Following the Crowd Like Sheep

09 Jan

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about sheep recently. As I’m sure you know, I speak to many people about their health practices and ideals, and in my mind, “sheep” is an excellent way to describe them. I first heard this term being used by alternative health organizations, (in a very negative way). It describes people who don’t know better and follow the medical system blindly, as sheep do, without ever really finding out the truth for themselves or learning to make their own decisions.

The more I have learnt, the more I find this to be true; so (naturally) I decided to blog about it.

A few years ago I was a sheep. (ouch!) I listened to what my Doctor told me, and I believed and did whatever I was told. Sadly though, something was not right. At some point, I had to ask myself, “why isn’t this working?” Sure, my doctor was smart – and YES I know – my doctor went to medical school and I did NOT – however, there comes a time when you need to KNOW your own body. As unorthodox as it sounds, I needed to be responsible and be the “doctor” for my body.

And so, I began to research – to ask the WHY questions, and not to stop until I got some answers. Now, many of you might not feel you need to ask the WHY questions because you’re pretty satisfied with your health, or your child’s health – and maybe your medical doctor has been wonderful to you and all’s fine and dandy. And that’s great too. But, really – let’s think for a minute. With a fine tooth comb, we study our cell phone bills – looking for mistakes. We examine with a sharp eye our bank statements to make sure there are no errors. We harshly judge our children’s teachers because we want to make sure our kid is getting the best possible education.

Why do we not do the same with our medical system?

Its mind boggling, watching people follow like meek and timid sheep with little or no independence when it comes to taking responsibility for our health.. There is always room to ask WHY, to discern and understand the reasons. There should be no such thing as: “That’s just the way it is.”

I decided to blog about this now because tonight /tomorrow I will be commemorating my mother’s Yartzeit. She passed away in 2002 at the young age of 49. When I was just a young toddler my mother was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and unfortunately, I never really got to know who she really was, the person behind the illness. There is one lesson that I learned from her that I will never forget. When I was a kid, during those turbulent years when I had no friends and felt I’d never fit in with my snobby and elitist classmates, my mother constantly reminded me: “Do Your Own Thing.” She would say to me, “if everyone is doing one thing, but you want to do another – Do what YOU want.” Never EVER “follow the crowd” blindly, but decide for myself what it is I wanted and what is right for me. She promised me, that if I was true to myself and listened to my heart, then soon people will be following ME instead of the other way around.

Of course, this lesson took me years to learn. Maybe that’s why today I’m so adamant of doing things differently? (my pink wedding gown perhaps? Smile)

As an advocate for alternative health and responsible living, this lesson of not following like timid sheep is important now more than ever. It’s imperative we learn to take action for our health instead of just following the crowds and the “norms.”

On my mom’s yartzeit, I believe that she’d be happy I’m living this valuable lesson daily and I only hope that you try to do the same.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


My mom, my brother and me (with my AWESOMELY wild curly hair) on our front steps in Albany, NY.

to be cropped

Mommy & Me Smile (wasn’t I a cutie patootie?)

Family Picture - 1982

My Family way back when… (I don’t look very happy to be there. It must be the hideous fuchsia velour outfit I’m wearing. Well it was the 80’s….)


Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Following the Crowd Like Sheep

  1. Eli Spalter

    January 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Then again, as much as I love my car I will trust my mechanic to fix it and not ask why for every step, and if I don’t like it I will find a mechanic I trust… As much as I am in tune with my body, or car, I have to accept that unless I am willing to put in the years of med school, and no webmd is not a valid way to learn in much the same way that writing: “why does my car go “NCHUHTCHUPOW KETKETKET” when it starts?” in google isn’t going to make me an expert in my cars physiology….

    I’m not saying that there isn’t any validity to alternative medicine, and there are alternative ways to outfit a car as well :), but I would be remiss if I were to not vaccinate my child because there is an opinion, that has not been able to be proven, that some anonymous woman online wrote about that she swears is true, while there is proven evidence that the vaccine can prevent my child from contracting a disease that is a much more real and imminent danger. If you disagree ask a mother who had to bury her 3 year old child because she didn’t vaccinate… and yes I can give you a name and number of one in my community,…

    Let the fight begin!

    • Shmully Litvin

      January 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Eli, it is not fair to lump the entire alternative medicine into vaccine or not vaccine. It is making everything else immaterial, and is beneath this discussion fourm. That was not the topic here at all.

      Purely to educate before acting. When my mechanic told me that I should get new struts, and while I am in get new brakes as well, he is not acting in my immediate best interest. When the doctor wants to do all vaccines at once, it is not always in the patients immediate best interests. No one is saying (here at least) that you should do whatever you want.. The issue at hand is not if it is right or wrong, but to act without thinking is never right, and there can be no fight about it.

      • Eli Spalter

        January 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        I Agree, and as I said I am not saying that there is no validity to alternative medicine. I also said that if you aren’t comfortable trusting your mechanic you should seek another one, one that you do trust.

        I used vaccine as an example, and it is one that is used to crucify modern medicine more often than it is used to validate it. My point is that there are a lot of alternatives out there, and many a time their validity is murky at best. And while an alternative may seem to be a great option, one shouldn’t dismiss modern medicine simply because it is following the herd…

        I have a friend that had terrible allergies and nothing worked for him until he tried a homeopathic remedy…. sound familiar? 😛

        I acknowledge the benefits that are out there, but one needs to be careful about where they draw the line on “following the herd” and to what extent they can truly “know their own bodies”… That was why I brought in the mechanic analogy, even if I read a car repair manual I will still value the opinion of someone that has seen thousands of engines over my own limited understanding….

        Wish I could have been more thorough the first time I posted, but I am trying to do 7 things at once…

  2. Shmully Litvin

    January 10, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Agreed. Just felt the response was out of place with regard to the post.

  3. Marci

    January 10, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Love the pics and the message.

  4. Marci

    January 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I think there is a difference between following quackery and being a personal advocate for your own interests. If you’ve read Freakanomics, it talks about how Realtors aren’t necessarily trying to get you the best deal they can because it means they have to work harder; when it’s their own home, they put in that extra effort, because the payoff is worth it.

    Health advocacy is similar. There are ways to get the desired effect that are easy and ways that are harder and possibly slower. I have two long term “conditions.” One I manage with drugs and one I manage with behavior. The conditions are migraine headaches which I’ve had since I was 12 and insomnia, which I’ve had as long as I can remember. Both of the conditions have periods where they are very mild and periods where they are severe. When I was 20, I started taking medications to control the migraines, medication I still take today I may take them the rest of my life, but it keeps the migraines down to 2 or 3 or month instead of what I was hoping with, 5 times a week during the peak. Life without migraines, even with medication, involves minimizing migraine triggers: eating on a regular schedule, sleeping on a regular schedule, avoiding sugar overload, negating hormonal surges (whenever possible)…etc. That suggests to me that if i took the time to isolate the triggers that cause my migraines, I could live a completely drug-free, migraine-free lifestyle, but I don’t have the time or discernment to invest that much effort when using the drugs means I can monitor one or two variables and be okay.

    The insomnia, I’ve developed coping mechanisms to manage and I can usually eek out 4-5 hours of sleep a night. When I was unable to do that, and could not get more than 3 hours a night, I went to medical professional who told me my choices were drugs, which is an easy choice, but has a potential load of side effects (including, but not limited too, addiction, drowsiness, sleepwalking, short-term gain necessitating revolving drugs) or I could try CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) which might take longer to show effects, but involves retraining the brain to respond to sleep cues. During the conversation with my doctor about my options, my preference, stated early was to try to find the solution that would work without drugs.

    I’ve had my best doctor experiences when I’ve walked in with specific goals and desires I wanted to accomplish while being open to listening to what the doctor said. I dislike being in a situation where I have no knowledge and am entirely dependent on what someone else says.


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