When Labels Make You Sick

By Katherine Gotthardt and Linda Dulicai

Obese.  Diabetic.  Mentally ill.  These are common labels given by doctors.  But let’s think about them more deeply.  What happens when we allow ourselves to be labeled, and what would happen if we banished the labels?

You’ve probably heard that you are, in part, what you think.  It follows, then, that if you think of yourself as sick, you will continue to feel sick and might even perpetuate the illness.  For example, how many people identify themselves as obese and end up eating more because of it?  It’s too common.  They call themselves fat, they believe they are fat, they get depressed because they think they are fat, so they eat like they are fat.  Then they gain weight.  It’s a self-defeating cycle based on a label.

What if we turned the label around and described it as something different?  What if every morning, we woke up and said, “I am losing weight”?  Or, “I have diabetes under control”?  Or, “I effectively manage the way I think”?  While these statements might sound a little like affirmations, they are actually more than that.  They are ways of thinking about the self so that the self can heal.  And you don’t need a lot of pharmaceuticals to do it.

Think of it this way. Have you ever had a cut that got worse because you kept it bandaged?  Remove the bandage, let the air get at it and the cut often heals naturally.  Well, when we remove the labels, we allow fresh, positive ideas to help us heal.

Now, we are not saying you can wake up one morning, tell yourself you are not sick and suddenly feel better.  There is a process involved.  That process includes evaluating where you are now and setting goals. It includes dialoguing with professionals who know how to support you in your journey towards wellness.  And it includes a lot of effort on your part. 

One component of that effort is acknowledging just how much power you have over your body and the way it functions.  When we let labels define us, we give our power source to others, usually those in traditional medical fields that operate on Western norms and beliefs.  But when we recognize we are not limited to one medical model, we open up a world of opportunities for wellness.  Suddenly, those labels do not have the control they once did. 

When we ditch the labels, we leave room for exploration.  That exploration includes seeking the root of the illness, the real problem that caused us to get sick.  Maybe we’ve been under a lot of mental stress that we have not been handling adequately and our bodies are reacting in negative ways.  Maybe we’re having a hard time forgiving someone and it’s literally eating us alive.  Maybe it’s the way we are thinking about daily life that needs to change.  Once we have pinpointed the source of the illness, we can put together a plan for wellness, one where labels have no place.

We believe you can help make yourself well.  We challenge you to make a list of labels that are hindering your health.  Then make a list of healthy words you’ll use instead of the labels.  Need help?  Call Linda Dulicai at 540-428-1949. 

A practitioner for more than 37 years, Linda Dulicai is a Certified Natural Health Professional and an Advanced Loomis Digestive Health Specialist educated in more than 25 modalities of wellness.  She is CEO of The Healthy Zone.