4 Things NOT To Try When You’re Sick


In the six years that I’ve been sick I have literally tried every possible remedy you can think of off the top of your head. The most annoying questions I get almost always start with “Have you tried…” to which I usually reply: “Yes.”

“Have you tried essential oils?” Absolutely. I’ve tried them all. And by the way, why are they called “essential?” I mean, sure they are good for you, but I wouldn’t call rubbing eucalyptus oil on my chest essential to anything, except, I don’t know, smelling like Vicks VapoRub. I mean, I’ll definitely survive without eucalyptus oil, and it certainly isn’t going to cure cancer, or in my case, MECFS.

I realize that the people who make these suggestions usually have good intentions. Some may be a bit sanctimonious or didactic, but at least they care. And to me there is no greater gift than caring about another person, no matter how annoying or pushy it may be. I really do appreciate people taking the time to try and solve the riddle of my health. So for that reason, I would like to devote this post to mercilessly making fun of these wonderful people and all the thoughtful, yet unsolicited health recommendations they give.

But wait, I am not alone in receiving this type of unsolicited advice. It is something people with MECFS, and I suspect other diseases, experience quite often. In fact, it is kind of an inside joke among us in the MECFS community. So much so, I recently commiserated with my friend, Mary Gelpi, about the often humorous advice we frequently receive.

Mary has a mostly comical blog about her life through the lens of chronic illness. A few months ago she started a petition demanding more research funding for MECFS. It is through this petition that she and I met. The petition has more than 40,000 signatures so far and needs more, so please sign it if you haven’t yet.

Now, for your enjoyment, we have composed a sampling of the unsolicited advice that we have received over the years. We have used a format with social media handles because that is most often where we encounter such advice. And while we have given the conversations a fictitious twist, they are based on actual advice.

But first, before we get to the funny stuff, here’s Mary to introduce herself:

Hey yall, I’m Mary. I’m just like Jamison, except I’m female and southern and I have a dog and okay, I guess I’m not that much like Jamison. But we both have MECFS (something stupid) and we both have a blog (something cool) and now we’re friends (something awesome). So I look forward to more shop talk with my buddy, Jamison, and more writing collaborations about the wonderful world of being alive, being sick, and livin’ The Dream. Now let’s start the show…

1. Check Out My e-book

@NamasteWell: Hi Mary. You don’t know me, but I have the cure to your many ailments!

@MaryGelpi: Really? Sweet!

@NamasteWell: Yes! Thousands of my clients have been cured by following my one-of-a-kind path to perfect health!

@MaryGelpi: I can’t wait.

@NamasteWell: Great! I’m glad. It’s all explained in my self-published e-book called “Getting Better is Easy! Just Buy This Book!” Mixing the age-old wisdom of the east with modern takes on western medicine, my book teaches one-of-a-kind practices like “Detox Chanting” and “Oxygenating Yoga.” You are sure not just to recover, but to feel the best you’ve ever felt!

@MaryGelpi: Hmm, detox chanting? Sounds interesting. I think…

@NamasteWell: Yes! Yes, it is VERY interesting! And enlightening. I look forward to helping you begin your healing journey, Mary.

@MaryGelpi: Cool, yeah, me too. Only problem is I can’t find any verified accounts of people who have actually tried your program with any success.

@NamasteWell: Oh. But Mary, there are thousands!

@MaryGelpi: I’m sure! But also, all of the online book reviews seem to be written… by you. And you only gave yourself 2-star ratings! What’s that about?

@NamasteWell: Uh. Well. I wanted to be honest but–

@MaryGelpi: Maybe work out the kinks and email me again in a year. Have a nice namasDAY.


2. Cautious Clay 

@ClayLover4You: Hi Jamison. I heard you’ve been really sick. Ya know, my aunt has what you have, and she’s had a full recovery. She’s lived it. She was in EXACTLY the same place you are right now.

@JamisonHill: Oh yeah? Exactly the same place?

@ClayLover4You: You bet!

@JamisonHill: So she was in this same bed before me? I’m not sure how I feel about that…

@ClayLover4You: No, no. You know what I mean. She was as sick as you, but now she’s all better. Wanna guess how she recovered?

@JamisonHill: Not really.

@ClayLover4You: Come on…

@JamisonHill: Hmm. Let’s see. Did she stop eating gluten?

@ClayLover4You: Uh. Well, yes! How did you know?

@JamisonHill: Oh, just a hunch. It’s not like it has been the biggest nutrition fad for the last few years. I mean, nobody has ever mentioned it to me or anything.

@ClayLover4You: Huh. Yeah. Okay, but guess what else made her better…

@JamisonHill: Juicing. She juiced every day?

@ClayLover4You: Wait, how did you know that? Have you talked to her?

@JamisonHill: Nope. Just a guess.

@ClayLover4You: Okay then, you’ll never guess her last secret to recovering from chronic fatigue…

@JamisonHill: Did she use cognitive behavioral therapy?

@ClayLover4You: No. But my doctor says that works too. Anyway, get this: she drank clay.

@JamisonHill: WHAT? Clay?

@ClayLover4You: Yeah, it works miracles!

@JamisonHill: So you mean there’s no gluten in clay? Or was it a special gluten-free clay?

@ClayLover4You: Yeah, that’s what is so great. It’s completely free of inflammation-causing ingredients and the clay binds to the toxins in your body, ridding it of fatigue forever! Seriously, my aunt swears by it. She still drinks it everyday.

@JamisonHill: But hold on, I’m confused. She drinks it? She doesn’t eat it? How do you drink something solid?

@ClayLover4You: It dissolves in liquid. She stirs the clay in her coffee every morning. I think it’s call diatomaceous earth, or something like that. You should try it. You can buy it on Amazon!

@JamisonHill: Eh. Well, unfortunately, I have a strict rule against eating, or I mean drinking, anything with the word “earth” in it.

3. The Healing Power of Crystals


@Crystals4Lyfe: I saw your blog online and I’m wondering if you have ever experienced the healing power of crystals?

@MaryGelpi: Well hello. I actually have not experienced the healing power of crystals, but I did go to middle school with a girl named Crystal. She picked her nose a lot. Like a LOT a lot. It was pretty gross.

@Crystals4Lyfe: Okay. But what about the crystals?

@MaryGelpi: Right, the crystals. Haven’t tried ’em.

@Crystals4Lyfe: Well, you know their therapeutic benefits have been used for thousands of years and are one of the best kept secrets to great health, right?

@MaryGelpi: The best kept secret? No. Did not know that.

@Crystals4Lyfe: If you’re interested I would love to tell you more about these amazing ancient rocks that are known to cure allergies, headaches, diarrhea and so much more. They are truly magnificent!

@MaryGelpi: Great! Thank you. I’ll totally look into that and let you know if I have questions. Totally.

4. You Gotta Try Yoga!

@YogiTreeHugs00: Hey Jamison, have you tried yoga yet? It really helps me when I’m tired like you. So yeah, why don’t you try yoga?!?!?!?!?

@JamisonHill: Hi there. You must really like punctuation marks. Well, to answer your question, I used to be a personal trainer. Actually, I’m still certified, so I’ve definitely done yoga. But since getting sick it always makes me feel worse. All physical exertion does. It’s almost like I’ve–

@YogiTreeHugs00: Yeah, yeah, sure, I know, but seriously, If you just push through it, you will feel so much better! That’s what being healthy is all about — pushing through the fatigue. You have to transcend your limitations, Jamison! When you hit the wall, break it down! And besides, yoga has tremendous health benefits, it is THE best healing modality.

@JamisonHill: Hmm. Oh yeah? What do you know about healing modalities?

@YogiTreeHugs00: Oh. Um. Well. They’re all about realigning your chakras, you know?

@JamisonHill: Chakras, huh?

@YogiTreeHugs00: Yeah. I’ve read a lot online. I’ll send you this one article. I think I saw it on, uh, Yahoo or something.

@JamisonHill: Right. That sounds SUPER legit.

That concludes our post for now, we have a busy schedule to keep — need to get back to drinking liquid clay and rubbing crystals on our skin. 

Please know we do appreciate all, okay most, of the advice we get. We’re very grateful for those who take the time to reach out. How else would we find funny topics to write about? Just joking, but seriously, keep the advice coming. Until next time…

46 thoughts on “4 Things NOT To Try When You’re Sick”

  1. Haha, that’s a riot Jamison and Mary – thanks for the chuckles. I’ll sheepishly admit that just today after reading about gamma globulin was going to ask you Jamison if you’d ever tried it. Glad I didn’t. :). I’ll check out your blog Mary.

  2. Caterpillar enzymes and a red fruit from the highlands of papa new guineana were the two weirdest suggestions I got. Oh and laying on the grass.

    So when someone gave me a crystal – I was quite relieved !! And I’d grab hold of it to remind me that people do care whenever stressed about people who don’t care..but it had been cleansed by the sun and spent a night listening to easy jazz music before it got to me so maybe it was a bit more special than your average crystal!!!

    Haha seriously though I loved it – a present I wasn’t allergic to back then, meant the world to me.

    Great post.

    1. Ket I recently saw a video on PEMF and although there’s nothing to laying on the ground there are scientific studies showing that using much stronger machines have been known to help. I’m still too skeptical to try it though….

  3. Every time I hear “essential oils” I think back to biochemistry. We learned the term “essential amino acids,” which just means these are the amino acids that are essential to your diet because your body doesn’t make them.
    But then that DOESN’T explain “essential oils…” should I be alarmed by the fact that my body doesn’t make eucalyptus or peppermint? Hmm…🤔

      1. but I do think it makes somewhat of a difference if it comes from claypeople or someone with fasciculations all along their HPA-axis/nervus vagus since EBV removal

  4. When I had chronic back pain no one could see, even doctors told me it was all in my head. A few years later when I couldn’t walk, an MRI found a huge problem. So yes, even friends thought it was stress and gave various pieces of advice. They all cared and meant well. Being in situations like this is a literal pita. I imagine your frustration levels get pretty high. If you ever need to vent, I’ll listen. Good luck!

  5. This is great J! How you can remain patient and have perspective with some of this crazy advice is amazing. Keep it up. Love you.

  6. Hi J just read this piece and slumped between laughter and tears. Identify with so much having had ME when I was 36 lasting till I was 40. The fact that I didn’t lose my mind or my career was down to an understanding boss, a loving caring wife and two lovely kids who loved their dad unreservedly anyway. I hope you have all these things …. oops did I just give advice? B.

  7. I got a good laugh out of this.
    The strangest suggestion I have had was melted glacial water collected by a woman who “discovered” that different glaciers hold the cures to different illnesses. The cure consisted of putting 10 drops into a bath every day for a week. It probably didn’t work because having a bath leaves me feeling quite ill and having the energy to bathe daily is beyond my M.E energy levels.
    Shame I couldn’t follow the cure!!

  8. So funny! You have to laugh so you don’t cry. Because my daughter w/ME/CFS is only a teenager I think we have been spared from some of this, but since she was a competitive gymnast when she got sick her coaches had her “push through it” for a few months. They never did understand.

  9. Forgive me if I have this wrong but I think the “essential” in essential oils comes from “essence” or that’s how I always thought of it.
    Like its the “essence” or essential part of whatever the oil is from. Though I like that the person above I always jump to “essential aminos” *snickers* “your body is deficient in hemlock oil” “Wow, that is the most astute observation I have ever had from a what type of doctor are you again? meta-herbalist… right- I’ll be sure to call my insurance to find one in my area :)”

    1. Haha you are absolutely right, but the essence of something just isn’t as easy to make fun of. It’s hard to be literal and funny at the same time, but hey, something to strive for. Thanks for reading!

  10. This is hilarious and so cathartic. I’m a very independent person I hate being told what to do even when it is good for me… let alone when it’s unscientific drivel sent to me be an anti-vaxxing aunt who means well… but well y’know… Anyway, it’s nice to see people having a sense of humour about the whole thing. I also appreciate the framing of “at least people care” that’s very true, and I think that thinking about it that way is going to be much healthier and happier for me in the future.

  11. Yes it is crazy how many people try and help us. I’m sure their heart is in the right place but the best thing I have learned is just to completely indulge yourself in self love to help heal. Thanks for sharing xxx

  12. So have you tried drinking clay *while* doing yoga? lol This is the first time I’ve heard of MECFS, so you’re safe from any actual advice from me. You have a great sense of humor. Thanks for your funny post. I enjoyed it.

  13. ROFL! Jamison and Mary, you guys rock! I have gotten so much generally well-intentioned but completely useless and often stupid advice I have to remind myself that people care people care people care…. (or sometimes they are just know-it-alls and jerks…)

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