We all struggle with health issues. That’s something I can say with confidence. Whether it’s weight, blood pressure, depression, or any of a list of thousands of ailments, being sick is a kind of pastime of the human condition. What makes us unique is that we spend so much time, money, effort, and mental gymnastics to pretend like it isn’t.
If I am struggling with weight, that is immediately apparent to everyone around me. Whether or not I am bigger or smaller than I should be naturally is pretty easy to see. Socially we start delving into size shaming or categorizing the health of an individual based on their looks, which is definitely problematic. But there is a line, where being over or under is unhealthy, and yet we cannot talk about it openly. So what happens? We stay silent, and listen to the whispers we imagine in the dark.
If I am struggling with something as simple as high blood pressure, it becomes complicit in the host of other challenges in my life. Is it due to my size? Is it due to my stress? My lifestyle? My genetics? All sorts of questions start to haunt me and, instead of dealing with the problem, I start eradicating phantom causes. At some point it doesn’t matter how I got here, but that I am here must be dealt with.
If I were to say that I struggle with depression, there are many around me professionally who might regard me as weaker-than. They would wonder if it has any connection to the previous mentioned conditions, if I am mentally unstable, if I have suffered a trauma of some kind. In trying to diagnose the problem, they compartmentalize me into their pigeon holes of unsupported theses.
This could go on and on, for all of us, each afraid that the illnesses of others will contaminate our own, pure selves. Only that’s a lie.
We all struggle.
There is no pure self. We are constantly working to improve, to become better, to overcome. And we will not always be successful. Sometimes we will fall flat on our faces. Sometimes we will need help from those around us.
That doesn’t make us weak, that makes us human.
That doesn’t make us less, that makes us honest.
So, strive on and own your illnesses. They are not a disgrace, but a badge of honour as you work to grow. Deal with them in your best possible ways, ask for help when you need it, and never presume to be less; you do not know where anyone else is in their own fight.