Friday, October 28, 2016

Invisible Illnesses

For the most part, all mental health issues are invisible.  We can't see them but we know that they are there.  We can determine them to be real by the symptoms they produce in our behaviors and physical self.  We take those symptoms and work backwards to find the problem, or do we?

It seems that much of the time, the symptoms are identified by a health care provider or self identified, and we find out what treatment is required to ease and relieve those symptoms.  Much of the time the treatment stops there because we feel better and can get back to functioning in a more 'normal' state.  

As I wrote yesterday in regards to CFS and Fibromyalgia, there is still a root to the problem that is causing the symptoms in the first place.  We can now use MRI's and other new age technology to take a better look at the brain and its functioning, but we still have so much to learn yet.  Doctors can determine imbalances in the dopamine or seratonin levels in our brain, yet they can only guess at what is causing the imbalance in the first place.

If you are suffering from an invisible illness, you know that there are times that others judge or look at us skeptically because they can't see it.  If others can't see it then often they believe it not to be real. This is one of the most frustrating things for a mental health sufferer.  It has taken me a lot of years to get to where I am in this harrowing process, but I no longer care what others think, I only care what I think when it comes to my illness.  I take steps to fix myself rather than wait for someone else to do it for me.

I am not saying that I don't use health care and mental health education sources to help me, I am simply saying that I have become my own advocate for my own mental and physical health.  I share my experience so that you realize that you can do this too.  If you have an invisible illness, it is your job to help yourself, but also use any supports that you can find, whether it be health care providers, friends or family. 

Your illness is invisible and I will tell you that most of the people around you don't truly understand, but much of the time those who care about you the most certainly do want to understand.  If you begin to identify your symptoms or have a mental health professional assess or diagnose them, you will have a starting point to start educating yourself about what is wrong.  The more you educate yourself, the more steps you will find that you can take to improve your health and quality of life.  

The more you know, the more you can share with your support system and the more they will understand that your issue is very real, and they will begin to see it more clearly.  When suffering from an invisible illness, sometimes all we want is for those we care about to understand rather than thinking they are looking at us in a negative way.  

We live in a world where we all have access to helpful information, and rather than wasting our time on social media, we could be researching and learning more about what is wrong with us,  We could be creating a better life for us and those around us.  Start increasing your Mental Health Literacy levels and move forward, no matter which invisible illness you own. 

 I still work on mine daily and still remind myself of the horrible state I was in before I began this journey.  I am hoping to help you do the same.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and find a few peaceful, happy moments for yourself.

Take care and be well!

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