Chris had always been an active person and his wife, Holly, described him as a happy-go-lucky guy. He stayed in really good shape by eating well and exercising regularly, despite working 60 hours a week at an architecture firm in Minneapolis.
Last year, Chris started developing strange physical symptoms and his overall attitude in life diminished. He lost interest in going for runs or attending his weekly Tae Kwon Do class. “I was a complete mess. I was getting headaches. I felt nauseous. I was a wreck,” he said. “Above all, I was worried that I was sick with something terminal.”
Heart disease has plagued Chris’ family for generations. Chris was worried he was following the path of his uncles and other relatives. His concern heightened after a soccer game when Chris had to be rushed to an emergency room after feeling tightness in his chest.
Chris decided to seek out medical help and met with a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
His doctor noticed how much anxiety Chris had as he underwent tests and explained his symptoms. His doctor determined that Chris’ mental state was the source of his pain.
After talking to Chris about his mood and loss of enjoyment in physical activities, the doctor began testing him for depression. The doctor concluded that Chris was suffering from depression, prescribed him medication and gave Chris a list of counselors in his area.
Chris wished to return to his active life, so he listened to his doctors and stuck to his prescribed plan. He saw a counselor — which was challenging for him at first — but then he started to enjoy it.
“Most of my patients complain to me about pain before discussing their mental state,” said Dr. William Jones, of Health Partners in Saint Paul. “When visiting a doctor it is imperative to describe your mental state as well as the physical so that a solution can be easily discovered.”
Each year, an estimated 35 million Americans battle depression. It can be a life-threatening illness if it manifests. Often, depression will fester in individuals and cause unexplainable aches and pains.
There are many solutions for battling depression, including medications as well as many different types of verbal therapies. Thanks to technology there is an abundance of iPhone and iPad applications that can help as well. These treatments aid in ending mental illness that can plague a person physically.
Charlie Edwards reports on health and wellness for more than 76 local news websites. He has a Master’s Degree in psychology and works with Dr. Allison Holt.