Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this website, my book, and the Community Education course I teach at the College of Marin, is to teach people how to live a vibrant, meaningful life through the cultivation of self-empowerment and self-efficacy. In this weekly Q&A column, I post questions from students and from people who attend my presentations along with my answers.

Here is this week’s question:

QUESTION: What is your philosophy of how to live with chronic illness?

ANSWER: Despite getting care at a large academic medical center, most of my chronic conditions go unresolved. However, I have learned how to improve my health and wellbeing by following the suggestions in my book and even this website.

I used to get angry and frustrated when my body would let me down. I would also feel that way when doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I eventually learned to accept that my body is always doing its best to maintain homeostasis, but that it often needs help, either from me or from a medical intervention. By lovingly acknowledging my signs and symptoms and then taking action to support the mind and body, I cultivate self-empowerment and self-efficacy.

I live with a cluster of paroxysmal symptoms related to spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, primary immune deficiency, and other diagnoses, such as malabsorption and very severe osteoporosis, which are secondary to those conditions. I have found much greater wellbeing by learning all I can about each diagnosis and also by learning how to lovingly take care of myself.

Recommended reading in the book: Read Part III Valued-Action Practice

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

If you would like to ask me something, you can type your question in the comment box below. An answer to your specific question may not necessarily appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

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