One of the biggest issues for me and something that seems to have the biggest impact on my mental health is my physical health. I get sick a lot, it’s not unusual for me to be ill, I’ve had migraines since I was young, my chronic conditions leave me exhausted and I just seem a whole lot more prone to picking up bugs than my friends, but right now my body is really taking the biscuit. At the end of January I had what I’d assumed to be an intense bout of food poisoning, but 13 weeks later it’s still causing havoc with my body. I’ve had constant nausea, sickness, pain, a lack of appetite and I’m just generally exhausted. For the past three months, my stomach has been churning and cramping like nobody’s business with no apparent cause – yet. I’m undergoing investigations, with test after test and prescription after prescription all just to try and solve what I thought arose from a dodgy burger.
Not having a concrete answer or solution to my problem is really taking its toll on me, and as a result, my mental health has really been suffering. I love food, that’s no secret, so having something I love taken away from me has been really difficult. I’m a very anxious person, and I really struggle to cope with situations where I don’t have a level of control, so right now I’m feeling more than a little bit lost. I’m not even 22 yet, but I feel like my body is failing me, and this constant cycle of being ill is ruining my life. My social life is suffering, my body confidence is at rock bottom thanks to my bloated and tender stomach, I spend my days sleeping and I can barely manage one meal a day even with my anti sickness tablets. It’s been tiring, to say the least, and lonely.
All the while, my broken body has found the perfect partner in an increasingly broken mind. I hadn’t been in the best place at the start of the year, with the return to a long-distance relationship, problems with work and the painful loss of my childhood pet all having their own detrimental impact on my mental health, with my health issues now just being the cherry on top of a pretty shitty sundae. I suppose I’ve kind of isolated myself as a result, and as I said before I really don’t like burdening people with my issues so I’d been wrapping myself up in a never ending cycle of worrying and tears.
If you’ve stuck around a while, you’ll maybe remember how I faced similar struggles when I lived in Aberdeen for university, and I honestly never thought I’d feel that low again. Unfortunately, though, I’ve found myself in a situation where I feel worse. I’ve always been an anxious person, I’m a chronic worrier and I don’t always cope well with social situations. I don’t like feeling out of control or helpless, and that’s exactly how I’ve found myself feeling lately. This year was supposed to be full of fun and adventures, it was supposed to be one of my best yet, but instead, it’s been the opposite and that’s been difficult to come to terms with.
I’m constantly plagued with self-doubt, I don’t have a lot of belief or confidence in myself and I tend to play down my achievements a lot. I don’t always feel like I deserve good things, no matter how hard I’ve worked or what I’ve overcome. It’s tiring when you don’t believe in yourself, and being constantly ill probably plays a big part in this. When I was in my fifth year of high school, at the start of my endometriosis journey, I was in the hospital for around seven months on and off which meant I missed a lot of classes. My school wanted me to take a year out, thinking I wouldn’t pass my exams and giving me barely any support to do so, but instead, I came out of my higher exams with straight As and unconditional university offers. I hated university but I stuck at it for two years before dropping out because I was so scared of disappointing the people I love, but now I study a course I love that I funded with money I made from my blog. I taught myself everything I know about blogging and the online world, to the point where I now run my own business and make my living from it (alongside my studies), yet I still play it down when really I should be screaming about my achievements from the rooftops.
Which leads me to now. Now, after sobbing in my doctor’s office for much longer than the allocated appointment time, after countless weeks of struggling in silence and pretending everything is fine, now I’m finally going to address it before it gets any worse. My doctor has referred me to mental health services and I’m going to be seeing a counsellor. It’s a step that petrifies me, but I’m really proud of myself for taking a leap forward and it’s hopefully a step in the right direction. I feel like I’ve failed myself by letting my mind slip back into this dark, dark place once again, but I’ve overcome it before. Even if I don’t feel like it right now, I’m strong, and I know I can get through this with the help of the people around me.
This has turned into one hell of a post, and I’m sorry for rambling as ever, but for the sake of openness, I just thought I should share what’s been going on and where I’m at right now. Things will probably be a bit all over the place until it starts to settle down again, but that’s life. Things get tough, but we’ll persevere.