My personal experiences and my family have definitely shaped my ideas of health and illness. My dad is a health food nut who constantly watches his sodium intake and cholesterol while my mom lost 40 pounds and has kept it off for over 4 years now. It’s easy for me to say that I think being healthy encompasses a lot of different aspects of life including physical, emotional, and some odd things like your organizational and social skills. Although I have high standards of being healthy I don’t think anyone can lose their health entirely, even if they are fighting an illness. I do however have some personal experiences that have probably made me bias to some of the conditions listed in the illness activity. On that note, I do not consider many things an illness. I definitely follow a more holistic approach to medicine and strongly believe in healing as a whole versus medication sedation.
Migraines are one of those conditions that I am on the fence about. I am not one to take medication for headaches or minor aches and pains or anything really, but I have never experienced a migraine. I have witnessed my mother’s migraines knock her off her feet though, and she is one tough cookie. I understand having to sleep off the pain and taking medications, but I would not classify migraines as an illness. I actually don’t think I would classify chronic migraines as an illness either. I firmly believe headaches can be treated with sleep, water, and darkness so why couldn’t a migraine?
Another condition listed was anxiety. I also think anxiety is a tough one to figure out but from personal experience, I would not call it an illness. Considering my mother is a physician, and a psychiatrist at that, I have been diagnosed/analyzed my whole life! It wasn’t until sophomore year of college that I totally believed her that I had anxiety. Once I “accepted” it, it was like the clouds had moved and the sun was shining again. A lot more things made sense in my life and I understood why certain things were happening. I soon learned how to control aspects of my anxiety through exercise, certain foods, and even learned what set off my anxiety the most and how to prepare for it. Things are manageable without medications in my eyes, including old age, which was also mentioned in the illness activity. Ill save that for a different week since I could definitely go on for days and days about elderly age and dementia treatment plans.
I usually get a lot of negative feedback for my views so I should include that I do believe there are certain conditions such as cancer and HIV that need to be controlled with medications along with other aspects of health such as diet and exercise. I just strongly believe there is much more to health than medication and hope that future physicians will also be willing to explore these areas of medicine as our society and culture also slowly lean towards a healthier lifestyle.