Friday, May 07, 2010

Public Health Principles

We have long known that good health is more than the absence of disease. In fact, good health is more than good physical health. Now, this ideological perspective about health feels like a big snooze, but once upon a time -and not so long ago- it was a huge paradigm shift. And it led, necessarily, to the next question. So, what is good health, smarty pants? Possibly it wasn't phrased quite like that, but you get the idea.

There are many, sometimes competing, sometimes complementary, answers to that question. For whatever it's worth, I find the United Nations definition as useful as any other. It has five components, and when I introduce it to students, I'm fond of drawing it in a five-pointed star. (I'm easy to entertain.) Good health, they suggest, consists of: physical health, mental health, intellectual health, spiritual health, and social health. This is a useful tool in part because it's possible to examine the health of a community as easily as the health of an individual using these categories.

Before this devolves into the well-rehearsed public health talk I sometimes am called upon to deliver, let's move along. As we have established, I feel a little stuck and muddled. It dawned on me that I am emphatically not healthy. Physically I am still pretty much not doing the things I need to be doing. Mental health-wise, I am confronting the consequences of some bitterness and anger. The consequences surprise me, as does the fact that I felt/feel bitterness and anger at all. Intellectually, I am a little frustrated because I don't have a compelling sense of the next-available question in the discipline. Spiritually, I don't even know where I want to go with that. And socially.... I have made messes that need to be fixed. It CAN NOT be true. I will not allow it to be true, that I have made myself too busy for my friends. Of course, it IS true, and must be rectified.

Other than that, though, I'm doing great ;)

So, that's the baseline. It matches up against the also-true thing that I am busy doing things I said I wanted to do. I am marching forward with some goals of mine. I am not only creating disasters. I get that. And yet.... there is existential angst, to put it stupidly.

I can not imagine that anyone wants to walk this walk with me. Nonetheless, my task, I think, is to fix this situation.


jill said...

You sound like you're beating yourself up, honey. That's not useful, nor is it - ahem - healthy.

Perhaps both your emotional and spiritual health might improve with a little self-forgiveness? You, like many women, are your own worst critic. Be gentle with yourself. To quote a wise woman I know, "And meanwhile, my job is to hold on to the certainty that you are an amazing, talented creation. If you can't quite believe that yourself, just come check with me. I'll remind you."

Andrea Buford said...

LOL.... I'm not often quoted back to myself ;) Fair enough.

jill said...