Oops. I Forgot to Take Care of My Physical Health

It it imperative to take care of both our physical health and mental health. For years I have worked diligently on my mental illness recovery and recently maintaining my mental wellness. In the process, I recently overlooked taking care of my physical health.

Soon after I began teaching at my new job with the little ones, I got a cold. I powered through, kept going and thought I beat it. A few days later, I thought I must have gotten a new virus or my symptoms became worse. I had severe joint pain, body aches and respiratory junk but thought it must just be another virus. There was a lot of stuff going around and many of my students were sick.

I had too much to learn and do at my new job. I felt like I was too new to miss work. So, I just kept working even though my cold symptoms continued to get worse. They wouldn’t go away but it was not the worst thing I ever experienced so I kept working and doing everything I needed to do. As soon as life became easier and slowed down a bit I would go to the doctor.

Some days my symptoms felt better and I thought I was improving, but it just wouldn’t fully go away. Other days I felt plain miserable but powered through and went to work despite how awful I felt physically. I had to keep going.

Besides being busy with my new teaching job, Christmas was fast approaching and there were many preparations for that. I put up my Christmas tree and decorated my house, made cookies, went shopping and wrapped presents. I also helped  babysit my four month old granddaughter and sewed projects for my daughter’s dance studio. It was a lot, but I never wanted to let people down again. I had done that for too long and too often when I was ill with my mental illness symptoms throughout the years. I was mentally well now and wanted to help everyone I could.

I went to Minneapolis for Christmas to be with my family and help my mom with all the cooking. We had seventeen people there on Christmas and I had a wonderful Christmas despite being sick with my respiratory junk. I knew I was getting worse but pretended I was well as I could. I was a master of pretending to be well when I wasn’t. It wasn’t easy but was a skill I mastered living with mental illness for many years.

The day after Christmas, I couldn’t do it anymore and drove myself two and half hours to the Urgent Care in my town. I had pneumonia.

I was sick, fatigued and couldn’t breathe. Even though I was so physically miserable, it still felt better than being ill with mental illness symptoms and from the side effects from psychotropic medications. I have had other physical illnesses as well but I still feel there is nothing worse than mental illness. Not in my experiences anyway.

I was physically sick but at least my brain was still functioning well. I was still me and didn’t have the interference from psychotropic medications interfering with my ability to recover and live.

Lesson learned for me is to not overlook my physical health again. I need to be proactive with my physical health as much as I am with my mental health. Bottom line is I need to take care of myself better. Some people overlook their mental health but in the process of maintaining my recovery and mental wellness I overlooked my physical health. I must work on that.

After taking a course of antibiotics, three days of Prednisone and a lot of rest, I am feeling well and can finally breathe again. Hurray.

Mental, physical and spiritual health are EQUALLY important in maintaining optimal health and well being. Something I must always work on.

Stay healthy. Keep fighting bravely.

Find your hope. Live in the moment. Love deeply.

And always remember…



© 2020 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Can You Have a “Little” Binge Eating Disorder?

I have battled with my weight my entire life and was thin until I became pregnant with my first daughter. I followed the example of others around me at the time, twenty-seven years ago and I gained 70–yes 70 pounds when I was pregnant. The good news was that I lost it all minus 20 pounds, but then I became pregnant with my son and gained 50 more pounds and lost all of that minus 20 pounds. If you are dong the math, I am 40 pounds heavier. That is not that bad and I can work on it, but then it started. Mental illness struck very hard and I began taking more psychotropic medications–anti-psychotic medications which were the absolute worst for me.

Psychotropic medications caused me to gain weight from breathing it seemed like.

Today, once again I am presently attempting to lose weight. This is day #4 on my diet of eating little to no carbs. I am proud of myself. One day at a time. I must lose weight. This is the next big step in my continued recovery and mental health journey. Improving and maintaining good physical health must be part of my journey.

My life is improving in so many ways. It is time for me to conquer my weight battle. It is my next step in my recovery of mental illness. Carbs are my nemesis–my unfriendly frenemy. I love anything and everything with carbs, especially bread. The more bread or carbs I eat the more I want, want, want. This must end.

I have overcome so much, so why can’t I defeat my weight problem–the monster of a beast it is? Well, the answer is, I can and I will. It is time–the next step in my recovery journey. On our recovery journeys, sometimes we have to break down our obstacles one at at time-little by little, step by step, piece by piece. Keep focused on small parts and goals to get to the finish line of recovery. I am on a mission to lose weight, again.

Remember there is no real finish line of recovery. When you get better and reach your best, define a new best. Become the best you you can be and do it over and over again.

At times, I believe I have a little of this “Binge Eating Disorder” if it is possible to have it a little. I like to eat and have always been an emotional eater. If I was one of those people who could or would not eat when I was depressed or upset over the years, I would be so beautifully thin. However, it is the opposite for me and food has always been my comfort in times of distress.

New (back in May 2013) in the DSM-5: Binge Eating Disorder

written by Russell Marx

It’s official!  Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is now an actual eating disorder diagnosis in the DSM-5 which was released by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013. DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is the official “rule-book” of mental health diagnosis and is important so that everybody is using a common language when talking about a specific disorder.  The previous DSM-IV was released in 1994 and binge eating was only listed in Appendix B and had to be diagnosed with the non-specific “EDNOS” (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).  In the past 20 years there have been over 1,000 research papers published that support the idea that BED is a specific diagnosis that has validity and consistency.

The key diagnostic features of BED are:

  1. Recurrent and persistent episodes of binge eating
  2. Binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
  3. Marked distress regarding binge eating
  4. Absence of regular compensatory behaviors (such as purging).

Image result for binge eating disorder

BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States. In adults it affects:

  • 3.5% of women
  • 2% of men
  • and up to 1.6% of adolescents [1].
  • In women it is most common in early adulthood but more common in men at midlife.
  • BED seems to affect blacks and whites equally.

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Comorbid problems are both physical and psychiatric.  Although most people with obesity don’t have BED, up to 2/3 of people with BED are obese and can have the medical difficulties associated with this condition. Compared with normal weight or obese control groups, people with BED have higher levels of anxiety and both current and lifetime major depression.

Effective evidence-based treatments are available for BED. These include specific forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). Some types of medication can be helpful in reducing binge eating. These include certain antidepressants (such as SSRIs) and certain anticonvulsants (such as topiramate, which can also reduce body weight). All treatments should be evaluated in the matrix of risks / benefits / alternatives.

For more information on the specific changes to the DSM-5, please see the recent webinar entitled, “Eating Disorders in the DSM-5: Implications of Changes in the Diagnostics Categories and Criteria.” This webinar was moderated by B. Timothy Walsh, M.D. who headed the DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group, joined by Evelyn Attia, M.D. and Stephen Wonderlich, Ph. D., who were on the work group and currently serve as members of the NEDA Research Advisory Council.

[1] Swanson SA, Crow SJ, Le Grange D, Swendsen J, Merikangas KR. Prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in adolescents. Results from the national comorbidity survey replication adolescent supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011;68(7):714–723.

© Copyright 2018 National Eating Disorders Association

© 2019 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved