That is how I developed a quick eye for what was going on inside people, why they no longer functioned in their job. I wanted to understand the nature of a job that made one person stay home with the flu, another because of feeling tired, and still another with a backache. Other people in different jobs, suffering identical discomforts, kept on going without an apparent need to call it quits. There had to be a connection between the unique individual, his complaint, and the interaction with his job. Or there had to be a connection with his social environment, his family, the renovations at home, or maybe the evening and weekend course. It did not take me long to see and understand such connections.
On the medical side, however, I noticed many other things. You often met people who had done the full medical circuit and still complained of feeling tired, of not functioning well in a job where they had been happy for many years. All of a sudden things did not go right any more. All the regular clinical-chemical, x-ray, and other tests had been given, and the result was: “We cannot find anything wrong, there is nothing the matter with you, you are just imagining things, it must be psychological.”
However, I could not detect any obvious reason for psychological dysfunctioning. The family got along well; the job was enjoyable, successful, and meaningful. Yet the person did not function properly. Two years later you would find someone like that back in your office. By now the complaint without visible symptoms had developed into a particular abnormality: a malignant lung tumor had been found. Now there was a valid reason for staying home, for not going to work, for being sick. A medical label had been attached, making the illness legitimate. Finally society would accept it. I could give many similar examples from my years as a medical advisor.
During those years I tried to find a solution to the problem of their already being a dysfunctioning in the person’s cheerfulness and joy, in his inner happiness, before any medical evidence can be found. I wondered: how can l give concrete evidence of that dysfunctioning, that complaint without visible symptoms, before chemical analyses and assorted measuring devices confirm the presence of illness?