Written by: Barbara Bates
What if we could find a way to soften our judgment associated with mental illness - to destigmatize it? With that approach, would healing be easier, faster, and fuller? Would it be easier to talk about depression and anxiety if we could reframe it? What if there was a healthier way to look at mental illness?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of destigmatize is: to remove associations of shame or disgrace…
I have no clue how we ever arrived at the opinion that mental illness should be something to feel shame or disgrace around. However, for this exercise, let us release the limitation of that thought, clean the judgment slate and start anew, with fresh beliefs.
Within the human body resides an innate intelligence - an inner wisdom mind/body connection that knows vital health, balance, equilibrium, and has the ability to help us heal. The body has wonderful ways of getting our attention – through physical symptoms and emotional feelings. What if we looked at symptoms as a form of communication? Simply, that the body is trying to tell us something. Perhaps it is signaling that something is out of balance. What if we understood that symptoms were messengers? What if we could receive those messages with a sense of gratitude and be guided by them to supply the body with what it needs to complete the healing process? What if we could get out of our own way and allow the naturally present, inner healer to do its job?
What if we could embrace the messenger? How would things be different if we approached the topic of mental illness from the angle that symptoms are simply messengers and anxiety or depression are telling us to look deeper into the root causes. Without shame or disgrace - the symptoms are merely there to get our attention – the body’s way of communicating with us.
In the holistic model of healthcare, the mind and the body are not separate. Symptoms are symptoms, not reasons to suffer unnecessarily. Can we work together – within ourselves and with others – and honour that communication? The body wisdom never gets it wrong. Would this perspective of mental illness allow us the opportunity and permission to truly heal?
What if we could embrace the messenger?