I was a 50-year-old woman who faithfully went to the gym, occasionally practiced yoga, ate my veggies, didn’t smoke, indulged in maybe one glass of wine a week, and doggedly logged my 10 thousand steps a day. Imagine my surprise when late last year I ended up in the ER with “classic signs of female heart attack.”
After EKG’s, X-Rays, and comprehensive blood work, the doctors found nothing wrong with my heart or lungs. Pronounced physically healthy, I was instructed to see my primary physician if my terrifying symptoms (sharp pains in my chest, back, and jaw) continued.
Continue reading Is Obsessing About Physical Health Undermining Our Mental Health?
The summer I was nineteen, I researched and wrote a travel guide to Italy, journeying from Venice to the Cinque Terre armed only with a sundress and my handy dandy Macbook.
It sounds pretty ideal, and it was—except for the constant, terrifying, enraging sexual harassment. From being groped on the train to being kissed non-consensually by hostel owners and bartenders, the summer left me tan, skinny, with killer calf muscles — and with a feeling of total disconnect from my sexuality. After months of constant, unwanted attention and physical violation, I felt that my sexuality had become a weapon used against me rather than something for my own pleasure.
Continue reading Having Healthy Sex after Sexual Assault
Since I was a boy, my body has been extremely sensitive and reactive to both physical and emotional stress. When my parents announced we were moving away from my hometown, my muscles tensed up so much I could barely use the bathroom for many days. Eventually I learned these health issues were a combination of a rare muscle tension condition and psychosomatic symptoms from my depressive-anxiety disorder.
Because my body usually felt like a car that had driven hundreds of thousands of miles — parts constantly requiring maintenance, always creaking, sputtering, or breaking down — I became a master of self-care. I spent hours every week making a conscious effort to heal and recuperate. This lifestyle was the only way for me to survive and function well enough to graduate from college and find employment. Whenever I neglected proper rest or pushed myself too far, new symptoms arose. Continue reading 7 Self-Care Tips for When Stress Affects Your Body