Being sick has always been a trigger for my depression. Growing up with severe asthma I was often sick and laid up for weeks, sometimes in the hospital. Missing large chunks of school and missing out on life.
I am just getting over being sick for a little over two weeks now. A severe cold or virus that had me flat on my back in bed with a stuffy nose and head, sore throat, cough, body aches and chills.
This week I have slowly returned to the “land of the living”, dragging myself and feeling weak; I can’t help to reflect on the emotional and psychological toll being sick takes on me.
Many memories of laying and feeling helpless, not able to breathe, wondering why I had to be born with asthma. Though my asthma has improved some since childhood it always chimes in when I am physically and/or emotionally compromised. My asthma (or being sick) has a direct route to my depression and vice versa.
It is clear to me that my emotions affect my health. After my mom passed, I was in the hospital with a severe asthma exacerbation. I had infection through my sinuses, lungs and even my eyes. It took me months to get better physically, but mentally and emotionally would take the rest of my life.
I have coped with these laid up periods of my life by having stacks of books, magazines, notebooks, etc., I will look around and imagine rearranging a room trying to forget that I am physically unable, or I will list all the things I am going to do when I am better. This gets me through and make me feel I am still productive.
My depression by itself has had me in bed unable to move. Ironically, the same mind that can imagine myself being well when I am physically sick can actually paralyze me with fear. When I am having a depression relapse, my mind’s ability is blocked.
Those are the fears and blocks that I continue to work on. I recently read a quote that said, “When you are sick, you can check out of life, but when you are better you have to check back in.” It resonated with me. It feels like when I am sick, (physically or emotionally) it is a way of the body to slow me down in order to go within and nurture. When I am better physically I return to the world with renewal and clarity.