We often mistake what is usual for what is normal.
Let me explain.
have been times when I have asked my patients,
“How is your digestion?”
And they will say, “Fine.” Yet, they
burp with each meal or no matter what they eat,
they have gas. And upon further questioning I
will find out that they will have bowel movements
every other day. And that, believe it or not,
they consider that “fine.” We should
move our bowels with every meal… like dogs!
other area of health I find this disconnect in
is with PMS. PMS is so usual for so many women
that we just right it off as normal. “Oh,
it’s just PMS!” Just pop a Midol and
go on with your day. But just because you and
every woman you know have some form of PMS, does
that make it normal?
I sit down with my new patients to begin my thorough
history and intake, there are very few areas of
their health that we do not cover in great detail.
From the seemingly minor and trivial, to the bothersome
and acute, it is all important. What we will invariably
find is that the things they have been living
with for years, the things that are so usual for
them, have fallen off the radar of concern and
become normal. I see two reasons for this.
we are conditioned to only see our doctors when
“something is wrong.” And given that
our culture preaches that we can rest when we
are dead, many of us would rather push aside those
nagging health issues and soldier on, than acknowledge
that anything is actually wrong. Until of course,
something actually becomes wrong. Until what we
are experiencing is clearly no longer usual or
normal. Then it is time to “fight the disease.”
And since our medical system is set up and is
best suited to take up this fight, it positively
reinforces this approach to health.
today you are beginning to hear, even in mainstream
areas, talk of prevention and wellness. This brings
me to the second reason for mistaking usual for
normal. We have had this confusion because we
have been conditioned in the West to see health
as the absence of disease. That we are either
healthy or we are sick. That if your labs don’t
show it, or it can’t be seen on an MRI,
then we do not know what to treat or worse we
think whatever you do ave does not exist. But
any wise doctor of any discipline will tell you
that health is not black or white; it is grey;
that there is an entire continuum between “healthy”
and “sick.” And it is in this place
that usual is never considered normal.
you have headaches
during PMS, that is something to treat. If you
bloat when eating fruit, that is something to
treat. If you only go to the bathroom every other
day, that is something to treat. You may have
been living with these issues for a long time,
and other people you know may have them too, but
they are signs of an imbalance in your health
and are not normal. Welcoming wellness and disease
prevention into your life involves shifting your
perspective about what is worth treating, about
how much better you can feel. Is it enough to
just feel “fine?” Or do you believe
that you deserve to feel great? How about feeling
that way all the time? Why settle for anything
wellness and optimal health!