We Are Human Too
Whether cancer patients, intellectually disabled patients or behavioral health patients, one thing remains in common for all of them: the deep feelings which they experience on a daily basis. The familiar uphill battle which they face every day, involving digesting their diagnosis, taking their medications and maintaining a smile on their faces, is what makes their experiences more difficult than others. And for all of those reasons, patients sometimes need to release, and that release comes in the form of tears.
Society does a great job at looking down upon crying, especially when it comes to men. Men are supposed to be masculine creatures who only display strength and leadership. And if they are caught displaying feminine traits or acts such as crying, they are looked down upon.
But crying has nothing to do with gender; it has to do with being human! We all experience emotions, pain, difficulties and even mental illness. Most of us can relate to being a patient in the hospital at one point in our lives; not necessarily a mental health patient, but anything related to being sick or injured.
We have all experienced what it feels like to be admitted to a hospital and to be thrown into a gown for several days. Now imagine the many patients who remain in the hospital for months at a time, some even for years in state psychiatric hospitals! Do you still look down upon men who cry?
Being a patient is one of the most difficult roles experienced by a person: you lose your confidence, you’re filled with worry and you place your hope onto the hands of another person. For mental health patients, not only are they in the hospital or following up as outpatients, but they have their mental struggles to deal with on a daily basis.
And even for people who aren’t patients, crying is a natural process that is very normal to experience. When we cry, we are processing our emotions and painful thoughts, and shedding them away in the form of physical tears. But when we hold ourselves back from crying, we are containing the negative emotions and pain within, worsening our overall well-being.
Whether it’s our tears dripping down our faces or our patients’, at the end of the day, we are human too.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)