health

health

health is wealth

health is wealth, eva ekeblad

I rarely share my family’s culture of mental illness. Many might not consider this a culture, but I believe it is. It is so prevalent in my family that the way we deal with it has become a norm. Again, it is difficult to share because as soon as you tell someone your family deals with mental illness, their family is automatically better than yours.
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Healthy eating and exercising is really important to my family and I. For example, I eat turkey bacon instead of pork bacon. When I buy meat, I buy the leanest meat available and I don’t eat pork. I only realized that this isn’t typical after I met college friends who had never even heard of turkey bacon before. My family would rather stay in and eat a healthy meal that we prepared together than go out to eat, except for on special occasions. I’ve also found that we’re a lot more conservative with our money than other families. We save up as much as possible so we’re prepared when something unexpected happens. If I’m with friends and we’re going out to dinner, I won’t make a fuss about going somewhere that has healthier options. I’ll just order a burger and fries like everyone else. I’m fine with eating out every once in a while and having a burger but I always feel guilty for eating something so bad for me and spending so much money on it.

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A culture that I identify with, but never share with the public or even many close to me, is having mental health issues. Although I do not personally have mental health concerns, my mother has struggled her whole life with various issues. This has shaped me in more ways than I could ever express, but I keep it closely guarded from others. I think this culture is difficult for me to express because many people would wonder why I identify with it and I would feel like I need to explain the reasons.

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There are drug problems, family feuds, and mental illnesses in my family, and because of the proud nature of our culture, we do not discuss these with anyone else. We do not even discuss these with people who should be consulted like mental health professionals and family therapists. When I was young, I had this perception that everyone was fine and happy in my family, but as I grew up, I learned about these difficulties that my family hides. This turned my world upside down not only because of the problems themselves, but because they were hidden and I felt everything my perception of my family was a lie. This is difficult to share with the public and even those closest to me because it is absurd to some people that one can feel too proud to admit weakness.

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