Like mental health, invisible illnesses can be a touchy subject in many ways. It is hard for people to open up about and admit to, due to the lack of understanding around it all.
People battling invisible illnesses, look great most of the time. On the surface they are smiling and living life to the fullest it seems. Deep down they are battling immense wars that are soul-destroying in my ways.
Invisible illness isn't just close to my own heart because I battle with it personally but I work so closely with Invisiyouth who support youths and young adults battling invisible illness. It is a touchy subject but it affects so many. Why is there a stigma? There will always be people who will judge you whatever you do or whoever you are. Illness is always seen as a weakness and people rightly so don't want to appear 'weak'.
It takes great bravery and courage to accept our weakness, be open about them and allow our strengths to out shine them.
We have to look through history and see all of the amazing men, powerful leaders, influential people and game changers to see that many of them were battling major health issues. These were rarely seen within their stories because they learnt to use their weaknesses to enhance their strengths and so people never batted an eyelid. They just admired the strengths. We can't all be JFK's and Charles Darwen's but know that they achieved major successes even with poor health. They showed the world, power and strength yet personally they were just keeping their heads above water.
We live in a different era now, and people do freely speak about their health a lot more and a lot more publicly thanks to celebrities finding the courage, paving the way and breaking the mould.
Remember they aren't untouchable, find great comfort that we can all achieve greatness and success no matter what challenges life throws our way.
Taking the leap, like any first step is difficult but once you do make the first move it really does open up more doors. You feel more at peace with yourself because others around you understand and appreciate what you are going through better, you are able to ask for help which in turn helps lighten the load on you. You begin speaking out and sharing your experiences which helps others find the strength to do the same and people feel less alone in their struggles. People also respect you for your bravery and in this era that goes a long way.
We wear a mask constantly through fear of being judged or questioned. Never realising that letting our guard down could be our biggest strength. It is important through 'awareness' weeks and months that we really do find the courage within ourselves to be open and honest.
Never doubt yourself, you are fighting the battle as best you can and with a huge amount of strength.
I am guilty as charged for smiling when I want to cry, laughing when I want to scream and lying saying I am fine when I am barely functioning. I don't do this because I am embarrassed by my health. It has taken many years but more than ever I am accepting and understanding of my circumstances. I do it more because I want to live life, I want to enjoy the moment like everyone else and I understand people are battling their own issues, nobody needs added weight. This doesn't mean I am false or fake, I am very honest and my blog has helped me be that way but I just value LIFE and the people that I share it with. I want to enjoy it and make the most of every moment. I want to highlight the good not be dwelling on the bad.
I look like a normal 24 year old and people forget;
- I can't walk far
- I can' drive due to blurred vision
- I struggle with long days socialising and working
It makes things very difficult.
Everyone needs a little love and a hug, even if they look fine. A touch of kindness, a spot of love and a free gift of a hug can be worth gold to someone so sprinkle them around like confetti.
We all need a good dose.
If you are battling with an invisible illness reach out and share your story. Whether it is through here ( I will always endeavour to help), a family member, a friend or a doctor. It really could be a great thing and unlock some doors for you. People who judge aren't worth your time because the people who matter will support you no matter what.