What is disease? Stop and reflect. I consider the disease a “psycho-physical-social imbalance”, a “global imbalance between mind and body”, a “lack of harmony between the parts”. It is something unique and singular that tells the personal experience of each individual. Illness is a “wearing out of vital energy”, that energy responsible for the integrity and perfect balance of the organism.
It is a particular condition that should push man to ask himself questions, to change his life habits, to become more aware and responsible.
For most people, the disease has a negative meaning: something “bad” that affects our lives, sometimes almost a punishment or a sort of “bad luck”.
Few realize that they have a predominant role in its genesis and tend to always attribute the responsibility to something external that does not depend on their choices and which ends up upsetting all their plans. And when the diagnosis comes, we feel sick.
The anthropological conception of health and illness shows us how even the most strongly rooted concepts in us are the mental result of social and family conditioning. After all, when do we think that a subject is in full health?
When your blood, temperature and psychological values are within normal parameters. However, the “concept of normality” is based on statistics which is a too abstract concept that does not take into account the subjectivity and uniqueness of the individual. The problem is that the guidelines and intervention protocols very often consider the patient only as a disjointed set of tissues, organs, systems and vital functions.
Attention is directed to the single part and not to the whole, giving more importance to the symptom than to the search for the cause. In short, anatomical, medical-surgical and pharmacological knowledge has multiplied, but ignorance of the origins of the disease has increased.
I think that we should have a holistic view of the individual and of his psychophysical condition, taking into account the thousand factors that can change his state of health. Very often disease is defined as “what people consider disease”, based only on symptoms and clinical signs.
We become “sick” at the very moment in which the doctor, with his diagnosis, confirms it and in that precise moment our conditioned mind activates a whole series of mechanisms that will worsen our imbalance, perhaps only a passing one. , reinforcing our conviction of “being sick”!
Illness is not only a “physiological error” and an “organic degeneration”, but it is also a compensatory response to an imbalance, the body’s effort to regain the lost balance. A sort of “signal” that our body sends us to inform us that there is something wrong with our daily habits.
An alarm bell, an opportunity that is given to us to improve ourselves, in a nutshell a “dynamic and intelligent process of our life”. In my opinion, if we operate in harmony with Nature, that is, in an economic, holistic and global sense, we can be able to optimize our resources and our energies.
I am increasingly convinced that “healthy” is someone who gets sick and then recovers with an easy recovery, because his or her body, even if it gets sick, has all the weapons to overcome the altered physiological state and, once the energy-vital balance has been found , becomes stronger than before.
Let us remember that the body somatises the disturbances, also to allow the brain to continue to coordinate the innumerable and complex neuro-connective and associative functions thanks to which, e.g. we can go down stairs or cross a street without falling.
The body (think of the root “soma”) thus takes on the weight of the various daily worries: the mind unloads on the body what could become too burdensome for the psyche. I think it is essential to have a positive approach towards the disease, rather than seeing it only as a source of physical and psychological suffering.
Most of us are led to always unload the responsibility for our ailments on something or someone else, without realizing that we are the architects of everything, with our wrong behaviors, our unruly eating habits and our “not knowledge”. Faced with a symptom, we have to stop, reflect, to look for the real causes that usually hide behind our wrong behavior. But it will only be possible by admitting our mistakes, with good will and a good dose of self-criticism.
Self-criticism is certainly a demanding, difficult and painful path, so very often we prefer a more comfortable path, that of self-pity: we feel “victims”, dissatisfied, tired or irritated, confused, disappointed and offended, sometimes wrong, inadequate life, unworthy or guilty, and why not, fragile, insecure, demotivated and scared, in a nutshell “stressed” or worse “depressed”.
And this is certainly the most fertile ground for the establishment of a disease: our immune defenses are lowered, our desire to react is canceled and so we bind ourselves (sometimes forever) to those irreplaceable “little pills” that at least for a they make that discomfort and suffering disappear in which we “cradle” ourselves and with which we justify our own role as “victim”.
Pain, however, must not be “immediately” or “ignored”, but must be “listened to”, “understood”. Let’s dwell on every signal that our body sends us, sometimes perhaps in a slightly too abrupt and unexpected way, because symptoms are messages that must be read, understood and interpreted.
Sometimes, it wouldn’t take much: some change in our lifestyle could lead the body to heal itself and find the right balance on its own! And we, if aware of this important certainty, will have to do nothing but stop, breathe, listen and, if necessary, endure the pain, aware that this is the only way the body knows to restore the lost balance.
The disease should be understood as a “psycho-physical purification”, which concerns not only the physical aspect (food, atmospheric, acoustic), but also the mental and emotional one. It’s bad to say, but sometimes the patient is considered just a clinical case, a number. All characterized by little dialogue, little human contact, little time to dedicate to the person in front of you, little intuition in understanding them, little desire to study them, paying attention to details: their posture, their attitudes, their way of communicating .
Searching for the causes of the disease is a costly process, because it implies a profound analysis of the human soul, an inner search free from conditioning and preconceptions.
It occurs to me that Hippocrates himself, the father of medicine, maintained that the causes of all evil were to be found within the individual and not outside. We know well that knowing the causes of a phenomenon we can intervene to change or correct its outcome, so why not do the same with regard to the disease?
We learn to recognize what harms us, we learn to recognize and interpret the symptoms because they are a manifestation of the person’s experience. They tell us about his role in the family and in society, expressing his habits and social habits in a synthetic way.
They describe his strengths and desires, but also his vices and weaknesses and perhaps his difficulties in adapting. Simply put, they “suggest the cause”! In recent times there has been an increasingly widespread trend of attributing responsibility for any disturbance, which cannot be traced back to a specific cause, to a generic “state of stress”.
But be careful, stress is subjective: what may be stressful and limiting for one may not be so for another, and very often it is a condition linked to one’s environment and one’s social, family and work role. I think it is essential to have an intelligent and constructive attitude towards the problems of our life.
We must neither ignore them nor exaggerate them, but face them with the right spirit because overcoming them will make us stronger, more aware and serene people: after all, they help build our experience and forge our character!
We must experience them as stimuli and not as obstacles, trying to adapt to new situations, to constant changes, abandoning mental rigidity, avoiding leaving behind unresolved situations which over time could affect our psychophysical stability.
So, is the purpose of the disease also to favor a physiological and functional adaptation that guarantees us survival? I think yes! Let’s think about how the body reacts following the ingestion of poisonous food: the mind, through the brain, determines an increase in intestinal peristalsis in order to eliminate the poison quickly with diarrhea or vomiting.
Similarly, the presence of an unwanted person or situation will also cause pain in the belly or stomach. The body is a river of energy and information. We just have to learn to hear and understand it!
In conclusion, I want to underline that we must abandon the concept of illness as “bad luck” or worse “punishment”, typical of a superstitious and obtuse vision, and we must learn to live it and accept it as a “growth process”, as if it were a stage of our life, a natural and physiological path such as birth and death. “From suffering emerged the strongest spirits. The most tenacious personalities are marked by deep scars”. (EH Chapin)