For me, health and illness occupy a continuum, just like the one we saw in our lecture (Illness – Health – Surplus Health). They are integral in defining one another; health is absence of illness as illness is the absence of health. Surplus health is health beyond a good normal function. But this does not quite lend any understanding to what we are attempting to define, just some circular reasoning. We must then directly look into what it is to be healthy, omitting any take on illness. For me, being healthy is the most necessary compilation of all functional abilities of the body to live to your potential. Whereas, any illness and for that matter, any disease, is something that infringes upon your current body. So it’s not an illness to me if I am sick and cannot run 100 meters in ten seconds, but for maybe an Olympic athlete, they may consider themselves not in their most healthiest of states.
I believe my idea of health stems from a learned cultural expectancy. I expect to be able to live a happy and fruitful life and I do so by taking care and using my body. We see those who lead good lives and are not held back by any illness or disease. Not to say one cannot live a meaningful and successful life with any illness, it would be in their physiological favor to live without it.
From the Illness activity I chose ‘shyness’ and ‘anxiety.’ These were interesting to me because I believe one can live a good life while also having these conditions. But, that is given that the level of shyness and anxiety are manageable for that person. So, there are varying degrees of what can be called an illness dependent on the severity one is affected by it. One can by shy and not so outgoing while another may be completely locked indoors, deathly afraid of human interaction. Another could be a somewhat apprehensive about school while another may be so caught up with due dates and word counts that it leaves them paralyzed by fear. Again, my ideas boil down to a continuum, one where something can be acceptable and manageable, and something more dire, that we can call an illness.