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And Another Perspective…

unity picI just finished reading Amy’s post on the Mental Health Day. Please realize that neither Amy or I see each other’s posts before they appear to you. Granted, once in a great while, if we are concerned about any approach we take or something that we feel needs more clarification, we will ask each other to read a post before it comes to you. Ordinarily, though, we approach the blog from our own individual perspectives. Hence, what follows.

I agree with what Amy writes. People do discount brain illness as being something that the person suffering is merely prolonging because they aren’t positive enough or because they don’t pull themselves up by the bootstraps or because they just need a mental health day. And I agree with Amy that people with brain illness cannot take that “mental health day” and magically make things okay.

From a different perspective, I see mental health days as necessary for people who live and work with loved ones who have a brain illness. And I see mental health days as times where, when the stresses of life are too much with us, we need to pull away for a time to adjust that kaleidoscope so we look at our situation in a different light. Just as Amy takes time to pamper herself by having her nails done or to lunch with friends to help her maintain her equilibrium when mental illness is too much with her, or when I take a day to “veg” out, reading, gardening, meeting with friends because depression has been too much in our household, caregivers need mental health days. They do not need to stay in the throes of depression because someone they love is. They need the mental health day to put perspective into the care they give, into the way they look at their loved ones. Without mental health days, we would have people who too quickly would be swallowed up by depression, who would no longer be effective with their depressed loved one.

Semantics always cause trouble. Often people are coming from the same perspective. When we think of mental health days, maybe we should say instead a retreat day, where we pull back from the front lines, where we will recharge ourselves, aiming to re-entered the battle but reinforced with hope and strength to carry on.

And I am grateful to my friend, Amy, who makes sure that I keep looking at things in a fresh perspective.

– Bernadette


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