There’s no shame in being sick. Last fall I spent what was suppose to be my first day in a new job at home in bed. I took a photo to mark the occasion. You can see for yourself that I look as awful on the outside as I felt on the inside.
Like you, I like to look my best when posting selfies on social media, but often it’s only part of the story. I’m practicing what it feels like to take off the mask and show the real me. Sometimes it’s not pretty.
On my first day of work, instead of going to the office to meet my new colleagues, I was stuck at home with a high fever. I felt frustrated that my body failed me on a very important a day. I felt helpless because the fever has to run its course. I felt useless because I couldn’t even care for my five year old son.
But I didn’t feel shame for having a fever. There’s no shame in being sick. Why is mental illness viewed differently, often with moral judgement attached?
Mental illness is more common than fevers and colds. Since mental illness can be an “invisible” disability, we don’t often look sick when we have it. But inside we don’t feel well.
Mental illness is something that happens to our bodies. Sometimes we can’t get out of bed. Mental illness is a physical illness that impacts our bodies.
If there’s no shame in being sick, then why do we feel shame when we are sick with a mental illness?
Compassion. That’s the feeling that we most need…for ourselves and for others.
Our bodies need care when we are fighting illness. Let’s break the silence and erase the stigma of mental illness.
There is no shame in being sick.