If you live with a mental health condition, this probably isn’t news to you — your mental health issues can also lead to physical symptoms, too. A graphic created by artist Melissa Webb perfectly captures this experience, and is a good reminder that it’s not just “all in your head.”
Webb, also known as Mellow Doodles, created an illustration to remind people of the physical symptoms of mental illness. The design reads, “I wish people know that my mental health is so physical too” alongside a woman with arrows highlighting her symptoms. Physical mental health symptoms can include headaches, jaw and teeth pain, sweating, nausea, fatigue, sensory overload, cramps, restless legs and more.
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Super proud and excited to tell you that I’ve been creating some work for @timetochangecampaign ! ????????They were one of my DREAM collaborations. It’s an incredible mental health campaign for tackling stigma, set up by @mindcharity and @rethinkmentalillness ????????❤️ I really, really, really don’t think this gets talked about enough. Mental health problems cause so many physical symptoms too. Some of them can be incredibly painful. They are very real and just as valid as any other illness. Does this resonate with you? Go give @timetochangecampaign a follow to see the fab work they do (and see some of the work I’ve done too over the coming days/weeks ☺️) - #timetochange #timetochangecampaign #mentalhealthquotes #mentalhealth2019 #depressionsymptoms #anxietysymptoms #mentalhealthstigma #mhsupport #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthadvice #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #mentalhealthmatters #illustratoroninstagram #mentalhealthillustration
Webb created the physical symptoms graphic for the U.K. campaign Time to Change, which was set up by the charities Rethink Mental Illness and Mind to tackle stigma around mental health. Webb said she also wanted to tackle mental health stigma by showing how much of an impact mental illness can have on both your mind and body.
“The physical symptoms that mental health problems can cause are so difficult, and so wide ranging, and it felt really important for it to be addressed,” Webb told The Mighty via email, adding:
Often I think the reason mental health is not taken seriously is because people assume it’s ‘all in your head.’ In fact, it produces a whole range of symptoms like any other illness — and these physical manifestations can be just as difficult, and sometimes just as debilitating, as the internal struggles.
While we call it “mental health,” there’s a very good reason your physical health can be impacted too. Anxiety, for example, is a fear response that triggers your nervous system like you are responding to a threat. This can include sweating, tension and affect your digestive system. The neurons that help govern your mood, like serotonin, travel throughout your body — and 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut.
Mighty community member Lindsay P. explained how her mental health affects her physical symptoms in the article, “24 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Mental Illness“:
“I get really hot and start sweating when my anxiety is high,” Lindsay said. “My friend and I joke that it’s like I’m having hot flashes. However, at the time it’s happening, it’s not too funny. I also have stomach cramping and often feel like throwing up when I’m having prolonged anxiety attacks.”
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Last time I posted this, I got lots of questions about what ✨ reparenting ✨ means. I want to talk about this briefly because it’s one of the things that has helped me the most! We all have an inner child. All of us. ???????? Nurturing ourselves in the way we would a child switches up the perspectives we have on ourselves. If you’re incredibly hard on yourself, set high expectations and get impatient with yourself too, you might need this especially. ???? Reparenting, to me, is about providing my inner child with the support they need. And this is two sided: •Being loving, patient and gentle with ourselves in times when we are feeling sad, fragile or scared makes the most incredible difference. ❤️ •And on the other hand, there’s times where we might need some more discipline, boundaries and a firm approach – and being able to do this with yourself in a supportive way will also help enormously. I always recommend @nu_mindframe’s youtube video on reparenting. But also have a google, search reparenting and see what you find. And look at books on working with your inner child. ???????? It might be that you were missing some parental support, emotionally or practically, as a child and so it’s really important for you to give that to yourself now. Or it may be that you are just missing these influences, guidance or support in your adult life. And instead have an inner critic making life difficult and painful. The good news is that we can absolutely provide ourselves with all of the things a positive parent would. Although it is wonderful to receive support and love externally, you have everything within you to give it to yourself now. Look after little you and the rest will follow ❤️ ???? Prints of this illustration available from £8, website in bio ???? ~ #mhquotes #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquotes #selfcarewords #colourfulquotes #confidencequotes #kindnessquotes #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquote #reparenting #peptalk #selfreminders #reparent #innerchildwork #innerchild #colourfulquotes #quotesandsayings #quotestagrams #selflovequotes #quoteprints #letteringprints #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness
Webb uses her illustrations to tackle other mental health subjects like setting boundaries, how to support others when they have a hard time, self-care ideas and colorful quotes and phrases to remind you you’re not alone. She said as an artist, visually appealing graphics with simple language is often an easier way to communicate important information when we’re stressed.
“I came to understand through personal experience that sometimes when we most need support for our mental health, picking up a word heavy or academic book that might help us can be so overwhelming,” Webb said. “My illustrations are intentionally bright and colourful so they are less daunting and more accessible. … For the people who need the work most, this is hopefully a better way to reach them.”
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If you have a friend who is really struggling right now, here’s some things you can do to help ⬆️ Signs they’re really struggling: ????They’ve been signed off from work. ????They’ve recently been diagnosed. ????They’ve stopped showing up for social occasions. ????They’re not answering calls/texts. ????They’re quieter or less engaged than usual. I know it can be scary and you might not know what to say. You feel helpless and you want them to know you care. So helping practically will help give you a clear role in supporting them. ???? ➡️These may seem so basic to people who haven’t experienced something like depression, but these everyday tasks seem like mountains to climb when you can barely function enough to face getting out of bed. Soon, the washing is piling up, the letters start arriving with URGENT stamped on them, there’s no clean cutlery left and the fridge is empty. When your brain is telling you you’re a terrible human and the world feels hopeless, this can be immensely overwhelming. ???????? So take a lasagne over and show your friends they are loved in a practical way. Feeling loved is one of the greatest sources of hope and comfort in our difficult times. And you have the power to make people feel loved every day. How magical is that? ❤️ ~ #mentalhealthquotes #mentalhealth2019 #depressionsymptoms #anxietysymptoms #mentalhealthstigma #mhsupport #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthadvice #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #mentalhealthmatters #illustratoroninstagram #mentalhealthillustration
In the art she shares on her own platform and creates with Time to Change, Webb said she hopes to reduce the stigma and shame still associated with mental health. She also wants to help others realize that struggling with your mental health is common and you are not alone.
“So many people feel ashamed to be experiencing problems with their mental health and it’s such a shame when it is so common,” Webb said. She continued:
Often, when a conversation is started around mental health, you find that almost everyone has some sort of experience of it — whether that’s through past or current experience, or through seeing a friend or family member go through their own struggles. We are much more similar than we realise — and realising this helps build connection as well as lessen the shame around it. This is always such a positive thing for people and I hope my work can help aid that in some way.
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Working on your self development and growth is important, but so is accepting yourself. This seemed a pretty revolutionary idea to me after years of reading self help books and working on personal development. And I wanted to share it with you too ???? ~ #mhquotes #mentalhealthtips #mentalhealthquotes #selfcarewords #colourfulquotes #growthmindset #personaldevelopment #selfcompassion #mentalhealthquote #bekindtoyourself #peptalk #selfreminders #selfdevelopment #letteringlove #selfkindness #colourfulquotes #quotesandsayings #quotestagrams #selflovequotes #quoteprints #letteringprints #illustratedquote #womenofillustration #mentalhealthawareness #mentalwellbeing #mentalwellness #selfacceptance #illustratoroninstagram #wordsoftheday
This content was originally published here.