I think of health as how alive someone is – or perhaps how close or far away they may be from dying. For example, someone who may be very underfed and malnourished would be unhealthy. They may not have long to live. On the other hand, someone that maintains a physical lifestyle and a balanced diet is healthy. They can likely prolong their expected life through maintaining their lifestyle.
Illness, I believe, is an attribute of someone when they or their body is behaving in a way outside of their control, outside of the norm, and possibly operating in a negative way. For example, someone with a mental condition is said to have a mental illness, because they do not act in the typical behavior that we would observe other people acting in. Someone who is sick may also be ill or have illness, because their body isn’t acting how it should. It may be causing someone pain and may need to be healed as a result.
I believe these ideas were ingrained due to our culture. I have grown up in the United States, and the definition of healthy is the same definition that I posted – because that’s what our culture idolizes: people who work out, eat healthy, are physically active. However, we might compare ourselves to people living in Africa and say that we are more healthy because of these reasons, although someone from Africa may think differently as they have a very different view of “healthy”.
Firstly, cancer can obviously seen as an illness. A tumor grows, and eventually it doesn’t stop growing. Other cells become cancerous, and it can easily result in death unless untreated. This falls in line with illness because the body shouldn’t become cancerous – it should be healthy and grow normally. Regardless, cancer can happen, and it’s certainly not in line with a normal, healthy lifestyle.
Secondly, I would say sadness can be classified as an illness. At least, depression can. Everyone becomes sad at one point or another. In fact, if someone didn’t, I’d believe they were ill. Depression has been shown to happen through a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s not something that can be helped, and someone who is depressed is sad more often than someone who isn’t, which to me sounds like an illness.
Finally, there is shyness. This was the hardest to classify for me. On one hand, it can be an illness, as someone may have mental issues and not have the same social capacity to be outgoing like others are. This would be an illness. On the other hand, everyone can become shy at one point or another, and this is due to human behavior. It’s not a defect or something caused by being unhealthy, it’s simply a personality trait. Due to this, I believe shyness can safely be classified as not an illness. If someone is particularly shy, it may not be that they are only shy – there is likely another mental condition contributing to the issue, and that is the disease, not shyness.