What a broken vacuum cleaner can teach us about recovering from complex chronic health issues
When a mechanical appliance malfunctions, whether it be a computer, an appliance or my hoover, it’s inconvenient to be sure but I always appreciate the straightforwardness of the troubleshooting process when you contact tech support.
“Is it plugged in?”
“Did you try turning it off and on again?”
“Is there paper in the printer?”
“Open up this compartment, do you see anything lodged in it?”
After doing a little triage, the tech support will walk you through the same sequence of steps as they walk through everyone else. Why? Why not ask more information up front and jump to the 3rd question? How do they know what to ask?
Or in the case of my vacuum cleaner that stopped sucking last week, how was it that I was able to follow a less than 10 minute video and the guy on the recording, who didn’t know anything about me, was confident that he could help me solve my problem?
When we go through a troubleshooting process in an order that makes sense and we don’t skip any steps, as long as its the right process for your problem (the right model of hoover, or you, a modern, chronically ill human), then the vast majority of people will benefit.
Because we’ve addressed all the important things. In the right order. Each step of the process improves function and gives us valuable information, even if the results are unexpected, about what step to take next.
We tend to think we’re different than everyone else. And in some very important and special respects, you are!
But when it comes to recovering from complex chronic illness, chronic infections, chronic fatigue, autoimmunity, fibromyalgia, and other common, sticky problems of our times, you want to follow a sound process, going step by step, and in order.
The process will be the same for everyone with these issues. How you move through it, and some of the specific and details, will be as unique to you as your fingerprint.