August 5, 2015

Why Regarding Unknown Illnesses As "Mental Disease" Is Offensive

English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since most people take modern medicine as "absolute" (by saying that I mean, people believe modern medicine can take care of all physical illnesses, except fatal diseases like cancer), they easily consider the cause of unknown illnesses as "mental". This is why we often see people try to "encourage" those who suffer invisible diseases to work "harder", to push through, as if they are mentally weak individuals. I still remember once a kind lady's first words to me after hearing my brief story: " be tough." I have to say, not only this is a wrong approach, but also offensive attitude toward those patients. Why, because one of primary reasons these people got so sick is precisely because they are mentally tough - so tough that they overdrew their energy, and their illnesses are nothing but the consequence of their mental toughness (physical energy overdrawn).

I personally believe that most unknown illnesses were caused by energy overdrawn, which weakened body immune system. That's why these people got sick so easily, and worse, they don't get recover. If this is case, understanding our energy is the key to understand these illnesses.

Most people take our physical energy for granted. They believe as long as we don't get into medical problems - that is whatever doctors could figure out, we should always be able to "do things" regularly. But unfortunately that's not the case, because our physical function is extremely complicated. I believe that beside partial organic diseases which we get by accidents, infections or whatever other reasons, which are easily detected by doctors, there's our "energy" problem, which is hidden, and very hard to cope with. When our energy runs out, our bodies simple stop working properly. One Chinese medical practitioner made a perfect example: imagine a electric fan, even if all parts are in perfect shape, but if we turn the power switch off, the fan would certainly stop working. Same as our bodies, while each organ is in perfect state, as long as our energy supply is short, our body function would get into trouble.

Our energy is not endless resource but a limited "reservoir". The reason we could "endlessly" use it during our life span only because we restore this "reservoir" by daily nutrition supply and regular rest, together with many other kinds of routine maintenance. No one can keep working without foods and sleep. As simple as that. So basically, when our maintenance doesn't catch up but we still push ourselves to work hard (be tough!), we would certainly suffer from energy shortage - fatigue, getting sick easily, or worse, get into chronic problems. This is why I believe that most unknown chronic illnesses are the consequences of extreme toughness. And to "spoil" themselves, or to be mentally "fragile", is actually the first step of their recovery (unfortunately this is very hard to do as they are so used to push themselves).

The problems caused by "energy" is so latent that modern medicine can not (yet) detect it, nor can it provide effective solutions. And since progress of medical science is always one step (or many steps) behind progress of our life style, humans have been suffering unknown diseases all the time through history. So a simple truth is, just because doctors can't figure out what's wrong, doesn't mean we are all right.

Interesting fact is, no one would encourage a cancer patient to "tough it out". Why? Because modern medicine endorsed the seriousness of this illness with formidable term. As matter of fact, many patients with invisible illnesses endure much worse suffering than cancer patients, except those in very late stages. What's even worse is, these patients (include myself) have to struggle with making living by themselves, as doctors could not find anything wrong with them. So the cruel reality for these people is just formidable: not only they don't get sympathy they deserves, not only they have to face social misjudgment (mentally weak), but they (at least many of them) also could not get any government benefits. While not be able to handle very simple daily routine is terrible enough, their mental confidence could also corrode bit by bit, under prejudice from society, friends, even family members. And imagine this continues for years, even decades... In brief, the challenges for these people are omni-dimensional, simply OVERWHELMING.

Yes, people with unknown disease may look and act "weak", but they are actually mentally tough persons, probably tougher than some of those who try to "encourage" them. They all are facing incredible challenge that healthy people could not even imagine. I do hope more and more people could understand the nature - especially the seriousness - of this type of illnesses, so in future, though there will still be lots of unknown illnesses, but less social prejudice toward whoever suffer from them.


  1. yunyi, it must be so frustrating not to be taken seriously. I'm glad you're finally starting to feel good again. That's an interesting thesis you propose. I do think many problems, mental and physical, are caused by people's inability or unwillingness to relax.

    1. "inability or unwillingness to relax", that what it is, marty. i agree. the first step of my recovery was to treat myself as a "patient", not a "tough person". of course, there's a long way to go after that point, but without that first step, i wouldn't be here today.