The Social Construction of Sickness

Germs are real.  Quite true.  The way people react to a person infected by germs or how a person feels about getting germy—well, that’s a social construction of sickness.

I read a book on the social construction of the sickness of cancer and how if you look closely at the language used to describe this sickness, it seems to imply that people who get cancer are getting what they deserve.  Cancer as punishment for something one did, rather than, hell, just getting cancer.

Another book writes about the social construction of insanity, how in the middle ages the insane just roamed the population.  Maybe people threw rocks at them or something but they weren’t considered sick.  Come the 18th century, and suddenly they start locking up the insane and treating them like sick people.  Think Bedlam—one of the first insane asylums.

And then those people, that Jack speaks of, who think being sick is all in a person’s head, as if they are lunatics who are imaging that they are sick, and if they just stopped imagining they were sick, then they wouldn’t be sick, as if not imagining snot running out of your nose would make the snot go away.

And then there’s being sick in the head.  As in nuts, insane, or simply depressed.  As far as I can remember in my particular branch of the Tingle family being sick in the head was simply not possible.  If you were sick in the head, something was wrong with you morally or ethically.

If you were sick in the head, you were just faking it and you should be as ashamed of yourself and just crawl in a hole or something—because you were so utterly vile.  Suck it up!  Suck it up!  What the hell does that mean?

I do think there is something called psychosomatic illness.  But this doesn’t mean you want to be sick; it means that deep down there in the unconscious you have a hell of a lot of conflict about something, some inner pain, that might actually affect the immune system and so you get sick.  After all we are constantly swimming with germs, and if the system goes down they get in.

So sickness sometimes can be a sign, as in, hey, dude, you are really really stressed out.  I made a joke some time back, “The Tingle idea of a vacation is getting sick.”

I have never heard of a salt sea wash.  I will check it out.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense.  I still got that cold and am hung over from Nyquil.

One Reply to “The Social Construction of Sickness”

  1. heres a website for the sinus bottle i your paying 11 or less dollars for a plastic bottle and some pre-mixed packets.heres the thing though,the construction of the bottle is perfect for sending several squirts of warm tap water and store bought sea salt up the nose.they try and tell you that you need to buy the packets but the allergist who gave me my kit said that sea salt was actually better than the packets and a lot cheaper.when i started these rinses i was getting 2-3 sinus infections a year, the kind that dont go away unless you take i went to an allergists had the skin test done and discovered that im allergic to every fucking thing inside and out.they wanted to start shots the time i was without health insurance and shots were going to be expensive as hell.i went home and started doing this rinse everyday for about a month until i got to once a week which is what i do now.ive got to tell you after 3 years ive had no sinus infections and no allergy problems.none.ive since not gone back to the allergist and never took shot 1.i hope if any of you suffer like i did, this basic remedy will work for you as well as it did for me.

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