I’m a big believer that mental health is just as important as physical health. I believe there needs to be more awareness around this – and that people should be entitled to just as much sympathy and support when their illness cannot be seen by others.
What came first – the chicken or the egg?
Mental Health problems can lead to sleep deprivation, a lack of self care, running yourself in to the ground. This can lead to exhaustion and the depletion of your nervous system. Hello catching every cold and lurgy going!
Physical Health problems can lead to time off work, being unable to carry on with your normal way of life, becoming isolated, feeling useless. Hello anxiety!
I believe that in order for people to be given the best care – the best care that they deserve – both mental and physical health need to be observed, assessed and treated.
This may not mean that everyone with a broken leg develops full blown anxiety – but they may need to talk to someone about their feelings – even if over a cuppa with a biccy. Just to make sure that whilst they’re inhibited, and likely feeling a stranger to themselves, they are nurtured.
Sufferers of mental health problems deserve to be listened to when they come down with a cold, cough, flu etc. Chances are, this isn’t the first time they’ve been poorly lately! It’s hard to fend off a normal bug when you’re body is worn out. When you’re too nervous to go to the doctor incase you’re wasting their time. When you’d rather look after everyone else than sort yourself out.
I have always been a sickly person. I think I have spent half my life with a runny nose. If there’s a bug to be caught – you betcha I’ll catch it! Not only is this incredibly annoying – it’s also mortifyingly embarrassing. When your greatest fear in life is what people think of you (am I good enough??) the last thing you want to be known for is being poorly all the time – always off school/work/has to cancel/forever a rudolph nose with a tissue permanently attached to the face.
My lovely Mummy has an auto-immune disease, which basically means her immune system is utter rubbish. I was absolutely sure, and paranoid, that this is what I must have. Otherwise, why am I so sick all the time? I literally never thought to stop and think about how little I was caring for my body due to anxiety. How little time I was allowing myself to recover. How little I was aware of the fact I had burnt out my body.
Fast forward several months or years later, and for the first time in my life I am actually admitted to hospital over something ridiculously serious. I actually thought and felt as if I were dying, and this had nothing to do with any ‘false thoughts’ or ‘irrational thinking’. As it turned out, my body was just extremely weak and susceptible to trauma due to the medication I had recently been on for depression, and from treating a pulled muscle after an anxiety induced panic attack. The irony.
So now – I am on the road to physical recovery, but I am terribly anxious that at any given moment I could be rushed to hospital due to physical complications. I feel terribly guilty that I am unable to do much around the house (thank you Husband of the year for being a diamond). I feel mortified that I am not in work – even though I literally need a nap just from the tiring nature of waking up.
Life is so precious – and there are so many things out there that can cause us to feel under the weather – whether that’s through physical or mental health. I believe we owe it to ourselves to really listen to our bodies. To look after ourselves. To respect how we feel. To be offered the right support.
Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health, and they can have such a great impact on one another.
Be kind to yourself, always.