My daoist teacher, Jeffrey Yuen, says that healing is a very solitary pursuit. True, we may need other people around us: health practitioners, therapists of various kinds, and sometimes home-health aides, and of course friends, family, neighbors, but the process of healing is essentially solitary.
Jeffrey says the person who seeks 'healing' is really seeking a certain feeling within him or herself, 'about' him or herself. And it's true that one can meet people living very vital, busy and even extraordinarily full lives, only to discover that they have some handicap or disease that would cause another person to put the brakes on! It's all about how we feel about ourselves and within ourselves.
Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig, author of Power in the Helping Professions, has written an article for 'Spring' journal, called 'The Archetype of the Invalid.' He says that people possess strengths and weaknesses within themselves but often identify with one or the other pole of the spectrum of 'health/strength' or 'illness/weakness.' He has some interesting things to say. For one, he remarks that 'the invalid' offers us the gift of time and reflection. (By the way, 'invalidism' has nothing to do with the actual state of our health or illness, it's more an identification of oneself with the part of ourselves that wants to rest and recuperate/recreate.) He writes,
"I have a good acquaintance who suffers from a chronic backache. He is always somewhat depressed, complains of tiredness and he has bad varicose veins. Actually, it is pleasant to have him around; he makes one feel helpful and useful. One can do something for him, give him a comfortable chair, a sturdy bed, and he appreciates it. He is not threatening; he is weak, rather helpless, and not competetive. He evokes kindness, relaxation. The archetype of the invalid, when lived out, leads to reflection and to discussion. For instance, when one suggests a run through the woods to this man, he declines saying: 'I have a backache, and I would rather sit by the fire and chat."