Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Appropriate / inappropriate pain

I envy those whose pain is socially appropriate. If someone's walking into walls, red-eyed and unable to concentrate, we excuse that if we know her dad just died or she's going through a divorce. We also give people some slack if we know they're having a bad day with their migraines or sciatica or arthritis.

But people with mental disorders often don't get that kind of sympathy. Our pain isn't as socially acceptable. People think we have control over our emotions, so our families lose patience with us when we're having an episode. Non-mentally ill friends don't understand our symptoms which look like they have no "cause." They think we should just get a hold of ourselves. Taking a sick day for depression or anxiety looks like calling in when you're not "really sick."

I'm envious of everyone whose pain can be painted in primary colors that are easy to understand. Cancer, surgery, a sick spouse -- it's not that I want those things, but it feels unfair that people with those problems get cards and cakes and days off, while people whose crises take place in psychiatric wards and therapists' offices just get silence.

Depression, June 2011 Photo by me.


Araceli Esparza said...

You make a valid and honest point about the sentiments of mental health and how it viewed on our world. Hmmm, de una hermana azuel a otra- Your not alone!

Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...

Gracias, Araceli (one of my favorite names).

Mick said...

It is a valid point, speaking from experience remember we had a person at work that had a lot of time off with depression and virtually everyone on the shop floor thought he was faking it.
Of course nobody really knew whether he was or wasn't

Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...

Mick, oh you were so close to being sensitive and open-minded with that comment!

Giving your co-worker the benefit of the doubt and not adding that last bit about "whether he was or wasn't" faking would have been nicer and would have kept me from chuckling at your comment. :)

Krystell Jimenez said...

Thanks for saying this! It's so true. People only seem to care and realize how important mental health when something tragic happens. If only people were just more understanding and supportive from the start :(

Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...

Thanks, Krystell.