Fear and Denial

Many patients who seek acupuncture treatments are chronically ill. They may be able to get up and work or not. Very often people seem to put them down, as if their illness was their fault. If only they ate better. If only they took this pill. If only they exercised more. If only.

I was reading comments on an article on the extension of employment benefits. A woman commented that she was one of those who had been out of work and was close to loosing her benefits. Another person below her commented that they disbelieved what she was. They said she must be lying because “that couldn’t happen.” In the face of that happening, they had to deny that it ever took place.

We go into denial only when are too afraid to face up to the facts. In the face of someone with a chronic illness, it can be hard to face up to the fact that it could happen because of environmental factors which we can’t control. It could happen because of the foods were fed as child. It could be because of something we don’t know about in our food supply. These are big issues that can create a feeling of powerlessness. Many people react to that, like the person did with the unemployed woman with denial.

It looks like blaming the victim (and to be certain it IS) but the root is denial. At the root of the denial is fear. Fear that this could happen to ME. Fear that it could happen at any time. Fear that we are powerless to control it.

Certainly we can’t control everything. However, the only way to learn what we can and cannot control is to know those people who are chronically ill. Know them and understand what makes them feel better. Stop denying their experience with the preconceived notions of what “should” be. Just be with it. Ironically the best way to loose the fear is to be with the person. Knowing them and understanding what they go through may make it easier if happens to us. Further the more we know, perhaps the more we begin to understand the complex web of things that happen to cause chronic conditions. Maybe there are things within that web we can control. We’ll never know if we keep denying that others have the experience.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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