All’s not well if we swell

Posted: May 19, 2017 in Mental Health

I am getting less annoyed by the idea of a week dedicated to mental health awareness,  I mean it drives me nuts, no pun intended, that we get a week of the year and that’s supposed to somehow change things. I am not a naysayer, I can see the changes over the past ten years and yes the stigma around most conditions have receded to a degree but I am easily frustrated and all talk and no action makes Steve a mad boy.

The biggest thing that gets my goat is the constant refrain of “talking will make a difference” I know its good to talk, Bob Hoskins and Maureen Lipman made it very clear but most of us are talking about the wrong thing, or at least the least important. Mental health isn’t an isolated condition that leaves the rest of your body in top form while it tries to waste your mind, in fact those with a mental health condition are 60% more likely to develop a major physical health problem than someone who is “well”. Now that isn’t saying we injure ourselves or our problems make us do things that eventually ruin our health, we just don’t look after our physical wellbeing and the effect is cumulative.

So we are more likely to be unwell in the traditional sense and the question is why? or more importantly how? If you have any depressive related disorder you may well be neglectful of your basic needs so the vitamins and nutritional elements of your diet may be lacking and this can lead to issues, especially if you’re housebound as no fresh air or sunlight can make you more prone to all sorts. Add to this the problem many of us have with grazing. For anyone who doesn’t know grazing is caused by some of the mood stabilisers and even a couple of anti depressants and as I understand it the chemical that affects your mood also plays some part in quelling your need to eat and without it you constantly pick at food, not so much little and often as little and always.

This allied to a sedentary lifestyle brought on by lack of motivation and those indescribable pains that come along with many mental health problems means you start to gain weight at a rate that’s not sustainable, at least if you want to stay at a healthy weight. Its a well documented fact that every few pound over your ideal weight you are the risks of so many serious conditions around your heart and diabetes  increase proportionately, and as your self esteem is already faltering the added weight becomes another reason to feel worthless and cocoon yourself in your home, meaning even less exercise and the added risk of comfort eating on top of the grazing.

Comfort eating itself can be very common without the added drug factor and while talking about weight might seem a little trite, after all what’s a few extra pounds if you’re improving your mental health right? its a major issue for some, and yes I do mean for aesthetically. I have heard so many times how this is just vanity and it is so often brushed aside by professionals and carers as silliness when compared to the real issue which to them is always making us more stable and safe to leave alone. Now I get their point of view to a degree but if your self esteem is already at rock bottom and then your clothes start to feel tight or look wrong then you already low opinion is going to nose dive and as I have said the added health risks just make it far more important than “just” looks, surely.

Now I write this as a very unhealthy man. Apart from my collection of acronyms that cover my mental health I am probably 6 to 8 stone overweight. This, depending on which specialist you believe is either the cause or caused by my diabetes, I have had asthma since childhood and my liver is all kinds of screwed too. I am suffering from spinal issues due to a misspent youth and the extra weight doesn’t make any of this very easy to work with for the doctors, not to mention my fatalistic approach to my self care means I rarely do anything to aid my recovery from the physical problems and that is entirely attributed to my mental health issues, so I am equally as unwell mentally as physically and maybe the conversation we should all be having is how can we get people like me to look after both sides of our wellbeing, isn’t it?

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Comments
  1. Roger Gooding says:

    Good one as usual Steve. Thanks. Perhaps what we all want and need is a holistic approach to our illness. Holistic, posh word that perhaps all of the candidates for election would be chuffed to hurl into a conversation. Point is though, I bet few of them know what it means and even fewer would, if elected, argue for it to be brought in!

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