Even when we have known a person for decades there are still things we can discover about their daily life with chronic illness. And when we learn a bit more about what something is they love to hear, or what their morning may be like, it can help us be more compassionate to all of those around us who are suffering in ways we may not have noticed.
While I do battle Fibromyalgia, Depression is another part of my invisible illness that I battle. I’ve battled it so long that I can’t put a finger on it. But I suspect it was triggered as a result of a period of time that I was molested and felt unsafe as a child and then as a teenager by an extended step-grandfather. Once triggered it only got worse from there.
1. The illness I live with is: Depression
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1993
3. But I had symptoms since: Since I was a teenager
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Being honest about what I am feeling in my head before my mind turns it to an even uglier place
5. Most people assume: I rarely go out so I’m assuming that they believe I am invisible
6. The hardest part about mornings are: waking up to a new day that will be just as long and sad as the one before
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My cell phone – it’s my only source of contact to the few friends who still talk to me (thank you Alli – I love you)
9. The hardest part about nights are: The nights are easy because I can sleep through hours that I know I would be awake and depressed
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 15 – not all of them are for my depression/anxiety though
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Go to acupuncture as often as I feel I need to and I meditate (by meditate I mean that I put on some sounds that relax me and help me to shut off my mind) usually at the same time I’m getting acupuncture
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me
13. Regarding working and career: What work? What career? After my diagnosis with Fibro I wasn’t able to work. I do my own “work” now by blogging in order to help others who struggle like I do. My depression has gotten worse because of not being able to contribute to society.
14. People would be surprised to know: That I sleep most of the day with the blinds closed.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Friends no longer care ask to spend time with me. Even the friends I thought were my closest friends no longer even text me. Other than my family I live a very lonely life, which makes my depression worse.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Exercise – I do it in spurts but just getting out feels good
17. The commercials about my illness: irritates me because none of those people appear to live like I do
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: spending time with friends whenever I want to
19. It was really hard to have to give up: shopping all day
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: blogging
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Spend the day with my family at a park hiking, enjoying the outdoors, then go to a festival somewhere and explore that. The finish up the date eating at Joe’s Crab Shack downtown and walk on the Pedestrian Bridge.
22. My illness has taught me: Expect very little from myself so I’m not so disappointed
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “I hope to see you there” because 99.9% of the time I know they aren’t going to and that makes me feel guilty
24. But I love it when people: Text me closer to an event and say “I’m praying you’ll feel up to coming. But if not I’ll take lots of pictures and/or videos to send you so you don’t feel like you missed it”
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: God is faithful, if he brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: SEE A DOCTOR AND TAKE MEDICATION!! You are NOT depressed because something is wrong with your spiritual life! There is nothing that YOU can do to fight this on your own.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: The ebb and flow
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: When my sweet neighbor (who no longer lives next door) went to the grocery for me or when she made a meal or dessert for me.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: It’s important that those who suffer like we do know they aren’t alone. We don’t carry around a sign that says “FYI: I have an invisible illness!” so we can find each other. So bringing awareness online is a terrific way to spread the word.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: eternally grateful