My mental health therapist thinks mental health causes physical problems and my medical team thinks physical problems cause mental health. I'm with the latter more often than not at this point in my life. In the past I was in the first group. I think both are right to an extent. Mind/Body connection, not mind over matter.

Even though I have struggled with mental health my whole life, I can manage the symptoms...until I have a fibroflare or I get triggered by cPTSD. During a flare I don't have the mental strength to battle my demons. Hello suicidal ideation. Vulnerability factors are higher.

Leaving the house, if I force myself, means having social anxiety panic attacks. I don't think my mind processes information very well and I get overwhelmed. It's not that I am not safe necessarily. It's because when my body is in a flare I feel less able to keep myself safe. I am more vulnerable physically. I am more vulnerable to triggers also.

Inflammation connection?
My fibromyalgia, vestibulodynia/pelvic pain, eczema, etc. And Inflammation and IC, and all the rest is enough to cause some filtration issues. With my cognitive and executive function issues...well that's hard on a good physical day.

I recently learned that inflammation effects my brain also, which causes anxiety and depression to happen!!! What an odd relief I felt to learn explains so much.

Wouldn't it be hard for anyone to stay present and positive during such disruption? Since it is painful and unpleasant to have physical problems I don't think it makes sense that I would think something to set it off. But if the inflammation effects my brain too, that explains why it doesn't take a conscious thought to cause it.

CPTSD connection?
My therapist thinks that emotions come from thoughts and so therefore we don't talk about feelings. We talk about how my thoughts cause feelings. My thought is...with having cPTSD, childhood and other trauma doesn't just go away. I didn't choose to have it happen to me.

If I'm out minding my own business and get triggered, my body knee jerks because my subconscious kicks in to protect me. I'm not actively thinking every detail through. In Fact...I'm noticing anxiety and wondering why. Then I retrace my steps and if I can, locate the trigger. At that point I can select a skill to work through the feelings that are presenting. My thoughts didn't cause this, a trigger did.

That's my opinion. Now if I were dwelling on a past memory that might be different. I just think a distinction should be made and not lump in all experiences together.

I recently challenged my therapist. She said I need to stop asking why. Because I probably won't like the answer or I might never find out the answer. I looked her in the eye and said, "Dr., With all due respect I will NEVER stop researching or asking why. It is part of who I am and I am unwilling to change that because I like that part of myself". She never said that to me again. I expect that I will learn everything she has to teach me about using DBT skills and then will find someone else to work through the feelings, grief, part with.

Often a flare sets off my mental health. Other times it is a trigger. Regardless..I am so tired of therapists guilt tripping me for having thought distortions. It doesn't matter what set it off as much as how to proceed. It does help me though to understand better what I'm dealing with if I can locate the source.

If it is a flare, know the depression will pass as the inflammation cools. Practice self care. If it is a trigger, use my 5 Senses to come back to the present. Use the DBT skills as a means to recreate safety. If my mind drifts to focus on a moment that causes anxiety or depression, bring it back with the breath. If it is grief, radical acceptance and allowing myself a few minutes to feel it without blame, guilt, or shame. Accept and move forward.

Sounds easy and it's not. I hope that something about this post will help you too, on your unique journey. Having The Mighty community has been a blessing and I'm so thankful to you all for being here and walking the path together.