Imagine getting up each day feeling absolutely terrible. You dread facing another day. You're unable to think clearly or plan your day. You have an overwhelming guilt that you're a terrible burden on those around you. A feeling of helplessness washes over you because you're unable to find your way out of this sickness. You've been tested for all types of illnesses that nobody would ever want to have but you believe that even a dreaded diagnosis would be better than not knowing what has robbed you of a normal life. This is the life of an environmentally ill person..
We have accepted and understand that our diet affects our health. Billions of dollars are spent on ads to influence what we eat. We often don’t realize and understand that what we breathe, absorb through our skin or drink from a faucet or bottle can have a devastating effect on health. We don’t consider that for some people, our homes, schools, workplaces, drinking water or parks are toxic.
Environmental illness is a terrible burden on those that suffer from it and their loved ones. As a building scientist, I hear about this day after day. Like most professionals dealing with environmental illness, my involvement is because I've seen it first-hand. I watched my father slowly suffocate to death because of his asbestos exposure. He sprayed the stuff to make buildings fire safe for others, not to have his lungs fill with cancer. Surprise!
What is Environmental Illness?
There are common symptoms with environmental diseases. There's often brain fog, numbness or pain, bowel issues, fibromyalgia, skin problems, missing hair, skin rashes, lethargy and confusion Many have taken an endless list of prescription drugs designed to alleviate symptoms. Those prescriptions had side effects that create new symptoms. When those symptoms were treated with new treatments, more of the above symptoms occurred. There's also the financial burdens and the emotional roller coaster of raised and then dashed hopes. Stress makes the symptoms even worse.
People with environmental illness have more than symptoms in common. Most have already visited many physicians. Some have been told that they have an “idiopathic disease” which is medical speak for “you have a set of symptoms that are similar to an illness, but we don’t know why or even if it is really true.” Others have been told that they must be imagining the illness. Almost all have their hopes of wellness dashed time and time again.
Often the biggest stress and challenge that the environmentally ill face is their friends or family members don't understand or believe that the illness is real. We know and accept that there are children who can eat a single peanut and go into anaphylactic shock. We understand that there are people that can react badly to the lifesaving drug penicillin. Despite this, some people can't understand how one person in a home could react to environmental problems while the others are still healthy.