It’s about time

It’s about time we woke up and spoke up, don’t you think? It’s about time we realized that the problem exists, that it’s not imaginary, that it’s not shameful, that it deserves to be treated as directly as any other problem. Any other medical problem, I mean.

We say, readily, that so and so broke a bone. We say, with sorrow but directly all the same, that someone has cancer. We talk about our bits and pieces, our illnesses and challenges, without any degree of hesitation.

Why, then, does mental or emotional illness become something to be whispered? Something discussed behind our hands, our doors? Something to be hidden? Are these not illnesses that deserve EXACTLY as much attention as any other?

Is it someone’s fault when they are physically ill?

Um…no.

Do we feel embarrassed when we know someone struggling with a physical illness?

Um…no.

Our emotional state and our mental state make up, obviously, a critical part of our physical state. It’s not something where you can separate out one or the other from a person. In other words, people are body, people are mind and people are emotions.

So why the shame? Why, why, WHY have we stepped back from directly dealing with mental and emotional illnesses the same way we treat physical illnesses? Why is there still some sort of shameful stigma associated with them?

And don’t say there isn’t. Because in spite of articles that say what we should do, that insist it’s time to put aside the ridiculous hesitation we have when it comes to discussing and treating these illnesses, in spite of all the media attention after something terrible happens, we haven’t actually progressed very far.

You know what I want? I want the day to come…no, I want the day to be here NOW…when in response to “How’s the family?” someone might say “Good, pretty much, but Mom’s been diagnosed with depression” and the person who hears this will not lower their voice or withdraw a bit (in case it’s catching, you know). Nope. That person will say whatever form of supportive comment that they would make if they had heard “Good, pretty much, but Mom’s got to have hip surgery.”

And what might that comment be? “Oh, wow…sorry to hear that. I’ll pray for her.” Or whatever. “I’ll send positive thoughts.” “Let me know if you need anything.”

I want that day to be here now when we hear about depression or alcoholism or addiction or PTSD or any other challenge that someone is facing and we offer whatever it is we have to offer and we ask about them again when we have a chance and we STOP whispering and we STOP pointing fingers and we STEP UP and address these things like the very real, very legitimate, very challenging illnesses that they are.

It’s about time we did that. There is a myriad of support for not only the people suffering but those who love them, but much of it is not sought because of shame. It’s about time we got rid of that shame, don’t you think? And started treating ourselves and each other as whole beings.

Not just a body that sometimes needs to be fixed, but a body with a mind and with emotions and if anything goes wrong with any part of that body, it’s a very real illness. And it deserves respect and treatment exactly the way any part of the physical body would receive.

It’s about time we honored the whole body and all its complex systems. It is a beautiful, intricate creation and anything that goes wrong needs to be recognized, treated and honored. Honored? Yes, because the body…all of it…is the temple of the soul. Honor, treat, respect, support all parts of it.

It’s about time, don’t you think?

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