According to the IC Network, depression often accompanies other illnesses, such as IC/BPS and chronic pelvic pain and, in some cases, those illnesses can cause depression. It makes sense. When you’re faced with a new diagnosis and/or chronic pain, it’s normal to feel concerned, sad and depressed. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder, also often accompany depression
“It was really hard to get out of bed in the morning. I just wanted to hide under the covers and not talk to anyone. I didn’t feel much like eating and I lost a lot of weight. Nothing seemed fun anymore. I was tired all the time, and I wasn’t sleeping well at night. But I knew I had to keep going because I’ve got kids and a job. It just felt so impossible, like nothing was going to change or get better.” This is a feeling a lot of people with chronic illnesses suffer. The severity does change however.
Photo credit: ValeTheKid, Flickr.
I have a circle of friends whom I love and trust. However, as my pain got worse, so did my depression. I wanted to go out, I wanted to do things with my friends; I just couldn’t. I wasn’t being lazy, I wasn’t being a “flop”, I just literally physically couldn’t anymore. Everything was a battle. Getting up, commuting, being at work, focusing, forcing myself to eat, talking to people, basically everything that humans do on a regular basis exhausted me to the point where it hurt to walk.
The sad part is, no one knows what someone with an invisible illness goes through. Granted, they wouldn’t know unless you tell them. But how do you go about telling a friend or a coworker I am in constant pain and that everything hurts all the time? I just want to be in bed and cry. I can’t come to your party since I run on 20% of the energy a normal person does and I have exhausted that at work today. It’s not that easy! I am fortunate that my friends that have known me for a really long time stuck around, but others didn’t and I can’t really blame them. They didn’t really know or understand what was going on. The same goes for our society. In Toronto, the hustle and bustle of the city sometimes makes us forget that the person you just yelled at in traffic is having a really bad day; or that the homeless man asking you for change, while you told him to F-Off is actually very hungry; or that the girl who was walking slowly in front of you as you frustratingly tell her to move is actually very sick and can’t move at a faster rate.
My invisible illness is one of my biggest blessings in life. It’s because I suffered so much that I have compassion for people who suffer, for animals and for this planet. I truly believe that every person is fighting a battle and we should always be kind to each other. It’s because of it that I will confront someone about their subway seat and tell them that there is an elderly lady standing and she’s probably uncomfortable or in pain. It’s because of my illness that I hold people with disabilities in the highest regard. It’s because of my illness that I will continue to write and put everything out there to raise awareness about chronic disease and invisible illness.
As I was writing I asked myself what is the point of this article? The point is that if you suffer from any sort of invisible disease, you are not alone. And if you don’t then you now know that a lot of people can be suffering right in front of you. so be kind, everyone is fighting a battle.