I’m Still Here – Chronic Illness Challenge, Day 13. 

Has your physical illness had any effect on your mental health? Explain. 

As you have probably already guessed from my previous posts, the answer is yes, of course. Let me explain. 

Regardless of the fact that I have technically always had an anxiety disorder is was simply and only an anxiety disorder. It was completely centred around sleeping away from home and that was it. If I avoided having to sleep away from home I avoided the anxiety, simple. 

Now it’s not simple, not at all. Anxiety wise, ever since I was pregnant with Wildchild my very limited anxiety turned into full blown Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), after she was born it (thankfully) decreased somewhat. Now I am left with my orginal anxiety disorder but with added triggers *awesome…*. Now I have the added triggers of having anxiety attacks over money problems and health problems (of course, because I never suffer with either of those affecting my life… okay so sarcasm my be a thing of mine). But hey, at least I’m capable of staying away from home overnight without anxiety attacks (unless of course they’re based upon how that staying away from home will affect my physical health or my fianances). Oh yes, it’s like a constant party in my head *wahoo*. 

Now I also have Wildchild and of course I worry about her, but show me a parent who doesn’t worry about their kids. Sadly she takes a lot after me and also suffers from anxiety problems. For her, her triggers are being away from me incase “you get ill when I’m not there to look after you and end up in hospital mummy” (wham, straight into the heart and add that to continuous checklist of mummy guilt please). I’ve given her the mechanisms to cope with it and I let her know that I understand and we can deal with it together. We have plans for if I do get more poorly than my normal whilst she’s at school, which I think reassures her. But now that is a constant thought in the back my mind. 

Now anxiety isn’t the only way my mental health is effected by my physical illnesses. Depression, I’ve been depressed on and off since the age of 18, always thinking that depression was the cause of my physical symptoms, not vice versa. But, to put it simply, if you feel as awful as I do, as often as I do, if your life is basically taken from you overnight and you can no longer be the person you wanted to be, if you are isolated from everything and everyone you love most of the time, you’re bound to be depressed. In fact there is likely something very emotionally wrong with you if you don’t get that way. 

In my mind I’m lucky. I go through periods of increased anxiety and depression, where everything and anything sends me into an anxious spiral and I just don’t want to get out of bed. Times when my nights are made up of one anxiety attack after another and this (wonderfully) usually comes with in increase in sleep paralysis (so I get to be trapped in my body AND my mind whilst in an anxiety state… *wahoo*). But these days, for me, thankfully are always numbered. They come and they hang around but they always leave, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel so much and so hard for those people that don’t have that out, for whom every day is a fight with anxiety, depression and instrusive thoughts. 

So yes, in short the answer is yes, of course and I would actually be very concerned if living with my chronic collection DIDN’T come hand in hand with mental health issues. I have my family, my friends, my daughter and I have it so much better than so many. So for now, I’ll hold on to those things, in my head, in my arms and in my heart and let them get me through. Love is the answer, for me at least. 

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