Month: March 2018

Health and wellbeing, a constant thorn in my side

As the title suggests, and as another article I have written suggests, health & wellbeing has always been something I have struggled with. I am constantly bombarded, as we all are, with images that focus on body positivity and body negativity and weight and tone and appearance. Furthermore I have messages from friends, relatives and constant reminders on my social media feed regarding the need for a summer body, i.e. a tanned, muscular, slim-line, non-cellulite, trimmed, smooth body fit for a nice stroll on a beach. On the flip side there is a constant, and I mean CONSTANT, stream of images, videos, memes and the like reminding us that to have a winter body, i.e. fat, lazy, chicken nugget eating, hairy, bulky, pale, bumpy body fit for nothing other than single life, Netflix-ing and chilling by yourself, is something that no one should EVER strive for.

My problem is that health and wellbeing is all about physical appearance and physical capabilities. When in reality I think health and wellbeing is about much, much more.

For the past two weeks I have been unwell, and there have most definitely been points over the past 17 days where I have felt completely incapacitated by migraines. I’d never had a migraine until two weeks ago. To be honest I rarely even suffer a headache, so this is a whole new ball game for me. (Any tips would be much appreciated)

Being unable to do anything more than go to work, come home, maybe do some housework and watch some TV has made me feel (at times) lazy, embarrassed and guilty. I feel this way because I am physically able to do just about any activity that I did before these symptoms occurred, but I no longer feel mentally capable, or prepared even, to leave the house, go to the gym, sit in a crowded changing room, take an instruction etc. etc.

It’s an odd feeling as well because I’ve certainly got a lot done in the past week in terms of work and I’ve definitely been good to myself. I was at the Stand comedy club twice, on Thursday and Friday, and I went to see Sam Smith at the Hydro on Saturday night but in all honesty it was a big occasion, and sadly an effort, for me to get out of the house.

There’s a genuine sadness in this though because truly the main reason why I have completed so much work over the past week is because I am consciously attempting to occupy my mind so much so that I don’t have to think about my migraines or indeed my mental health (which may or may not be the root cause of the migraine). This excessive demand for work that I am placing upon myself has lead me to feel completely burned out and overwhelmed; to the point where I do nothing else but think about my mental health. How ridiculous is that? Back to the tactics board for me.

NOTE: I often think that my overthinking is probably the root cause of mine, or anyone else’s, mental health but that doesn’t help me fix any ailments so hey fucking ho! Also, how ridiculous is it that I am causing myself mental health problems? (Any suggested solutions would also be much appreciated)

Back to the point. My physical capabilities are being held back by my mental health. The pain in my head and neck is causing me to worry, which as a result is prompting anxiety and stress. Now, I realise that I’m not dying. Let me make that abundantly clear. But I am so distressed and uncomfortable with the lack of a definitive diagnosis that I am removing myself from physical activity and here we come to the whole point of the article as to the reason why health and wellbeing is such an almighty thorn in my side.

For now is not the time to focus on my physical health. At least not today.

Today was for me.

Today I went with my Mum and Murdo (Auntie’s dog who we are dog sitting) to Glasgow Green; where we walked, and talked, and threw tennis balls and lost tennis balls and engaged with strangers and got the sun in our face (I had cream on, because I’m a sensible ginger), we took pictures, we smiled and laughed and just had a relaxed day where our biggest concern was the daft dug jumping into the Clyde for a swim (he really likes water and has no idea that the Clyde will engulf him – to be fair he’s just a pupper). It was bliss!

Today was about focusing on mental health. And to be honest, maybe every day should be about focusing on our individual mental health. Your thoughts and emotions are something that never really leave your side, so we should really try and take care of them.

If it does come to pass that I 100% suffer with migraines, and that they may be caused by anxiety/stress then my mind will soon become of principal importance. Now of course physical activity can be a great reliever of mental illness but as discussed in a previous article it can also be an unlikely trigger.

I don’t have all the answers here, in fact I’m struggling to find any answer that I’ve given at all in this wee article but I suppose I’m just trying to bare my soul because things have been rough the past couple of weeks and I hate letting people down – which I feel in a big way I have done (letting my team mates down by not being available for training or games over the past coupe of weeks and not going to the gym with my two best buddies).

I suppose maybe writing could be my cure (I’ll let you know in a couple of days once I release this article into the ether).

Maybe that’s what’s bugging me; not having an answer. Lacking the knowledge to make myself feel better, makes me feel powerless. Surely that’s enough to make anyone feel disappointed with themselves.

Here, it’s not all doom and gloom. As I said, today I had a smashing day and seeing Sam Smith at the Hydro was a gift to the ears that will last a lifetime. Just please remember that health & wellbeing means more than body image. Try not to focus all your attention on your weight, or tone, or shape etc. Also take the time to check in with your mental health. Find a way to unclog the worry, to remove the self-doubt, to remedy the anxiety etc. And also, don’t let ANYBODY make you feel guilty for taking the time to take care of yourself. Likewise, DON’T BE THE ONE TO MAKE ANYONE feel guilty, or embarrassed, for taking the time to self-care.

That’s probably all I have at the minute cause my heeds (heads) absolutely bursting! But I guess I’m going to be a hell of a pissed off if I do find out that these migraines are occurring as a result of anxiety.

What does one do when your mental health begins to fully impact your physical health?

Maybe that will be the title of my next article.