Self-Diagnosing the Squeak

I’m from the land of fixer uppers, DIYers and duct tape kings.

If a car broke down, there was little chance of it seeing a mechanic until all other means had been exhausted. Why in the world would we take a car to the auto shop when we could fix it ourselves?  Mechanic-schemanic… let’s rip that ol’ Buick apart, spread the pieces and parts everywhere in the yard, recruit family and friends to give their two cents on the problem, and get that beast a runnin’ on our own terms.

Alright, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to take a stab at fixing our car problems (aka “the Squeak”). But, how do we know what the origin of the Squeak is?  Is it the brake pads, a wheel bearing, a belt, or something else?  Are we getting the right guidance when we research? Is the information coming from experts? Or fellow hackers who influence us to skirt the diagnostic process for a hopeful quick fix?

Interestingly, there are parallels when it comes to self-diagnosing our “health squeaks”.  Now I understand there are people who don’t have access to quality healthcare, or instances where people have had to be their own health advocate due to subpar medical care.  But overall, there are far more occurrences of folks getting deep into health self-diagnosis.  “Why would I seek a health professional when the answers to my problems are at my fingertips?”  

It’s a beautiful thing the abundance of information we have on Dr. Google, online help forums, and Facebook support groups. Or is it?  Let us carefully consider these questions:

  • Is the information we gather accurate, reliable, and safe? evidence-based? wackadoodle?
  • Do we have the knowledge and skills to understand what we read?
  • Is there a bias from the information source (e.g., someone profiting from dietary supplement sales)?
  • Are we even recognizing the scope of our signs and symptoms? (Think of a tire losing air slowly without us noticing until it’s nearly flat...)
  • How much time are we spending with our research and inquiries? And what about the time we spend trying the many suggestions we receive? Are we further compromising our health?

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing homework and being proactive about health, well-being, and living life to its fullest. However, my Nervous Nellie appears when folks come to me after months (sometimes years) of “health confusion”, yo-yo nutrition extremes, or misdirection from who knows who. The time spent in self-diagnosis mode is not recoverable, nor is the potentially compromised health status.

The bottom line here is that I encourage everyone to think of their health (and their time) as an investment. Remember that we only have This. One. Life. and This. One. Body. in which to live a supercharged and resilient life. While we all can still tap into various health tools and resources available to us, why not channel some energy into building our own trusted and expert “health support and performance team”?  It really can be priceless if we put this all in the right context.

Thanks for reading,

“Our time is precious. Let’s waste it wisely.”