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4 Things NOT To Try When You’re Sick

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Jamison Hill.

By Jamison Hill

In the six years that I’ve been sick I have literally tried every possible remedy you can think of off the top of your head. The most annoying questions I get almost always start with “Have you tried…” to which I usually reply: “Yes.”

“Have you tried essential oils?” Absolutely. I’ve tried them all. And by the way, why are they called “essential?” I mean, sure they are good for you, but I wouldn’t call rubbing eucalyptus oil on my chest essential to anything, except, I don’t know, smelling like Vicks VapoRub. I mean, I’ll definitely survive without eucalyptus oil, and it certainly isn’t going to cure cancer, or in my case, MECFS.

I realize that the people who make these suggestions usually have good intentions. Some may be a bit sanctimonious or didactic, but at least they care. And to me there is no greater gift than caring about another person, no matter how annoying or pushy it may be. I really do appreciate people taking the time to try and solve the riddle of my health. So for that reason, I would like to devote this post to mercilessly making fun of these wonderful people and all the thoughtful, yet unsolicited health recommendations they give.

But wait, I am not alone in receiving this type of unsolicited advice. It is something people with MECFS, and I suspect other diseases, experience quite often. In fact, it is kind of an inside joke among us in the MECFS community. So much so, I recently commiserated with my friend, Mary Gelpi, about the often humorous advice we frequently receive.

Mary has a mostly comical blog about her life through the lens of chronic illness. A few months ago she started a petition demanding more research funding for MECFS. It is through this petition that she and I met. The petition has more than 40,000 signatures so far and needs more, so please sign it if you haven’t yet.

Now, for your enjoyment, we have composed a sampling of the unsolicited advice that we have received over the years. We have used a format with social media handles because that is most often where we encounter such advice. And while we have given the conversations a fictitious twist, they are based on actual advice.
But first, before we get to the funny stuff, here’s Mary to introduce herself:

Hey yall, I’m Mary. I’m just like Jamison, except I’m female and southern and I have a dog and okay, I guess I’m not that much like Jamison. But we both have MECFS (something stupid) and we both have a blog (something cool) and now we’re friends (something awesome). So I look forward to more shop talk with my buddy, Jamison, and more writing collaborations about the wonderful world of being alive, being sick, and livin’ The Dream. Now let’s start the show…

1. Check Out My e-book

@NamasteWell: Hi Mary. You don’t know me, but I have the cure to your many ailments!
@MaryGelpi: Really? Sweet!
@NamasteWell: Yes! Thousands of my clients have been cured by following my one-of-a-kind path to perfect health!
@MaryGelpi: I can’t wait.
@NamasteWell: Great! I’m glad. It’s all explained in my self-published e-book called “Getting Better is Easy! Just Buy This Book!” Mixing the age-old wisdom of the east with modern takes on western medicine, my book teaches one-of-a-kind practices like “Detox Chanting” and “Oxygenating Yoga.” You are sure not just to recover, but to feel the best you’ve ever felt!
@MaryGelpi: Hmm, detox chanting? Sounds interesting. I think…
@NamasteWell: Yes! Yes, it is VERY interesting! And enlightening. I look forward to helping you begin your healing journey, Mary.
@MaryGelpi: Cool, yeah, me too. Only problem is I can’t find any verified accounts of people who have actually tried your program with any success.
@NamasteWell: Oh. But Mary, there are thousands!
@MaryGelpi: I’m sure! But also, all of the online book reviews seem to be written… by you. And you only gave yourself 2-star ratings! What’s that about?
@NamasteWell: Uh. Well. I wanted to be honest but–
@MaryGelpi: Maybe work out the kinks and email me again in a year. Have a nice namasDAY.

2. Cautious Clay 

@ClayLover4You: Hi Jamison. I heard you’ve been really sick. Ya know, my aunt has what you have, and she’s had a full recovery. She’s lived it. She was in EXACTLY the same place you are right now.
@JamisonHill: Oh yeah? Exactly the same place?
@ClayLover4You: You bet!
@JamisonHill: So she was in this same bed before me? I’m not sure how I feel about that…
@ClayLover4You: No, no. You know what I mean. She was as sick as you, but now she’s all better. Wanna guess how she recovered?
@JamisonHill: Not really.
@ClayLover4You: Come on…
@JamisonHill: Hmm. Let’s see. Did she stop eating gluten?
@ClayLover4You: Uh. Well, yes! How did you know?
@JamisonHill: Oh, just a hunch. It’s not like it has been the biggest nutrition fad for the last few years. I mean, nobody has ever mentioned it to me or anything.
@ClayLover4You: Huh. Yeah. Okay, but guess what else made her better…
@JamisonHill: Juicing. She juiced every day?
@ClayLover4You: Wait, how did you know that? Have you talked to her?
@JamisonHill: Nope. Just a guess.
@ClayLover4You: Okay then, you’ll never guess her last secret to recovering from chronic fatigue…
@JamisonHill: Did she use cognitive behavioral therapy?
@ClayLover4You: No. But my doctor says that works too. Anyway, get this: she drank clay.
@JamisonHill: WHAT? Clay?
@ClayLover4You: Yeah, it works miracles!
@JamisonHill: So you mean there’s no gluten in clay? Or was it a special gluten-free clay?
@ClayLover4You: Yeah, that’s what is so great. It’s completely free of inflammation-causing ingredients and the clay binds to the toxins in your body, ridding it of fatigue forever! Seriously, my aunt swears by it. She still drinks it everyday.
@JamisonHill: But hold on, I’m confused. She drinks it? She doesn’t eat it? How do you drink something solid?
@ClayLover4You: It dissolves in liquid. She stirs the clay in her coffee every morning. I think it’s call diatomaceous earth, or something like that. You should try it. You can buy it on Amazon!
@JamisonHill: Eh. Well, unfortunately, I have a strict rule against eating, or I mean drinking, anything with the word “earth” in it.

3. The Healing Power of Crystals

@Crystals4Lyfe: I saw your blog online and I’m wondering if you have ever experienced the healing power of crystals?
@MaryGelpi: Well hello. I actually have not experienced the healing power of crystals, but I did go to middle school with a girl named Crystal. She picked her nose a lot. Like a LOT a lot. It was pretty gross.
@Crystals4Lyfe: Okay. But what about the crystals?
@MaryGelpi: Right, the crystals. Haven’t tried ’em.
@Crystals4Lyfe: Well, you know their therapeutic benefits have been used for thousands of years and are one of the best kept secrets to great health, right?
@MaryGelpi: The best kept secret? No. Did not know that.
@Crystals4Lyfe: If you’re interested I would love to tell you more about these amazing ancient rocks that are known to cure allergies, headaches, diarrhea and so much more. They are truly magnificent!
@MaryGelpi: Great! Thank you. I’ll totally look into that and let you know if I have questions. Totally.

4. You Gotta Try Yoga!

@YogiTreeHugs00: Hey Jamison, have you tried yoga yet? It really helps me when I’m tired like you. So yeah, why don’t you try yoga?!?!?!?!?
@JamisonHill: Hi there. You must really like punctuation marks. Well, to answer your question, I used to be a personal trainer. Actually, I’m still certified, so I’ve definitely done yoga. But since getting sick it always makes me feel worse. All physical exertion does. It’s almost like I’ve–
@YogiTreeHugs00: Yeah, yeah, sure, I know, but seriously, If you just push through it, you will feel so much better! That’s what being healthy is all about — pushing through the fatigue. You have to transcend your limitations, Jamison! When you hit the wall, break it down! And besides, yoga has tremendous health benefits, it is THE best healing modality.
@JamisonHill: Hmm. Oh yeah? What do you know about healing modalities?
@YogiTreeHugs00: Oh. Um. Well. They’re all about realigning your chakras, you know?
@JamisonHill: Chakras, huh?
@YogiTreeHugs00: Yeah. I’ve read a lot online. I’ll send you this one article. I think I saw it on, uh, Yahoo or something.
@JamisonHill: Right. That sounds SUPER legit.
That concludes our post for now, we have a busy schedule to keep — need to get back to drinking liquid clay and rubbing crystals on our skin. But please stay tuned for another edition coming soon on Mary’s blog.
Please follow both of our blogs if you’d like to see more posts like this. You can subscribe to mine at Jamison Writes, and hers at
And please know we do appreciate all, okay most, of the advice we get. We’re very grateful for those who take the time to reach out. How else would we find funny topics to write about? Just joking, but seriously, keep the advice coming. Until next time…
Tell the world (or just your friends).

Prior to contracting ME/CFS, Jamison worked as a group fitness instructor and as a certified personal trainer. After receiving a business degree from Sonoma State University, Jamison devoted himself to writing. He has written for, among others, Men’s Journal, The Oregonian, The Motley Fool, and Elite Daily. He is now an activist for ME/CFS, and is working on a memoir, Not Like the Whiskey, about his experiences with the disease. Jamison is featured in Forgotten Plague, a full-length documentary about ME/CFS. You can visit him at Jamison Writes. Follow him @nothewhiskey


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