Oops. I Forgot to Take Care of My Physical Health

It it imperative to take care of both our physical health and mental health. For years I have worked diligently on my mental illness recovery and recently maintaining my mental wellness. In the process, I recently overlooked taking care of my physical health.

Soon after I began teaching at my new job with the little ones, I got a cold. I powered through, kept going and thought I beat it. A few days later, I thought I must have gotten a new virus or my symptoms became worse. I had severe joint pain, body aches and respiratory junk but thought it must just be another virus. There was a lot of stuff going around and many of my students were sick.

I had too much to learn and do at my new job. I felt like I was too new to miss work. So, I just kept working even though my cold symptoms continued to get worse. They wouldn’t go away but it was not the worst thing I ever experienced so I kept working and doing everything I needed to do. As soon as life became easier and slowed down a bit I would go to the doctor.

Some days my symptoms felt better and I thought I was improving, but it just wouldn’t fully go away. Other days I felt plain miserable but powered through and went to work despite how awful I felt physically. I had to keep going.

Besides being busy with my new teaching job, Christmas was fast approaching and there were many preparations for that. I put up my Christmas tree and decorated my house, made cookies, went shopping and wrapped presents. I also helped  babysit my four month old granddaughter and sewed projects for my daughter’s dance studio. It was a lot, but I never wanted to let people down again. I had done that for too long and too often when I was ill with my mental illness symptoms throughout the years. I was mentally well now and wanted to help everyone I could.

I went to Minneapolis for Christmas to be with my family and help my mom with all the cooking. We had seventeen people there on Christmas and I had a wonderful Christmas despite being sick with my respiratory junk. I knew I was getting worse but pretended I was well as I could. I was a master of pretending to be well when I wasn’t. It wasn’t easy but was a skill I mastered living with mental illness for many years.

The day after Christmas, I couldn’t do it anymore and drove myself two and half hours to the Urgent Care in my town. I had pneumonia.

I was sick, fatigued and couldn’t breathe. Even though I was so physically miserable, it still felt better than being ill with mental illness symptoms and from the side effects from psychotropic medications. I have had other physical illnesses as well but I still feel there is nothing worse than mental illness. Not in my experiences anyway.

I was physically sick but at least my brain was still functioning well. I was still me and didn’t have the interference from psychotropic medications interfering with my ability to recover and live.

Lesson learned for me is to not overlook my physical health again. I need to be proactive with my physical health as much as I am with my mental health. Bottom line is I need to take care of myself better. Some people overlook their mental health but in the process of maintaining my recovery and mental wellness I overlooked my physical health. I must work on that.

After taking a course of antibiotics, three days of Prednisone and a lot of rest, I am feeling well and can finally breathe again. Hurray.

Mental, physical and spiritual health are EQUALLY important in maintaining optimal health and well being. Something I must always work on.

Stay healthy. Keep fighting bravely.

Find your hope. Live in the moment. Love deeply.

And always remember…



© 2020 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

5 Replies to “Oops. I Forgot to Take Care of My Physical Health”

  1. “Mental, physical and spiritual health are EQUALLY important in maintaining optimal health and well being.” Love this. As someone of faith living with bipolar, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only thing one can do to tackle mental health and pursue healing is have more faith. My faith is paramount and has helped me to persevere, but clean eating and consistent movement has also been hugely helpful! Great post.


  2. I’m so happy you wrote this and that you’ve recovered from Pneumonia. I agree self care is important. It’s so hard too do sometimes too. Yet we have to listen to our bodies. I was feeling so I’ll once but thought it just a sour stomach after three days of trying to push through it and wait for it to pass because of my anxiety and mental afflictions not wanting to be around strangers. My heart started pounding loud and blood pressure dropped. I called 911 and explained my heart I don’t understand what’s going on help. Gave my address and was taken by ambulance to hospital. Turns out I had ulcers and infections. That call is why I’m around today. But Like you explained we shouldn’t let it get to such a scary point before we Get Help. Self Care is important. I appreciate you sharing your story. Agreeing wholeheartedly we must listen to our bodies and care for them despite the minds battles with it. Xoxo


  3. As someone with a mental chronic illness (bipolar) and a physical one (endometriosis) I very much relate to this! It’s a tough balance!


  4. It is just free work that can trigger mental health as the expectations is high. The expectation is to do as much as possible, especially here in North America. That is why we have high numbers of people with anxiety, and depression. In the end if we do not care for ourselves, nobody else will. So, yes you must be important and self care should be a part of a persons daily routine. Even just having the sound of meditation music in the background helps calm the nervous system, a diffuser with essential oils helps calm the mind and baths in lavender and chamomile helps the body heal!!! Thanks for sharing your story!


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