Sometimes it’s the body and sometimes, the mind

Wow. Thanks everyone. In the 24 hours since I worked up the nerve to admit I’m broken, I’ve gotten mails, WhatsApp messages, calls and comments that have been nothing but encouraging, kind and generous.

I’m not a sharer, I hate sharing personal emotions and it was quite a task to pen them down. I was hoping at best, for indifference and at worst for retorts on how stupid I was. I’m beyond overwhelmed by how amazing the people around me are and I’m not great with emotion, so when I say thank you, I’m including all the emotion and gratitude I feel but cannot adequately express. Thank you.

One message, however, caught my attention. I was asked which psychiatrist I went to and why I chose to speak about it.

Truthfully, I have never seen my body as being separate from my mind. During any exercise, 60% of movement is neural. Meaning, which muscles your brain decides to fire, in what order and how fast , makes up a greater percentage of your squat than what your muscles can do.

Beginners often see their biggest gains in the first 6 weeks of training because their brain adapts to the idea of movement and learns how to move and just with that, they can seem a lot stronger.

True muscle strength is much harder and rarer to come by.

Even without all this science, I’m sure all of you instinctively know this. You must have heard people explain their failures at sport/exercise/life with the phrase “my head wasn’t in the game”. I’ve personally had sub-par exercise days for exactly that reason long before my knee got hurt.

So I’m just as comfortable talking about my mind as I am about my body/knee.. which is to say, not at all.

But I’m here and I’m doing this anyway and I don’t see the need to discriminate or hold back information that might help.

I wish I had gotten control of my sleep on my own, because I’m not someone that enjoys asking for help. But that’s simply not what happened and once I realised it was beyond my ability to help myself, I reached out to a physician exactly like I had done for my knee. It really is that simple and we need to stop complicating it.

Sometimes it’s your body that’s broken and sometimes it’s your mind. In my case, one led to the other and they both needed attention.

The psychiatrist I chose was Dr Lakshmi Vijaykumar(santhome) and she’s amazing.

She listened to me explaining frantically how I hadn’t slept in almost 4 months, how I had abandoned the love of my life (exercise) during that time and had no interest in life and she calmly recommended a few tests.

The initial tests showed I had mild clinical depression(which happens when you express a distinct lack of interest in being alive) and high blood pressure, but here’s the part that made me think she’s awesome.

She didn’t just prescribe meds for my symptoms. She asked questions, listened to me and just gave me some melatonin to help me sleep.

“We’ll find out in 3 weeks if sleep is really all you need” is all she said.

3 weeks later, my blood pressure was down and I was no longer considered someone in need of therapy.

That’s how big a deal sleep can be. It can mess with your mind, take away the joy that an activity once brought you and render you incapable of good decisions.

If you’ve tried helping yourself and it hasn’t worked, find someone more qualified to do the job.

Sometimes, you’ll need meds for a cough or a fever and sometimes you’ll need meds to sleep/think clearly.

I don’t see anyone complaining that they have to take benadryl or being ashamed of it, so why the hypocrisy when it’s your mind that needs help?

Sometimes it’s your body, sometimes it’s your mind. It‘s all part of the same you and all of you needs a little help sometimes…  Which is perfectly ok.

Be kind to yourself.

Much love

J

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