I defined health as “the mental and physical being of a person”, then on a side note said that a healthy person would be free of illness. It was kind of difficult to define illness. There are a lot of things to consider. I have learned things and experienced things that have altered my opinion of certain subjects. The way that I defined it at first was “a physical or mental ailment that causes someone to function abnormally”. Then I thought, what is normal? Does an illness have to have a treatment? Does an illness have to hinder a persons ability to function? Then we talked about the differences between disease and illness. Illness is defined by the individual. My thoughts on illness come from my education as an anthropology student, life experiences, and illnesses I have come in contact with. I tend to analyze an idea in every aspect to my knowledge just by nature. I did find it extremely important to include in my definition that an illness could be mental and not just physical.
I am still on the fence about spirit possession. I think I am leaning more towards it not being an illness. It is more of a personal experience. This is an example of where my definition of illness doesn’t fit, because a person who is possessed by a spirit would not be acting normally. And depending on the culture a spirit possession could just be seen as a mental illness like multiple personality disorder or schizophrenia, and it would be treated as such. Others it would be treated by a holy figure and an exorcism would be performed. Personally, I would have to decide on an individual basis.
Infertility caused by genetics is not an illness. I see it more as that person had unfavorable genes that should not be passed to the next generation, just a step in natural selection. It is not truly an ailment and it doesn’t disrupt a person’s ability to function normally.
Cancer is my view is absolutely an illness. It attacks that bodies cells and disrupts the natural function of the body. It can also have mental implications and cause problems in other areas besides that which is directly effected.