I was very moved by the blog posts of two dear friends recently. They both blogged on the subject of ‘invisible illnesses’.
The first comes from my friend Shoba Chacksfield, who I volunteer with at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow. She is amazing at opening up her walk (and battle) with Anorexia (her invisible illness) and bravely blogs extremely truthfully about her condition.
The lovely Shoba and me at the Mind Christmas Party.
In this post she writes about the constant inner-monologue of Anorexia. The voice in her head and her own voice – the positive and negative sides.
I found this so helpful in being a better friend to this brave young woman I admire when I so often forget she might be struggling as she seems to be so together and pro-active. But every time I might give her a harmless compliment or someone offers her food, she has the exhaustion of battling with the voices in her head.
Read her post here.
The second comes from my friend, Natalia Lester-Bush and she writes about the invisible illness of chronic pain. Natalia is very open about her daily walk with her excruciating back condition, but I so often forget, as she is so up-beat (and completely detests pity! 😉 )
The lovely Natalia.
Here she writes about a day last week where she couldn’t complete her work study in Gender Studies because of an unpredictable day of such pain, just putting her socks on was too much. Yet she writes about how the reminder of pain on such days serves as a reminder of how much she has to be thankful for. I love the fact she gives witness of the Joy she has in Christ in spite of the pain she feels daily and she pokes fun at her illness in a way that frees you up to talk about it.
You can read about socks and chronic pain here.
As some readers of my blog will know, I have come out of three years of clinical depression and anxiety on and off (also invisible) caused by a hormone imbalance. If not, you can scroll back through my blog and read ‘The worst day of my life’ and others. I think I was pretty vocal about my struggles and difficulties, but this is quite possibly because naturally I am an extroavert. These two blogs remind me that friends may appear to be doing well on any given day, but like all of us, there is much going on below the surface. It serves me well to reflect on this before I see people and certainly within conversation (and silences).
Thank you Shoba and Natalia for being so honest and educating the networks in your lives of what it is like for you to live with an invisible illness.
Please do feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below.