The other day I heard very disheartening but very true statement: "In the United States we have a disease management system, not a health care system" This statement made me think about the fast food, candy, soda, alcohol and the millions of dollars companies will put into advertising these products.
These products are all hurting us. They are all causing disease. And the worst part is, no one really cares.
When it comes to not caring, I am one to blame. I have a track record of auto-immune diseases, illness, and injury; receiving my first auto-immune diagnosis when I was 16. How did I get this way? Well I am probably genetically predisposed to some of it, especially how my body reacts to food. Random food sensitivities aside, my main problem is sugar. That's right I admit it. I am addicted to sugar and it is killing me slowly.
For the most part, I would really like to be following my diet plan to a T. But sometimes it is just too hard. Not only are the billions of dollars of food marketing weighing down on my unfulfilled stomach, so are broke college kid problems and societal pressures.
I may not go for that McDonalds burger that looks so good on the 10 billboards I just passed on the highway, but I could sure go for those skittles that are sitting right at the counter when paying for my gas.
With all of these pressures weighing down on me, it is very hard to keep a strict diet at all times. Even now that I understand the health risks and see a nutritionist, I only half-heartedly am following my diet plan. This is difficult because when I slip and eat badly, I feel badly and my symptoms come back. Then I just get frustrated because I did all of that strict diet work for nothing. THEN my friends and family think that I am frustrated at them, when really I just feel like crap again. So they will all go out without me because they feel that is the best way to go about things.
Actually as I write this, most of my friends are out at bars or eating fancy dinners. They will come home and they will tell me all about the fun that they had, wishing that I come and join them. This is the absolute worst. These people that are so close to me have no idea how badly I want to join them. I even do go out sometimes, letting my diet slip and then feeling shitty for a few days after. But no one understands how I really feel. So jokes are made about how I diet and how "I'm in good enough shape so it must just be all in my head".
Unfortunately this cycle starts and restarts over and over. It has been a constant battle of mine for the past year, and it is time for me to take a stand and stop it.
I need to somehow stop this cycle. Right now I am 20, and at the end on the summer I will be 21. I am currently taking 7 pills a day to manage my diseases. 7 pills at the age of 20......that scares the shit out of me! Where will I be at 30? 40? Will I even live to old age? Will I be well? Will I be happy??
Unfortunately these questions are ones that I feel like many of Americans are asking themselves. They have the same pressures and do not know where to turn for help.
Somehow I need to get away from this backwards health care system in the United States. I need to put my foot down and be strict with this diet stuff. Because in reality, it is the only light I can see at the end of my tunnel. If I want a drug-free life that I can live fully for years to come, I need to do this.
But in order for me to do this, I need some help. I need some self confidence in my ability to get better. In order to do that, I need to have friends and family that will fully support this change. Right now I don't feel fully supported, and it is extremely difficult for me to go about this diet without the fear of losing great relationships with people. I know that many others who have been dealt the same hand as me feel the same way.
So please, if you know someone who is trying to make a lifestyle change, give them your support.
Even just confident statements and reassuring that you are behind them 100% are enough to keep them on the right track. I know that is all that I am looking for. No matter what it takes, I am still going to fight on. I am going to try my best to stay away from the pressures and to be fully committed to making my lifestyle health change.