I thought of health and illness as being on opposite ends of a scale. A bunch of small problems or conditions can push you toward the illness end of the scale or maybe something big like stage four cancer. I agreed with the part of the lecture that talked about health as a scale with the high end being super health. For a simplified definition health I would say it is the ability to maintain your normal daily routine. This is obviously a definition relative to one’s own experience and level of ability/disability. This would make illness the perception that one’s daily life has been reduced, hampered, or altered in any way. After watching the lecture I was a little confused about the differences between disease and illness and whether these terms are mutually exclusive. I would consider cancer to be a disease and an illness. The illness part being: the specifics of how a person experiences the physical manifestations of the cancer and the social ramifications of being perceived as ill or damaged. Most of my very vague definition is formed from my cultural background as an American, which includes the media, school, and society. My family’s and my personal health experiences also form a good part of my views on health and illness.

I thought of depression as an illness. It is viewed by American society as an abnormal state and can have physical manifestations. Mental health conditions are the hardest to define because we are limited by our own personal experience. Also mental illness is stigmatized so much that people are reluctant to speak about it and the population as a whole is underdiagnosed. The recent development of medication for many mental illnesses is slowly changing the perception of these conditions. The second one I picked was anxiety for many of the same reasons as depression. Whether or not there are physical symptoms, depression and anxiety are experienced by people and it affects their quality of life.



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