How physical and mental health impact each other and can ensue a vicious circle…
The impossible task of managing the invisible circle that people who struggle both with mental and physical health problems, which affects more than 1 in 3 of the 30% of people in the UK that suffer with mobility or physical problems*. This is a lot, because these are statistics based on calculations based on the information averages, mean, median etc. It is then manipulated into a readable and coherent format for public viewing (in this case). So when you take in all the range of factors that will define you in the 30%, is I assume registered disabled. (I could be wrong but let’s hold it as hypothetical) 30%+/- of the UK population are registered disabled, that takes in all conditions, all age, all requirements, all disabilities, of different health issues, (all sorts of different factors that can really only be based or assessed on an individual level) – So basically what I am saying is there will definitely be more that 1 out 3 of us struggle with mental health, I just think some us feel like we should just be grateful enough to have been taken care of physically – that we feel almost greedy by saying actually “sorry, excuse me. You know that super hard condition I have, then those intense open heart surgeries that you helped me with. And just you know the whole years of meds and procedures and everything, I really appreciate but now It’s just , I hate myself, I am no longer myself, no-one wants to employ some with these types of health issues. Erm so, to be honest with you I’m feeling really shitty and kinda like it’s not worth it anymore”. And if you have been brave enough to say that out-loud to your doctor, well done. In my experience you will have keep repeating it, a lot. So that why it’s not 3 in 3 of the 30%, in my opinion only and will tell you why with all my rambling.
I had my first open heart surgery when I was 10 years old, and I didn’t think that I was traumatised from that if I am going to be honest. In reality I was, but I was a kid. But changes happened, there became a lot more rules, a lot more curfews, there then was the body confidence with my scar, something that would take decades for me to over come (but that was more than about some silly scars). I had some issues over the years until I became very unwell in my mid twenties with ultimately Sarcoidosis, then my second open heart operation. This time round it was awful. I had a lot of trauma and 2 botched attempts, the general recovery. Everything felt harder and I could never really understand why.
Until, my partner (who is wonderful) had been keeping an eye on how I was based on my MH > PH and PH > MH – with how and when that would occur. For example if I was in a low mood, my pain level heightened and although I can be a crabbit little thing whilst in pain, my mood (although bad) wasn’t lowered, nonetheless still effected.
So it’s a difficult vicious circle of trying to stay in a good mood and have no pain, that would be the ultimate goal but reality unfortunately exists. So how do we manage this, with limited and next to no support (I say this due understaffed and overloaded systems)? I cannot accept that all the answers the health problems are based in medicinal routes, though that some require, that there must be some other answers to those all around the world and how you all try your best to keep your Pain (in the a*^e) Circle.
How do I manage?
I try to manage and keep a note of how my moods have been especially when particularly low. I try to take at least every few days to write down all the junk roaming around in my head, which helps process my gripes or achievements, anything. And for no real reason that just my own solitary reasoning.
I do have so great close friends and some family members that I am lucky enough to be unreserved with. I especially have my partner, who, as a human I just cannot describe his strength and his kindness and love. That makes a lot of the hard things a lot easier.
I also find open communication helps and advocation. Advocation for yourself and your healthcare, but also advocation for the community of those suffering mentally and/or physically that might struggle to, until they get the confidence I once lacked. The louder the voices get, the more will join the chorus.
I would love open a conversation about how this impacts not only us as patients, but those who support, love and help navigate us through the confusing and exhausting healthcare system, the disability “supports services, benefit and many more obstacles to life that anyone could do without.
How do you manage you emotions when it comes to pain?
How do you manage your pain when you are in a terrible mood?
How do accept help, and ask for it in the first place?
I know from all the books. Articles, leaflets, pamphlets, doctor recommended websites, not to mention my own personal experiences that the two are linked in so many ways and can be impacted by external factors resulting in possible worsening of the two. Chronic illness, disabilities, learning difficulties, invisible illnesses, mobility issues, low mental health, mental illness (the list goes on) are more common that people are willing to admit. Except now we have brave people willing to open up and discuss their journeys along with their triumphs and hardships – it helps chip away at the stigma built up by ignorant and terrified people, past, present and hopefully a changing future.