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New Chronic Illness Podcast Calls Out Ableism in Wellness Culture

What’s new: Editor Lucy Pasha-Robinson launched the podcast “Chronic” via HuffPost UK on Tuesday. In an essay for HuffPost, Pasha-Robinson shared how her experience with endometriosis inspired her to create this podcast.

After being diagnosed in 2014, Pasha-Robinson wrote that she “bought into those marketing messages with all my earning power and the naivety of someone who hadn’t yet had much life experience.” A year later, she was hospitalized for a second, extensive operation and hormone treatment. Pasha-Robinson then started to question wellness culture and realized that “its sermon of constantly striving to ‘fix’ something, and asking you to part with money in order to do so, is inherently ableist.”

It was only in the years of grief that came with accepting that I probably wouldn’t get better that I started questioning the messages I had internalized about health and wellness, in a society that values productivity over everything else. — Lucy Pasha-Robinson, HuffPost UK

The Frontlines: Chronic illnesses can be very difficult to live with, and it is understandable that people would want to find a quick way to feel better. Solutions offered by wellness brands, companies and influencers, however, might not be what they seem.

  • Wellness culture is a massive industry — it was estimated to be worth $4.2 billion in 2017, according to the Global Wellness Summit.
  • The Netflix documentary “(UnWell)” explored the dark sides of the wellness industry.
  • The wellness industry has been accused of promoting “clean eating” to sell diet culture to people.
  • In a blog post, neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf wrote that the “promise of instant change is not only false, but also dangerous” in wellness culture.

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A Mighty Voice: The Mighty’s former Managing Editor Jordan Davidson wrote about how companies like Goop perpetuate ableism in the name of wellness. “The reason people cling to those who hawk wellness products is ableism — the belief that people with disabilities need to be ‘cured’ in order to lead a productive and fulfilling life. Able-bodied society is so afraid of becoming disabled it’s willing to do anything to outsmart illness, accident and aging — even if it sounds ridiculous or is overpriced.”  You can submit your first-person story, too.

From Our Community:

Navigating Work & Illness

Other Things to KnowThe possibility of a cure for health conditions can be hopeful, but it can also be frustrating for people trying to navigate life with chronic illness. You can read other first-person stories below on why chronically ill people do not want to be told about “cures”:

How to Take Action: The first episode of “Chronic” will be out on Oct. 21, but in the meantime, you can listen to the trailer below.

Image via HuffPost

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