Being sick sucks. I know. I am holed up under a quilt my mom made me drinking orange juice and I feel like I could sleep for the rest of this winter and I look juuuuuuuust about as good as I feel. Yuck.
Getting physically sick when you live with a mental illness brings with it new challenges.
- If you have anxiety disorder you may be less apt to seek medical attention, especially if you don’t have a primary physician you are familiar with. This could lead to you becoming more ill – think pneumonia, etc. If you can, have someone you trust go with you or help you make the appointment or give you a ride – whatever makes it easier for you to seek care.
- When you are physically sick your body requires more rest because deep under the skin antibodies and white blood cells and things like that are doing what they do. This can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Sure, that 3 P.M. nap sounds good until you are wide awake at 2 A.M. and still have to be at work by 8:30. I know you need extra sleep, trust me (as I type bleary-eyed), but try your best not to knock off your regular schedule too much. For a lot of us with bipolar disorder lack of sleep is a cause of episodes.
- Meds. This is two-fold. First of all, you need to make sure that over-the-counter cold and flu remedies don’t interfere with your psych meds. For example, as I’ve noticed by reading a lot of labels in the past, many over-the-counter meds are incompatible with MAOIs. If in doubt (or just to be safe), check with your pharmacist or ask your psych doc at your next visit if there is anything to watch out for.
- Remember your support system, the same one that gets you through those dark nights? Well, my friend, these people are going to be the same ones who bring you Kleenex and chicken noodle soup. Be sure to thank them when you are feeling better and be there for them when they are sick.
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net