Sharp pains followed by dull aches in my stomach. Painful headache. No energy. All I could do was prop my pillow on the couch, lean back and stare at the television. I stayed there for a short time and later retreated to the bedroom. Moving slowly from couch to bed and back to the couch, I could not find rest. What was wrong? How could I feel better?
My next thought was to make an appointment with a stomach doctor. Calling and scheduling the time for the visit gave me some comfort. The doctor would know what was wrong and how to make me feel better. At least that was my hope. I thought maybe I had a virus or “tummy” bug.
Through a series of events, I learned not all doctors are equipped to help a person with mental health issues. When visiting the gastroenterologist, I was told that my aches and pains were in my mind. They weren’t real. I was given medicine for acid reflux and told to “relax”.
Very frustrating as I knew my body needed help. At that time, I didn’t realize my mental health was in need of help, too. Filling the prescription and heading home, my mind and body were still in turmoil.
Days later I called the doctor’s office and explained my symptoms were not better. I was told to give the medicine a few more days to work. Angry at the lack of compassion, I placed a call to my primary care physician to make an appointment.
The meeting was very productive. The physician listened and after examining me and ordering bloodwork, he made an observation that changed my life.
“Have you ever considered seeing someone for mental health?” He asked in a way that gave comfort and did not cause embarrassment or anger.
“No” was my answer. He provided the name and number of a physician who could possibly help. This was an important step in my healing.
The new doctor reviewed test results and took time to speak with me and listen to my concerns.
He explained how our mental health can cause our physical health to suffer. When I was anxious or having panic episodes, and even when I didn’t realize my mental health was suffering, my body was reacting by causing stomach aches, headaches and other aches and pains.
I am pleased to have found a doctor who listened and cared. He helped me understand why I was feeling physically and mentally sick. Yes, I needed a different prescription for anxiety. There is no shame in asking for help and receiving help.
These days, I am able to notice when my mental health is affecting my physical health. I know how to proceed to feel better. I know when to contact the doctor.
I learned that stomach aches and headaches and other ailments can be caused by mental health issues. If you are uncertain about your mental and physical health, please contact your doctor or someone who can help.
Prayer is a big part of my life. When I am feeling anxious, depressed or uncertain, I pray and ask God for His guidance.
Also, when I am happy and filled with peace and joy, I pray and thank God for His love and grace.
Have you noticed times when your mental health is affecting your physical health? Share any tips you have used to feel better.
Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages through fiction, non-fiction, devotions, guest blogs, articles and more. Her first children’s book “Licky the Lizard: was released in 2018.
You can follow Melissa on: Facebook, Twitter, and her website.
20 thoughts on “How Mental Health Affects Your Physical Health”
I’m so glad this message seems to be getting out there today. Thanks for sharing it, Melissa! We need a better understanding of mental health issues. God bless!
Thank you Nancy. Yes, the message needs to be spread. Have a wonderful week! 🙂
Thank you for this practical article! Depression and anxiety manifest themselves in many ways; I pray others will reach out for help after hearing your story.
Thank you Candice. I pray that people will know help is available. Have a blessed week! 🙂
Thank you for being vulnerable to share your journey with anxiety and panic! I work with so many people who struggle with these issues and who feel unable to reach out for help. We must talk about these issues to end the stigma attached to them so that we can find relief. As one who also struggles with anxiety and panic, I am forever grateful for therapy that gave me the tools to calm the internal chaos and discover a healthy equilibrium from which I can thrive. Blessings to you!
Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am thankful for the wisdom God gives so we can be helped. Have a blessed day! 🙂
It’s truly amazing how much our mental health affects nearly every part of our lives. This article is such encouragement for us to know there’s nothing wrong with us if mental health takes a dive for the worst. I’m thankful there are people to help!
Yes, I am thankful, too, there are people to help. Have a blessed week! 🙂
Thank you so much for this encouraging and informative article. It’s not “all just in our head.” Mental health issues truly do cause physical troubles, too. I can’t tell you how many specialists I saw with my daughter before we pinpointed her issue stemmed from anxiety.
Thank you for reading and commenting Jessica. Yes, mental issues truly do cause physical troubles. Have a blessed week! 🙂
I have experienced this as well. It took an alternative doctor to understand what was happening with me. All because of a situation I had no control over! I learned a lot about my faith and my Gracious God in those days!
Leaning on God brings me the most comfort. Thank you for reading and commenting Beth. Have a blessed day! 🙂
I think so many people need to hear that our mental health does effect us in so many ways. It is okay to ask for help. Thanks for being open and sharing about this with us.
I agree Yvonne. We need to be open and share our struggles. We can learn from each other. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Yes! I sure do know when my physical ailments are caused by my mental health. I have had similar experiences with doctors who are not equipped to help patients with anxiety. Prayer is one of my favorite ways to calm down, as well as reciting scripture. Sometimes, I just need to withdraw from my busy life and practice the discipline of solitude. Solitude, not isolation, mind you, but solitude helps resest my ‘compass’ if you will. Great read, Melissa!
Thank you Marcie. Yes, prayer definitely brings me comfort. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Thank you for writing these mental health articles, Melissa. It makes us all more aware of how our mental health affects so many other things, including our bodies. I used to deal with panic attacks. While I don’t really deal with those much anymore, I do have anxiety at times and know what my triggers are. My daughter suffered years ago and again recently with anxiety. Her primary care dr told her at an appointment recently when she was worried something is physically wrong with her, that 98% of her symptoms are the result of anxiety. It just affects so many areas.
Our bodies react in so many different ways. Physical health and mental health are definitely related at times. Thank you for sharing. Praying for your daughter and for you, too. Have a blessed day! 🙂
Such a beautiful message of healing and hope! Thank you for sharing the difficulties you had along the way, Melissa, so that others who may be faced with similar lack of understanding from doctors can seek better providers. God bless you and keep you! You are an inspiration to me!
Thank you Melissa. Sharing our struggles can help us and help others. Have a blessed day! 🙂