Symptoms And Consequences Of Illness

2392 Words10 Pages
Illness defies the cultural notions of order that people need to maintain control over their lives. It thrusts them into a ‘chaotic’ reality in which the knowledge of their body topographies have been challenged. As Becker states, “People experience the time before their illness and its aftermath as two separate realities” (37) which means that illness ruptures people’s lives into mutually exclusive narratives. Illness therefore causes a disruption in the linear narrative of people’s lives unleashing a chaos that puts into question their sense of self and wholeness. Illness, though, does not just occur in a biomedical vacuum as people also experience illness outside of their bodies. One therefore cannot reduce illness to just its somatic symptoms because in order to understand a person’s illness experience one has to take into account the multitude of factors that help produce an interpersonal and social framework to it.
Since illness breeds chaos and reduces control, many people fight to gain some control over their situation. This is due to the emphasis of control and will as US values, as these concepts are embedded in the common sense of society. Becker stresses the importance of control and will in illness when she states, “Efforts to control a chronic condition are rooted in two ideas: that people can control their environment and that people should take responsibility for their health” (51). This brings forth the notion that through determination one can will the
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