By Dianne Kemp BA, RN
Originally Published on September 10th, 2018
I am a member of a secret club. A club with many members, but there is not an accurate account of numbers. There is not a list of member’s names. But we all share something in common. We all have experienced anxiety – real life-altering anxiety.
It seems to be very common in our society for people to say they have anxiety – it is the new buzzword. I do not question that many people have anxiety – when they go to the dentist, start a new job, etc. I am talking about life-changing, debilitating anxiety. And this is combined often with depression and isolation.
I was raised by parents who had different forms of this mental illness – so I feel there may be some genetics involved. My issues were much worse during my teenage years. I have had years of therapy – I have always felt that therapy is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
I am sure that people that know me and are reading this are surprised. I am a great actress and can hide my anxiety and depression very well. That is very common as mental health has always been an illness many felt they needed hide, which causes shame. How many times do we hear “Just get over it”?
I am not looking for any form of sympathy…. I am doing just fine at age sixty-five. I have learned many ways to handle these issues and am happy with my life. I love people. I love talking with people. I love meeting people. I volunteer as a Chaplain at a local hospital and it makes my life richer to listen to and comfort patients and families. I have a Facebook group that supports pregnant women and new families (I spent 45 years as a Maternal Child nurse). I love to share my knowledge and offer support.
I am writing this to attempt to increase your knowledge and to ask you to use compassion. Do not joke about mental health, or trivialize anxiety and depression. Understand if your friend seems distant – maybe they are feeling overwhelmed and just cannot deal with life at that moment. Do not push – just offer your support, check in on them, tell them you care and are there for them. They will appreciate your support, even if they are not able to let you know at that moment.
Life can be difficult at times – for all of us. Be patient, be kind – to others and yourself.
Dianne Kemp was born in Detroit and moved to Lexington at age 9. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing Science in 1972 from SC4, and a Bachelors in Healthcare Psychology from Graceland College (Iowa) in 1996.
Dianne’s career developed from her love of babies. She was a Maternal Child nurse for 45 years – developing and teaching childbirth and parenting education classes, working as an RN in Mother Baby Care and was the first lactation consultant in the county. She is now volunteering as a chaplain at River District Hospital since losing her vision in her left eye due to a retinal detachment in 2010.
Dianne is the proud mother of three children (one who was disabled and passed away in 2007) and two grandchildren.
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