Health and illness seem to me to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum; they seem to be antonyms of one another. I defined health as one that is able to live freely without medicine and without feeling poorly either mentally and/or physically. I then defined illness as the reliance on medicine (either modern or other) and is debilitated either mentally and/or physically by that illness. I used my own experiences and observations of others around me. If one is considered healthy, I looked at why I considered them to be healthy. I ask myself these questions when asking is someone healthy: are they medically dependent? Are they able to physically exert themselves in a way of taking care of themselves and others? Do they complain or visually appear to be in pain? Are they at a healthy body weight? When I consider if someone has an illness, I think: Are they reliant on daily medications?
However, after asking those questions for this activity, I realized, it’s not as easy to define health and illness. The criteria that I had for both health and illness came from my family, society and personal experience. When I was younger, I based everything on how people appeared. Were they skinny? Then they must be healthy. However, now that I’m older, I realize health is not defined by looks but by practice. My family was obsessed with weight and appearance. If someone gained weight then they “let themselves go”, also meaning they were unhealthy. This is not always the case and thinness and fullness should not be used as a deciding factor of one’s internal health.
The two conditions I chose were HIV and Old Age. I think HIV can be considered an illness because its based on the human experience. There’s such a stigma surrounding it but if one has HIV and has little to no symptoms, the general public would not know they are sick. Old Age, I think is an illness. The perception of old age is informed by broader social contexts and the societal outlook on what it is to get old. Old age is not appreciated in our society like it is in others. It’s more of a downfall to get old rather than a privilege, which is unfortunate.
Here is my weebly website link: