Chapter 2

A Stumbling Block: Is My Illness Really "All in My Head"?

The original working title of this book was It's Not All in Your Head. I chose that because many of us have struggled with some significant questions. Are we physically ill or are we depressed? Is our illness caused by stress? Most important, are we to blame for being sick? The answers to these questions are at once complex and reassuring, and we'll explore them in this chapter. In particular, we'll look at changing thoughts about the interrelationship of the mind and the body in the production of disease. We'll explore the connection between depression and other chronic illnesses, and examine the role of stress in our disease. Also, we'll touch on the cognitive problems that often accompany many chronic illnesses. Finally, we'll discuss the notion of blame. Even if we are depressed or under a great deal of stress, we are not at fault for being sick. We are, however, responsible for getting well.