When an illness suddenly and unexpectedly rears its ugly head we often seek to make sense of it. I was given to reflect on this very topic myself, as the result of a stay in hospital. When we succumb to a common cold we are sure to have had previous experience of this. We know how it is likely to progress and how best to deal with it. We probably have the remedies and medicines we need in our kitchen cabinet.
When we are faced with a new malady it can often be disconcerting. We feel lost. How long will it last? Is it serious? Will it get worse or better? How will I know? With a clear diagnosis ‘Dr. Google’ will often give us the answers we seek but somehow knowledge isn’t the same as experience. The map isn’t the same as the territory. We rely on experts to fix us and to be our guides – our General Practitioner, Osteopath, Acupuncturist and so on. To make sense of illness.
So what do you do if the experts don’t seem to have a clue? It helps to be able to join up the dots. I wrote about this in a previous blog (Connecting With Your Inner Sherlock) where I discussed the merits of looking at the bigger picture. This of course takes time and dedication, so is often unsuited to public health systems. It may also be helpful to discuss your symptoms with a good friend (who is not a health professional). It often takes an impartial viewer to point out something obvious that sits in our blind spot.
In the context of making sense of illness I would like to offer one of my own tips for recovery. I am a great fan of the 2015 Ridley Scott film The Martian. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:-
When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet.
In my opinion his quest for survival is a really inspiring way to raise your fighting spirit during a bout of illness. Try it and see what I mean. Let me know how you get on.
[Making Sense of Illness]