Why Do We Feel Bad About Feeling Bad?


Lee Health

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Posted on

Apr 05, 2021


Florida - Southwest

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The Cruel Truths About Mental Health Stigma
I remember the first time I encountered it.
I was young, maybe 8 or 9, and it happened shortly after my best friends father shot himself in the woods outside of his home. As you can imagine, this was a horrible, terribly confusing experience, especially at a time when these kinds of things werent discussed. I can still remember the look on my friends face when he told me the truth.
It happened again in high school, this time when another friend pushed his love affair with drugs a bridge too far, leading to a psychotic episode that has never fully resolved. My heart still breaks for the person I knew before his life changed forever -- smart, sharply irreverent, endlessly curious about the world and his place in it. We lost a good man on the altar of human suffering.
In both of these sad situations, and in many similar instances in between, I have seen the reality of mental illness cruelly played out in the forum of public opinion:
His father was kind of strange anyway
Wow, hes really crazy now
And, my personal favorite, Shes so nuts; I would never want to be her!
Im sure you have a few of your own to add to this pile. Not pretty.
The Power of Fear
So, all of this begs the questions: Why is this? How did it get this way? Why arent we more enlightened on the issue of mental illness than we are?
I have a few thoughts.
First, we are a deeply social species, and we all want to be part of the tribe. Anything that makes us different, unlovable, less than, or unpopular risks our membership in the group -- and nobody wants to be left out.
This is a kind of mean girls view of this dynamic, although, to be fair, this is not exclusive to women. The effects of shame, alienation, and shunning are everywhere, and we all bear responsibility for doing our share to be inclusive.
Second, we are all, more or less, instinctually fearful of the other, whether he or she is of another race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, or -- in the darker regions of our psyches -- someone we recognize in ourselves.
( Just as an editorial aside, this is what I believe drives the genre of modern horror films that scares and fascinates us. Sigmund Freud, the genius father of psychoanalysis, was among the first to lay this out for what it is: a fear of our dark parts that leads us to self-protectively project shame, ridicule, and ruthless judgment as a defense against feeling afraid and inadequate. His analysis is made for our times as we struggle with the growing pains of becoming an increasingly diverse society.)
Human healing
So whats the solution to all of this? Another brief story, if you dont mind.
Gordon Derner, the maverick dean of my Ph.D. program, made it a point to let all first-year doctoral students know that, in his opinion, there was no distinction between patients and therapists. To him, we are all broken in one way or another, a seemingly grim observation mitigated by his abiding optimism that everyone could be healed through the grace of human relationships.
He was channeling his own mentor, Harry Stack Sullivan, the brilliant and courageous denizen of interpersonal psychoanalysis who made it his lifes mission to treat all people with respect, compassion, and dignity.
The bottom line: Stigma about feeling bad, having issues, or just plain being unhappy is something that defines us all. Its just what it means to be human.
The sooner we can accept, with love and compassion, this reality in ourselves and others, the sooner we can help one another get what we all need. Lets get on with it.

Lee Health Behavioral Health Services:
Discover how important you are
Lee Health Behavioral Health Services an outpatient facility provides friendly and compassionate psychiatric and counseling services along with plenty of other mental health resources. We evaluate your condition, manage your medication, and implement a plan to help you feel better. You will find a trained therapist who is right for you a caring and attentive person who will connect with you and empower you to tackle your problems.For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 239-343-9180.
We treat conditions such as:

Anxiety disorders
Personality disorders
Mood disorders
Postpartum depression

Submitted and Written By: Lee Health - click here for more information

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Lee Health

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Our Hospitals Are SafeIt is safe to come to the hospital or emergency room. Lee Health is well-equipped to provide safe and exceptional care to all patients, and the current staffing and capacity matters are not a reason to delay care. Our Emergency and Urgent Care Locations are Safe and OpenMedical emergencies happen to all of us, usually when we least expect it. Our emergency rooms available at all of our hospital locations - will calm your fears with staff members trained to treat severe and life-threatening conditions. From broken bones to breathing trouble, from chest pain to trauma, Lee Health doctors and nurses assess your needs and quickly spring into action. Comprehensive Health & Wellness ServicesCLICK HERE, to View Our Calendar. We are holding many virtual events. Please check out our event listings and sign up for a class! Lee Health's Healthy Life Centers offer a personal fitness and education experience that will help you reach your goals and make you feel at home. Our facilities include strength and cardio equipment, group fitness, educational seminars, and many other integrated health services. To see which (hospital, urgent care center, outpatient facility, healthy life center, or physician) location is nearest you, CLICK HERE!We have physicians in all specialties:Addiction MedicineAllergy & ImmunologyCardiologyCardiothoracic SurgeryConvenient Care (Urgent Care)Developmental BehaviorEndocrinologyFamily MedicineGastroenterologyGeneral SurgeryGeriatric MedicineInfectious DiseaseInternal MedicineMemory CareNeonatologyNeurologyNeuropsychologyNeurosurgeryObstetrics & GynecologyOccupational MedicineOncology/HematologyOrthopedic SurgeryPain ManagementPalliative MedicinePediatric Adolescent MedicinePediatric Behavioral HealthPediatric CardiologyPediatric Ear, Nose & ThroatPediatric EndocrinologyPediatric GastroenterologyPediatric General SurgeryPediatric Infectious DiseasePediatric NephrologyPediatric NeurologyPediatric Oncology/HematologyPediatric OphthalmologyPediatric PsychologyPediatric Sleep MedicinePediatric Urgent CarePediatric UrologyPediatricsPhysical Medicine & RehabPsychiatryPsychologyPulmonary MedicineRheumatologySleep MedicineUrologyVascular SurgeryWomen's Sexual HealthWound Care & Hyperbaric MedicineCLICK HERE TO VIEW THE DIRECTORY