Monday, April 08, 2013
I put on my Sparkpage that I have a disability. Most people think of physical disabilities when they see that, and I do have some physical issues, but the elephant in the room for me is mental illness. I don't hide it, but I don't usually talk about it either. There is still quite a bit of stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis, and it is usually easier to just talk about my physical problems. Thing is a few of the physical issues have decreased since I have gotten healthier, and now the mental issues are still there to be dealt with.
My current diagnosis is Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type. So, what the heck does that mean? That means I have some of the features of Schizophrenia and some of Bipolar Disorder. To put it simply... I hear voices, and have in the past seen things that aren't there, as well as having wild mood swings.
You might wonder why I am blogging about something like this, but I have a reason. One of the wonderful side effects of getting fit and eating healthy has been a reduction in my symptoms. Yes, I still hear voices. But I can ignore them, because I have other things to focus on. Spending hours every day walking the dog and going to the gym, means I am not sitting at home brooding, stuck in my own head. And the endorphins from my more intense workouts actually have smoothed out the mood swings. I worried for a while that the exercise might trigger a manic episode, but it hasn't worked that way. Instead, I am calmer and happier.
I didn't join Sparkpeople to help with mental illness. I joined to lose weight and get healthy. I didn't expect to find such relief from my symptoms, but I am so grateful that it has worked out this way. There was a time when I was spending more time in hospital than out, and when I was out I was on so much medication I hardly knew my own name. It has been years since my last hospitalization, and I currently take one medication for my mental illness. That is such a tremendous improvement. It borders on miraculous.
For me this journey is NOT just about losing weight, but also about getting healthy. It is working on many levels!