Dr. Deborah GilboaGuest Blog from Dr. Deborah Gilboa

It’s a hard time, for everyone. And I’m hoping it’s a little less hard for you, and that everyone you love is doing alright.​

I’ve been thinking a lot about sick days recently. Have you taken any in 2020?

Snow days are, for many of us (and all of our kids) a thing of the past, now that we know school and work can happen from home in most situations. And ain’t that kind of a shame?

Sick days, though – we need those. For our bodies and for our minds, and for our families’ sake too.

If I told you I was sick last year for about a week, you’d be able to picture that, right? I felt awful, couldn’t meet my usual obligations, had to get people to cover for me so I could heal – and then got better. All better. You’d picture pneumonia, or a stomach illness, or you’d just ask me what happened. Because we understand physical illness, and we understand recovery from it also.

What if, when you asked me what happened, I said I was “mentally sick” last year? Now you’re picturing all kinds of other things. Mental illness diagnoses… questions about my fitness to do the work I do… fears that I have some underlying chronic issue that I’m hiding… because, though people can become briefly unwell in their minds, we don’t have any words for that.

It’s mental distress – but we just don’t talk about it. We make all kinds of fear- and shame-based assumptions and we don’t discuss brief periods of mental “sickness” as real or valid, or as something you can completely recover from after.

Mental distress happens. This year? It’s happened to over 90% of adults and 50% of kids. That’s right – research shows that 90% of adults describe symptoms of mental distress sometimes in the past 6 months.

What leads to this mental distress?

  • isolation
  • fear
  • overwhelm
  • grief
  • sadness
  • uncertainty
  • worry
  • feelings of failure…

​Anything ring a 2020 bell?

​What do you need to recover? You need to step back a little. Let other people know what is happening so they can help you cover your obligations. You need rest and healing. And you need to know what you’re facing, and that you are not alone.

​I’m so worried about this mental distress, that I created a limited series podcast and YouTube show about it. It’s called We Got You. Along with two amazing co-hosts, we’re talking about:

​You are not alone. We’re answering what it all means and what you can do to feel better now. Will you check one out and then tell me your thoughts? Will you share it with someone you’re worried about right now?

​Take a sick day when you need it. It’s the only way to recover and get back to mental wellness.

​All the best,

Dr. G

Used with permission from Dr. Deborah Gilboa. askdoctorg.com 

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