Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
Some of the best people ever are the strong leaders who support their families and work hard most of their adult lives. They don't complain. They do what's right. And they are appreciated and loved. But that doesn't mean that they don't experience normal stress, especially when things go wrong, as is bound to occur to some extent in a regular life. Like Gilda Radnor so famously said, "If it ain't one thing, it's another."
Then, for the "strong" person of high integrity, the hero, where does the stress go? Simple answer-into the body. It can accumulate and exacerbate physical conditions, from thyroidism to hypertension. It can build quietly in the nervous system and be relieved by bursts of unwanted activity, as in a tic or nervous habit, or by obsessive-compulsive tendencies, like compulsive cleaning, hoarding or hand-washing, or in addictive behavior of any kind.
While we think of most people with these symptoms as showing a weakness, and in the case of addictive behavior especially, that is often the case, there are also many people who suffer such symptoms because they are working too hard to maintain control and the appearance of superhuman strength. These are the very people who don't cry, yell or swear They are paragons of goodness.
What's to be done? First of all, they need to acknowledge that the body stores tension, no matter how responsible they are. Next, they can stop trying to fight the symptom unconsciously, which usually makes it worse. Exaggerating some symtoms (not addiction, though) on purpose, such as stuttering on purpose to overcome the fear which accompanies it, helps paradoxically. Then, the key is learning to relax completely and physically when tension builds, to soothe the body and and soul, to recognize bodily tension as to cue to comfort oneself and to practice that meditative approach .
Strong people aren't afraid to be vulnerable, to have a problem, to talk about feelings and to allow others to help. They aren't ashamed of symptoms but know that they are a cry for help from their own inner self, where they must safely relax.