Not to sound like your mother here, but a life out of balance will catch up with you eventually … and everyone is out of balance.  Even those who seem balanced probably work at it, like exercising. We can generate illness, and on the flip side, wellness in our lives in various ways. Health and illness are not only things that happen to us, but also things that we do, a kind of behavior.  Not to mention how mental blocks can impact our health.

Talk about a difficult idea to manage: we are partly responsible for our own health.  

I completely accept this, having personally suffered at least one particularly good example of it.

You may remember my horrific case of pneumonia.  Doctors are the worst patients because we just keep on working and I figured I had a virus. So I self-treated for several days before I just kept getting fevers of 104.  FINALLY, I went in and was diagnosed with pneumonia. I ended up being truly sick and was hospitalized for a week. Nurses told me my partners at the time were really worried I was going to die! (no one told me this part until years later when I was all better). No one could understand why I was so sick—I was tested for tuberculosis, for legionnaire’s disease.  During this time, a number of things happened at my work I wasn’t aware was happening previously.

Without getting into too much detail, my pneumonia created an avenue to find these things out.  I was blocked to these financial misgivings that were happening around me, but this illness likely came about because of these issues.  

Truthfully, I was overworked and miserable in my job.  

I didn’t trust (gut instinct) the people around me, all the way to the top of the corporate chain.  We never did find a reason for my pneumonia. It was like my mind just wiped my body out for a short period to shake me loose to my core. Recovering from pneumonia (which I finally did) enlightened me to what was happening around me.

In my case, a grave illness gave me the strength to rework my work life into something new and better for me. I turned my mental blocks into building blocks!

We doctors — often unfairly accused of being blind to this—know quite well that illness may be produced by the kinds of lives that we lead.  But how we know it and how we fix it is so difficult. Truth is, we can’t, at least quickly and without some serious effort on both sides of the exam table.  Most of us don’t have the know-how or time to try. And the patient culture is such now that most people want a quick fix and a pill. I’ve had patients get offended and huff out when I’ve gently tried to explain that maybe they might have a hand in their health. How do our life mantras lead to illness?

For most of us, we can get stuck despite our biological ability to change and continue to learn new things. The result is we’re blocked, energetically, emotionally, and mentally. Sometimes this emotional rigor manifests itself as illness.

The good news is that you aren’t broken! Most of our rigidity is functional—rather than dysfunctional—and some come with benefits. Think about it: The cost of being too free with your behavior would be too high for most people to bear (think sociopaths). Some kind of rigidity is a good thing. When it comes to illness, though, stepping outside our comfort zone and beyond rigidity is what it takes to truly make a change.

Breaking through blocks may be why people often describe illness as a “wake-up call.”

And so, when we get sick, it probably means that whatever we’ve been doing and however we’ve been doing it, we’ve been doing for too long.  Don’t worry, I’m going to give you some ‘home remedies’ to help turn your mind blocks into building blocks. The antidote to your emotional constipation!

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