The Belle Gibson effect

Often at times in my life (usually after the fact) I wish I’d made more notes, kept a diary or taken more photos.  Even these days with cameras at the ready on the phone I still wish sometimes I’d taken more.  Because photos and words don’t bend like our memories do.  That’s why I’m keeping this blog.

I’ve been writing for about 6 weeks now and already I can notice some changes, although they are quite subtle, so I’m glad I’ve written about them.  I also hope this blog helps someone else but I’m definitely not one to suggest remedies to people and I don’t want to be a Belle Gibson style preacher on others health.  See her recent story here

She was particularly irresponsible and I’ve been thinking about her all week, since she came out and admitted she lied about curing her own cancer by healthy living and eating.  In all the reports no-one has yet mentioned Munchausen’s syndrome.  I’m sure she suffers from it, although that doesn’t explain the embezzling of donations taken on behalf of cancer foundations, and doesn’t excuse her behaviour, but would help people to recognise that she probably has a mental illness apart from greed.

What I really hope is this causes people question what they read on the Internet.  The fad diets and vitamin pushers featuring shiny-haired healthy looking people are one thing but at the extreme end; cook books about to go on sale with potentially lethal recipes designed for children (I saw the authors interviewed and they claimed they just couldn’t wait the extra 6 months more it would have taken to vet the information in their book, because they wanted to share their knowledge.

Stretching it as far as the anti-vaxers who believe in the autism link EVEN THOUGH a quick Google delivers the information that the author in the Lancet, Dr Wakefield, was discredited and he was struck off the register. I don’t know who said it originally but my Dad used to say it all the time ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.  But perhaps like my worries about raising a child in this era, what is true now has always been true; you can’t shield people from the information; you have to teach them how to understand it.  A beautiful piece here describes the Belle Gibson effect, much better than I can ever put into words.

Ultimately how you treat yourself is up to you, except anti-vaxxers who are putting children’s lives on the line.

Knowledge shared is wonderful but I’m reminding myself only to mention what’s happening to me as my own experience not the ultimate truth and really I’m just writing about what’s on my mind at the time so I apologise if it’s a bit dull.  I sometimes think though that we (you and I dear reader) might be at the forefront of something new.  So many of the people I talk to on here have the same story – a diagnosed or possible viral infection, followed by varying levels of debilitating muscle weakness, bone and body aches, pins and needles, headaches, stomach complaints and all punctuated by doctors who understand but say ‘we can’t do anything’.

Perhaps some day this will be better understood and sharing our stories will get us there faster or at very least change the way a diagnosis is considered when it comes without a cure.  If this is the Belle Gibson effect, I applaud it.


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