Illness and Disease – How Should You Look?

By Nicole Serafin, Tintenbar, NSW

How should we look when we are ill, sick and or in disease? Is there a specific way we should be, or is it that as a society we have become so used to living in a quality that is less than vital on a daily basis that when we do become sick, ill or in disease, our health often plummets considerably and we have nothing left in reserve to sustain or support us?

I recently experienced an illness and made an appointment to see my local GP, presenting with body aches and pains, cold shivers, sweats and a piercing pain in my right lung, which at the time was diagnosed as a viral infection. It was suggested I get some blood tests done in a few days once the acute infection had passed, as I had had similar symptoms a few months before, and the doctor wanted to make sure there was no other underlying disease.

So off I went on my family holiday with my supply of Nurofen and Panadol, thinking the infection would pass in a few days, as it was supposedly just viral – but boy was I wrong.

My aches got worse, the pain in my lung intensified; lying down, bending over to pick anything up or put on a shoe was out of the question. Sleeping upright was the only way I could sleep, that’s when the piercing pain in my lung wasn’t having some fun with me, and then it developed in my left lung as well.

When I returned a few days later, not feeling any better, I returned to my usual GP, who had been away when I first went to see the doctor. She also felt at first that it was viral, but decided to do some blood tests and a chest X-ray to see what the pain was about.

Within 20 minutes of having my X-rays taken, I was called back to the doctor and told I had a severe case of Pneumonia; my right lung was completely shadowed and my lower left lung was also shadowed and I would need a strong course of antibiotics and lots of rest.

On my follow-up visit I was shown my blood test results and was told with my inflammatory markers reading as high as they were, I should have been in hospital; that she was amazed how well I had looked and presented and she was surprised the markers were so high.

I did not present with the usual symptoms most people had with such severe pneumonia: no cough, no temperature, no major wheezing and I did not look sick.

It was quite a shock for her because she is so used to seeing “sick” people, who are obviously sick, but when someone presents looking healthy, vital and fit and says they are sick, it makes no sense; it creates a sense of confusion as it doesn’t fit their picture of how you should look when you are sick.

But no matter how well I may have looked, I knew that I was sick. To me it made sense that my body was ill, as I had made choices in the past that were very different to the way I was living now, and the illness offered a stop moment to reset, you could say, and to clear that which no longer belonged in my body, the sadness and grief of not living all of me.

I used to live forever avoiding being all of me, holding back, lessening the quality I lived in fear of what others may feel, say or think. I lived the way I thought I should be or the way others wanted me to be, a lesser dulled down version of me to avoid standing out or gaining too much attention.

Now that I was making changes, choosing to express what I felt, letting go of pictures I had around myself and others, how life should be or look, and most of all not holding back any of me, my body needed to make room, to clear out what was not me and make way for greater truth and love, allowing me to live in my fullness.

On a practical level the disease supported my body to make way for more of me to be lived, it cleared what was no longer needed, not supportive of me.

With the support of both Western Medicine and antibiotics, and energetic practitioners at Universal Medicine my body recovered and my being healed.

For me this illness is not a failure, but is yet another confirmation of the choices I make in my life and how I choose to live. I know that if my diet was different, if I drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, took drugs, and that my sleep patterns and daily rhythms were not what they are, then my body would most definitely have presented very differently when I first walked into the doctor’s surgery.

The doctor did a wonderful job, she is not used to seeing someone fit, vital and looking well, and yet be so ill. It is here where we have a responsibility to express what we are feeling, to not take anything for granted, and it is the fact that I listened to my body and knew there was more going on than first diagnosed, that I was able to support the doctor to in turn support me.

Through this disease and my previous disease, I have built an incredible relationship with my GP, I am able to work with her and be supported each step of the way, no different to how I am supported with the Esoteric Modalities, they both offered my body everything it needed in that instance of clearing and healing.

The Way of The Livingness has made a huge impact on the way I live, the choices I make and how these choices affect and support my body.

It is now offering my doctor an opportunity to see that being sick, ill or in disease does not always look a specific way, that a body can be unwell but a person can present on the outside as well, due to the quality of daily choices that provide a strong foundation of vitality and wellbeing.

Read more:

  1. What is the Way of The Livingness? 
  2. What are illness and disease?

352 thoughts on “Illness and Disease – How Should You Look?

  1. I know I’ve not looked after my body and that there are repurcussions of this. There is a way to love myself and my body that doesn’t detract from being present and responsible. Self judgement is so toxic, whereas being loving is the best medicine in conjunction with any western medicine needed.

  2. Much of my life I have looked pretty good even when I am sick which does cause some confusion at times. For years – long before coming to Universal Medicine – it was noticed that there can at times be more clarity and brightness around my eyes when I am seemingly unwell in my body, and I now understand that I can be having an amazing healing experience that energetically means I am very vital, even when feeling typically what is called unwell.

  3. What if there were lifestyle choices, and perhaps even being conscious of what thoughts we entertain, that would support and assist the physical healing process?

  4. Yes that is a great example of when we are given the opportunity to feel and see the consequences of our choices and the impact that they have on our bodies. Every choice matters.

  5. I wonder how much of the physical-plain-to-see-appearance of sickness is actually to do with how a person processes being sick in their mind, so it is the internal approach to it which determines our external appearance or expression. And I also wonder how much this internal approach actually has an effect on the illness itself.

  6. Could it be that we as a society have lost our foundation and well being? Looking around I can see that our health has deteriorated in my life time as what was very healthy and vital 60 years ago is no longer the case.

  7. The extremes of ill health that have become the norm for doctors makes it hard to be taken seriously when wanting to investigate a change in vitality or health. Blood tests are a great example of this. You can know for you, that something is not right, yet because the normal ranges are so skewed to a population who do not live well, it looks like you are fine.

  8. Appearances can be very deceptive.. we can be really good at making it look good, even though we’re running on empty and internally depleted. Nothing can fool the body though, and this is our true marker of how well we really are: how vital are we, how much energy do we have, how supportive are all of our choices, and what effect are they having on our vitality levels and overall wellbeing. The body is constantly offering us the opportunity to get more honest about how we’re living, when we’re open to it and willing to listen.

    1. Makeup is a multi-billion dollar business for women and now men. How often is it used to hide the abuse we cause our body that’s reflected in our face, like the tip of the iceberg?

  9. ‘Through this disease and my previous disease, I have built an incredible relationship with my GP, I am able to work with her and be supported each step of the way, no different to how I am supported with the Esoteric Modalities, they both offered my body everything it needed in that instance of clearing and healing.’ and herein lies the way that our future healthcare needs to develop to start to truly heal our illnesses and disease.

    1. Yes, agreed… and perhaps the only way to reduce the growing burden on our health care system of our future health care system would be to see that we will have to include self care practices, i.e. to take more responsibility of our body, health and wellness.

  10. We can equip ourselves with the necessary and important activities to get treated, e.g. medication, physio exercises, check ups etc., and on top of that we can equip ourselves with the rituals, relationships, conversations and adjustments to our routine that allow an even deeper healing to take place.

  11. Your experience shows us that in health care, how we actually play a much larger role in looking after, & taking care of ourselves than we have considered and actually do… and from this level of responsibility, the medical system is then able to come in and really do its part, perhaps more efficiently as it is then working with a ‘healthier- ill’ body, rather than an ill body with many co-morbidities in relation to lifestyle choices. In our current day, it seems that there is a lot of pressure placed on our medical system, as there is a tendency of relying on the system to ‘fix’ a health problem, when, we actually have vast scope in self care practices before we meet the medical system. This would be a win-win for both the medical, nursing, allied health practitioners and individual’s health standards.

  12. We don’t have to be miserable or look ‘like death warmed up’ when we are ill, especially when there is an understanding of what illness and disease are about and how the body supports us to get rid of what doesn’t and never did belong.

  13. There is so much more to illness and disease than many in the medical profession are willing to see. That is why we need the marriage between the Universal Medicine Therapies and Medicine to bring the whole picture together for healing to happen.

  14. A great question to ask and ponder on. And not only how should we look but also how do we go about it. There are so many pictures that come with illness and disease that it is easy to just fall for these pictures and act accordingly. Also, when do I call myself sick, only when I have obvious symptoms of what we call sickness or is being overtired and stressed a dis-ease in itself?

    1. ‘There are so many pictures that come with illness and disease that it is easy to just fall for these pictures and act accordingly.’ so true Esther – it is these which hold us from coming to a true understanding of what is offered in illness and disease and why we become unwell in the first place.

      1. Yes, and this applies to our whole life. How often do we live to a picture we have about something, and when do we simply live from our heart?

  15. With so many of us carrying multiple chronic illnesses, it must be so hard for doctors these days to diagnose correctly what is going on amongst the multiple symptoms. Then when they get the rare case of someone without multiple illnesses and who really takes care of themselves it must be confusing for them.

  16. It is amazing the difference when we embrace life and what is on offer before us rather than resisting it. With illness for example the more we see it for what it is, a stop moment, a correction, the body clearing itself of the disharmonious way we have been living etc.. then we embrace the gift and opportunity on offer and so when we see the doctor we present completely differently to someone who is fighting the process and just wants a functioning body.

  17. Something that came to me from reading this blog is how many times I have noticed that people who tend to be more open, kind, gentle, and caring to themselves and others tend to have a much more healthier, vibrant, and bright eyed look to them than people who often complain about everything, are cynical and judgemental, crude, and harsh in their movements and speech with others. These people many times look like their faces and bodies have really been abused. To me this proves how the latter group are allowing an energy that is not love (astral or pranic energy) to run through them as opposed to the soulful fiery energy that the first group align to which provides healing and a more healthy appearance many times.

  18. What I love about this article and the learning on offer, is that we can take responsibility for ourselves and our health and then ask for and accept help from anyone that is needed. A combination of being in the driving seat but never alone.

  19. In the process of losing connection to our body we no longer have a true base line – we feel that it’s okay to live in function ignoring the inner messages that our body is constantly feeding us in a way that nurtures our inner heart and supports us to live as part of the whole Universe.

  20. It is true that there is a certain accepted way we have to behave and look when we are ill..cue poorly face and depressed posture here… but does illness have to be this way or look this way? No clearly not even though we are conditioned to think that it does.

    1. Part of looking ill and moaning and groaning is also the sympathy and recognition that are oftentimes expected from others; it is as though people become their medical condition.

    1. Very true and so simple, the more we listen to our body the more it then can and will support us. And as you say it starts with the small details then everything else gets taken care of.

  21. These are all great points as often we are victims to an image or a label that we are holding in our minds when there is absolutely no need to be at the mercy of these labels. In fact holding an idea can be incredibly harming as it can change your posture and therefore how you move and the very way you think about yourself and what you are capable of physically.

  22. I get this, if we already treated our body without care and not healthy and vital when an illness comes along we really can go down ill, even with a cold. I notice this in my own body these days since beginning to care for myself more deeply, I may get a cold or illness, and I sense it in my body and I do have some symptoms, but it does not consume me as it once did and the marker and foundation vitality that is already there supports me through the period of illness.

  23. This is great to read as it makes me even more aware of the responsibility there is as a patient to share what is going on in detail with one’s body and thus how very important it is to know one’s body at all and in all. Our body is not an object that is there to be just used to our liking but a living organism that teaches us much when we listen to and work with it.

    1. So true Esther – I also feel the responsibility to make choices to support the healing of my body before attending the health sessions with a doctor or health professional.

  24. ‘But no matter how well I may have looked, I knew that I was sick. To me it made sense that my body was ill,…’ we don’t need conventional medicine to tell us how we feel as we innately know this, however conventional medicine is a huge support although perhaps it has much to learn from us in the way we can live.

  25. “For me this illness is not a failure, but is yet another confirmation of the choices I make in my life and how I choose to live.” One day reading illness in this way will be our norm, our first port of call even before we make an appointment with our doctor, and then the doctor will also be trained to investigate the situation from the same perspective and thus empower us to seek true resolution to our ills by addressing the way we live. This is the medicine of our future being lived now.

  26. Thanks for sharing, Nicole. There can be so much to learn and evolve from when we are open to the reflection of the body’s illness or disease, as we are held in the grace of healing old hurts and clearing past choices.

  27. It must be really difficult for a GP who has only a few minutes to diagnose a condition when they use their 5 senses. Were they to know there’s a 6th sense, they would be able to feel into more how a person is in their body, not simply listen to what is said or see how the person presents. They would have a much clearer picture of knowing the underlying reason for the illness. No wonder GP’s are very stressed, working under the pressure they do.

    1. I also observe that years ago, GPs were part of local communities, and we all connected, communicated on a regular basis so we knew one another. Nowadays GPs are often disconnected from their local communities – as local communities are disconnected from one another – so we have no relationships in the way we used to have. So a Gp has to go from 0 – 100 miles an hour in less than 6 minutes with every patient.

    2. Great point Gill, I feel we need to appreciate the work the G.P.’s do do and at the same time allow them more exposure to how the sixth sense works which would so simplify their work and benefit their patients. As both doctors and patients we can take a lot more responsibility in the way that we live, what we consume on all levels – this in itself will allow us more sensitivity and insight.

  28. The prevalence today of knowing someone with a terminal disease has become a common occurrence. We can see and feel when someone has given up and surrendered to their fate, and the light in their eyes begins to fade. I know some people that are terminally ill, but the light in their eyes still burns bright. Modern medicine allows them to carry on with a purpose until it is time to let go.

  29. We should look not normal in the best possible way away from the false normal that is the ill we have made the normal in absence of the true normal.

    1. Correct, many of us are living in a way that is not supportive for our bodies, indulgence and disregard is very prevalent and so that becomes our general normal, and what are we assessing each other against, a low denominator. It is very interesting to look at this in context of illness and what our expectations are about what someone looks like when they are ill, it really exposes the level of ill health that is a now a general normal within our communities.

  30. I feel like because we are so often ill, be it with anxiety, stress, overwhelm, a low level cold/cough/headache/digestion issues/exhaustion that we have a much lower perception of functional health – the ability to get out of bed and get through the day rather than true vitality.

  31. When we feel ill, our body language changes, we tend to slump, curl up, and generally look depressed and everyone around is affected. I keep catching myself slumping down too but when I sit upright, I feel instantly better.

  32. Thanks for sharing this, Nicole, as I love to hear when the medical profession has the opportunity to open up to a deeper understanding of the incredible influence of the Livingness on our health and wellbeing.

  33. It’s true that as well as what you’re talking about to do with getting ill but still feeling enriched and vital in yourself, which blows away the pictures of what ‘sickness’ today looks like, mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are on the rise, and these can be hidden behind a very well-kept facade of everything being ‘okay’. It’s impossible to have a picture of what disease of the body or mind looks like.

    1. Well said Susie and therein lies the importance of having conversations about our health openly and dismantling the stigmas about being unwell whether physically or mentally. Keeping things hidden or buried is deeply harmful.

      1. Yes Susie and Michael, getting support and talking about the healing process of being ill opens us up to greater awareness about ourselves, so we can fully embrace the opportunity being given to us to learn and grow.

    2. There are so many pictures of what illness and disease looks like, layered with levels of judgement and critique. When we are willing to stand back and bring more understanding and truth to what lays underneath, we then have the opportunity to get real about what is truly going on with our health and well-being.

  34. Nicole, I very much enjoy reading your posts and outlook on life; your own observations as to how you live it are inspiring. This particular life-experience on appearances resonates the fact that – all is not seen; or that what you see is not what you get. Seeing spherically is feeling whole life.

  35. ‘…I am able to work with her and be supported each step of the way,…’ Allowing myself to be supported is something I am opening up to. I’m starting to show my fragility and vulnerability in a way I’d never have dreamed of before and people are just so beautiful. I wonder how I would be if someone wasn’t caring in these moments. Because I’ve already said yes to healing my hurts I feel that could be upsetting but I am already being there for myself so it wouldn’t be devastating – I would feel and understand what was at play, so not relying on them for a certain response.

    1. Saying yes to healing our hurts. How awesome would it be if every single person in the world said yes to this!

  36. “I lived the way I thought I should be or the way others wanted me to be, a lesser dulled down version of me to avoid standing out or gaining too much attention” Rarely do we associate this with becoming ill. We usually shift the blame onto external factors, viruses, bugs and the like, but seldom do we really ponder on how the quality of our behaviour, expectations and ideals impact our physical wellbeing.

  37. It is an indictment of the world we are living that what someone looks like is given more credence to their communication of how sick or well they feel.

  38. So often the pictures that we hold about someone or something override what we are actually experiencing. I doggedly held onto the pictures that I had about the stereo typical differences between men and women, even though I had three men in my immediate family who were reflecting to me and to the rest of the world that men are as just as tender as women.

  39. I had never really thought about how when we don’t live with a consistent foundation, this actually leaves us more vulnerable to falling much harder when we get sick than we would if we were consistently supporting ourselves day in and out

      1. I agree – and this is true in so many areas. We are not taught to develop a strong foundation of knowing who we are, a strong routine and rhythm, foundations and values/standards in relationships so is it any wonder we are weak in our foundations of health and wellbeing both individually and as society.

    1. This is a great point Rebecca. And equally the stronger and more consistent we are with how we live on a day to day basis, supports us to recover and truly heal much more quickly than when that strong foundation of self care is not present.

      1. I agree – often when there is no foundation, we get sick and then we have to work to implement more care and support that wasn’t there, which then takes time to be able to support the body to recover, and then we let those things go the minute we are better, rather than having them as a constant that then holds the body more steady when it is ill

    2. Yes and it makes so much sense. It is the choices we make on a day to day basis that build the foundation we stand on. Thus we are inevitably and undeniably the creator of our own life.

      1. Such a good point Esther, we do not give enough space to the understanding of the impact of our daily choices on everything we experience in life

  40. Letting go of pictures and expectations clears the way for us to allow what is true into our lives so that we can develop our awareness of what is truly going on.

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