Valentine’s Day is Overrated, but Love Isn’t...
As an Emergency and now Lifestyle Physician, I’ve had taken care of people from all walks of life. I’ve treated rich, poor, middle class, black, Asian, white, latino, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender, gender-neutral etc., for all kinds of mental and physical ailments. Nothing is new under the sun at the Emergency Department (ED). But every once in a while, I meet a patient that comes to the ED, not for me to seek a resolution for their physical complaint; but to talk about how “lonely” he or she is, and/or the fear of dying alone and from a broken heart. Some feel so alone to the point that they are drinking alcohol or abusing illicit drugs to self-medicate themselves from despair. Some utilize the ED as a place to escape from their current situation at home. Many just need someone to talk to.
I’ll never forget the time that I admitted a beautiful young woman to the Psychiatric Unit after I medically evaluated her at my ED. She attempted to commit suicide by drinking an excessive amount of alcohol and taking Xanax. I asked her what pushed her to the point of wanting to give up her precious life. Her response: “I am always alone. I am a failure at maintaining relationships. I will never find love in my life. I know I will die alone and from a broken heart.” Her words truly hurt my soul and reminded me that not too long ago, I experienced a similar situation. I was broken hearted, alone, unloved, believed I was a failure and self-medicated myself with alcohol. The only thing I didn’t do was to attempt suicide, unlike my patient. But I was chronically depressed since childhood. Eventually, I gained some strength, enrolled myself into counselling and thankfully was able to heal from those old wounds.
February is not only recognized for Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, but it is also recognized for International Boost Self-Esteem Month. So I decided to dedicate this upcoming episode of my podcast “The Visit,” to love and wellness. Lately, I have been reading blogs and internet articles about self-love, how to find love and dating rules. What I discovered is that many expressed on these blogs that love, marriage and Valentine’s Day are overrated. I agree that Valentine’s Day is overrated and dating is hard especially when it seems like everyone on and off social media is happy and perfect; with their pictures and hashtags like #couplegoals, #blacklove, #powercouple circulating on a constant rotation. You may be one of those people that may click “like” on those posts, but go home alone and feel defeated. Recently, American comedian, actress and star of Ghostbusters, Leslie Jones, opened up to Twitter about her fear of dying alone. She stated “ok back to cardio. But confession I feel like I’m doing it for nothing. I know it's not that I’m healthy and look good, but I really feel like “what’s it all for” if the people you want to notice don’t. I just feel like I might die alone. Sorry, that’s pretty heavy today...this isolates single people and makes them feel defeated.” Does this sound familiar? How many of us had similar sentiments like Leslie Jones and sought a resolution? Thankfully, many of Jones’ followers reached out to her as a community and sent electronic loving words of encouragement via Twitter.
According to Washington Post, 109 million Americans are single. There are adults 18 and older who are either divorced, widowed or have always been single. The biggest group is those who’ve never been married. Why? What has changed? One of the top reasons this group is growing is the age at which people are tying the knot. Young adults are delaying marriage for many reasons such as obtaining higher education, knee-deep growing debt, low wages, challenging job market and the growing number of single women giving birth.
But this upcoming episode of my podcast is not just about marriage. It’s a multitude of things that need to be talked about such as how singles are stereotyped, stigmatized and ignored, the constant pressure on women to get married and have kids, self-love, interracial dating, arranged marriages vs non-arranged marriages, empowerment etc. I would like for those that plan to attend my podcast brunch to feel empowered from the advice of the guest panelists and know that at the end of the day he or she is unconditionally loved. If there are areas of their lives that they want to improve, there is help and they don’t have to do it alone.
I hope this blog encourages you to come, sit, enjoy unlimited mimosas and appetizers while listening to each of the guest panelists. But most importantly, that you will learn and gain valuable advice regarding love and wellness pre-Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is overrated, but Love isn’t.
Sunday, February 11th
Milk River Brooklyn