posted on: 6/19/2017 10:27:10 AM
Health & Fitness Guest Columnist
Sophia A. Omoro, MD
Midwest Surgical Specialists - Ear, Nose & Throat
An egg is mainly made up of the shell, the yolk and the white; without one of these components, the egg may not really be an egg, or at best, be a broken egg.
When we talk of “health”, most people immediately think of the obvious: physical health. However, this sometimes undercuts the bigger picture of true health. The synonym “wellness” may imply the much deeper state of well-being. This word carries within it the three components of complete or overall true health. Like the egg, there are three essential and interconnected aspects of wellness: our body, our mind and our spirit. These three need to be in balance and complete harmony, for overall wellness, or true health to be achieved. A deficit within any one of these directly affects the other two, and ultimately, our overall state of wellness.
As humans we tend to concentrate mostly on what we see and feel. Our tangible and measurable symptoms such as pain, cough or swelling are what take us to the doctor quickly. The body, or the “egg shell”, therefore sometimes gets all and direct attention. We frequently do not consider that there may be a deeper reason for the tangible bothersome symptom or sign.
The health of the mind, or the “yolk” is frequently overlooked; its ailments are rarely immediately directly physical, and, therefore, cannot be 'seen'. The associated feeling of its disease may be foreign, immeasurable or vague. Subsequently, the true underlying mental or emotional illness may be overlooked, both by patient and provider, leading us to focus on the treatment of the symptom and not the cause. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental illnesses is, unfortunately, still very real, despite supporting data that a majority suffers from anxiety and depression at least during a portion of life. Many of us, therefore, may ignore, hide or not accept the true cause of our measurable symptoms. Untreated mental illness may result in a significant detriment to the 'egg' or overall wellness.
The spirit, or “egg white” is our foundation and Inner Compass for life. Commonly, this is spirituality or religious beliefs. For most, this Inner Compass is what gives life meaning, purpose and ultimately hope. Hopelessness has been shown to correlate with both the presence and outcome of mental and physical ailments. These three components cannot exist in harmony, in wellness, if one is out of balance.
The challenge for both patient and provider remains in identifying any ailments of the mind and spirit that may affect the body in every situation. This requires a trusting and collaborative approach to every interaction. As health care providers we often have to focus on the objective aspects of wellness (usually body and mind). As an ENT surgeon (and other specialists and subspecialists) this focus narrows even further. For such providers, health of the mind may not always be directly addressed, and patients may not bring this up. Although not routinely directly addressed within the provider’s office, most healthcare systems (such as Lima Memorial) do provide an avenue for spiritual support where needed. The health of the spirit is mostly left to the individual. I encourage the patient reader and the provider reader to be an advocate for “overall wellness”.
Most providers remain open to considering the patient as a whole person, rather than an ear, nose or throat. We encourage our patients to develop a trusting relationship in which they can share beyond the “physical” symptoms.
It is impossible for the egg to be an egg with broken or ailing individual parts.
Be whole and well.
Originally published in The Lima News Health and Fitness section.