A discussion of the connection between physical and mental well-being.
Limmer (Balance, 2002, etc.) argues that dealing with “shadow issues” that “people deny, reject, and do not like to admit” holds the key to being healthy in body and mind. By confronting one’s shadow, one can understand the feelings that cause physical maladies, she says; one can also learn to control diseases (“We are not the victims of our illnesses, and we do have the power to heal ourselves”). The author draws on memories of her experiences as a social worker, and the chapters are filled with instances in which she says her clients’ illnesses were explained or affected by their acceptance of underlying psychological issues. There’s Roger, a cancer patient whose pre-disease “rage and repressed anger created an environment conducive to cancer.” There’s Joyce, whose own cancer went into remission after Limmer worked with her—a claim for which there’s no supporting data. Cancer isn’t the only illness manifested by mental health issues, the author says; readers also see cases of patients with heart disease (symbolized by an “inability to express love”) and asthma. There are also sections on how shadows relate to addiction, midlife crises and death. Limmer’s work helping the sick understand their illnesses through imagery and symbolism is intriguing. However, the larger purpose of the book is unclear. There are chapter-ending questionnaires (with queries such as “What is your level of self-love?”), but the text is mostly theory—Carl Jung is cited frequently—and personal recollection, using terminology that the self-help-literate will recognize but that newcomers may not. Overall, however, Limmer’s text, which includes her own shadow experiences and poems, is easy to follow—casual, personal and honest. Readers currently suffering from physical or mental difficulties may take comfort from the book’s alternative treatment methods.
An interesting, if not entirely convincing, argument about the relationship between the mind and body.