Why I Don't Approach My Multiple Chemical Sensitivity With Avoidance


As most people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) know, our illness is about avoiding chemicals found, well, everywhere. In our food, in our clothes, in our picture frames, furniture and other household products, in our building materials, in our cosmetics and personal care products.

It can be exhausting.

Scratch that. It is exhausting.

Especially when we approach it with avoidance. Focusing on what we can’t do feels defeating and heavy.

So, what if we focused on what we can do?

Would that make living with MCS less heavy?

The topic of MCS itself would not be. It’s an illness with limitations that sprawl into every corner of life. To compound that, our invisible illness is greatly misunderstood by so many.

But what if we could turn our feeling of defeat into empowerment?

What if we see our choices as just that, a choice? Would MCS feel less exhausting?

If we replaced the word “avoidance” with the phrase “choose to,” it changes the energy and message that we consciously (and subconsciously) tell ourselves.

Instead of saying to yourself:

“I have to avoid pesticides.”

“I have to avoid plastics.”

“I have to avoid polyester and synthetic materials.”

Say to yourself:

“I choose to buy pesticide-free, organic food so that I don’t get sick.”

“I choose to paint with low-chemical paints so that I don’t end up in the hospital.”

“I choose to wear organic cotton clothes with natural dyes and free of finishes so that I’m not light headed and dizzy all day long from my clothes.” 

This is the message that we can communicate to others, too. After all, what comes out of our mouth reflects what’s in our minds.

This isn’t about positive thinking. It’s about the truth. The 100 percent truth.

And we, MCSers, are short-changing ourselves for not taking credit for these healthy decisions we make every single day.

Each one of us makes thousands of decisions per day. These decisions include what type of clothes to buy, what type of food to eat, what type of soap to purchase. As MCSers, we choose organic, natural and chemical-free options as a way to become or remain healthy.

It takes some extra work and time to find a soap, food or piece of clothing that fits our criteria. For sure. Not to mention how each of our individual tolerances affect our choices too.

However, it’s becoming increasingly easier to find these chemical-free gems. We gotta recognize the “wins” with the frustrations.

The organic industry has increased in sales from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $43.3 billion in 2015. Chemical-free cleaners have become more popular, and chemical-free cosmetics are gaining more attention as more consumers request them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kourtney Kardashian, Michelle Pfeiffer, and other famous people are helping to spread the word, joining forces with the Environmental Working Group to get the word out and testify in front of congress, bringing this topic to light in main-stream media.

It’s one step, I know. But it’s a step that is helpful to all of us MCSers that choose organic, natural, chemical-free products in order to survive. It’s a step that helps people to better understand that harmful chemicals are everywhere. It gives us MCSers one more thing to reference in our explanations. It’s a step that makes our lives just a tad bit easier to explain and products a tad bit easier to find.

The next time you catch yourself thinking or saying “avoid,” pause yourself. Instead think or say:

“I choose to buy…”

“I choose to eat…”

“I choose to do…”

Because it’s true. We MCSers choose to do these things to survive. And we deserve to recognize ourselves and take credit for these healthy choices that we make every single day to become or stay the healthiest that we can.

Getty Image by alien185


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