Friday, May 31, 2013

Physical vs Mental Health

Funny how quickly we can get in a rut.  Little by little we omit new things and stick with the old tried and true.  It becomes the new normal and the easy way of getting through the day.  If someone offers us a change of pace, we shrink back for fear of not being able to keep up or of not fitting in.  We no longer fear not being normal.  We totally embrace it. 

Fear begins to ease its way into all new things making them too scary to try.  What if I fail?  What if they laugh?  What if I’m hurt?  What if…….?

Fear can be so strong it paralyses the muscles, makes the stomach queasy and numbs the brain.  Everything around us fades and our focus is totally on that one thing.  Fear can eat one alive.  The person you are becomes the person you were.

Fear leads to solitude.  People call, but you don’t answer.  After hearing the message they leave you just put it aside for another day.  Answering the call would make one have to interact with someone else and fear puts up a warning signal that causes a further shrinking into one’s self.

Fear can cause one to lose all thoughts of entering into a relationship with the outside world.  Having to be with others means that we might be the one that can’t do what they are doing and become “that” person.  You know the one…………people always look sideways at that person…………..people always walk around that person………..people whisper about that person…….people treat that person like they are no longer a part of society……..  people wish they did not have to realize that that person exists.

Fear can take away all feeling of self-worth.  One can’t talk like they once could, walk like they once could, think like they once could or act like they once could.  One no longer feels that they are worth anything so what is the point of going out of the safety of one’s home.

Fear talks all pretence away.  The neighbor’s daughter wearing a too revealing outfit isn’t important.  The new car your friend bought is fine, but not worth spending time discussing.  The tomatoes coming up in the garden does not cause excitement in you.  The birth of a new baby in the family is wonderful, but “can’t they just discuss it when you are not around”?

There is also good fear.  Being careful how you walk and doing your best not to fall for fear of getting hurt is good.  Taking your time eating so as not to swallow is good fear.  Thinking through things before doing them so as not to have to waste energy doing them again is good fear.  Being flexible about social engagements is good fear so as not to stay disappointed when you are too ill to go out.  There are many good fears to have for safety and mental health reasons.

Disappointment is a hard thing to come to grips with.  All of us with diseases that hinder our lives have either got to learn to deal with it or allow it to swallow us up.  Disappointment and depression go hand in hand.  When our disappointments begin to overwhelm us, disappointment is close at hand.  Between the two of them is where most of us find our biggest hurdles to overcome.

I am trying to learn that disappointment, fear and depression are not “those diseases” that are to be hidden in the closet and swept under the rug.  To try and ignore them only makes them worse.   Facing them head-on is hard but something that we have to learn to do a little at a time.

Most of my depression has been the result of disappointments and fears.  I fear not “having a life” in the near future.  I get very disappointed when I am too ill to go out places that we have planned on going with others.  I have a hard time sometimes just letting life go on and adjusting to it.  I guess I feel guilty about others having to adjust their lives because of me.  Guilt is another thing that is hard to come to terms with.

I guess what I am trying to say is that although we face hardships every day with our disease, our mental state can cause us as much problems as our physical one.  I remember a commercial for an antidepressant saying that being healthy mentally can help us stay healthier physically.  I know for a fact that is true.

So (lifting my glass of tea, which is off limits on my crohn’s diet!) here’s to all of us who battle both physical and mental disease every day……………..and to those of you who do not……… are not invited to this party!!


1 comment:

Muffie said...

Very well said, Janie. I've traveled that course many times!