In the post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words , today, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Sweat dries, blood clots and bones heal. Suck it up, princess, this is softball.” (Unknown)
Jack went on to write – Anyone who’s played competitive sports knows about injuries. Some can be serious (for sure), but most tend to heal on their own. I’ve also noticed that a stop at the DQ after the game helps alleviate the pain. Sometimes when we grow frustrated with the hurts of life, a trip to the ice cream shop with a friend might help?
The bravado world of sports always seems to glorify the thought of sucking it up, shaking it off and getting back in the game. Recent medical and scientific evidence has shown that trying to shake off a concussion is the wrong thing for athletes to do. Most sports have adopted concussion protocols to deals with the seriousness of “getting your bell rung.”
We tend to adopt sports phrases and advice when trying to cope with life, telling others to suck it up or shake it off and get back in the game. But for those suffering from mental illnesses or depression there is no way to shake it off, there are no BandAids for the hurts that take place in the mind.
I posted here back in 2016 about what Autism feels like – See Trying to understand others without a frame of reference. That post resulted in quite a bit of feedback and eventually led to another post – What does depression feel like. In both cases I was writing blind, from the point of view of someone who had little to no first-hand experience with either of those hurts. Both contained links to blog posts or web sites suggested by readers who had dealt with the issues.
Those and other mental conditions are examples of hurts in life to which we cannot just say, “Suck it up” or “Shale it off”. While there are no BandAids for most mental illnesses, many do have treatments that can help. As with physical hurts, it is important to recognize when someone has a mental hurt that needs attention, usually the attention of a professional.
One could add to the list of life’s mental hurts those who are addicted, whether to alcohol or drugs. They tend to hear lots of advice to suck it up and quit cold turkey, but that seldom works. There are effective support programs to help with the pain (real and imagined) of freeing oneself from addiction.
Some mental conditions are temporary, but many are permanent and the best that can be done is to manage them and the effects that they have on the life of the sufferer. There are treatment plans that take into consideration that there are no BandAids for many of these conditions, but there are plans that can improve and seek to maintain a better quality of life for the sufferer.
So, what is one to do, if you know someone who is in pain from one of life’s many painful mental conditions? Advising them to Suck it up and Shale it off is not the answer. Showing compassion and understanding is a start but helping them recognize that they cannot resolve it themselves and advising them to seek professional help is the best thing that you can do. Just as they cannot heal themselves, you are not the answer either (unless you happen to be a health professional in the mental health field). What you can be is a friend, a supporter during a tough time and maybe a facilitator (offer to drive them to the appointment) of the treatments that will help.
Resolve to be a part of the solution for the pain in your friend’s life. Instead of yelling “Suck it up” or “Sake it off”, quietly ask “How can I help?” Perhaps being that caring and compassionate friend in their time of need is the trip to the DQ that they need most right now. There are no BandAids for the hurt that they are suffering, but there is you.
Be there for them. Be the BandAid that they need.
There is still room for “suck it up” min sports and in life. Most of the “hurts” are minor ones. But there are times…. I remember once when the church softball team was playing a game….our catcher caught a ball the wrong way and it dislocated his finger. It was gruesome. No one said, “Suck it up.” They said, “Go to the Emergency Room at St Joseph Hospital. The nuns were surprised to see someone come in with a shirt that said, “Holy Spirit.”