overflow and the body will shows signs of dysfunction.
What's the point?
Whatever the solution(s) ends up being, the process to find answers begins with the question: Where can you unburden the body and where can you empower it?
Every input of stress you cut off, every new measure of empowerment you employ, is a step closer to the tipping point of symptom reversal and fortified health.
The question then is, amongst the countless options to unburden and empower, how do we know where to start?
Well, before we can get to realistically hopeful solutions, we first have to sit with complexity a bit longer.
Which leads me to...
Principle #4: There is a lot to being you.
In other words, you're complicated. It's okay--I am too.
How complex are we talking?
Let's zoom out.
Not only is it impossible to separate the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors of your health, we shouldn't overlook the geographical, relational, financial, and logistical variables either.
Let me give you a few examples.
If you're trying to get well, but you...
Self "medicate" with substances
Have eating patterns that fight health
Lose sleep because of relational tension
Don't have hope and a sense of purpose
Are lonely and don't feel like you belong
Have known bad habits that you refuse to quit
Are highly anxious about your financial situation
Suffer from harsh inner criticism and self-doubt
Have little predictability over your work hours
Live somewhere with unclean water
Say "yes" to too many things
Easily run out of motivation
Always put yourself last
...you have a variable (or thirteen) that will make it really hard (darn near impossible) to unburden your body and overcome a mysterious health challenge.
I told you you're complicated.
But, in case you missed it, there are at least two bits of good news in the last few sentences.
First, we just rose above the complexity so we can analyze the whole puzzle--all eight variables--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, geographical, relational, financial, and logistical.
Second, from this vantage point, simplicity can start to come into view and help us figure out where to focus first.
So, what does that process look like?
I'll tackle that question in part two.
In the meantime, let me leave you with these questions to ponder.
Can you think of anything positive you should be doing for your health, but aren't--eating better, exercising, going to bed on time, taking your supplements, etc.?
Can you think of anything not-so-great for your health that you should stop doing--smoking, drinking, ice cream (sorry). procrastinating, eating take-out, gossiping, etc?
We all know some things we could be doing better, right?
Where are you not applying what you already know, and what would it take to change that?
Give some thought to those questions and I'll see you in the next post for a methodical path through the complexity.
In your corner,
PS. If you need some help with your health, reach out, and/or check out some of the other posts on this blog--there are a lot of good gems waiting for you--including How to Get a Useful Second Opinion.