Should this even be happening to me?

Here I am at 43 years old, laying in this hospital being told that I am suffering the symptoms of stress and anxiety. I didn’t understand what was going on. All I knew was that I was hurting real bad and something felt really off. Like I wasn’t myself.

I had been going through a year full of emotional chaos. You can read more about my experience in my blog ‘to trust or not to trust’. My mind had become so overwhelmed with all the negativity, the hurt, pain and sadness, that I had failed to realize the effect that it was having on my body. I had not noticed that I had gained weight, always feeling depressed and angry. I was slowly falling apart.

Even when things were getting better and everything seemed like it was going back to normal, we forget that at some point, everything catches up to us. This is exactly what happened to me one Thursday morning. Almost 10 months after going through an emotional roller coaster. I awoke feeling very exhausted, although I had slept in late. My head was pounding and it had started to make me feel nauseous. I decided to take some ibuprofen and lay back down.

A few moments later, I got up from bed to check on my daughter. I became very lightheaded and dizzy. As I began to speak to my daughter, I noticed I could not get the words out correctly and my words were slurred. I sat down and began to cry because I did not feel like myself. At this point, my boyfriend decides to rush me to emergency. I was a little hesitant as I hated the emergency room. My boyfriend was not having it. We rushed to the hospital (so grateful we did!) By the time we arrived, my blood pressure was at 200/130. The doctors realized I was having a mild stroke and admitted me right away. This was one of the scariest experiences I had had. I was told that I had a mild stroke and that they were unsure of what was causing it. I spent one week in the hospital trying to get my blood pressure down.

Fast forward to my current situation. I found out that my mild stroke was caused by my own anxiety. I was experiencing major anxiety attacks that were somehow affecting my whole physical well-being without me even knowing it. Even to the point that it caused a mild stroke. This was very scary but very eye opening. It taught me that I need to focus on being well mentally so that I can function physically. I realized I could lose my life if I allowed this to overtake me. I was going to make a change for the better.

Here are some interesting facts about the effects that our mental health affects our physical health:

  • Depression is linked to many chronic illnesses including:
    • Diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease & arthritis
  • Mortality rate from cancer and heart disease are higher among people with depression or other mental health condition
  • Sleep problems like insomnia and sleep apnea
    • 50% to 80% of people with mental health conditions have sleep problems as oppose to 10% to 18% of the general population.

Just like there are negative affects, there are positive effects with positive mental health as well:

  • Having sharper memory
  • Clarity in thinking
  • Higher self esteem
  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Stronger resilience

Choose to always put yourself first. You need to be okay for others around you to be ok as well. You are important and life is short. Make up your mind to be the best you that you can be.

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