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Invisible Pain – Mental Illness

Originally posted January 14, 2012.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – Dalai Lama

Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte wrote a blog post called Invisible Pain, discussing how people with chronic invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, Cushings Disease, etc. might be silently suffering and dismissed as having pain “all in their head.”

Her post reminded me of a video on You Tube posted on Facebook by one of my therapist friends, Carol Rosen. It shows a man who, with special glasses, can tell what other people he walks by in his everyday life are going through. Most people, he sees, are coping with something powerful. Mental health challenges such as addiction, alienation, anger and grief and loneliness.

Wouldn’t it be something if we all had special vision, a way to see inside of people, to see what issues they are coping with today?

What if, like this young man in the video, as we walked through the coffee shop or parking lot, we had the special vision to remember that we all need healing? I have always loved the quote

Be Kind Whenever Possible, It is always Possible. – Dalai Lama

And of course, we are not all the Dalai Lama, we are all subject to bad days and bad behaviors, but if you have ever had the experience of being in a grocery store and feeling so choked up from trying to stop the tears and realizing no one there even knew how you were feeling inside, then civility and kindness from others was a great gift that day.

Mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, is widespread, silent and debilitating. The Center for Disease Control surveys regarding mental health are sobering. In a given month, US citizens as a whole experience four days of mentally unhealthy days, and 10% of the US population experiences a whopping 14 days of mentally unhealthy days.

With these statistics, I wonder why is there no hoopla around a nationwide Walks for Depression? Why is World Mental Health Awareness Day, October 10, barely a blip on our society’s radar?

It’s easy to feel alone when suffering from mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. But there are many ways to reach out and get help. One important way is to reach out and use the health insurance for which you already pay. Find a local mental health therapist. Another way is to let down your walls and share yourself with your friends. No need to be ashamed of your feelings. Chances are the friend you confide in will have a story of their own to share.

Fight the stigma against mental illness, depression and anxiety!

Your mental health is valuable. It is a real possession. Take care and accept your thoughts & feelings carefully.

Treatment is available, you are not alone.


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