Tagged: Illness Identity
September 4, 2021 at 3:12 pm #17420
Recently I wrote a little piece about Illness Identity. In it I talk about the identification of the patient as a person with the apparent reality of a chronic illness. What forms of identification can occur, and how they relate to the human condition in general. And what to do about it all.
You can read/download the article on our website here .
What about you?
Is there anyone out there who has thoughts about:
- Identification with the person/mind in general;
- Identification with disease in particular;
- Going beyond one or both of these?
Do you feel identified with your disease and if so, how? Do you think this is a positive thing or not? If not, do you have any thoughts about dealing with this?
Let me know!
September 8, 2021 at 10:04 am #17430Jenny LivingstonKeymaster
Paul, I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing. I’ll admit, I am frequently stark raving mad! At certain times in my life, I’ve leaned to my illness identity more than others. Sometimes it does feel like that’s who I am. Other times, I can separate myself from that story and realize that I simply am, while illness or anything else is merely circumstance. I don’t necessarily see it as positive or negative, but I do think it’s a bit of a coping mechanism for me. When I’m struggling with my health more, leaning into that identity and focusing on “me with CF” seems to help me push through. I don’t know… I’ve been thinking about this since first reading your post the other day and I’m still struggling to articulate all my thoughts.
In my time on the forum, I’ve been intrigued by your approach to CF and life in general. I have never “met” anyone more zen than you. I’ve wondered if part of it is cultural, spiritual, etc. How did you come to this set of beliefs and practices? I have learned so much from your posts and responses and genuinely appreciate all that you share.
September 8, 2021 at 3:25 pm #17431
I enjoyed reading your reply Jenny, thank you for your sweet words. I am glad to hear that my contributions to the website have been of help to you. And I sincerely hope that you will stay being intrigued – not by my approach to life per se, but intrigued by the “Zen-ness” of life.
I hope to answer some of your questions in my next Sunday Morning post.
September 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm #17432
Oh, and I forgot to mention: in times of struggling with health, it’s my experience that especially then leaning back is the preferred thing to do, away from any identity with the person or the disease or the story of apparent decline in health. Sure, you can and sometimes need to focus and lean in on the symptoms to find the best approach to improving the health, drawing from experience and intuition (“how best to improve this symptom”), but I never focus or lean in on the personal story of the whole thing (“I am in trouble and I must do everything to fix it and get better”). I only listen to the body and know that the body is perfectly capable of dealing with the symptoms and finding the best response, with medical assistance and my intuition. It doesn’t need any personal doing or ego-thinking. It is tempting for the ego to lean in and provide itself with some illusory feeling of control or doing (“I have to take care of this”), but most of it is fake anyway and it is very troubling mentally. I just trust my body to find the best way and try not to get in the way mentally. Then all the life energy is available for the healing and is not absorbed by the mind.
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