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I wonder how you view life?  And subsequently how you view yourself within your life?

I wonder if, like some, you view your life with wonderful colours – with excitement and optimism and anticipation?

Or perhaps that is just a step too far for you? Perhaps you view life as a series of greys which are punctuated with moments of colour.  Times of joy and of excitement and happiness?

Boy Balloon HappyOr perhaps like me, you experience poor mental health or mental illness and perhaps like me, and many others like me, all the colour seems to have left, seemingly drained, from your life?

You see, I truly believe that somewhere along the line that is what has happened to me.

That somewhere along the line, (and I really can’t say when it happened) the colour left my life.  And I am convinced that it did so, not in one instance or in entirety but through a series of disconnections. A number of dis-ownerships.

Yes I still see joy.  I still see happiness, still recognise excitement – still understand and notice colour, (and yes when I really try I can even reach out and almost touch them.  But all too often I am just so disconnected from it all.

And this kind of experience, (and yes mental illness and poor mental health and the resultant experiences like I have expressed here) can have so many implications for us, can’t it?  It can impact so many areas of our lives.  And I am sure I am not alone in what I am sharing here.

One area where my mental illnesses – my poor mental health – impacted me was in respect of my physical health.  You see along with the draining of the colours came the draining of the motivation and the quality of life.  And without quality of life why bother investing on sustaining that life.

And as sad and as tragic – even fatal – such a thought pattern can be.  And as embarrassed (even ashamed) as I am to admit that I (probably subconsciously and most certainly non-deliberately) had that thought pattern.  The plain simple truth is that I did.

And as a result of that every-day essential things suffered,  My relationships suffered.  My home and also my personal hygiene became less of a consideration for me.  My diet and eating patterns also suffered and became so much more unhealthy.  Even my attention to my personal physical health suffered as I struggled to find the interest, let alone any motivation, to face it and deal with it.

Boy Heart Balloon SadAnd for someone who is as morbidly obese and who has my heart conditions – among other physical conditions – that was so very dangerous. .

As the depression and the struggle with my mental illnesses increased so my motivation decreased and my life – my heart – and yes even my attention to the health of my already damaged heart became deflated.

Not only did I stop eating healthily, I stopped eating regularly, and often – even on the few occasions when I did eat – I simply couldn’t be bothered to cook and so lived off of take-out, fast food or microwave meals.

I stopped taking my medication.  And additional to the psychiatric meds I am on some six different heart-related medications.  Not to mention the diabetes meds and other things.

All of these fell by the wayside – the same wayside which I seldom noticed as along with everything else my activity and exercise levels dropped and became almost non-existent.  The only saving grace in this being my faith and my belonging to a local church and only that and my children actually kept me going.

I wonder if you can see the pattern that I am describing here?  And even more importantly, I wonder if you can relate to the pattern that I am describing here?

Perhaps you are reading this and thinking that what I have described here, sees very extreme?  But even if you see some similarities in your own life and are not yet as far gone as I was in this downward spiral, I urge you to do what I did and to act and to turn thing around.

I have, and I am so grateful for the encouragement and support of those few who have motivated and encouraged me – even at times (times when I needed it the most) lovingly nagged me into action.

Boy Heart Balloon HappyAnd it is a tough road, I am not going to lie to you.  Not least of all because of all the damage that I have done to myself and my health and heart throughout this time of depression linked hopelessness and apathy which I experienced for so long.

But no matter how it may seem, no matter how colourless our mental health may make our lives feel, it really is worth it.

I am (when my mental illness doesn’t confuse me and mess with my memory and focus) now eating properly and regularly.

Likewise, I am taking my meds regularly and being more active – walking more, even socializing more.  And trust me, with my health and at my size, these are no simple things to do.  But it truly is worth it.  And I am even losing weight and now able to do the relatively small, seemingly minor things, which so many people take for granted. But which, for me, previously have ether been either impossible or too much effort to make doing so seem worthwhile.

And I promise you, the more I allow myself to be motivated the more I myself get motivated.

So why am I sharing this with you?  I promise you it isn’t in search of any pity or recognition.

HeartHeaderThis month (February 2015) is American Heart Month and (wearing one of my other hats as part of the Mental Health Writers Guild) I was contacted by the American Recall Center and asked to highlight the need for positive heart health and the need to have a strong, positive and healthy approach, focus and attitude to the health of our hearts.

And they have done an excellent info-graphic on this which can be found here

Something which I am more than happy to do and which I wanted to also do here on my personal site/blog.  Because I know, only too well how mental illness and/or poor mental health can also impact our physical health and because I know first-hand, just how important having a good attitude and approach to the health of our heart is.

So that is why I am sharing this with you today.  Not for any pity or any personal acknowledgement but in order to encourage those who like me so desperately need that encouragement.

I am so grateful that I (through the love, encouragement and support of other) was able to wake up to what was happening to me and to where I was going.  And so very grateful for the fact that I now have new hope.  New hope for me, for my life, for my mental and my physical health and through that, that I have found new hope for my suffering heart.

And it is my deepest hope that in some way, through what I have shared today, you – if you can personally relate to some of the things I have shared above – will also find and reach out and claim and take ownership of New Hope For The Suffering Heart – your heart.