It’s Not Just Physical: Mental & Emotional Health With Chronic Illness

It’s Not Just Physical: Mental & Emotional Health With Chronic Illness


  • Anxiety & Panic
  • Sadness & Depression
  • Insecurities
  • The Negative Effects of Isolation
  • Emasculation

Imagine breaking a leg, but you’re able to walk on it because adrenaline made you numb to the pain and you continue on without allowing the injury to heal because you were never aware how injured your leg really was.

This was me with my mental state. I have been running with broken legs, causing further damage and never taking the time to heal because I didn’t know how much pain I was in the whole time.

Mental Health Is Important

Mental health issues will slowly kill you while you continue to look alive and well to everyone around you. They are difficult to discuss with others. My mental health battles are something I have not spoken much about with others.

In My Story of Scleroderma, I never addressed the dark sides of my mental and emotional state. I denied my own emotions—or maybe it is more accurate to say that I was detached from my own emotions and was not able to fully process them until years later in retrospect. In my ignorance, I never believed that things such as anxiety or depression could ever affect me. I considered myself a man of strength who would never allow such states of weakness to befall me. My train of thought remained like this until I realized that I was blind to how broken down I was.

Health goes beyond your physical state and all areas of it are highly interconnected. Your physical state can affect your mental state and vice versa. In fact, the whole premise of this blog is shifting your perspective to improve well-being so that you can put your energy and focus into living your life to the fullest. As you read the entries on this page, I encourage you to reflect back upon on how much you actively maintain your own mental and emotional health in everyday life.


So if you have read My Story of Scleroderma, you can imagine the whirlwind of emotions I have felt. For those who haven’t yet read that post, here is a condensed bullet list of three key information points to help you understand where I’m coming from with everything I am about to say. The timing of the onset of my disease is significant in my experience.

  • I was once a popular, 175lbs athlete at age 18 who had lost 50lbs of mostly muscle weight and was as low as 120lbs at the age of 19.
  • My symptoms began at the end of my senior year of high school and rapidly progressed in my first year of college.
  • I was in a long-term relationship which became rocky for several reasons and my health was the icing on the cake

In a nutshell, I had very much, and I lost very much. In my teenage glory days I felt invincible. Then I got too close to the sun and lost my wings like Icarus. When my health deteriorated, I learned that I was not so invincible and this was the seed planted that grew into a tree bearing the fruit of dark thoughts and negative emotions.

I believe my ego caused me to downplay all the major life changes I had to deal with simultaneously. My first self-realization came about when I suffered serious anxiety that led to panic attacks. After this chapter in my life, I was forced to attend to my mental and emotional health closely.