This past year plus, 2020 into 2021, has held more than its fair share of tragedies. The pile in our minds and hearts are full, but this past week added another layer to our teetering stack. A week ago, the Champlain Towers South near Miami Florida partially collapsed, burying over a hundred and fifty people. 12 people have been confirmed dead and 149 people are still missing. Our hearts ache for the families whose loved ones remain missing and for those who lost loved ones. The tragedy compounds as information slowly trickles in that this collapse was due to human error and a lack of urgency over wear and tear that happened over a 40 year period.
While reading many articles about this tragedy, we couldn’t help but notice the parallels to how we as humans disregard or downplay expert’s advice when it comes to taking care of ourselves both physically and emotionally. So often we are told by professionals that our body, as well as our minds, need regular upkeep to keep us both physically and mentally healthy. Intuitively we know we should listen to our doctors, therapists, friends and family who know and love us, but we hold off. We make up endless excuses. Going to therapy is so time consuming and expensive. Scheduling yearly exams is just so boring and the wait time is excruciating. Mammograms, colonoscopies, cancer screenings and STD tests seem so intrusive, uncomfortable and nerve racking. So we put them off, set reminders and then turn them off.
Champlain Towers South had a contractor come in two days before the collapse to put a bid on repairs and updates to the pool and pool equipment. He has photos of exposed rebar, standing water and other damage. There are reports from 2018 containing detailed lists of the extensive rehab the building needed, but more than two years later, nothing had been done. Money, as always, was the big factor that prevented anything from getting fixed and updated.
So often when we are told by a physician or clinician to exercise, change our diet, start medication, and/or given directions on how to treat what is going on with our body, physically or mentally, but we hesitate. Do we really need to do this? We cite cost, time, lack of freedom, side effects, and inconvenience as valid reasons why we won’t do anything right now, we will think it over and decide.
The takeaway from this blog is not that you should blindly believe anyone with a hard hat when it comes to construction work or anyone in a white coat with a fancy diploma when it comes to one’s health, both physical and mental. You have to learn to be discerning and if something doesn’t feel right, most times it isn’t. Learn to listen to that small voice inside that every so often calls out a warning.
It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming. It is worse when the threat reveals itself to be real, especially when many of those you warned still dismiss it, and you do not know whether their reaction is rooted in apathy or doubt or fear. What is a warning, in the end, if not a confession--a declaration of what you value and what you will fight to protect? - Sarah Kendzior
The point of this blog is an oh so gentle reminder that we should find doctors, therapists, counselors, supporters, friends and those family members who we can rely on and then endeavor to listen to their wisdom and expertise. Do the tests, make the appointments, follow instructions regarding diet and exercise, implement strategies for better mental health, be open minded about medication and generally don’t try to prove your assembled health team wrong with your Google based knowledge.