In thinking about how I would initially respond and in thinking about how I write my blog on a weekly basis, I realized there is one phase that repeatedly gets censored every time I think it. That phrase is—the other day in therapy.
I don’t reveal to my blog readers that I am in weekly talk therapy. Though I am quick to announce a muscle pull or a bodywork session for my chronic back problems to a yoga class, I would never tell one of my students or patients that I am in therapy for my mental health. Even though a large portion of my student base is mental health professionals.
Right now talk therapy is part of my health care routine. Just like bodywork, regular acupuncture treatments and a personal yoga practice, talk therapy is part of my weekly schedule. Some people would say I could go without it, but I know after several bad bouts of depression that being in talk therapy is the responsible choice for the long-term health of my body, my relationships and my career. I am not a weak person. I am not even an overtly sick person. I am simply a person with a serious history of depression and anxiety. It is a part of me the way frontal headaches and occasional neck spasms are a part of me. It doesn’t change the strength of my character or the diligence of my work ethic.
Most of my friends know I am in therapy. But I doubt if 90% of my closest, dearest friends could name why. How is that? How do we live in a world where it is okay for me to blog about the color of menstrual blood and ask my patients the most intimate details of their bowels, but I am embarrassed to talk about the severity of my own mental health with the people I love most in this world.
We have to start naming mental health in our casual lives and sharing the extent to which an illness affects our daily routine. We have to start saying it is important to go to therapy and to take Chinese Herbs or Western Medications to treat mental illness. We have to start treating mental illness as a short-term ailment that requires fixing like a broken bone, instead of letting people struggle alone for the rest of their life.
I admitted the other day that I’ve only recently started telling my primary care physician about my history of depression and anxiety. No one had ever asked before, so I’ve never offered it out. But now that I’m the one asking questions and since I spend most of my time treating my patients’ emotions, I know how important that question is.
In this first week of resolutions and wellness strategies, I invite you to take an honest look at all aspects of health, not just the physical ones.
The next Window of Heaven Words blog series will start next week with an in depth look at emotions to help you take stock of how they affect your life.
Posts in this series:
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