Posts in Invisible Illness
Are You OK?

You may have seen that today is R U OK? Day in our neck of the woods. It’s by no means a day for the complexities of chronic illness, and we certainly shouldn’t be relying on this one day of the year to roll around, but it’s a heartfelt reminder that we need to start and keep up the conversation. When illnesses drag on, and particularly when there is no definite endpoint in sight, it’s so easy for us to stop asking that vital question. Chronic illnesses demand that we find ways to cope. When we can’t afford to break down and punch the walls on the daily, when we put on a smile, and we have a laugh, and we decide that we don’t necessarily want to look how we feel, and we keep moving forward despite often wanting to just curl up in bed, it’s easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking we’ve got it all under control. But underneath that outer layer or two, I know so many are using all their might just to hold it together. Keeping it together for years on end is hard, folks! So many are frequently forgotten until a full-blown crisis occurs, but it doesn’t always take a health flare for things to start unravelling. When are our spirits ever immune to the toll that suffering takes?

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Pain Flares and Fears

Being immobilised by relentless pain, unsurprisingly, ups the volume on those anxiety-riddled voices in our heads. Sitting with severe pain that won't budge is by no means an easy task, and on the days where so much as my head leaving the pillow just isn't an option, when agony is through the roof, and helpful distractions are sparse, it's hard no to get caught up in your thoughts. My mind instantly, instinctively and often frantically, turns to what I can do to make it stop. Of course, our pain feeds our fears, but then our fears start feeding into our physical pain, and it becomes one vicious cycle.

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Delving into my Diagnosis

My road from sudden, out-of-the-blue onset to judgement day was a lengthy one. For eighteen months, we hustled our way through countless specialists and diagnoses, which covered everything from funky infections to gallstones and food intolerances, before we eventually found ourselves sitting in my pain specialist's rooms back in 2011.

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