The human body is not a perfect machine. It’s pretty good. But occasionally, it encounters something novel that it didn’t expect and couldn’t prepare for.
We’ve seen this in action over the last 18 months or so with COVID-19. A new virus popped out of China and now the whole world is reeling because there is no established defense against it.
But our hatred of admitting that we’re sick goes way beyond the current crisis. We were struggling with it long before the pandemic, and will continue to do so long afterwards.
The question is why? Why, for instance, don’t we like accepting that something is wrong? After all, sorting the problem usually just requires a quick trip to the dentist, podiatrist or hearing aid specialist.
In this article, we find out. Let’s take a look.
We Are Trained To Be Strong And Hide Weakness
Boys are taught from a young age that our value is in our strength - physically as well as emotionally. Boys don't cry and men don't complain about the pain. Phrases like "no pain no gain" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" are true and positive statements. However, when taken to extremes they can unfortunately be detrimental to our health. Small warnings that our body provides can turn into life threatening problems if ignored.
We Feel Embarrassed
As you might imagine, the main drivers preventing us from admitting something is wrong are emotional. And top of the list is our fear of embarrassment. We worry what healthcare professionals will say when they find out all our little secrets.
When you feel this emotion rising up, you need to bear two things in mind:
- Health practitioners are non-judgemental professionals. Their goal is always and only to make you better
- It’s something that many other people have been through in the past
Once you get over your embarrassment, it becomes much easier to admit that there’s something wrong and get help. You may feel embarrassed because you think that you’re being overly “dramatic.” But, again, nobody is going to perceive you that way.
We Are Scared
Fear is another powerful emotion. Originally, this emotion was supposed to protect us. But it can also hijack your decision-making by preventing you from getting the help you need, when you need it. Many people refuse to go to the doctors because they are worried what it might reveal. If they are seriously ill, they would prefer not to know about it and put the problem off as long as possible.
Being scared when you don’t know what the problem is is perfectly normal. However, getting screened as soon as possible is better than waiting. Usually, if there is something seriously wrong with you, you have a much better chance of survival.
We Don’t Have The Resources We Need
Here’s another reason why you might not want to admit you’re sick: you don’t have the resources to deal with the problem. For instance, you may have a disability or you simply might not have enough money inthe bank to get the help you need.
Again, this could also come back to embarrassment. You might not want to ask for help to get the treatment you need because you worry what it will make other people think about you.
We Have Other Commitments
Lastly, you may have family or work commitments that conflict with your illness. You may choose, for instance, to continue working at a job because your family needs the money, instead of just taking time off to rest.