Many mental conditions are referred to as invisible illnesses. Conditions such as social anxiety and depression are recognized as this. I myself have talked on how, as a barman, no-one suspected my anxieties. Conditions like that can be hard to handle because, well how do you convince people of something they can't see. That is what I'd like to talk about today.
I've been living with Mental illness for a very long time. Every time I talk to a doctor it seems my conditions go even further back into my past. I'm at the point now where I know I was showing signs of various conditions in my early childhood, but how could I have known? For that matter, how could my parents have known. None of the 'telltale' signs are all that obvious, and as a child I never experienced the dread that comes with my anxiety as it does now. Sure, I spent a lot of time alone, but give any child a gaming console and they will do the same. So getting a diagnosis in the first place is hard. I mean, how do you tell people that have known you for most of your life that you have a mental problem, when they haven't noticed?
Then you have people that you haven't known as long. What do you tell them? Do you admit to a mental condition and hope they react well? Do you stay silent and hope it never comes up? In my experience I've often opted for the former. In my opinion is someone can't accept who I am then that is their problem not mine. However, it doesn't make the rejection any easier when they start to distance themselves from you. It doesn't make it hurt less when people openly reject the idea and say there's nothing wrong with you. That you just need to 'toughen up'.
As with all things, there is another side to this. What about conditions that are easy to spot? Conditions that effect your speech, or you body posture? The reactions are slightly different then. I'm still unsure as to what is causing my current conditions, but I have no chance of not being noticed anymore. Now everyone can see that there is something wrong with me, and I don't think it's made it any easier.
Now that my 'invisible illnesses' are no longer invisible I've seen some noticeable changes. People I've known for years won't talk to me. I don't know if it's because they are upset or if they just don't want to associate with me. others do talk to me, but I'm no longer their equal, I'm someone with a speech impediment that gets talked down to. All of a sudden my body starts doing weird things, and people seem to think that my intellect must have dropped too. I know it takes me a while to get a three syllable word out, but that doesn't mean I don't know what it means.
I think what bothers me the most right now, is that I want people to know I'm okay. Granted my body is being a bit awkward and something has gone wrong upstairs, but I'm still the same person. I haven't changed. I'm not stupid and I don't want pity. I want you to have a laugh with me and tell me how your day was. I'm a little bored talking about how my body makes me look like a monkey that's just figured out how to walk on two legs.
The point I'm trying to make, is that just because someone has a mental illness, it doesn't mean they are any less of a person. We just want to get on with life, and we don't want to be judged based on a medical history.
Anyway, before I get too preachy, over to you. How does Mental Illness effect your personal relationships? What's it like to have an invisible illness? Perhaps you have a friend that struggles and you'd like to help more?
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This has been,
A Jackals Voice.