Intended for healthcare professionals


Making a difference: now it's your turn

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 17 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1055

Your Health Depends On You

Life is a quest for love. In order to receive love, we must be
dependent. In
order to give love, we must be independent. The conflict between
dependence and independence affects every facet of our lives.
Life and love
begin with our parents. As helpless babies, we depend on their
care. With the right kind of care, we learn to love them and
ourselves. With
the right kind of parenting, we learn dependence and
independence. Of
course, there is no perfect parenting. So we all have trouble with
dependence and independence. Sometimes we are dependent
when we
should be independent, and vice versa.

Health-care is reminiscent of childhood. The doctor is our parent,
and we are
helpless babies. We feel secure in his office, and long for his
reassurance, and medicine. We are awed by his jargon, worship
his intellect,
and feel totally dependent. Of course, health-care is not
childhood. The
doctor is not our parent, and we are not helpless babies - no
matter how
much we wish this were true. Sometimes, the doctor's words,
and medicine do not solve our health problems.

Often, our health problems are the result of dehydration,
malnutrition, and
addiction. These problems are self-inflicted and require changes
in our
attitude and lifestyle. It takes independence and courage to make

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

29 May 2007
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA