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swhitt's picture

Whole Health

While I tend to associate "good health" with being free from discomfort and disease, my actual definition is more nuanced.  I believe that mental, physical and emotional health are interconnected and that good health can be measured by functionality (i.e., I'm extremely near-sighted, have asthma, and am prone to bronchitis but I consider myself healthy).  Likewise, I have diabetic friends who I likewise think of as extremely healthy, perhaps out of necessity.  I was struck by Anne's reference in class to her friend who found out too late that she had cancer.  While I also fall more into Dr. Hadler's camp (perhaps because I don't really want to confront my personal bad habits), it is an interesting to consider a life-threatening disease existing without making itself known through physical ailments.  You feel healthy, but, as your life is under attack, are you? And  are we compromising our mental health in this culture of turning to doctors for a pill to cure every ailment? Are social skills a component of health - is a recluse "healthy"? Perhaps the definition of "health" is as individual and relative as the definition of "normal."

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