The illness epidemic

Everyone is sick. Everyone feels like crap. Everyone has a disorder or syndrome or disease. Really, take a minute and try to think of someone you know that has not told you of some health-related complaint or stress they are going through. If you can come up with someone, ask yourself why…is it because they are a (very rare these days) private person who just doesn’t complain talk about those sorts of things, or is it because they truly are a healthy person?

Maybe this only true in my small corner of the world. But it sure seems as though everyone around me, in every circle of my life, friends, loved ones, co-workers, family, acquaintances, the lady at the optical shop, everyone has something they are struggling with relating to their health. Is this normal? Has it always been this way? Are we all just way more sensitive and whiney? Are we all dying our own personal slow deaths? Does it have to be this way?

No, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe there are legitimate health issues out there. There are real problems with real causes, and not all of them are fixable without some serious measures. But, I also believe very strongly in our own power to care for ourselves and to be whole and healthy.

Webster’s defines health as:

  1. the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit
  2. freedom from physical disease or pain
  3. a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well

Webster’s defines disease as:

  1. a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms

I personally would define health as a condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit because I believe that all three working harmoniously are necessary to achieve optimal health. Stress of the mind or spirit tax the body. Stress of the body taxes the mind and spirit. A troubled spirit can manifest physical, bodily symptoms. And on and on.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, we seem to want to compartmentalize the three, and worse than that, pass them off to an “expert” in that particular area to fix for us. To give us that magic pill that’s going to make it all better without doing any of the work ourselves. Yes there are experts on the body, on the mind, and on the spirit. But there is one variable missing there, the you. You are the only expert on you and all your parts. Yes, there are things that can help, that can support, that can even heal. We are so hopeful for that one thing that’s going to make it all better. And when it doesn’t our hope suffers for it. I’m here to tell you, there is no one thing. There is no magic pill for any of it.

It pains me every time I hear someone’s health story. The new diet, the new pill, the new diagnosis, the new specialist, the new surgery. I have never heard one of those stories end. They just go on, and on,…and on…

Definition of syndrome:

  1. a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition
  2. a set of concurrent things (such as emotions of actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern

Definition of disorder:

  1. lack of order
  2. breach of the peace or public order
  3. an abnormal physical or mental condition

Look at the definitions for disease, syndrome, and disorder. I mean really look at them. Understand them. They are signs and symptoms. They are conditions in which something just isn’t where or how it should be. But what do they mean when it comes to your health?

I’ve been diagnosed with IBS, inflammatory bowel syndrome; with RLS, restless leg syndrome; CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome. That means I have symptoms of my bowel being inflamed, my legs being restless, and I’m tired all the time. Who doesn’t have those symptoms?! I could get a prescription to control my symptoms and life would go on. But the prescriptions wouldn’t actually fix the actual problem, and there’s a good chance something else would crop up, or the original symptoms would come back, or something worse. Do I take a stronger dose at that point? Do I add another pill? What am I doing to myself in the meantime? Where does it end?

It ends with me, that’s where.

I chose to stop the cycle of endless doctor visits and pills and prescriptions and supplements. I chose to stop trying to put band aids on my broken limbs. I chose to find the place of disorder, the dis-ease within me and finally deal with that. On my journey to health, I have chosen my own path. I choose to see myself as my own specialist, because no matter how many symptoms I list to some doctor, he or she will never really know what I’m feeling, or any of the surrounding details of my life, and will never be able to see it all. I chose to begin my own journey towards heath. I choose the path. I choose the methods. I’m not there yet. Oh, no. Not yet. And there have be, and will continue to be detours on the way. I’ve even stopped to ask for directions from time to time, but always made my own choice on whether to follow them. I chose to walk away from the epidemic.

Will you walk with me?



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