I’m talking both micro and macro here – because mental ill-health impacts both!
On the micro level: Well, this only makes sense if you accept that mental health is a disturbance in the whole mind/brain/body matrix, which I happen to believe (a bit like Douglas Adam’s fundamental connectedness of all things). In other words, the fact that I have an earache which is now making me feel fevered, nauseous and dizzy is also affecting my mood, and not only stopped me from visiting my friend yesterday but also makes going to work out with the trainer a silly idea. Instead, I’m off to the GP in hope of a miracle cure. The rest of the time, I’ll be convincingly telling myself “You’re only feeling so bad because you have an infection; it’s going to be OK” and other such soothing things.
On the macro level: Phew, where to begin? Inability to work leads to financial stress leads to both relationship stress and further anxiety, and both of those feed into a downward-trending mood. Disinclination to socialize leads to social isolation, missed opportunities to have negative thoughts challenged, and again feed into that downswing. Side effects of medication combined with lack of motivation to exercise and the use of food to self-sooth lead to weight loss which in turn leads to feelings of worthlessness which … you get the picture.
Yes, mental health issues do cause us to change our plans, all right! However, I am going to try and find positives. I wouldn’t wish depression or anxiety on anyone, but mental illness has meant I’ve become part of a great community here on WordPress, it has made me more self-aware, and it prompted me to enter psychotherapy which I think I’ll continue with even when my symptoms abate, because it’s just so healthy to examine your choices and motivations with a professional. It also prompted me to become self-employed, and while the pay leaves a lot to be desired, the boss is pretty great (even if she has her quirks). In some ways, it deepened my relationship with my partner, because we have to talk about things we previously would have left unaddressed.
So: have your plans changed recently? I bet they probably have …