Invisible Illness Week
In 2009 I was diagnosed with clinical depression and severe anxiety, thankfully ten years on I have kicked the depression into touch however anxiety can
sometimes raise its head often when least expected and if I am honest in the most irrational of times and places.
For instance I can get up and speak to a room of people whatever the size, no worries however if I get lost on a journey which renders me late getting
to a destination I have a melt down and need to pull the car over while I practice self-care to think logically and take back control.
Sometimes anxiety makes me feel sick, sometimes it makes my shed tears, sometimes it gives me a headache, sometimes it makes want to hide under the duvet
and at its worst it turns into a panic attack. All these symptoms are often hidden, certainly from the outside world although to those I am closest
they will almost know either by how I act or indeed by me talking to them and telling them how I feel in that moment.
The above gives me a place amongst the 1 in 4 who suffer from a mental illness which across the board is often invisible to the outside world; how many
times have we been shocked to witness in the celebrity world people who we perceive to be confident and self-assured seeming suddenly speaking out
or at that worst committing suicide.
Mental health illness is not the only invisible illness so if someone you know is acting out of character, is a little more tired than usual maybe or changes
in some small (or big) way then reach out and ask the question ‘Are you Ok?’, they may well answer “yes” but if your gut feeling tells you otherwise
then stay close to them and ask again. Encourage them to talk and help them to make the invisible, visible; they will thank you in the long term.
If you believe someone you know may be suffering in silence, please ask the question, be kind, be understanding and be prepared for the answer then do
you can to help, sometimes this means just being there for them even if it is to sit in silence.
As I say “communication is the best medication” so if you are someone living with an invisable illness speak out, don’t be afraid, take the hand that is
offered honestly people are often more understanding than you think.