PLACEBO

By Anjola

The first time I properly understood the true meaning of this word, I was listening to a song, ‘Placebo’ by a Korean rap group, ‘3RACHA’. Only as time progressed, resulting in an epiphany of listening to their lyrics on this song, I came to realise they weren’t merely musicians, but analysts and researchers. Why? The degree of research and analysis that must have gone into understanding the placebo effect and how it works as some form of ‘medical treatment’ for the mind, and in turn turning this into a well-executed rap song, must have been expedient.  

Before I go off on a tangent and ramble on and on about that greatness that is 3RACHA, I think it’s worth putting perspectives on what the placebo effect really is all about. So the placebo is anything which seems to be a real medical treatment but it really isn’t (such as saline solution, sterile water or a sugar pill). The placebo effect is basically when people experience a benefit after the administration of this substance. So what the brain does is that it convinces your body that a fake treatment is the real thing; your brain tells your body what it needs for it to feel better. What the placebo effect in reality proves, is how powerful the mind really is.  

“ Placebo effect; In fact I know it has no effect, yet I let myself be deceived, while I’m not confident, they keep deceiving me 

They merely pretend to give me medication and then say inspiration will come  

If I live in a hallucination, The world I live in will become reality 

I know it’s difficult and frightening; I don’t know, even if this drug is all just a lie, it’s okay”. 

(3RACHA, Placebo).  

As with the placebo, they tell you everything is going to be okay, and of course you believe it. Beyond this statement coming from ‘an experienced professional’, something inside you desperately wants to cling to any sign of hope. Every time I tell myself ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m okay’, even when I know I’m not or I don’t believe it, I’m in every sense experiencing this placebo effect. But at the back of my mind, I still ask myself, ‘what if it’s not? What if things are really as bad as I picture them?’ So I ask myself how long would I continue to live in the lie of the placebo. Or is hope all a lie? Am I allowing my mind deceive me because I’m too afraid to face reality? ‘I’m fine’ ‘I’m good’ ‘I’m okay’, I repeat it to myself every day until I force my subconscious to believe it. Maybe this placebo is my best coping mechanism. And what about the fact that I so easily succumb to the placebo effect? Does that make me strong or weak? Does that mean I’m gullible or strong-willed in a twisted sense of things? 

 I think the true essence of the placebo is that it once again reiterates the power of a positive and healthy mindset and the strong connection between our mind and our body. Why is it so easy for us to think a cut on the leg means we’re probably going to die from this rare terminal condition all because Dr. Google says so? It’s still the placebo, because the moment we start searching and seeking and google tells us this, we automatically start seeing the symptoms even though in reality it isn’t there. Flip it around, and imagine if anytime it feels as though something bad wants to happen, we convert our perspective to the positive until we believe the positive side and banish the negative. It’s still the placebo, but we ourselves have changed its bearings and the way it affects us. So if I tell myself I’m going to succeed and I keep telling myself I’m going to until I believe it, chances are I will. If I say everything is going to be fine, no matter what my current situation seems like, even if all the chips around me are saying the opposite, as long as I believe it, then that’s all that matters.  

We need to give ourselves a placebo once in a while in our lives, especially now with the uncertainty the world has currently been thrown into, that has brought disruption to what seemed to be the ordinary workings of our lives. It’s about holding on to positivity and some happy memories. So, today I’ll tell myself everything is going to be fine and it’ll all work out the way it was all meant to. For as long as possible, I’ll keep telling myself that, until I finally believe it.  

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