I defined health as a person’s overall state of well being (psychological, physical, and social). I believe that keeping a nutritious diet and staying active assists in maintaining good health. My definition of illness is differentiation from psychological, physical, or social well being. I find it hard to come up with such definitions, and always have, being faced with the same thing in an epidemiology class. I have come to the conclusion that so many factors play a role in what is perceived as healthy or ill that generalized definitions are inevitable. Ever since my epidemiology course I have been intrigued with looking at the two from such a perspective, and the illness activity reminded me of how difficult it is to distinguish whether conditions are illnesses or not.
The two conditions that I chose were shyness and anxiety, and I feel as though the two are interrelated. I believe the former is not an illness, whereas the latter is. As a shy person myself, I perceive it to be a character trait, and believe that someone can naturally experience different “levels of shyness” in different situations and not experience anxiety. I categorize anxiety as an illness due to the physiological affects that may or may not be present (with different levels) such as increased heart rate, perspiration, dry mouth, and any other related experiences. I feel as though the two are related in that I believe that one’s shyness can result in different levels of anxiety. Although someone who is shy could not experience anxiety, as I said before, I do believe that certain circumstances and situations for different people can cause anxiety. The physiological changes that it brings about can have different effects on people’s lives, which, to me, demonstrates differentiation from a state of well being, leading back to my definition of an illness.