mental health

It’s All In My Head

Well, I suppose, logically, you’re kind of right.

It is after all my brain that causes these thoughts and feelings, which is located in my head. I should be able to control that, right?

Wrong.

Mental health symptoms are not just in my head. Depression and anxiety have caused me lots of other physical health issues.

Let’s start with anxiety and panic. When I feel anxious, my muscles tense up, my mouth becomes dry, I can’t eat and I can’t breathe properly. All of these symptoms have knock on effects.

I often feel light headed and dizzy from not being able to breathe properly.

I feel physically exhausted from my body being on high alert and feeling tense for prolonged periods of time.

I have had stomach and huge painful throat ulcers from not being able to eat properly, when I need to alongside the medication I take.

My muscles in my jaw are constantly tense, without me even realizing. Having my teeth grinding is causing some real long term problems and pain.

I have been physically run down from not being able to maintain a regular sleep cycle. Lying wide awake pondering what you should have and could have done 2 years ago is the worst.

You could argue that anyone can experience these problems, anxiety or not, and you’d be right.

What I would argue is that for me, personally, I wouldn’t have experienced these health issues without my anxiety triggering them.

Let’s move onto depression. When I feel depressed, my past, present and future all seem bleak. I have no motivation and my body is just a dead weight I have to lug around.

I do what I have to do to survive because it is my only option.

I comfort eat when I am depressed, I don’t think about what I’m eating, I just eat. I gain weight because of this and don’t have the strength to get up and exercise to counteract it.

I struggle to concentrate, I can’t think straight. This caused me problems though my studying years and I believe it had a negative impact on my grades. I actually did surprisingly well in these considering (#littlevictories).

Embarrassingly, depression causes digestive issues, causing pain and discomfort.

I suffer from chronic headaches when I’m depressed, ones that even medication won’t help.

Again, you could argue that everyone experiences these symptoms at one time or another in their life, but imagine them all at once.

I know better than anyone what I could have done at the time when I was feeling that way and what could have made me feel better, but you try telling depressed me what I should be doing.

I had no energy, no motivation and no self belief to do any of these things.

I knew what I needed to do, I just couldn’t do it.

So looking back at all of these symptoms, I think it is safe to say that mental illness is not all in my head.

If I could just snap out of the way I was feeling and stop all of these problems that easily, I would have done that a long long time ago.

There are other physical health problems that mental health can cause, I just hope to never experience them.

It is tough enough to feel the emotional pain, let alone anything else.

I know I am not alone in this. I know there are others who would love to get the message across to loved ones and outsiders’ looking in that it’s not just in our heads; it is so much more complicated than that.

Stay with me here.

One comment

  1. Hi Alice,

    I knew I would agree with you again today.

    I initially had brain scans and neck and shoulder x Ray’s and ENT specialist and so on. Eventually a Dr sat me down and said if it’s not physical, it must be psychological!

    It was psychological and like you Alice it manifests physically, a lot of similarities..

    Yes, My neck muscles are the primary point. Severely tense when anxious. My worst problem..

    Yes, Dizziness was a problem, pretty much gone, thank god, but I can resonate with you, it’s an awful symptom.

    Yes, Sleep problems have hit me. This is a recent thing, but a change of meds and sleep hygeine hopefully will solve this!

    Yes to Self esteem issues too when down. Motivation linked entirely to self esteem.

    The psyche really can affect the body.

    You have described even more symptoms, so my heart goes out to you Alice. I sincerely hope and believe you’ll get over these.

    You are not alone / I haven’t been able to get this point across to ex girlfriends / family. They can’t understand the psyche affects the body. I know a lot of us are in the same boat, so don’t lose hope. You’re a young girl and there are advances in psychology and psychopharmacology so relief is on the way.

    PS
    Hey Alice, I was at the dentist recently and I hadn’t been for quite a while. She told me about my teeth grinding and we discussed jaw pain and I now were Cerezen devices in my ears (Consultant Audiologist took a mouldy/shape of my ears) and the company Cerezen produce these little devices I wear in my ear (that can’t be seen) They protect my jaw and prevent any grinding night and day (I wear them by day) Thess might be worth mentioning to your dentist in the UK. It would be great if you could have less jaw issues and protect your teeth.

    Everything you listed rings bells with me. I fully am with you.
    I said on Twitter, you’re a very good writer. You might be near ten years younger and across the sea, but you write like I try to and this whole post is A1 for accuracy and is very informative.

    Pls keep writing Alice.
    I am on your side. I’m a fan!

    PS Well done on the #littlevictories and your blog title is funny and cool 🙂

    Kind wishes,

    Aidan.

    Like

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