Hello loves! I hope you are all having a good week so far. I wanted to dedicate a post to all invisible illnesses and raise some awareness because this week is invisible illness week. There are so many different invisible illnesses that exist – both mental and physical, and they often go overlooked. As many of you already know, I myself suffer from several invisible illnesses including an eating disorder (anorexia), anxiety disorders, and depression. Those are all of the mental invisible illnesses that I battle and have suffered from in the past. I also have physical illnesses and disabilities that are invisible, which include POTS, Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia Syndrome, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, and probable Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility type. All of these illnesses fall under the umbrella of Dysautonomia. I am currently seeking treatment for each one of these illnesses that cause me significant amounts of distress and chaos in my life.
Just because an illness is not ‘visible’ does not mean that it should not be taken as seriously as other illnesses; they are just as destructive and harmful as any other sickness or disease. When it comes to mental health, I have found that a lot of times society does not put it on the same playing field as medical/physical illnesses, and to be quite honest, I can say that mental illness has caused more hurt and damage in my life than some of the physical illnesses that I suffer from. My eating disorder has reeked havoc on my life, causing problems mentally, emotionally, and physically. Anxiety has also really taken a toll on my overall health and well being. It has caused me pain and heartache, preventing me from doing the things that I love such as going out with friends and family, going to school, and sometimes even leaving the house – or worse – my own room. Depression has caused me to inflict harm on myself and stay in bed for days or cry myself to sleep at night. I write all of this merely to show just how destructive mental illness can be – and for all of you out there who are suffering from any sort of emotional or mental health issue – do not be afraid to speak up and ask for help! You are not ‘crazy’, and you are not ‘dramatic.’ You are suffering from an illness that is very real, and I hope that we can continue to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and raise more awareness.
As for the medical issues that I am experiencing, they have presented me with quite the challenge. I may not look sick on the outside, but if I looked as bad as I felt on the inside, it would not be a pretty sight to say the least. I spend my days dizzy and light-headed, sometimes coming close to passing out. I am so fatigued, yet I have trouble sleeping. Daily tasks take an immense amount of energy – just the simple act of showering wears me out and I usually have to lie down right after. I experience frequent headaches and a very fast heart rate, which sometimes cause me to feel hot and out of breath. Walking is a workout and when I need to walk longer distances, I have to use a walker. I am 23 going on 24 years old, a typical college student, and I do not look disabled – but I am. However, I have a lot of hope. I have hope that one day I will be able to do all of the wonderful activities and sports that I love. I am not sure when, where, or how that will happen, but I am not giving up and I am not losing hope that things will get better. Again, the more we raise awareness and the more knowledge that we gain, the closer we become to getting the help and care that we need.
To anyone who is suffering from an invisible illness: stay strong, have faith, and know that you are not alone! Never give up because you are worth the fight and you deserve your health and happiness.