Every night I wonder how I'll wake up. Will I be healthy? Will I be in a good mood? Will I be functional? I wonder if I'll get out of bed, if I'll go to work, if I'll talk to anyone. Every night I wonder what would happen if I didn't. I wonder what would I need to cancel whether work related or personal, and what it'll take to get back.
I wonder these things, but not just at night, almost every unfilled, and sometimes filled, moment is spent wondering. I say wondering and not worrying because I have come a long way in attending to my General Anxiety Disorder, and I no longer believe that my disappearance for a day will be the end of the world.
But I'm not perfect, and the end of the world feels very close some days.
I was recently sick, for close to a month, on and off, I was in bed, immobile, or I was out in the world, but never truly there. I lost my voice, and I couldn't write. All my energy went into work and getting better. It was strange. It was what I go through everyday, but entirely different. It was different, because for the first time, it wasn't psychological.
It was physical, and I, unlike most people, have strongly focused on my Mental Health and not my Physical Health. I know how sleep affects me, how eating affects me, how exercise affects me, how people affect me, and most importantly, how paperwork affects me (not good). I know how they affect my mental health, but not how they affect my physical health, unless it's directly related to my mental health.
This realization has gotten me to wonder about the intersectionality of Mental and Physical health, and how little we know about either, unless we prioritize them both. It's about time we take a holistic approach to all of this.
And just like we don't focus on just the physical illnesses when we take care of ourselves, we can't just think of Mental Illness when it comes to our Mental Health. There's so much more out there, and it's time we take it seriously. Just think about the difference that'll make to our lives, when we do the things that make us feel well Mentally and Physically.
Four years ago, I went from active Suicidality as a symptom to PTSD, to being well. I had a ton of therapy, but in the end it was deciding to make Mental Health my priority that ultimately changed my life. I decided that Mental Health came before everything else, that school, work, friendships, and everything else came second, and I had to come in first. It is a change that took me to the greatest of places, and something I constantly have to remind myself of these days.
There are so many problems in the world today we attribute to Mental Illness, or bad Mental Health. Most of which have nothing to do with Mental Illness, and just increase the Stigma around Mental Illness. But there is something to be said about individuals with great Mental Health, and by that I don't mean individuals that seem healthy, but those that actually go above and beyond to connect their Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Health. In a place of healing there's not hate, abuse or any of the other complex behaviors we've learned. There's just love, compassion, acceptance, support, and Belonging.
Hopefully, through the articles on this site, we will find ourselves as we connect our healths, and begin to Belong.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.