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Suffering from Silent Illness

Posted by Alison - Tuesday, 11 Jul 2023 13:04

Suffering from Silent Illness

I recently posted a photo of myself on holiday, looking well and with it a caption about invisible illnesses. I’ve got so many positive comments, I’ve been encouraged to write something longer.

I put the original post on because I look so well, but the reality is far different. The world is such a judgemental place. We get judged for our weight, our choices, the path we’ve taken, how we’ve chosen to bring up our children etc and I don’t give a hoot about how I’m judged on any of those things. But if I get a hint that someone is judging me because I haven’t as much vitality as someone my age should, then I feel I have to apologise again and again. And shrug off the feelings of failure again and again. What are they thinking? why is she giving everything to her partner to carry? Or why is she sitting down and leaving her partner alone to queue? Why they going home so early ( on the very rare occasion we go out ) I know this one has people who know us only a little think one of can’t bear to be without the other. 

So this little seed that I might be judged by someone I don’t know as arrogant or do nothing whilst partner does everything or worse, it grows huge. 

Add to it the numerous times I have gone too far distance wise ( not far ) and can’t get back due to loss of breathe, dizziness, pain etc. And then the times I’ve had to stand in a necessary queue for treatment and felt like I’m going to faint. Of course I know I could ask for a wheelchair etc but that just perpetuates the fear that I’m being looked at and judged. 

The silent illnesses I have have driven me in doors and into the arms and company of those who understand and don’t judge. This group is far smaller than people would expect. Because the people you admit are those you will let see you at your absolute collapsed worst. Those who don’t sigh as if to say not again  maybe this is in part that when I started getting ill colleagues and people who knew me didn’t treat me as I was ill, perhaps I was making myself ill ( thats one for all the stress sufferers out there, you make yourself ill, which perpetuates the head goblins making any stress worse ) but I wasn’t stressed. 

Maybe the very person I needed at that time, my husband of many years is the reason I have hyper anxiety about my illnesses. He made me feel they were made up, all in my head, conveniently brought up at my own timings. He didn’t take seriously my need for rest, that was inconvenient. When I fainted, he didn’t take it as seriously as he should. He knew I was ill, he knew I couldn’t work but his mindset was that I sabotaged myself. So his store of sympathy waned. He wasn’t alone in that attitude. 

I feel a lot of peoples feelings are like this, sometimes even in the medical profession. 

It is like banging your head against a brick wall and when your are exhausted, in pain, in tears etc you aren’t the best advocate for yourself. To explain or defend yourself, I refuse to apologise these days but that took years. I wouldn’t apologise for a broken leg or diabetes. Why apologise for being ill. 

My silent illnesses drive one another, when one gets worse, they all get worse. A worsening of the CFS symptoms drives up the pain in the fibromyalgia, these then drive the stress and depression. The only answer is to press the pause button and climb into bed, but there my mind overwhelmed me with negativity. So I had to learned to regularly meditate, relax, give gratitude, pray, journal. And practice maintaining positivity. 

On a daily basis I can suffer exhaustion, sore throats, joint and back pain, dizziness, blurred vision, breathlessness, worthless thoughts, vividly bad dreams, I feel the extremes of temperature and can go from freezing cold to boiling hot in a minute. This is in my home and comfort zone. Any little change and the mind races with all the things that can go wrong. 

I’m someone who 90% of the time won’t give in. In fact I see the change to my health as opening my life up to richer pastures. I can’t tell you how much having this business has helped me, even when it was only my hobby. It brought me to like minded people, other illness sufferers or spiritual believers. I learnt lessons and learnt I could help.  That I had acquired wisdom. When you know that, you know you haven’t lost your place in the world. In fact, you’ve found it.

To all of us who suffer one of the silent illnesses, physical, mental, emotional or a combination. For those who struggle for a diagnosis but know there’s something wrong. To those who sometimes feel that they’re on the outside looking in as your contemporaries go to concerts, night clubs, weekends away, festivals etc whilst for you it takes planning to attend a simple doctors appointment. You’re on a different path, a path of healing, learning, discovery, love, charity and one of stepping out of the 9 to 5 world and into a life of light working, seeking and finding your spiritual niche. 

Of course healing crystals became my pathway into this world, the energy that pulled me towards embracing the metaphysical, I know I’ve always belonged here and wished I’d found it earlier. 

I could be as well as anyone else my age but give me the energy to have a fabulous night out or spend it at home with a box set, David and the animals. The second always wins out :)