As it is mental health awareness day, I thought it only fitting to talk about the side of chronic illness that often gets brushed aside – mental health and how it can consume you. I contemplated what to write, and how to do it justice and I have decided to write word for word, an entry from a diary I wrote when I was just out of hospital in 2012 to highlight just how important it is to listen to what your body is telling you, both mentally and physically…
“This is shit. Really shit. Just mind numbingly, painfully and all consumingly shit. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know if I want to do this. I spend every minute, awake and asleep, wondering. I wonder if I’ll ever feel better, I wonder if I’ll ever smile again, I wonder if I will ever go a day in my life with no medication. I wonder what if. Every day is a guessing game. Will I have enough energy to lift my head, will I have enough energy to get out bed? It’s constant, I just can’t get away from it. I can’t get away from myself. There is literally no escape. I’m sick of the sound of my own voice in my own head just wondering. It’s so constant, just so, so, so, so, so constant”
It’s difficult to re read. And I’ve thought about not posting this for the past 4 hours. But we need to talk about it, there are hundreds of thousands of people suffering with chronic illness and it’s not all is what you see on the surface. Sometimes there is a huge battle being fought somewhere that isn’t visible. I know without the support of my friends and family, there is absolutely zero chance I would be as well as I am today. And even though I’m still struggling with the physical complications of Crohn’s disease, I can handle it because I’ve listened to my mental health. I’ve phoned a counsellor, I’ve talked to friends, I’ve written a blog, or I’ve just slept and that’s okay. Your body will never heal if your mind isn’t content. So reach out to someone, share your worries and your concerns and feel that weight getting smaller. It is absolutely fine, to not be okay – just make sure you understand that there is always a way to help. You can do it.
– R. x