Several months ago, I posted a blog entry that compared how people react to physical illnesses versus mental illnesses.
In that post, I detailed the overwhelming support I received after breaking my arm in two places. I also bragged about how I refused to let it slow me down. Using only one arm, over a holiday weekend, I was able to produce fact sheets and other collateral materials for a very large and important client during a deadline crunch.
I also shared some aspects of my much less obvious illness:
Imagine a disease that rarely allows you to sleep through an entire night. A disease that constantly impacts your perception of the world around you; a disease that clouds your judgment, alters your reality and makes it almost impossible to get out of bed.
Imagine an intense level of pain that without medication would have you think every hour of every day about ending your life; a disease that inhibits your ability to maintain relationships and function as a productive member of society. Imagine having a disease that is commonly ridiculed and often dismissed as nothing more than “feeling sorry for yourself.”
I live with the challenges of that disease every day. I fight it with every fiber of my existence, only to know that it will never go away; that there is no cure or remedy.
Today is one of those days when I pretend that it is all so manageable. Generally, I pretend by using social media to argue and rant about politics or current events, anything other than the reality surrounding me. Presenting a false illusion of confidence and optimism.
It would be more convenient — certainly less difficult — for my friends, family and coworkers, if I could be more consistent in masking this disease.
Many of them, in fact, would prefer that I not talk about this subject, but I make no apologies, and I am not asking for much.
I would ask only, that on days like today, you treat me the same as you would if you saw my arm in a cast.
When I broke my arm, only one person told me I was “just feeling sorry for myself.” Only one person expected me to type a 300-page report or maybe sling a hammer and just “get over it by doing something productive.” Only one person told me I was too self-absorbed and ungrateful for all the amazing gifts God has bestowed upon me.
That one person was me, and it is the voice I imagine that others whisper when I am not in the room.
Judge me if you want, but also know this . . . you will never judge me more harshly than that voice inside my head
So, why do I write this shit? What’s the point? I have no answer. But if you click this link, you will find a wide range of others who share some unique insights and perspectives about a disease that remains invisible and generally misunderstood.