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?

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

  1. Reflecting on this blog, I thought about how much health professionals rely on visual and other cues from the patient to gauge not only what is wrong with them but how sick they are. It’s like we triage everyone in our heads and respond according to our decision. But is this based on the norms or the average and what happens if like in this case the client still looks great? I would imagine there can be much more chance for misdiagnosis.

    1. Unfortunately many doctors rely almost solely on information that they already have stored in their heads to make sense of what’s going on for someone and although learnt information is, of course, crucial and critical for any doctor to know, it can sometimes hinder them from looking at the patient who is sitting right in front of them with fresh eyes.

  2. Everyone can present a different clinical picture when we get sick – and sometimes we can fall into the classical textbook picture but not always. No matter what our body communicates it is worth heeding (and resting etc as needed) and advocating for what we feel with ourselves and with the GPs so they can best support us.

  3. Honouring what our body feels is so important and something that looking well can often mask if we live in a responsible healthy way given the general health and way of living in the world .

  4. “But no matter how well I may have looked, I knew that I was sick.” – it’s important to not dismiss what we’re feeling and what that may be showing us…

    1. Spot on Fiona – I see clients who present a clinical picture of a condition but when doing tests they come out negative, indicating that they do not have the condition. However in such situations, their reality is still an experience of the symptoms which must be considered, honoured and then it is about offering care and support as appropriate.

  5. Years ago when I would pull a sickie at work and ring in to tell the boss that I wasn’t feeling well I would really lay it on and try and make myself sound sick and then the next day turn up and try and look sick, so we do have an image of what looking or sounding sick is when we can actually be quite ill and look ok.

    1. Hilarious Kevin, and I am sure many will relate to this. Though it is a challenge when you don’t look sick but you feel terrible which often happens to me! The real problem is that because I operate feeling 170% naturally, then when I drop to ‘only’ 100% (which to most is fantastic) but for me I know I am not at my maximum! What a beautiful thing to realise!

  6. How awesome for your GP to be shown that pictures around illness and disease do not work… we are each unique, and each equally responsible for our health and our daily life choices.

  7. This is great to expose that we can remain vital whilst our bodies can be going through a clearing process… that we don’t have to succumb to illness and disease, it is a natural process of discarding that which is no longer aligned with how we are choosing to live.

  8. We are accepting so much ill health as being normal today, so if we don’t know what wellness looks like then it’s hard to identify the smaller detail of what is unwell.

  9. The body is truly incredible, isn’t it. I’m in a similar boat–an infection from 3.5 years ago never resolved, but there were no signs aside from a little extra fatigue. At a time when I “should” have been hospitalized, I was working out 6 days a weeks and going on long, steep hikes. Minding our diet, exercise, thoughts, and emotional wellness have such power… though I eventually reached a point where the infection overpowered my healthy lifestyle, I credit those choices for keeping me “looking healthy” for so long. It’s so vital that doctors recognize the differences between patients and their presentation of symptoms because they can vary so vastly.

  10. There seems to me, to be many rules about looks. About how a person should look, how a relationships should look, a job, a house, our children etc. The list is endless and this says to me that no matter how much a person may strive and work, there will always be another ‘look’ to achieve making all that work only minuscule in comparison to what is expected next. When really, we can just be ourselves as this is enough. How we each look through illness, through joy, through grief, through life, is subject to what processes are happening for us on the inside, and the fact that someone may seem beautiful and light in a situation where another is miserable is simply a reflection of each person’s place on their journey or path through life. No judgement is our way forward because this allows everyone to be exactly where they need to be, and to be inspired by another, who may be in a different place, but wow, how beautiful that place is when it is coming from the inner-heart.

  11. It is quite an odd experience to feel so physically heavy but so energetically light, as one can do during a bout of sickness when the body is in preparation for more of the Soul’s Fire to be embodied.

  12. One of the many blessing we have been given by Serge Benhayon is to re-awaken the ability to read the body and understand what it is telling us. By understanding the illness/disease in our body we can make the necessary changes and heal the root cause of it. This is true medicine and the way Esoteric Medicine and Conventional medicine need to work together. To deny the energetic causes of an illness will one day be recognized for the harm it is, as we then will merely cure the symptoms but not free the body of the ill imprints that caused it in the first place.

  13. Oh I felt so bad for you when I read this post, how sad it must be to look healthy, but know that you are sick. Am I right?

  14. Yes indeed we do have a responsibility to express how we feel. People who don’t know us may think we look great but that is in comparison to another and not to the vitality we know we can be.

  15. When we take responsibility for our health by the choices we make on a daily basis then we do present a body that is cared for and loved. Serge Benhayon has been teaching and inspiring many on this level, so as and when any sickness arises we know that this is part of the discarding of what is not truly who we are.

  16. It is important to consider as this example of illness reveals that we can be living in such a way that allows the body to clear and heal what has been buried and suppressed and to bring the space to live more of who we truly are.

  17. I have sometimes had low level headaches/migraines when people say I look really well – that they can’t tell, and I find that interesting as there seems to be an ‘expected look’ that goes with these things.

  18. The Way of The Livingness offers a true way of being with an aliveness and wellness that comes from within and changes the pictures of illness and disease and what it looks like to be sick. This allows a true understanding of life, our bodies and all we go through with a vitality, aliveness and commitment to bringing our all for all to feel and be inspired by and offers so much to medicine itself and the support of this.

  19. Looking well when we are sick is a whole new phenomenon… but what if this became our normal? It would say a whole lot about the choices we would make on a daily basis about the way we live!

  20. The body making room for us to live more of who we are. I love that – what a transformation of the relationship with illness and disease.

  21. If we look after our body and don’t override feelings of exhaustion and fatigue, then it’s a lot easier to recognise the symptoms when we do fall ill.

  22. We see people very stressed and unwell in our everyday lives, without a terminal illness but they are chronically sick because of their lifestyles. But there is a great learning of a different way to be, that when the human part of us is unwell, the being part of us can still be alive, joyful, and vibrant inside us.

  23. What strikes me today is that what we consider to be normal is often what we call healthy when the reality is how many of us look is actually unhealthy.

  24. Again, on reading this I get the sense of how important it is to take the patient’s (person’s) word for how they feel, to not hold any preconceived idea of what an illness looks like – it is their experience of what is absolutely not normal in their bodies. We can be so finely attuned to our bodies that we know when a hormone is out of kilter or the intake of a certain substance too high for our homeostasis. We are our own evidence-based textbook.

  25. A great example of the value and worth of taking care of ourselves, all of the time, so that if and when we do get seriously ill, we have already set a solid foundation for speedy recovery to full vitality again.

  26. It is interesting how people can be so quick to decide how you are based on whether you have got make up on or done your hair or not, rather than feeling the absolute joy emanating from you naked-faced, or when you might not feel so good behind your make up.

  27. As you have pointed out Nicole we have many beliefs around what illness and disease should look like. These beliefs are designed to keep us comfortably irresponsible.

  28. Conventional medicine does an amazing job but without esoteric healing we do not get to the root cause of illness and disease. True healing is not only treating the symptoms but addressing the reason as to why we had the illness or disease in the first place.

    1. Why? is never what you hear when visiting the doctor. I wonder if we were asking or being asked the question more often there would be room for more discussion about our health and responsibility.

  29. This blog shows me that there is more to the vitality of our bodies and that the known images medicine holds does not always accommodate for this for now rare situations. As shared in this blog our bodies can be clearing from all that we not have lived maybe for ages, and in this case chose pneumonia as way of clearing. The vitality in which the body is doing this allows the clearing to be without the typical symptoms and that is something we have to understand and to get used to.

  30. We can reflect something so different to GP’s because we understand the purpose of illness in the body as a clearing. We are not looking for explanations or cures, we are in total acceptance of the process and want their support, they cannot help but notice a difference.

    1. So true Gill, rather than see it as you fix me (as in GP fix me) we can approach it as what support is needed as I change how i am living. That would certainly support GP’s not to burn out in the way they do.

  31. How should one look when they are sick? Well your blog shows that the way you live affects everything… Living esoterically raised the standards of what’s normal, to the point that you can ‘look well’ even when the body is physically and physiologically ill. It appears that living esoterically, enables the body to have a level of vibrancy to withstand what would ‘normally’ make one bedridden.

  32. “With the support of both Western Medicine and antibiotics, and energetic practitioners at Universal Medicine my body recovered and my being healed.” And that is how it can be, working well together to support the body. A wise choice.

  33. It’s interesting how we have a picture of what sick looks like – and as humanity cares for themselves less and less, we have an expectation that symptoms will be more extreme. It is as if we actually do know the reality of how we are living and the consequences. It is simply a case of how invested we are in comfort.

  34. Your experience highlights just how medicinal the effects of self-care and self-love has on the human body. There’s no magic pill, simply only the way one lives with themselves.

  35. So what you are saying Nicole is that not holding any of you back and living the choices that this entails – The Way of The Livingness, produces a body that presents very clearly what it needs to clear and heal.

  36. One person looks smooth and well conditioned, another ill and virus ridden – if both are living far from who they truly are who is the one who is ‘worse off’? Surely thinking you are doing great when you are trapped in living a lie is a serious condition – there’s no impetuous to change or seek the truth inside.

  37. Thank you Nicole, this has been so supportive reading this again to give me more awareness of trusting how I feel even if I may look well, an to ask for further tests if I feel to.

  38. What is alarming is that our general lack of understanding of disease and well-being has slipped so far that it is only the grossly obvious manifestations that are the indicators of our degree of health. With this we are missing so much of what our body and being is communicating to us as an offering for us to heal and let go of. Our standards of what health and well-being are have dropped to a point that we do not even consider the more subtle levels of disease that offer us the opportunity to refine even more the quality in which we are living.

  39. Having also recently experienced a severe bout of pneumonia this blog speaks volumes to me. Having been blue lighted to hospital I then spent only one night in hospital and was allowed home with the antibiotics as my body had responded so well.

  40. Years ago while attending a junior college, I took a course called medical sociology. It was the only sociology course I had not taken, and I was the only non-premedical student in the class. It was a requirement for them that was about the roles patients are meant to play. We are expected to adopt a role to play, and it is an accepted process. So, are we changing old patterns by being more in touch with our bodies, as opposed to running our bodies till they break? Then like our car when it breaks, we drop it off to be fixed, and we sit in the waiting room watching tv or reading old magazines.

  41. How we look is not just a measure of what’s on our face, often when people are ill, there is a whole body change in terms of posture, sunken chest, slumped shoulders. I see so many older ladies with walking aids whose spines seem permanently curved, and some the same age who walk upright looking younger.

  42. Beautifully inspiring in the choices of how we live and the foundation this provides us .” 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.” The way of the livingness changes everything and comes with a true quality that sets new standards to health well being and all of life in every aspect of it.

  43. Osteoporosis is one of those illnesses that you can’t ‘see’ until you break a bone. So many people appear well but may have something seriously wrong inside.

    1. Yes Carmel, some illnesses may not have noticeable symptoms so it’s vital we all get regular medical check ups, and to also not disregard any symptoms or concerns.

    2. Yes, Just like an iceberg, there is more going on under the surface of our body. Internal health is kept in check through living in connection, in regard and in response to how we feel and less dismissing and overriding the communication our body has with us.

  44. It is quite amazing how many really ill looking people I see walking around these days which is quite the opposite of what you are saying, yesterday my wife and I were sitting in a field on the edge of the forest near where we live and a guy walked past that literally looked like a zombie, the lights were totally out. Whether or not he had an illness to speak of I can’t say but this guy was very sick indeed.

    1. Indeed Kevin, I do see those people as well, but the problem is that it is so normal to have an illness or disease such that when you visit your GP with a vital body that naturally is working with any illness as a way of clearing, the GP might get confused because that is not ‘normal’.

  45. What’s written here is really worth taking note of and investigating. It is significant in ways I personally haven’t yet grasped in full but know is of great worth to us all.

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