Each morning for the past few days, I have awoken wondering how I am going to make it through the next few days. School, work, medical appointments, honor society commitments, and friendships are all weighing down on me. Although these are all good things, the amount of everything in my life is so much that I feel like I am going to break.
Our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits are more attached than we realize. When in pain, every bit of ourselves aches. Joy radiates throughout our beings when we hear good news and makes us think good thoughts and feel well. Thus, it would make sense to see our whole self as connected.
However, others often react with surprise or suspicion when I talk about how our bodies are connected to our minds and spirits. This concept is readily believed by scientists and psychologists. Yet, many still act like our emotions are separate from how we physically feel or mentally think.
I am not trying to condemn those who think differently or fail to believe in this connection. Instead, my post is an attempt to show how we are all more complicated beings than we might even know. Here are some of the ways that stress, depression, or other mental illnesses can affect us.
- Trouble sleeping too much or too little
- Lack of an appetite or overeating
- Weight loss or gain
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Lack of hygienic care
- Sensitivity to stimulus like loud noises or large crowds
- Racing thoughts
- Inability to concentrate
- Reoccurring thoughts or fears
- Lowered grades or work quality
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Overwhelming hopelessness
- Constant crying or not crying at all
- Lack of emotions
- Mood swings
- Persistent worrying or anxiety
- Haunting guilt
- Anger or irritability that can result in violence
- Inability to cope with life
- Escalated fear of others
- No desire to participate in hobbies or see friends
- Change in relationships especially with a significant other
- A feeling of disconnect with oneself and reality
All of these fit together. Someone who is depressed often has multiple physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Relational and spiritual symptoms can play a huge as well. Seeing all of these pieces as fitting together in mental illness is important instead of categorizing it as simply a “mental” or “emotional” problem. We are connected being whose thoughts, actions, desires, and health all feed into each other.