I have been extremely blessed to not have ever had any serious illness. The only issue that I can recall was a brief brush with depression during the time of separating and divorcing my ex-husband. Fortunately for me, my mother is a psychiatric nurse and subsequently, one of my best friends had a severe bout with depression previous to my experience. Both of them were able to extend “a labor of care” that was beneficial to me.
My mother was able to approach my condition from a clinical care perspective. She asked me several questions that led to her diagnosing me, but also cautioned me that if I did not show signs of recovery, I would need to be seen by a professional. She was super helpful in launching me from technique to tenacity. “A labor of care requires an engine that keeps one going when the routine is broken and the demands of the inconvenient or the frightening are before us” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 201). My mother understood what I was experiencing and did not belittle my experience; however, she pushed my recovery efforts much harder than my current emotional feelings of despair and heartache. “It takes the engagement of the labor of care to admit illness and then take proper action.” (p.201). My mom addressed my issue head on and forced me too as well. She knew that the first step in recovery was the admission that the issue existed.
My best friend also quickly recognized my symptoms were growing worse. She proceeded into explaining to me in detail the consequences of not dealing with the depression in the early stages, she was extremely responsive. “Responsiveness leads to communicative action that, when directed toward another, outlines the necessity of human care” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 199).
The communicative actions of both my mom and my best friend were instrumental in a dialogic negotiation that I had with my primary care doctor weeks later. I explained to her how I was feeling and she offered to prescribe medication to me. Fortunately, my mother had warned me that this would be the doctor’s first remedy, but she had already suggested some alternatives such as fresh air, more rest, and regular exercise. My best friend had also told me the side effects of the medication that the doctor was offering. The dialogic communication that had already started before I entered the doctor’s office assisted me in making a decision that I believe was instrumental to my quick recovery. I declined the doctor’s offer for prescription medication. I began the alternative suggestions given by mom and I added daily journaling after listening to more of my best friend’s story. Had my mother been in denial about my condition and/or had my best friend had been unwilling to be vulnerable with me about her experience I may have not recovered so quickly.
Arnett, R.C., Bell, L.M., & Fritz, J.M. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference. Sage Publications.