As I look back at pictures of myself from 1 year ago, I think about how lost, how alone and how hurt I felt. I also see how those same emotions had not only affected me mentally but also physically. Why did I stop caring about myself? Why did I let the opinions & actions of others affect me to an extent of allowing myself physical damage? As I continued on my journey, I slowly began to understand why.
Many people don’t realize that mental health is closely associated to your physical health. Here are a couple of facts regarding mental health being closely linked to physical health.
- Depression has been linked to many chronic illnesses. These illnesses include diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.
- Schizophrenia has also been linked to a higher risk of heart and respiratory diseases.
- Sleep problems: People with mental health conditions are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea. Insomnia can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep apnea leads to breathing problems, which can cause you to wake up frequently.
And there are so many others. I was experiencing each and every one of these symptoms and did not even realize how much it had affected my health and my weight. I can remember going into the doctors office after not going for a long time. I remember standing on the scale, after not having weighed myself for a long, long time. And I remember seeing 250lbs. How in the hell had I let myself go so far? Although I was concerned about my weight, my mental state didn’t allow me to focus on it. I was so caught up in my emotional depressed state that I just stopped caring. I had given up on myself. This only made my situation at home even harder. I knew things were bad and I tried to hide it from others but most importantly, I was hiding it from myself. Now I was suffering the after effects. My marriage ended and my mental state only became worse. I fell into a deep dark place.
But looking back at it all, it took me being in that deep dark place, to not only begin to take a hard look at myself but to truly see what I was able to withstand. I found my strength in that deep place. I learned to take responsibility and accountability for my actions and wrongdoings and know that I needed to change those things about me. I was also blessed to find a partner, my best friend, my anchor in moments of craziness, who would help show me a whole new world. Everything that I thought was meant for my demise, turned out to be my greatest blessing. I found myself, and continue to learn to know and love myself. I know that If I can make it through all the abuse, all the hurt and pain, knowing I could have died so many times but didn’t, then I can make it through everything that life brings at me. I began to see purpose in my life and that I can make a difference. I know that if I can endure these hardships, anyone can. It’s just finding your purpose, and making your own path to get there. Finding wisdom and knowing you have a story to tell that in some way can help another person who is going through the same situation.
As my journey has progressed and I discover more mental clarity, my physical state has greatly improved. The more happier and peaceful I am, the more I desire to do what is right for my body. But I also recognized that even when I am beginning to feel depressed or anxious, that I must force myself out of my comfort zone. Exercise is outside my comfort zone. I don’t like doing it but it is necessary for my health and my mental state. So even when I don’t want to, I force myself to go for a walk and exercise when I know I need mental clarity. Now, I look forward to that time alone where I can focus my thoughts and get healthy at the same time. I can thankfully and proudly say that I lost 80 pounds in one year. I am halfway there and I will continue to strive towards that goal. Finding purpose will give you vision and set in motion the need to fulfill that purpose and move towards creating a better you everyday.