My definition of health was physically being without disease and functioning correctly (relatively speaking), mentally aware of one’s surroundings and in-tune with reality, and the overall physical/mental sense of well-being. I defined illness as an impairment of one’s physical or mental state; a restriction to one’s (relative) normal state of function. My deciding factors were the physical and mental state of the person. What is considered the “normal” function/health varies from person to person so in relative terms I defined health as being without impairment from the usual, and illness as impairment of one’s usual competency of mental/physical function given that time/state in one’s life.
I think that it is hard to not obtain a general idea of health/illness from the society’s and media’s viewpoints that surround us about these definitions, but my definitions have been shaped even more so from personal experience within my family’s medical issues experiences. I have grandparents who are both 96 years old, so I have observed and dealt with illnesses and medical issues for a long time; my family and I have been in and out of hospitals, nursing home/rehab centers for them, so I have seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to their health. This shaped my definitions by comparing one’s state of illness or health relative to that time/age/state of “normal” function and physical/mental abilities for that individual. I know that there is our society’s sense and viewpoint of healthy vs. unhealthy or ill, but I think that being in a healthy state is quite relative.
I would say that both migraines and depression are illnesses because if it impairs one’s usual function/sense of well – being and is consistent or prolonged, then it is definitely negatively altering that individual’s physical and mental state, therefore changing one’s normal state to something very unpleasant and adversely impacting his/her health. There are different types of depression, one being termed as “Reactive” which is induced from a stimulus like a job loss or break up – this is usually only temporary, and resolved without pharmacological intervention. What I classify as an illness in regards to depression is the state of “Endogenous” depression: prolonged – weeks, months, to years of sadness which may be triggered by a sad event, but is also coupled with a chemical imbalance in the brain. As for migraines, there is some research about chemical imbalance in the brain as well with serotonin levels but not always. The effect that migraines have upon a person is why I consider it an illness. It negatively alters one’s normal “healthy” state physically and mentally since the pain, nausea, etc. can be so unbearable to where one’s sense of well-being, physically and mentally, is destructed.