The Unseen Battle: How Mental Health Shaped My Physical Health


 🌅 On a December morning in 2021, as I walked toward the bus stop, an abrupt onset of heart palpitations, chest pain, and an anxiety-induced near-fainting spell engulfed me. At only 28 years old, the fear of my own mortality suddenly loomed large—Am I going to die? 😨

💼 In response, I promptly sought medical attention, leading to a lab requisition for an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a 24-hour Holter monitor. The anxiety escalated as I observed the ECG marked as abnormal, becoming a constant source of dread during the wait for the doctor's feedback. Thankfully, a reassuring physician confirmed that both the ECG and Holter results were normal, alleviating the need for further tests. 🙏

🚨 Nevertheless, the tangible physical manifestations were undeniable proof of an ongoing internal struggle. This incident served as a wake-up call—a pivotal moment when the consequences of unaddressed mental health issues manifested physically. ⏰

🧠 As I traced back to the roots of my mental health struggles in my preteens, their repercussions extended far beyond sleepless nights and chronic stress, creating a constant but silent struggle between my mind and body.

🤢 Surfacing in my early teens, Irritable Bowel Syndrome became a constant companion. Persistent stomach complaints, seemingly random cycles of food intolerances, and a fluctuation between normalcy and stomach pain were common. High school brought a relentless cycle of respiratory illnesses, with one particularly challenging semester marked by 3 consecutive bouts of the flu. I remember feeling constantly under the weather even when others around me were healthy. 🤒

🤯 In my twenties, chronic stress-induced headaches became common, leading me to reach for Tylenol countless times. Recently, this pattern persisted with a chronic cough that returns year after year, which my doctor suspects to be asthma. 😷

💥 The trio of stress, anxiety, and depression set off a domino effect, resulting in a cascade of physical ailments. The realization struck hard: my mental struggles weren't confined to my mind. 💡

🌍 Considering cultural factors and the prevailing mental health stigma in certain communities, seeking mental health support remains a challenge. While physical ailments are diligently addressed, mental health struggles often remain concealed behind closed doors. This is more than a personal narrative; it's a celebration of resilience, a beacon of hope, and a catalyst for change. My hope is that individuals can seek mental health support before their declining mental well-being adversely affects their physical health.

🔐 We need to recognize the unseen battle within ourselves and in others, and collectively strive to break the silence surrounding mental health to dismantle the barriers preventing us from seeking the mental health support we need. Reach out, seek help, and be an advocate for yourself and those around you. Our mental well-being deserves the same attention as our physical health. 💙

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