This is a short note from my Roam Research second brain. Here’s a free guide where I introduce you to Roam & Building A Second Brain. 

Metadata of Note

Type: Leaf (Nomenclature present here)


Date created: 15th April, 2022

Tags: #stress #Balance #psychology #lifelessons #Relationships


What is disease (according to Western medicine)?

  • Western culture sees disease as a pathological entity that we “have”, that is separate from us. “I have cancer.”
  • Dr. Normal Doidge says, “Modern scientific medicine has taken a fundamnetally materialist approach and it is analytical. It breaks down complex physical phenomena into the elementary physical and chemical components.”
  • In 1977, Dr. George Engel said, “Modern medicine leaves little room for the social, psychological, and behaioral dimensions of an illness, rather focuses on the biomedical.”
  • In 1940 another doctor said, “Social and psychic features play a role in every disease. And in some they represent dominant influences and mental factors represent an active force in the treatment of patients.”


What is disease, really?

  • It is not an entity in itself. It is the manifestation of a person’s life in a certain context to which many factors contribute. E.g. [[Stephen Hawking]] was diagnosed with ALS when he was 20, and was given 2 years to live. But he lived for 50+ years.
  • The physical is connected to the psychological is connected to the social is connected to the cultural (is connected to the spiritual).
  • Illness is not meant to be “battled.” It’s meant to be come to terms with, understood, inquired into, and invites an inquiry.
  • The beliefs we hold in relation to our world contributes significantly to our illness.


3 #randomfacts

  • More episodes of racism an American black woman experiences, greater the risk of asthma
  • Today, the ratio of multiple sclerosis in women to men is 3.5:1. In 1930s it was 1:1. (this is not genetic or diet)
  • Women who are emotionally isolated AND stressed have 9x the chance of getting breast cancer.

“You can’t separate the mind from the body. The individual from the environment.”


Disese prone personality

  • Putting other people’s emotional needs before your own. E.g. story of a woman diagnosed with potentially malignant breast cancer first thinking about how she is going to support her husband.
  • Rigid and compulsive identification with duty, role and responsibility rather than needs of the self.
  • Repression of healthy anger. (which suppresses the immune system)
  • The need to be responsible for other people’s beliefs and not disappoint anyone.

“The good die young.”

The biology of the individual reflects the needs of the group, as seen in an ant colony where the Queen carries the eggs.

[[Buddha]] said 2500 years ago, “The birth and death of any phenomena is connected to the birth and dealth of all other phenomena. The one contains the many. The many contains the one.”


Humans need Attachment & Authenticity

  • Attachment: Human infant is the most helpless, dependant and least capable creature. “Attachment” drive is like a gravitational force that pulls two people together to be taken care of / to take care of the other.
  • Authenticity: Being in touch with yourself and your feelings, and listening to your “gut” ( #intuition )
  • Generally, as kids, when our healthy anger is suppressed by a parent who ignores/punishes us for it, the need for Attachment takes over the need for Authenticity, and we suppress our true selves.
  • “The personality we develop is not a reflection of our true selves, rather a defense against the loss of love.”


Stress at a neurological level

  • When you feel #stress , your #adrenaline and #cortisol levels go up.
  • How this happens: fear center (amygdala) communicates with the hypothalamus (apex of the autonomous nervous system) -> sends signal to the entire body -> adrenal gland secretes adrenaline (which gives energy & strength) and cortisol (gives more sugar -> more energy) -> you engage in fight or flight.
  • #adrenaline secreted over long period: elevates blood pressure, narrows blood vessels, leading to heart disease.
  • #cortisol secreted over long period: makes you depressed, thins your bones, eats your intestines (obesity), suppresses immune system.
  • #stress has 3 components
    • External event (the stressor)
    • Processing apparatus: our internal emotional dynamics. –> importance of this is ignored
    • Physiological response
  • [[Bessel van del Kolk]]: “Social support is not being merely in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity. Being truly heard and seen by the people around us. Feeling that we’re held in someone else’s heart and mind.”


Story of Jacqueline Du Pre, the great cellist

  • [[Jacqueline Du Pre]] is regarded as one of the greatest cellist of our time. She began performing at the age of 16, but due to multiple sclerosis, her genius was cut short by the age 28, and eventually died at age 42.
  • Her wiki:
  • This is one of her greatest concerts, playing Elgar Cello Concerto, with her husband Daniel Barenboim, at age 22:
  • Her sister Hillary is quoted saying that, “Jackie’s true voice came out only when she was playing the cello. Otherwise, Jackie was the result of whatever circumstance demanded of her. She had an intuitive feeling about her MS, and was raped once in Russia. But she kept both of that a secret and didn’t want to tell her mom lest she disappoint her.”
  • Jackie’s mom lost her father when Jackie was very young, and hence she had to be her mom’s emotional support and cushion since the beginning.


Closing thoughts

  • Illness should not be seen as just something to “battle” against, rather also as an opportunity to learn.
  • People keep learning over and over how they had not been themselves, and how the illness came along to bring them back to themselves.
  • Rather than judge your thought patterns and behaviors, be curious about understanding where it stems from. “Why was I doing that? Do I need to do that?”
  • The biggest stress of all in the modern day is “trying to be something other than who you are.”
  • Get to know who you are and be who you are.