There are many Instagram stars and health bloggers who have taken an interest in nutrition following their own battles against ill-health, and it’s not surprising when you consider the uphill struggle that can be living with an illness that doesn’t get better. I have been there. Good nutrition can seem like the cure-all that nobody is telling you about, and for some people it works fantastically well. But for those of us left behind, who eat all our veggies and exercise ourselves sore and yet still have to down those pills, trudge to those hospital appointments and spend countless days in darkened rooms with cold flannels or hot water bottles. For us it hasn’t solved everything.
Let’s get one thing straight, nutrition is the foundation of good health, and I wouldn’t have trained as a dietitian if I didn’t find its transformative power on the body absolutely fascinating. But this doesn’t mean that improving your diet will necessarily rid you of all of your symptoms all of the time. I think this is important to highlight because I know many people, myself included, who at times feel they have ‘failed’ by still needing to rely on medication. It is easy to feel like a failure when bloggers boast of being able to “come off of all my medication”, suddenly having symptoms “disappear” and their lives being “changed forever”. It is easy to think that the reason you are still sick is because you are not quite doing it right, not cutting out enough foods, not exercising hard enough, not eating enough kale. But this is damaging to your health in itself. Anxiety is not healthy. Panicking about food is not healthy.
Taking medication is not a weakness, it is not a sign that you are doing anything wrong, it has been deemed as safe and is there to help you feel better. It can change your life from barely bearable to fulfilled and enjoyable. So eat your veggies and exercise when you can. But on those days when you can’t get out of bed, when everything hurts and all you want is a cup of tea and a biscuit, remember you are doing all you can. And have the damn biscuit.