Hello fellow sufferers,
I've had worries about my health since my early teens, lumps on my leg, irregular bleeding, pains here, there and everywhere. You name it and I've worried about having it. It used to be that bad, that I wouldn't book anything too far in advance as I was convinced that I'd probably be dead or in hospital by then anyway. Every day was spent worrying about my latest symptoms with very brief periods of elation that I was going to LIVE (usually after a visit to the Doctors or yet another specialist)!
I still have these worries but as I've gotten older I've learned to live with my wonky way of thinking and this have improved a lot.
1. I don't own a medical dictionary or any medical books (these are what us Hypo's used to use before the invention of google). I threw each and everyone of them out a few years ago and haven't been tempted to buy one since.
2. I don't google symptoms.
3. I don't google symptoms.
4. I don't google symptoms.
5. If I hear that someone died, I don't ask "what of" or inquire as to their age at time of death and I refuse to let my brain think about it by distracting it (see below).
6. I distract my brain - when I have thoughts that are going too in-depth about health worries I find something else for my brain to think about. It's like a small puppy in many respects. If you give it something fun or challenging to do, it'll eventually forget about what you're trying to distract it from in the first place. Maths problems, "rhyme the word", you're best friend's unborn baby's name, how many blue things can you see etc. etc. etc. (p.s. this also works great with panic attacks and breathing difficulties)
7. I avoid depressing t.v. programmes, soaps, horrors and definitely medical programmes of any kind. Instead I watch comedy, light hearted stuff and documentaries that distract my brain... plus other rubbish us women can't resist like "x-factor" etc.
8. I try to follow a daily routine, eat regularly, a little exercise, good hygiene, avoid too much alcohol and don't take non-prescription drugs.
9. I seek social interaction. We are social animals and we get depressed if we're separated from others.
10. This is the most important one to me and has made THE MOST impact on my mental health. We are just organic (absolutely amazing) machines, our bodies WILL let us know (unmistakably) when there is a big problem, it won't be a faint twinge or a slight feeling or a minor ache, it'll be a full-on all bells ringing all lights flashing alarm and we WILL know it's time to seek help. Ask any mother who has gone into labour and she'll tell you all about "somethings happening" pain.
Our brains run on a big mixture of chemicals, and when those chemicals get out of balance we can start to feel mentally unwell. Sometimes we can correct this imbalance ourselves but other times we need to take the chemical we're missing artificially until we can make it all on our own again.
Holding your hand up and saying "I need help" isn't a sign of weakness it's a sign of strength.
And lastly, a lovely mental health nurse once told me.. "You have to HAVE a mind in the first place BEFORE you can lose it"