I meet hundreds of new people in my industry each year – and there is a common theme that seems to occur on a regular basis.
People whom have health issues become defined by their medical issue – or belief about their health.
For example – I met a lady the other day, whom was struggling with the concept that she could still live a normal life, despite having diabetes, fibromyalgia, and had a previous heart attack. Her whole week is bouncing from medical appointment to medical appointments, with not much space in her life for the things that she may enjoy, and avoiding going outside with family because “it might hurt”.
People like this become consumed with this new medical lifestyle – with all of their social conversations and encounters always coming back to their health issues, “now I have arthritis in my foot”, “my neck pain”, “now I can’t sleep”, “I have to have a knee replacement”.
I believe a lot of how we manage our health, being physical or mental, can be related to how we view ourselves.
The shy kid at school, gets labelled shy.
The person who believes they are confident, often displays confidence
Someone with diabetes is now a diabetic
A person with pain, believes they can no longer do many tasks, because of pain.
I don’t know why this occurs – maybe its a sense of belonging to something (their health issue), or maybe its a way to cry for help, or wanting someone to sympathise with them, or simply not feel alone in managing the health issue.
We need to break this “sick” identity – and it can be very powerful if we can change how we view ourselves.
A common example is people that are quitting smoking – if they label themselves as a “non smoker”, as opposed to “I’m trying to quit”, they are far more likely to succeed.
With all these thoughts in mind, what I’d like to do is challenge anyone whom is in this “sick” cycle, and to focus on the positives, and enjoy life – it just may do you the world of good.