Why some patients fully recover and others do not is a mystery that still cannot be fully explained.
The field of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) explores the logical possibility that the mind and the body are interconnected and seeks evidence to show that the brain intervene and influence the immune system.
Several psychological responses or reactions have been noted in those who do heal from cancer or other chronic illnesses and what they have in common is that the person changes certain attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.
These powerful inner changes could be what tips the scale in favor of improved health.
Resolution occurs when a person consciously decides to change certain behaviors or makes up their mind to be a new kind of person – to be truer to himself or herself.
For some individuals facing chronic illness and their own mortality changes everything and all the usual rules can go out of the window. A person may feel that they now have options that they didn’t have previously – possibly because of commitments to others or to a certain way of life that was no longer truly working for them.
This feeling is very freeing and can give a person their sense of power back, particularly if they find that the world does not collapse around them when they don’t continue to do what they always did.
Depression or feelings of hopelessness may disappear once a person feels that they can break all the normal rules and that they have the power to choose for themselves.
The illness has given this person the permission to change, to change for their better.
A life-threatening condition will almost certainly make a person think differently one way or another. For some individuals a whole new perspective is formed.
Self imposed rules and out-dated beliefs may be shed as the person reevaluates their life. Things that once seemed important may now be viewed as insignificant or petty when an individual is forced to face their own mortality.
Again, as with resolution, the condition allows the person to say no, to express held in anger, to feel free to be whom they really want to be – the illness allows the person to become more assertive. They are no longer a passive victim.
The body follows the mind
When these new attitudes and belief sets are in place in the mind it may be that the body follows suit. A renewed sense of hope combined with the desire to live the life the person has always wanted to live may be one of the stepping-stones towards improved health.
Some individuals speak of a sense of relief that the illness gave them the permission to speak up, speak out and be more assertive. The word relief suggests that certain emotions and feelings had been held in for too long and had become toxic. Letting them go frees the soul/self from a heavy burden.
Since PNI suggests that mind, emotions and body act as an integrated system a change to the psychological state could very well result in a change to physical state.
If the above patterns resonate with you or you know of some I have left out, please let me know?