Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS -


‘Our men­tal and phys­i­cal health are in­ti­mately con­nected’

‘Be­tween Oc­to­ber and March every year, I used to feel as if some­one had cut a nerve be­tween my mind and my body. I would sleep for 10 hours, yet strug­gle to get out of bed. Read­ing was dif­fi­cult and writ­ing even more so. My brain was clear, but it was al­most as if it had lost the power to di­rect my body to act out my thoughts.

I’ve learned to man­age the mind­in­vad­ing anx­i­ety I’ve dealt with since my teens. But year after year, I just ac­cepted the an­nual ex­hausted dis­con­nect from my body.

That is, un­til last au­tumn, when my GP said what I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing could be symp­toms of sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der (SAD) – a form of de­pres­sion. She sug­gested my West African her­itage could mean I was de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D (though, since then, NHS guide­lines have been up­dated and doc­tors now rec­om­mend ev­ery­one sup­ple­ment with vi­ta­min D in win­ter).

Within two weeks, I felt like my­self. Yes, I still got tired. Yes, wak­ing up to grey skies rather than sunshine out­side my win­dow wasn’t ideal. But I felt well.

One year on, win­ter no longer fills me with dread, and I ac­tu­ally feel at home in my body. The ex­pe­ri­ence taught me a valu­able les­son: you don’t have men­tal and phys­i­cal health, you have a mind that sits within your body. And you need to look after both.’ Brid­get’s pam­phlet of po­etry, Ti­tanic (Out­spo­ken), is out now

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