Sometimes having family in the medical field can be a good thing. You always have someone to turn to when the doctor doesn’t make any sense. If you’re prescribed new medicine, you can always ask your doctor cousin, nurse mother, or surgeon older sister if it’s the right fit for you. Talking about our health can be scary and having someone close to ease our anxiety helps quite a bit.
But if you’re anything like my family, or even myself, you might have the tendency to wait until there are obvious tell-tale signs of an infection. Perhaps it’s a combination of fever and chills, a constant ringing in your ear that has lasted for weeks, or something worse, like blood in your spit. Whatever case might arise, it needs to be dire and must call for an undeniable demand for attention.
Many people, including myself, do this — but we shouldn’t.
Health is Wealth
In my early 20’s, I believed myself to be invincible. I would spend entire nights out until 5am, my belly filled with alcohol and late night ramen. If I were to stay home, I would spend hours in front of a computer screen watching videos or gaming the night away. My fast metabolism might have added to that sentiment of invincibility, combined with my young age and a college setting.
Despite having an aunt and many other family members in the medical field, it took my young and physically active grandmother falling ill for me to come face to face with reality: illness and disease do not discriminate. Even the people that we consider immortal can crumble into pieces by unchecked bacteria slowly chipping away at their body.
Taking care of her and watching her health stagnate month after month made me realize that as much effort we put into taking care of others, we need to put that same effort into ourselves. That goes for both physical AND mental health.
A Need for Care
We as human beings do not need to be falling apart at the seams in order to seek care. Nor does that care need to come in the form of a visit to the doctor’s office. It can be as simple as taking a dose of over the counter medicine, whether it’s some cough syrup or Advil. For mental health, engage in an activity that makes you happy or relaxed or both. Presently, there are millions of ways we can receive care and many of these methods are available right at our fingertips.
I’m not saying you do not need to see a doctor, because you should if your sickness warrants it. But we need to take the appropriate measures to ensure that our body and mind are at their utmost best. That includes taking the basic steps that are readily available to us.
Human beings are fragile, despite our many attempts to appear tough and strong. We need to acknowledge this fragility and take it upon ourselves to seek the care that we need.
Make Yourself a Priority
Growing up in a world and culture that prioritizes overworking has conditioned us to believe that our health is not a priority. That to take care of our work, and someone else, we should be prepared to give our 110%, even when we’re sick. This has led to burnout, anxiety and depression, and leaves our body vulnerable to infection.
So make yourself a priority. When you notice yourself coming down with something or getting into a bad headspace, make the time necessary to receive care. Look towards your available resources, phone your doctor, or talk to someone you trust about what’s going on. Knowing that we need care is one thing, but we need to take action and actively seek it.
Perhaps you’re afraid of what people will think, that they will label you as weak. However, it takes a strong person to admit that they need help and to actually put in the time and effort to get better. So make yourself a priority. Rest and recharge so you can continue on this journey of life.
And if it’s taking you a little longer to get better, that’s okay, too. Everyone’s body goes at a different pace. You will get better, just give it a little more time.