being human,  breath,  embodiment,  writing

The Problem with Pathologizing

All of the structures are breaking down for me. And by ‘all of the structures’ I mean ALL of them: religion, politics, education, agriculture, healthcare, even the agreed-upon, well established norms of society-at-large. I don’t know how or why (well maybe I kinda know why), but all of the ways I used to make sense of the world no longer makes sense. Life is rearranging in ways big and small. I often stop myself from writing because I can’t completely make sense of what I’m feeling. But whenever I write, things do become more clear, so it seems important to at least try to describe the ways I’ve been feeling.

So today, instead of focusing on ALL of the structures, I’d like to hone in on one aspect of one structure: pathologizing in healthcare. For a long time now, I’ve seen ‘healthcare’ in America more as sick care than health care. Where is the health in any of it? Our healthcare system’s main job is to MANAGE disease. Not prevention. Not education. Not wellness. Not health. No, it’s about taking care of sick people. And the saddest part is that all of the other broken systems are what cause disease in the first place. Our food, environment, prior diagnoses (and medicine), and the fast-paced way in which we’ve been trained to live, among other things, are all contributing to our collective illness (and madness).

Pathologizing. One simple illustration … the ways doctors and mental health professionals pathologize in order to label and treat. This system—which breaks everything down instead of treating the whole person—fails to recognize and honor the uniqueness of the our humanity, our divine personhood in God. Essentially, we’ve been trained by our societal upbringing to recognize when something isn’t working properly within ourselves, to go to the doctor, so that doctor (a person outside of us, classically trained in a system the makes money off of us) can assess, label (pathologize) and treat (‘fix’) us, usually with synthetic, man-made medication that causes (or can cause) a whole host of other health issues.

Writing it out makes it obvious to me. We’ve been sold a pack of lies and it’s so ingrained in our culture that those of us who wake up to the madness are labeled as freaks, outliers and conspiracy theorists. But seriously. Read the last paragraph again. Isn’t it so obvious?

Pathologizing diminishes the whole person. It negates our sovereignty and reduces us to a ‘thing’ or object that needs fixed. But most of us don’t need fixed. What we need is a divine system that places trust in the order of God and the cosmos, and allows us to choose for ourselves, and to craft our own plans for health and wholeness, ideally in rhythm with the earth (though she’s sick too thanks to much of what I’ve described above). The problem is that it’s not just one system but all of them. We are literally destroying ourselves, and our mother.

Where do we go from here? What comes next? How do we even go about working our way through this mess. These are some topics I hope to continue to explore here.

(Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash)

One Comment