I’ve decided I need therapy.
In fact, I think we could all benefit from a little (or in some cases a lot) of therapy.
Did you know the percentage of the health care budget in Canada given to mental health is 6%.
I guess it’s not surprising when you look at the society we live in. We are an A-type society that puts more emphasis on output than quality of life. Look at how we approach illness, the environment… even the recession. We worry about fixing problems, not preventing them.
I have been reading a fascinating book that I recommend to anyone facing a cancer diagnosis. Physician Bernie Siegel’s book Love, Medicine and Miracles has some eye opening information. Studies have shown that depression and traumatic events have a big impact on the development of cancer and on the immune system in general. Some studies show the immune systems of grieving spouses are suppressed for over a year. Seigel talks about patient after patient who develop cancer after the children have left home or the loss of a spouse. One woman told Siegel “I had an empty place in me and the cancer grew to fill it.”
A major Harvard study found those who were extremely satisfied with their lives had one tenth the rate of serious illness and death over their dissatisfied peers. The high rates of cancer and other serious illness have to say something about our general mental health. I know I began to feel healthier and happier when I began to shift the focus of my Lenten cancer journey internally. The focus on appreciating my life for what it is, not for what I wish it would be, lifted my spirits higher than they had been in a long time.
I don’t pretend to have any solutions but I am learning the importance of mental clarity and life balance. Stress is unhealthy in so many ways. I am learning to express my emotions as I am feeling them (I’m by no means an expert at this)… sometimes that’s difficult when many people don’t know what to do with those expressed emotions but I guess even a little progress is good.
I do know we could all use a little counselling to get us through the day and I am grateful I am getting to know so many good and generous counsellors through my volunteer work at the local Military Family Resource Centre. We all need a shoulder now and then and I appreciate all those willing to listen… perhaps it’s keeping me both physically healthy as well and mental stable (some days that is!).