How Private Should Your Recovery Effort Be?
Sparked by the sad news of the death of Chadwick Boseman, and the subsequent realisation that he’d been struggling with a somewhat private health battle for some four years, we want to explore the theme of privacy in health challenges.
While many were stunned to learn that the world-famous actor had chosen to keep his cancer journey away from the eyes of the media, there will doubtless be others who can fully grasp why he might choose to do so.
Inevitably, had he publicly declared his medical status on first diagnosis, attention might always have gone to whether he really should have been embarking on as many professional roles, or questioning what treatment he was having, or judging what impact it might be taking.
Such questions arise too, in the lives of those of us who are far less famous, but who equally face our own mental and physical health challenges.
A quick straw poll among the Wednesday’s Child audience, discovers that many found it an absolute personal priority to keep their eating disorder recovery efforts private.
This goes way beyond the associated aspect of ‘stigma’ which we talk about so often with a mental health illness.
Yes, some felt that when they were first struggling or diagnosed, they were conscious of stigma and preconceptions, but when it came more latterly to embracing recovery, stigma wasn’t the reason that individuals opted for a largely ‘private’ approach.
Instead, several said that they felt maintaining a more ‘private arena’ within which to carve their route to recovery, took substantial pressure and commentary away from the job in hand.
One in particular said ‘I felt that I’d made my mind up to recover, and that I was going to inevitably face all kinds of highs and lows, so I didn’t necessarily want someone questioning me on my progress every few minutes’.
Another had an equally important insight, saying ‘judgment is just the most unhelpful thing when you’re finding your way through a health journey, and I’m sure that applies whether it’s a physical or mental health illness. I shared with my closest family what my intentions were, but other than that, I knew I needed to stay selfishly focused and not be influenced by the judgment or inputs of others’.
Perhaps one of the most important references from that particular person, is that they did indeed choose to let a few very close family members in on their intended recovery journey.
A health battle of any kind is hard work, and while you don’t necessarily want the whole world and his wife watching how you’re facing it, you will certainly want to feel less alone, and to be surrounded by someone (or a small cheerleading team) who exude compassion when you need it most.Do let us know what you think and how you’ve dealt with your health recovery journey.
- Aug 2020