Fighting For Health

by - 6/10/2019 01:54:00 PM

When you’re the one keeping everything together in your family, making sure clothes are ready, there’s food on the table and you’re holding down a job, you often think you don’t have time to get sick.

And while that might be true, in theory at least, there do come moments in your hectic day when those aches and pains can’t be ignored a moment longer and you know that the only responsible course of action is to take a trip to the doctor.

Responsible, because if you don’t look after yourself then who will and who will look after everyone else if you leave something to get worse and eventually wind up in hospital?

While this is true of your physical health, when you find yourself under constant pressure there will be times when your mental health takes a turn for the worse as well.
It’s at these times you need help the most. Reaching out for help is crucial and though you may feel embarrassed or like you’ve failed in some way, by accepting help you’re doing quite the opposite. Going to your doctor will be no more embarrassing than asking about contraception methods and your health care professional will have dealt with similar cases dozens of times.

In this blog, we’ll walk through some of the signs and symptoms connected to common mental health problems and what you can do about them.

Image from Pexels

Feelings of Stress

Stress has a habit of taking people by surprise, often because the build-up can be a slow but ever-increasing pressure rather than a sudden drop. It doesn’t just have to affect those in high-pressure jobs but anyone who has responsibility or has excessive pressure from outsides forces. This is true of stay-at-home-parents, those seeking work and those who work as managers and executives.

Initial symptoms tend to manifest themselves in physical as well as mental ways. Struggling to sleep, feeling wound up and exhausted at the same time. Your mind will be working at double speed but those thoughts are tumbling and racing and you find it hard to sort them out into a logical order or find a way or turning them off.

Soon these become more intense and physical in their appearance and you may begin to feel as if you are physically ill, with headaches, dizziness or feeling sick and unable to eat. If this is left unattended it can soon escalate into panic attacks and shortness of breath. While this isn’t a dangerous state, it can be a frightening one and is a clear sign that something is very wrong and needs addressing.

Even at this stage, it’s possible to begin the process of recovery, though it’s hard without adequate support. The very best thing to do is to admit the problem to a trusted friend or family member and explain what’s going on and why. Tackling the root of the problem together can be a huge benefit.
Tell them how you are feeling and the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. If you need to, have them accompany you on any subsequent visits to the doctor or to talk with colleagues or the boss.

This may well be the next step. If you believe that the stress you’re feeling has come from the unreasonable demands being made of you in your workplace, then now is the time to speak up.
Whether you talk to your HR rep, a union person or to your manager, make it clear that you are in danger of going off sick unless something changes and then suggest what it is that might ease the load a little.

If juggling home and work is a big part of the problem then talk to your partner about what’s going on, sit down together to try and lift the burden of responsibility from you a little.

Feelings of Anxiety

Anxiety falls under a number of headings and the symptoms, though they vary from person to person, can range from mild to severe. Anxiety can escalate very quickly, so if you experience anything that feels uncomfortable or worrying do keep a close eye on your mental health and how you are feeling.

Something like a general anxiety disorder might just be a general feeling of worry that you carry around with you for most of the time. It’s there when you go to bed at night and it’s there when you wake up in the morning.
You rely more and more on people to help you through the day and are in need of constant reassurance. Though you are often torn between having people help you and shutting yourself away from everyone.

Unlike stress, anxiety can be harder to diagnose and harder to determine what the root cause of it is. It may be linked to stress and the situation you find yourself in, or it may be that you have something of a pre-existing condition. Either way, when you start exhibiting those powerful feelings of worry and concern, then it’s time to go and talk to your doctor and get yourself on the road to recovery.

There will be a number of treatment options you can try out and these might range from medication through to counseling or therapy and often a combination of the two. But you can also help your doctor to find out what’s going on by trying to figure out if there is anything that’s triggering your anxious feelings.
An effective way of doing this is to keep a diary and make a note of anything that stands out prior to feeling the way you do.

You can also carry out some deep breathing exercises and try out some mindfulness or meditation techniques if that helps, anything to help you take back some control.

With anxiety often comes broken and interrupted sleep. You might find it impossible to drop off and when you do, impossible to stay asleep for too long before your racing brain wakes you up again.
When that happens, start with some basic sleep housekeeping and start getting a plan into place. That plan might require you to fight taking a cat nap in the day but seeing you in bed early enough so you’re not too overtired. It might mean preparing your body for risk with a strategy that includes cutting out alcohol and caffeine completely.

It might also be limiting yourself to screen time and closing down all screens a couple of hours before bed to allow your brain adequate time to slow down. Make your room a haven for sleep, with an ambient temperature on the cooler side, blackout curtains and in as quiet a place as possible. It might also help to play some white noise to drown out any outside sounds.

Your use of social media is well worth a revision. If you find yourself constantly comparing your life to others, or feeling inadequate next to other people’s lives as presented on Instagram then it might be worth severely limiting yourself to time spent on your phone or having some kind of digital detox

Anxiety can often lead to a lack of self-care and not being able to make consistently good choices over areas such as food. With this in mind, start by thinking of your body as something to nourish and take care of. Look after it and think about what you’re putting into it. Some foods are just not going to make you feel great so eat well. Eat fresh where you can but eat consistently to stay on top of your diet. Fuelling your body physically will help it fight for your mentally.

Exercise is another weapon in your armour. We’re not necessarily talking about hard weights sessions down the gym or running marathons but instead movement that keeps you feeling good. Movement that allows some endorphins to be released into your brain and that can help you control your mood.

You don’t have to spend a fortune signing up to an expensive gym, there’s plenty to be said for walking, cycling, swimming or running. Plus of course, you won’t need to spend any money. The real trick is to find something you love doing and stick at it consistently for real results.

Your mental health isn’t something to take likely and as strong as you are you may, from time to time, find yourself in need of some support.  Many people go through times in their lives when they experience some of those symptoms and for many, they will be just a temporary blip.

If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety and just not feeling yourself, keep a diary of how you’re feeling and talk to those who love you the most. Accept their help but also be brave and take that first step of going and seeing a doctor. Fight back against stress and anxiety and you’ll be back on top in no time, ready to go back to being the great parent, colleague, and partner you always have been.

You May Also Like