Greater than 350,000 SparkPoints 476,266

Something I don't normally talk about...

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!
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Chandra, what an inspiring blog! I am so glad you have a healthy lifestyle and have improved your mental and physical health. I know I feel so much better when I follow a routine that includes exercise and a healthy diet, it keeps me from feeling down.

    emoticon emoticon
    1747 days ago
    Your not alone , I too face Bipolar Disorder - Big Hugs Karen
    1748 days ago
    You are so brave to share your struggle with mental illness. Many still don't understand those with mental illness and thus shun them. I'm glad to hear that exercise and getting healthy are helping with your symptoms.
    1749 days ago
    What a good step forward for you to share this with everyone. Proof that weight loss can help so much in other ways.
    1749 days ago

    Feeling more in control through taking action makes sense.

    I'm happy to be sharing life's road with you.
    1749 days ago
    Thank you for sharing LESLIELENORE. Just imagine all the people you're helping. The millions of people around the world that are members of SP and the ones that will join in the future. emoticon emoticon
    1749 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 6:40:55 PM
    I'm so happy you shared this and I understand. Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with the same thing. I myself have dealt w/ anxiety/panic disorder and depression and that involves a lot also. So you are not alone by any means and I'm SO glad you have found some relief of symptoms through getting healthier! I plan on doing the same thing. You are an inspiration. :)
    1750 days ago
  • FARRAH511
    Thank you for sharing, there are some physical/mental illnesses that you can't tell when you see a person... It is why we should not judge someone by only looking at that person...

    I'm really happy for you to have this really good exercise "side effect" on your illness, hope that the day will arrive when you not longer have any symptoms at all.

    1750 days ago
    Here's a youtube about a woman who diminished / got rid of her symptoms of schizophrenia through eating raw food. She stopped taking psych meds.

    Other video with Victoria Everett:

    I can confirm that having very good self care, eating well, and exercise are cornerstones in overcoming mental illness.
    1750 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 7:30:32 AM
    Woo hoo for you! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Coach Jen
    1750 days ago
    It isn't an easy subject to talk about. Most of my family doesn't even know that I'm bipolar. It's just not something I feel like I can tell most of my family or any of my friends. My husband is the only person who knows. I do find that keeping up with my walking helps with manic depressive states. The peace and quiet walking outside helps along with the walks that I have with my 18 year old daughter. It's the one time we can get into some great conversations that we don't have a chance to have when we are busy in our every day lives.

    There are definitely multiple benefits to this healthy journey.
    1750 days ago
    It is so terrific that the exercize helps with the voices and mood swings. Thanks for sharing this emoticon
    1750 days ago

    I know when I eat healthy and exercise that I am not as depressed and am happier. Taking care of yourself physically definitely has emotional/mental benefits!

    1750 days ago
    you are so right about the stigma of mental illness.. I choose to think of mental health in terms of wellness. we are not just physical beings- we need that balance of our physical and mental parts working cooperatively. I am happy for you that you have discovered so many benefits of whole wellness through sparkpeople. I know this wasn't an easy blog to write, but so important for so many to read. Thankyou for sharing
    1750 days ago
    Thank you for sharing so openly with your fellow sparkers. I am sure it will be a help for others.
    That's wonderful SP is helping in more ways than just weight loss.

    1750 days ago
    An awesome blog, and thanks for coming out with this. I'm pulling for you.
    1750 days ago
    I am sure this blog is going to help many more people than you will ever realize. It is wonderful of you to reach out and give your experiences and what has helped you. And we are all very happy to hear you are doing so well! I have found you to be very inspiring and I think you are even more so now!
    1750 days ago
    emoticon for sharing, YOU are one amazing lady!! emoticon emoticon
    1750 days ago
    My brother is on tons of meds for schizophrenia and other mental health issues. I keep telling him he should get out and exercise but he's not ready for it, I guess. He's gained a lot of weight with his meds but would rather sit on the couch and try to lose weight by cutting calories drastically.

    You are a shining example of what can be accomplished through diet and exercise! Congratulations!!
    1750 days ago
    I am so pleased that you shared this. There are so many people who deal with a variety of mental as well as physical health issues. Healthy eating and exercise can improve not only physical health but also mental health. I think that it is important for others to learn more about such issues. I applaud your courage in talking about it.
    1750 days ago
    emoticon it is great when healthy lifestyle can help with so may other issues.
    1750 days ago
    How wonderful that you are getting healthier in all ways. Way to go
    1750 days ago
    Chandra, you are one phenomenal woman!!
    1750 days ago
  • HEYNOW22
    Thank you for sharing - I hope you continue to feel better both physically and mentally !!!! emoticon
    1750 days ago
    What an inspiring blog! Getting fit and exercise has so many benefits.
    emoticon emoticon
    1750 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. I am glad you are finding better health overall through you exercise and SP dedication. I have been curious about the number of walks you take even on your 'days off'. It makes sense. emoticon
    1750 days ago
    That was an awesome blog, and I am so glad to hear that you are finally able
    to get some relief, and only one med ~ that's great !!

    You have found a way to take care of yourself, and get healthy. Like BIGPAWSUP
    said, that is the most wonderful NSV ever !!!

    Spark on !
    1750 days ago
    So glad for you,such a hard subject to talk about.May you continue to be healthy and self caring.:)
    1750 days ago
    Absolutely! It is about getting healthy either physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. I so agree with your statement that it works on many levels. Much success to you!

    1750 days ago
    I am so very happy for you! What a wonderful NSV!!! I'm so happy for you.
    1750 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.