Is Physical and Mental Health Linked?

I have, as you may know been sick the majority of my life which started at the “formative” years. I was thinking the other day about just how much this has affected my mood or how I react to different situations. Is my health and well being affected by what goes on chemically in my brain and inside my organs and vice versa. Read on to find out why I feel this could be linked in some way. 

I remember being under a psychiatrist at the age of 13/14 give or take a few years which was due to being hospitalised frequently and missing a lot of school which massively affected my self esteem. I became as close to depressed as I would care to admit and really felt angry at feeling like that. I also didn’t know much about psychiatary and the benefits it may have for people then. In fact I remember being told I could draw things but I felt distressed at the idea of someone analysing my drawings. The only time I ever really said anything was after a day trip at college and being so angry at private school kids not knowing simple answers to questions when I was barely at school and knew them. I couldn’t access my education as much as I wanted and they were wasting their fancy education.

I was put on citalopram and my best friend begged me to come off them as she had looked into them and found that teenage suicide was increased on them and as I was already “delicate” she was worried about me being on them so I came off them. I spent the next few years dealing with the frustration of being unable to do things normal kids did. Not that it completely stopped me doing things, I still got a job, went to Air Cadets, did my GCSE’s and got a boyfriend.

The steroids I took for years had a massive impact on my already poor body image, by giving me the dreaded moonface and I gained weight. This prompted me to restrict my food where I could. So I wouldn’t eat breakfast (I still don’t always but that is laziness) I would have for lunch a panda pop, a packet of seabrook crisps and a kinder beuno from the petrol station by school. Any snack items my mam gave me would go into a box under my bed, which my sister found and ate after getting me in trouble for it. I would eat as much of my evening meal as I could because we generally ate as a family. I knew I needed to eat so I didn’t completely starve myself and I didn’t make myself sick either.

Self harm was the next route I took as I was always so frustrated with myself and my body that I often felt I needed to be punished for those feelings. I often would self harm as a direct response to how someone made me feel. That has become less and less over the years and I wish I knew what my secret was to help those struggling with self harm in whatever forms it manifests in. Music is one thing that helps though as feeling validated through the lyrics helps ease whatever I’m feeling at the time. My current go to is “Death at my Door” by my favourite band The Creepshow, as this album literally hits all of my emotions plus as I have seen them three times I can pinpoint when different members would be doing certain things and that makes me smile.

Then came along the alcohol and substance abuse. Thankfully only the alcohol abuse was the longer lasting out of the stupid things I was doing at the time. 00Steve helped with the alcohol and I just stopped going out mainly due to money and low willpower! But now when I do drink I just get silly forgetting I can’t drink like I used too, not that I could drink loads before but that doesn’t matter when you were relying on alcohol to get through the day.

Every time my health takes a turn for the worst I become low and probably horrible to be around now I know some of that will be having the Borderline Personality Disorder traits and that the DBT should help with how I regulate my emotions but only time will tell. This makes me believe that the two are indeed linked. I often wonder how I would be as a person if I never got sick; would I still be empathetic? Would I have mental health issues? Hell would I even be with 00Steve and have my little family? What would I do for work, would it still be in care?

I think health is definitely something people take for granted but being chronically sick doesn’t mean that you aren’t or can’t live your “best life” as the cool kids are saying at the moment. I also think the body and mind are intrinsically linked as the minute you get even the common cold you feel low, grumpy, tired etc and I think it is no different if you don’t have specific physical issues but when your mental health is low you could be susceptible to getting ill easier as you don’t always look after yourself as well as you would otherwise. Be it eating or sleeping well enough to fight off viruses and infections.

Do you think mental and physical health is linked to each other? Have you noticed you get poorly or grumpy when one or the other is affected? Please feel free to comment or message me your thoughts and experiences be it yourself or others.

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