Chronic illness is never something that we’re happy to have in our lives. We perceive it as the enemy. As something that’s wrong. And as something we must fight and be rid of as soon as possible.
This is understandable of course. For most of the time chronic illness comes with its own special army of serious physical discomforts, like chronic pain and fatigue, and sometimes lifelong damaging effects in one form or another. It’s anything but a joyous experience.
Also, particularly in the Western culture and medicine we have been taught that illness is ‘wrong’ and needs to be battled.
But what if what we’ve been taught about chronic illness is based on teachings from the past that are no longer valid on account of various scientific research of the last few decades? What if our standard perspective is timeworn, incorrect and prohibits us from experiencing healing or finding a cure?
The Western and general approach to chronic illness is the ‘fight and reduce the symptom(s) approach’, perceiving the body as a chemical machine. Meaning, when you add the right chemicals the machine runs well.
Yes, the body needs the right chemicals and I am not against reducing symptoms with medication if this can provide relief and prevent further damage to be created in the body through the illness.
However, this chemical approach to fighting chronic illness has shown to provide no cure and denies us of deepening our understanding of how the body functions, why someone experiences a chronic illness and the role we personally play in our own health and well-being.
This is because the body is way more than a chemical machine. And chronic illness is not just a biological problem. And with less than 5% of illnesses being genetically determined, this standard chemical approach is not conducive to finding permanent healing for chronic illness.
The biopsychosocial approach on the other hand widens our understanding and helps us play an active role in our own healing and well-being. This approach works with the premise that that the body cannot be separated from the mind, and the individual cannot be separated from their environment.
“The biology of human beings is shaped by and effected by people’s psychological and social relationships”, Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician, public speaker and award-winning author explains.
So, if we want to understand and heal chronic illness we must look at ourselves and investigate which psychological and social relationships now and from the past may be contributing to the experience of chronic illness.
What beliefs and/or internalised thoughts and experiences are creating dis-ease within ourselves and our bodies?
When chronic illness is approached this way, we can learn more about how we relate to ourselves and improve the relationship and connection we have with ourselves and others.
We can then understand chronic illness to be a signal that’s helping us create ease again within ourselves by releasing and transforming (deep held) beliefs that are not serving us anymore.
Chronic illness is here to help us awaken from the illusions we hold true about ourselves that are causing us pain.
This is what chronic illness is teaching us. At least, that’s what it’s trying to do.
But it requires from us an open and inquisitive mind. One that looks further afield than the standard conventional medical approach that is predominantly still refusing to integrate the biopsychosocial approach despite overwhelming scientific research proving it’s validity.
To wait for its acceptance and integration in Western medicine may take a very long time, but fortunately that does not have to stop our own inquiry and personal holistic healing approach to chronic illness.
We can start to listen to chronic illness right now and allow chronic illness to improve the relationship and connection with ourselves and our essence. We can use chronic illness for the better by understanding and integrating the biopsychosocial approach.
So, is chronic illness really our enemy? Or is it we who are our own enemy?
Do you recognise any beliefs and/or internalised thoughts and experiences that may be creating dis-ease within yourself and your body? Share your thoughts below, I would love to hear from you!