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If It Was Physical

By: Holly Ainsworth

1st · Adult Writing (2019)

A child is dashing across the lawn, but his foot doesn’t quite clear the height difference leading onto the sidewalk. His body sinks toward the ground, and onlooking friends and family rise from their seats to help. Just down the block, a child is screaming for help, but no one hears. She feels like water is engulfing every fiber of her being, yet her parents don’t know to throw her a lifesaver.

At the town’s local high school, the track superstar is returning with a brick of a cast around her leg. By the end of the day, her plaster is laced with signatures and well wishes. At the back of her class is a straight-A student. His eyes are sunken from the weight of sleepless nights and tear filled fights. His only wish is to feel well enough to make it through his next day of battling demons.

A father is at home cooking a nutritious dinner for his family. His hand accidentally grazes the stovetop, and his partner rushes in to give an extra hand with dinner while he flushes his wound with cool water. Later that night, the neighbor has just put her children to bed, and she approaches the kitchen. After months of cycling between hours in the pantry and bathroom, she doesn’t have an extra hand to help put down the food and pick up the phone for help.

Pain is pain. Regardless of whether it is physical or mental illness, everyone deserves support, and it all starts with erasing the stigma.