Chronic illness challenge day 13 - MH


For my new readers, I've been going through this challenge gradually to try to raise awareness about invisible and chronic illnesses, and to share my experiences in case they help someone else. 

Today brings us to Day 13 and: Has your physical illness had any effect on your mental health. Explain.

I speak about my health often on this blog, and I may have covered this topic before, but for the benefit of new readers I'll do so again.

Yes, my mental health has been affected by Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. I have depression and anxiety disorder which I believe is a direct result of being physically unwell for so long. There is no doubt that when you lose your good health, source of employment, independence etc. etc. it can affect you in a bad way. I think it would be more unlikely for someone NOT to be depressed when their whole previous lifestyle has been turned on its head.

The good news is there is help - anti depressants and anti anxiety medications, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which has helped me recognise when I'm spiralling into bad thoughts and to address them. It has also helped me learn distraction techniques. You can read more about how CBT has helped me here.

There's no denying a condition which takes away the fullness of your life and throws a whole new set of challenges at you it IS difficult, but there are mechanisms to help and life can still be very enjoyable. When your health is affected you realise what REALLY matters, and much of which was an obsession before - a career, the future, owning a home - takes a back seat to surviving life from day to day and trying desperately not to let your illness deteriorate any further. More emphasis is put on relationships with the good people in your life - friends and loved ones - and as the mere acquaintances and fair weather friends fall away like dying petals on a sunflower at the end of summer, the realise people you are left with are the cream of the crop.

In many ways chronic illness re-frames life from a new perspective and brings new clarity to what really matters. I see it as a positive. Whatever challenges there are in my life, I'm just so happy to still be here.

Thanks for reading!

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