I know this is a weird title but bear with me. I briefly mentioned on my Instagram stories that I had a strange time last year. It all started after I completed my West Highland Way Challenge in March (click here to read about that x) I started to get these weird pains under my left rib cage that would come and go but they were playing on my mind ALOT. I then started googling stuff (NEVER a good idea) which led me down a rabbit warren of different symptoms. If you are a worrier which I certainly am this in hindsight was maybe where my issues began.
In June I begun to get a lot of heartburn symptoms and I was burping constantly. I had never had this before and I thought it was all connected to the pains in my tummy which worried me. I then thought I would cure myself and put myself on a very strict Acid Free Diet. Yet again in hindsight, not a good idea. Within 4-6 weeks I had lost alot of weight as I was still exercising regularly. Anyone would lose weight on this diet. It’s super healthy, way too good for you and super boring! The fact that I had lost this amount of weight freaked me out and I started panicking that I was getting too thin. Now this all sounds ridiculous to me even now writing it, but I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, so I went to the doctors where they tested me for H.Pylori. This sent my anxiety through the roof. I then developed a physical pain that I can only describe like a burning pain all over my back accompanied with a horrid taste in my mouth. I had this ALL THE TIME. I thought it was because I had H.Pylori but it turns out I didn’t.
The brain is a clever thing and I now know it was a combination of lots of things. A good friend and my husband suggested I go for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or see a therapist. My instant reaction was that I was bonkers and going crazy which freaked me out even more. My initial thoughts that I was seriously ill had become a reality. I was dying and going crazy at the same time. The physical pain I was in hurt all the time. I couldn’t understand how something mental could cause physical symptoms.
Eventually I went for CBT and it took 2-3 months to get better and for the physical pain to subside. It happened super slowly. It turns out I had a few things going on in my head. I have health anxiety which stems from my Dad passing and suffering from MND and I also think it’s just me. I also over think, over analyse everything to the point of no return and I didn’t like myself too much either and that made me so sad. I would not have treated a friend the way I was treating myself and that is why I was in so much pain. My body was screaming at my mind STOP IT.
The whole experience has been a huge wake up call. I know anxiety, mental health and self-care have become buzz words that seem to be everywhere but there is a reason for it. We do need to take care of ourselves and listen to our bodies, love ourselves more and praise ourselves. We all put too much pressure upon ourselves all the time. I’m now more grateful and appreciative for everything. So, although it was a hard and painful year, I managed to take some good from it.
Life isn’t always easy and if my story can help someone else then that’s great. What I learnt most of all was by loving myself more I was actually helping the people around me too as they really just wanted the best for me. I liked this idea more than me just being self-indulgent x