I don’t know about other cultures, but Americans spend billions every year on the latest trends, fads and health and wellness products. When someone came out with the idea that coloring was good for stress and mindfulness, adult coloring books were everywhere. When someone discovered that weighted blankets could help with anxiety, weighted blankets were everywhere. There are also health and fitness trends that have to do with diet and exercise. Every six months it seems there is a new diet that comes out like Paleo or Whole30, and there is Crossfit, a variety of new types of yoga, and meditation, the list goes on and on.
I benefit from many products that fit into these categories. I have a weighted blanket that I love, and I use happiness journals and will start using a productivity journal later this week, and I used to do yoga (before my back issues), and years ago I tried meditation but couldn’t stop laughing.
I’m not knocking the benefit that many of these things bring to the lives of the people who buy them, practice them, etc. What irritates me about all these diets, trends, fads, programs, etc. is how people act when they are using them or on them. Almost everyone has heard jokes about ex-smokers and how after smoking for twenty years, or so they go to the opposite extreme and start preaching against smoking. The same can be, and often is, said about born-again Christians – once they convert to Christianity, all they can talk about is converting to Christianity.
I see the same behavior with the latest diet, exercise program or things like mindfulness. The people that “discover” them (even though so many of the things are “borrowed” from thousands of years of tradition in other cultures) think that everyone should do them, everyone will find enrichment, everyone will lose weight, everyone will be happier, healthier, etc.
It isn’t that I don’t believe many of these things are great, I do, but I don’t believe that I need to try every new diet, practice every kind of exercise, buy every new coloring book, or Tibetian singing bowl, etc. When do I get to say, “You know what? I’m doing pretty well. I can keep doing what I am doing and get off this treadmill of the greatest latest new thing.”
It is not easy to live with schizophrenia. It is not easy to live with any chronic illness whether it is mental or physical. So much stuff comes along with a chronic illness; one of the big things is side effects from medications. My medications give me high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and a host of other things. Those are just the things I have to deal with because I take medication not the things I have to deal with for why I need medication in the first place.
Can I change my diet? Yes, I have, drastically, and that only helps so much. Can I exercise more? Yes, I can when my back isn’t too painful to do it. Can I meditate, do mindfulness exercises, practice yoga, do Crossfit, eat only protein, and give up sugar? No. The truth is I can’t do all of those things. I am in too much pain to practice yoga, I would never dare risk a back injury by doing Crossfit, but I guess I could give up sugar, but I don’t want to (not yet, anyway, I might have to).
By being a preacher of what has “changed” your life and made you a “believer” you might be forgetting that not everyone has the same challenges you do. Not everyone can change the exercise they do, and maybe they have already been a vegetarian most of their life. It is also possible that people will not see the same results as the next person doing the same thing.
Also, I want to say, “Is it enough already?” Do I have to give my life over to something and become a complete convert who also preaches to say I am happy with my health and wellness? I am never going to be 100%, and I can live with that. I ’m never going to be 100%, and it is not because I’m not trying this thing or that thing. I am never going to be 100% because I have a chronic illness, and no amount of meditating is going to cure me. I know that is hard for many people to believe. I know that many people think they have found the path, the one true source, the answer to whatever it is that ails people, but they haven’t. If I can live with the fact that I have schizophrenia, and that I will most likely always have schizophrenia (there is always hope that science will find a cure) then why can’t everyone else?