The chronically ill are usually desperate people. They would do anything to get better, and many times will go on extreme diets, and pull every unhealthy vice from their life. I know this, because I am describing myself.
When we find our answers, and make progress in our health journey- its easy to start thinking our way is the only way!
Out of the goodness of our hearts we connect to others with health issues and start preaching what we did to improve. We want to help, we know how hard it is to be ill- and we believe we can save the life of whomever we are talking to.
This seems like a great thing right? A community of people supporting each other. Overall yes, this is a great thing! But within it comes some problems.
Maybe 6 months ago, my dear friend and co-author was feeling like crap day in and day out. Iris and I share the same autoimmune disease. I had recently made some progress in my journey thanks to starting a prescription of Armour Thyroid. So what did I do? I badgered her telling her she HAD to get a script and that if she didn't she would never make progress. Meanwhile her doctors were telling she she didn't need it. But I was on a mission to save her, make her better. So, I forced my opinions on her and got mad when she wouldn't agree with me. I felt perfectly justified. I was trying to save her life!! How dare she not listen to me.
Turns out Iris didn't need the medication I was suggesting, and she improved her health by doing things her own way.
I was wrong.
In my journey over the last few years I have had several close friends do to me exactly as I did to Iris. Being on the receptor side it made me furious. How dare these people tell me what I had to do, and then get mad if I didn't embrace it? Last weekend I went to a family wedding, and for the first time in years I chose to allow myself some alcohol. I didn't get sick and I had a wonderful time. It was a major personal victory in my path to good health. I posted about this on my Facebook page and I was scolded by one individual. First she told me of the evils of alcohol in preventing healing and then ended the comment with " Guess you just have to want your health back more than anything else...".
This person implied that I didn't care about my health. In their eyes, caring about my health meant following the lifestyle they have chosen. Under that comment I think the bottom line is that this person wanted to help me. But helpfulness, done wrong can be hurtful and problematic.
The best thing you can do for your health is to learn what works for YOU! Figure out what diet makes you feel best and go with it. Who cares if it is paleo, or if it includes grains and beans. There is no one diet that will save everyone. I have vegan friends that choose to be so because meat makes them sick! I have paleo friends that eat that way because grains/starches make them sick. There is no one RIGHT way. The only right way, is your way. By investing the time and energy into searching and working hard to find your answers- you are doing yourself a huge service and in turn you will heal.
Be kind to your friends, share with them your discoveries!
But, most importantly do not cross the line into forcefulness and pushiness.
The biggest gift you can give is loving support, an open ear and lots of celebrating with your friend when they do make progress!