Have you ever “come down with something”? Of course, you have. We all have. While there might be an incredibly small percentage of us who seldom get sick, if the bug is bad enough, even those folks are going to get sick.
I remember once; I was as healthy as I had ever been. Five days a week at the gym, sleeping well, eating healthy. People around me got colds and flu, but I seemed to be weathering each storm. Then along came a wave of norovirus and I was down for the count.
I’m sure you are just as familiar with being sick as anyone else is. We all know the drill. We all know by now that it’s just part of that great cycle of life. “Normal,” if you will indulge me.
Do you know what else is “normal”? Sometimes our mental immune system gets overwhelmed in the same way our physical one does. Maybe you are feeling fine one day and a bit “off” the next, then it gets better. Or maybe it goes on for a while. Worse yet, sometimes it doesn’t seem to be getting better, and we need to ask for help. Perhaps we need someone to see that we have gone beyond that or are unaware we have and we need someone to offer assistance.
Why is it that we act so differently about these situations? In the case of a physical illness, we seek out care ourselves and rally around others who are sick. But let someone mention depression PTSD or many other things and all bets are off. Everyone knows how silly it would be to tell someone with pneumonia to “snap out of it” or to “get over it.” But that is frequently what someone who has no physical symptoms hears if anyone even acknowledges what they are experiencing.
Let’s pretend for a moment that there is just one “immune system.” It protects us from physical threats and heals us when it can’t protect us. It also shields us from mental and emotional issues and can heal us there too. In either case, it can get overwhelmed and need time or assistance or both.
What if we used the same approach for both types of failures? We acknowledge that sometimes we need help and it’s okay to ask for it when we do need it. We realize that when someone is ill, regardless of how, we should ask if they need help. We should offer support and assistance. If their immune system is too compromised to do it alone, we step up and find them the help they need. In return, someone will do the same for you if you ever need it.
This seems like a reasonable way to do things, doesn’t it?