When Wellness Becomes Sickness: How COVID Unmasked a Fractured Movement

Well, it’s Day 108 of “Quarantine Life” and we’re not exactly where I imagined we would be.

Cases of COVID-19 hit an all-time high in the United States today, as the more cautious parts of our country hastily make plans to open the remaining shuttered bars and casinos. Hospitals in Houston, Texas have RUN OUT OF ICU BEDS, while the King of Prussia Mall prepares to open its doors. 127,000+ Americans have essentially died in vain, while uncounted numbers will suffer lifelong chronic effects.

So, I’m not feeling great about things, as we reach the point here in Philadelphia where we are meant to start some degree of living again. I’d already started expanding my own bubble and tentatively planned for my kids to start camp in a couple of weeks. Part of me wants to just shrug my shoulders like most of America has and resign myself to die on a ventilator and potentially murder my own parents. Because what the actual f%^k are we supposed to do when we live in a country this astonishingly stupid.

And to be clear, for every asshole who maybe wasn’t the cleverest or kindest to begin with, people have gotten astronomically worse.

I have a special affinity for the “wellness influencers,” those folks I’ve stood side by side with in the fight to make organic, healthy food and products more affordable and accessible. It’s a fight still near to my heart, and many of those friends have retained common sense and basic shared values. While many…have…not.

I like essential oils. I like growing my own tomatoes. I also LIKE VACCINES. But, more to the point, I like wearing a simple piece of cloth on my face per the medical advice of the CDC and the anecdotal advice of Hong Kong. But somehow, the path from juicing acai berries to believing Bill Gates and 5G are using face masks to create the “New World Order” was a fast f&%king train. WHY?

While I vehemently disagree, I kinda understand how these folks got to vaccine questioning when we can’t exactly trust our government not to poison our food and products. My family has also seen polio though, so I’m going to go hard FOR vaccines. That said, after years of government mistrust about our food and medical system, these people now suddenly trust…Trump? FOR WHAT?

Now every woman who made her own almond milk is a self-defined “truth seeker” who wants to “show you the light” on THE GREAT CONSPIRACY TO MAKE US SHEEP. Who won’t wear a mask because FREEDOM and also because “all you need is healthy foods and sunshine for a good immune system! Just work out and take some vitamins mama, stay hydrated and pray!”

Bitch, I work out religiously, eat mostly organic, drink plenty of water, get 10 hours of sleep, and take a boatload of vitamins and supplements. I COULD BENCHPRESS YOU. But guess what? I still ended up almost dying from sepsis in the ICU because of a VIRUS.

70% of people with primary immunodeficiency do not know they have it. Had I not taken a close look at my own bloodwork, I might still be chalking myself up as just “prone to things.”

Do you know how many healthy, young, fit people I know who have had cancer? Who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? Vitamin D, kale, and positive thinking is not a cure-all magical salve, you ignorant, smug monster.

Furthermore, do you know what it takes to eat all that organic homemade food and have time for our daily workouts and afford all those fancy supplements? PRIVILEGE! Not everyone has the time, means, or access to a “healthy lifestyle.” Remember when that was what we were advocating for together, Susan? ACCESS TO HEALTH? But a 30-cent cloth mask is too much to ask of you to keep ME from having my lungs collapse.

“Well, if you don’t like it, you have the freedom to stay home.” Do I, though? Or do my spouse and I need to work, do my kids need to SOMEDAY go to school, or have a playdate, or go to the grocery store without worrying about catching this disease because of YOUR FREEDOM TO SPIT VENOM both literally and in the drivel you spout on your “holistic healing” Facebook page.

I’ve expressed concern about muddling the wellness movement in the past, but, to quote Amanda Palmer, “If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness?”

Not only have some of you turned into complete selfish ghouls – literally phasing your gardening pages into QAnon pages until we wondered what the hell we were following – you have given a bad name to something that was once good. You want healthy food? Vote for politicians who give a shit, not a walking McDLT. You want clean air and water? Maybe vote for officials who don’t want to gut the EPA. Or are those things only good enough for you now and the folks who can afford your bottled alkaline water? That was NEVER what this movement was about.

So, I guess, in summary: Day 108 feels kinda worse than Day One. Because on Day One I had hope that we were “all in this together.” But now I know we aren’t. We never were. But I’m still going to drink the acai juice.

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