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…
YOUR BEST DAYS HAVE NOT HAPPENED YET.
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