photo credit: lanuion
I am not a mental health professional, but I can personally vouch from my last year that mental and physical health do go together. In February, 2009, my father had a devastating stroke and was between life and death for months, fighting infections, in and out of hospitals. Put on the fact that it was a uphill battle with the health insurance company for them to authorize an inpatient rehabilitation hospital stay for him when he was finally medically stable. For me, unbelievable amounts of stress. Not enough sleep, constant fatigue, trying to keep the household going with four kids needing attention, hyperventilating anytime the phone rang. When I breathed in, I could feel it….STRESS…That feeling that there is something in your heart ,your lungs, in your body that is not working right. That you are falling apart. I was falling apart!
Thankfully, in August 2009 , after two appeals we won the battle with the health insurance company, they approved my father for his necessary inpatient rehabilitation stay. (There will be future posts on how to fight health insurance companies!) After receiving this phone call that my dad could now start working on his physical progress, I felt it…YES! My mental stress disippating. I could breath deeply again without pain, without feeling a blockage in my lungs and heart. My gosh, I had forgotten what this felt like!
That was the end of the summer 2009 and I returned to France feeling good, ready to start taking care of myself again. Not just for me, but for my family. Why, because we are never alone. Our health, mentally or physically, always affects those around us at some level. The last several months have been much better. In my case, stress is no longer a major issue because I have found physical ways to control my stress level. Now, I also feel better physically because my mental stress level is under control. A positive circle, not a negative one! Mental stress is often under addressed and undertreated yet it is one of the most important aspects of overall health.