“I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 18 during my freshman year at UCLA. I refused to accept it – and I hid it from my coaches and teammates. But ignoring my problem didn’t make it go away.”
About 18 months ago I started having pain in my left knee.
I ignored it.
I learned to live with pain.
I learned to compensate by using my right leg when things required more exertion.
As the months passed, the pain got worse and worse.
So I went to doctors and tests.
I had a small tear inside my knee. The diagnosis was to limit certain activities, and to go for physical therapy.
The first part I did, but I did not make the time to go for physical therapy.
Life went on, compensating by using the right leg for the strenuous stuff, and limiting activities that I knew were harmful.
I started feeling better. I started to remove the limits on the activities harmful on my knee.
I thought things were better.
I thought wrong.
My right knee couldn’t handle all that I was doing to it.
It is now much worse than my left knee was at its worst.
And I’m at the point where my problem is twice as big (both knees, not just one) and qualitatively worse, meaning that the initial intervention (physical therapy) might not be sufficient.
Very rarely do problems go away on their own.
More often, they get bigger and bigger the more you ignore them.
Small problems become larger problems and large problems become catastrophic problems.
While my own personal shared example involves a physical problem, the same exact rule holds true for emotional issues as well as mental health issues.
We need to stop fooling ourselves that we can hide the issue.
We need to recognize that ignoring the problem does not make it better.
We need to accept the fact that it is better to invest pennies and minutes to fix a problem when it is small, lest we be forced to spend years and a fortune when the problem becomes bigger.
Not just our own problems, but also the problems of those whom are entrusted in our care.
Parents need to be proactive and get their children help (when needed) and not wait for their child to be old enough that they must get it themselves.
The development from childhood to adulthood is a very difficult one to navigate, and it can be warped when there is an unresolved issue (or trauma) lingering untreated during the development.
Just like little potholes only become bigger potholes when left unfilled, minor emotional problems only become bigger due to inaction.
The famous saying is incorrect. Time does not heal all wounds.
Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.
To speak with Yisroel about speaking at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at email@example.com
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