Yesterday, I went out and got my flu shot (despite the less than stellar description I’m about to give I highly encourage all of you to get it as well). I didn’t really think too much more about the shot until last night, while trying to sleep, when I rolled onto that arm, and was awoken with a shot of pain as I’d rolled onto the sore spot where I’d gotten the shot.
Anyone who has gotten the flu shot before is familiar with the soreness that lingers for a day or two after the shot. Likewise, I knew what to expect, but still found myself rubbing my arm last night and cursing, while asking, ‘why does health have to hurt?’
It occurred to me this morning, that the same description holds for mental health care. Self-care, eating right, sleeping, exercising, keeping a regular routine, etc, are all things that hurt, all things that depression tries to keep you from doing. And although it hurts, like getting the flu shot, it is so important that you commit to doing it.
I still have days where the heaviness of depression weighs me down so much that it is a real struggle to get out of bed, but that beats the days when I couldn’t get out of bed at all. I still have days where my anxiety causes me to tense up in the simplest of social situations, but that is better than avoiding those situations altogether. I still have days that are painful, and dark thoughts haunt my head, but I never get to a place where the pain is just too much.
Healthy hurts because the darkness fights back against what is good for you. And although it hurts, it means you’ll hurt a lot less in the long run. Whether it is avoiding the flu, or committing to the things that will keep your mental illnesses in check, the healthy helps far more than it hurts.
And that is what I’ll keep telling myself every time I curse this sore shoulder over the next two days.