I met a psychologist at the VA women's clinic today. I made the appointment to get evaluated for the memory and comprehension/concentration problems that I've been having, but somehow it turned into this woman being really concerned about my attitude about my illness. She told me two things that really stuck out:
"The difference between acute pain and chronic pain is that with acute pain you can expect to get treatment and then not feel pain anymore, but with chronic pain it's just unrealistic for you to expect that your life is going to be perfect and you'll be pain free all the time."
"I work here in the primary care clinic because we've come to recognize that there is no separation between the mind and body. Your mind can really affect the pain your body feels, so I think that if we work together on your expectations for your life and your health that would be really helpful. Positive thinking can be really healing."
I've heard subtler religion pushes from Mormon missionaries on the doorstep. I seriously wish all these crackpots with medical degrees who are convinced that what I really need to improve my life is a massive dose of wishful thinking would all go jump off a cliff. Magical thinking is an incredibly seductive way of approaching life; everyone wants to believe that they're in charge of their own body and wellbeing and safety and popularity and lifespan etc. But just because you want to believe it, doesn't mean it's true. It amazes me how people who can agree with that statement in a religious context continue to believe it in a scientific and medical context.
It's enough to make me agree with the crackpot fundies who regularly freak out about New Age and relativist influence in public schools.