One thing I didn’t realise is that mental health and physical health are interlinked.
Let me take you back to third year of university. This is when my mental health reached absolute rock bottom and I finally broke down giving recognition to the fact that something really wasn’t right. I noticed I couldn’t concentrate as well, I couldn’t complete my uni work and my grades were falling significantly. I also realised I was finding friendships taxing, I didn’t want friends and having any sort of dating life was a disaster. I could get my head around this, I understood that a low mental state could cause these things. What I didn’t realise is the impact mental illness can have on your physical health as I believed they were two entirely separate entities.
Sports have always been a big part of my life from primary school right up until this present day especially netball. I’d been playing netball for the Uni team for two years by the time third year came around. Everyone’s fitness decreases after the summer break because let’s be serious we just treat ourselves all da time right?! So, I didn’t realise at first that the lack of fitness was out of the ordinary. As the weeks went on and I should have been getting fitter I appeared to be dropping out of fitness sessions earlier and earlier. Every time I ran my body felt like lead and I couldn’t move any faster. My head was telling me I was a failure and how could I be so unfit; I would need to hit the gym hard but the harder I worked the more unfit I became. The problem was although I was going hard in the gym and doing the clean eating thing my mental health was affecting my body in ways I couldn’t even see.
Fast forward to about two months ago, I went back home to the UK from New Zealand and I started to feel sick every time I thought about food or ate. I was never finishing a full meal which used to be easy peasy. Obviously, there is a level of jet lag that throws you off course and you never know what day it is so it is no surprise that your appetite goes. However, as it started going on 4 weeks and my appetite still hadn’t returned I realised there was more going on. The anxiety that had come over at the thought of leaving my family and friends again had once more taken a physical toll and what started off as a mental issue had translated into a physical one.
At one stage there would have been no way you could have convinced me that physical and mental health were related. Yet, the more life goes on and the more I learn about my depression I realise the two are so closely connected.
There seems to be the “physical health buzz” with all the new healthy eating and gymspiration instagrams around but in the same way we need to get on the “mental health buzz” it’s just as important, if not more important, than your physical health.
At one point people didn’t brush their teeth because they didn’t realise the benefit of it and now people wouldn’t think twice about not brushing your teeth. If you have a tooth ache you wouldn’t thinking twice about not going to the dentist. Well, let’s make looking after your mental health just as important to the point where we won’t think twice about taking a mental health day off work or going to the doctors when we need help or taking time away from situations to recalibrate ourselves.
Self-love peeps, self-love. ❤