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  • Writer's pictureJudy

Removing the Mask: You are Not Your Illness

How many times have you thought, “Oh, I can’t do this or that because I am a [name your illness].”

While it is true that people with certain illnesses cannot participate or enjoy certain pleasures or perform certain activities, they still should not be affirming that this illness is part of who they are. Because it’s not. It’s just an illness that perhaps they have to live with, but they can still thrive with.

Our health is directly affected by how we perceive ourselves. That’s right. Our thoughts directly affect our ability to thrive even when we are experiencing a particular illness or have to live with a certain condition.

For example, say you may have “bad knees” due to repetitive injuries. Personally, I am always banging up my knees. Not to mention that I was a ballerina as a young child and teenager and did lots of dancing in my 20s.

You may have visited many doctors, had lots of treatments, and had many x-rays of your knees, and the only solution is to have knee replacement surgery. While your movement may be limited now, what is stopping you from having the confidence you need to have the surgery that will potentially make your life better? (I say potentially because I do know of a few people who have had the surgery, and they feel their new knees just are not right.)

Our beliefs directly affect our health and wellbeing, too. If we believe that a knee surgery can help to end the cycle of pain, medication, and more treatments, then our body is more apt to accept the new knee and our recovery time will be much less.

However, as in the case of some of the knee-replacement patients I know, if we believe that the surgery may help but we are also afraid of the recovery, then that is exactly how our bodies will react, with more pain and the recovery will be more difficult to endure.

So, what do you prefer? Wearing the mask of “I am a knee surgery survivor,” and I can’t walk, ride bike, or enjoy any sports? Or, claiming that you are looking forward to improving your physical agility by having the knee surgery that will ultimately lead you to enjoying things that you used to enjoy before all the knee trouble started?

Studies have shown that a positive outlook pre- and post-surgery significantly improves the recovery process.

Wishing you health and wellness!

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