Dear Chronic Warriors, Please Beware of Fake Health 'Cures'

Aside from random men on the internet kindly telling me that my face is not to their liking, or that I should consider showing more flesh to “get ahead” (whatever that means), one of the most common types of spam I receive is from strangers providing advice on how I can easily “cure” my (incurable) illness.

Generally I try to humorously mock these type of inane emails or posts, for the sake of my own mental health, but in actuality, this type of thing is incredibly damaging, and in some cases, even dangerous for those of us with chronic illness.

Being drawn in by promises of achieving remission, or even better, a complete annihilation of a disease, is of course a delightful idea. All of us want to be “well,” and all of us would ideally like that to happen with as little effort on our part as possible. But, when we are met with alleged doctors or health professionals who claim to have the secret key to unlocking our longed-for and as yet inaccessible cure, it is undoubtedly alluring. When we are at our lowest ebb, we crave any form of reassurance that things will get better. Think back to how you felt at series three of “Breaking Bad.”

On an almost daily basis I receive messages from strangers claiming to have the answers to all my medical problems. They will happily tell me (for a small fee of course – I wouldn’t waste these academics’ valued time!) how I can easily and quickly cure my ills. This will be through adopting a special diet, by way of eating tree-bark or something equally bizarre, through simply “thinking positively” or by paying them thousands of pounds to indoctrinate me in a “Wellness Center” or something that sounds just as sinister.

It shouldn’t get to the point where your tongue is bleeding profusely from excessive tree-licking that you decide maybe all of this is a bad idea. When we are lured by promises of quick fixes a good general rule is to run in the opposite direction as fast as you can. There are no “quick fixes” in life; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Now you might be reading all of this thinking that anyone who has fallen for any of this would have to be not very intelligent. But again I hark back to the desperation and vulnerability so many of us feel when we are seriously ill. Grasping for a possibility things will be easier isn’t a lack of smarts – it’s human nature, and it’s symptomatic of a life spent in pain and fear. Of course I don’t blame any patient who falls for any of this unsubstantiated hokum; the fault lies with the crooks who sell it. Those who attempt to make money from the vulnerable by making promises they can’t begin to keep are lower than a worm’s bra strap.

Selling a lie to those in need is despicable and abhorrent.

So please, don’t be fooled by internet “doctors” who promise you the earth and/or a yearly subscription to Tree Bark Monthly; the only thing they are healing is their own bank balance.

Getty Image by JPC-PROD

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