I wanted to talk about a subject that to me currently is effecting my life right now. As you know I live with Crohns Disease, and although I try to not let it define me it often comes up in conversation everday. Not only does it come up but it effects me every single day in one way or another. Because of this I wanted to bring up the topic of 'invisible illness' on my blog. I may have this condition but there are so many thousands and millions of people suffering something that distrupts their lives that you may not even know about to the physical eye. These people are living their day as everyone else is yet carrying sometimes a huge burden. I myself have had Crohns since I was 13 so it has become a way of life but I wanted to focus next on how I am currently.
I went into hospital before Christmas and since I got out so much has changed, To most people you may not notice or think I am overacting. That's fine, from the outside it may seem that way but what I have learnt is that if I have a feeling or emotion than that is valid in it's own right.
So due to taking strong medication for a few months now (I recently came off Steroids) I have been suffering from bad side effects. Again, with an invisible illness a lot of things you can't actually see or notice.
In less than 3 months I have put on over a stone in weight, which for me is crazy. I have always been under weight or comfortable and it has drastically caught up on me. I over ate over Christmas and January not only because I was on Steroids (which makes you constantly feel hungry) but comfort eating as well. I also got what is known as 'moon face' which you may have seen me moan about on Twitter. The past few weeks my face has gone down slightly but I now have hives on my cheeks and bad break outs. On top of this my medication make my nails flake (almost like dust) and just fall apart and my hair falls out in clumps, especially when I shower. My joints especially my knees swell up and hurt most days and the hair on my knuckles, top lip and arms have become dark (I am naturally fair haired). All these things are small things but added up are huge physical changes an invisible illness can cause. The list of side effects sometimes can seem endless!
So with the explanation of physical changes, with those bring me on to self confidence. As you can imagine all those things effecting you in such a short space of time is bound to knock down your confidence. Currently my self esteem is at an all time low although each day I try my best to keep a positive spirit I always fail.
Not only does low confidence effect me (of course) but it can spread to my loved ones. I have mood swings and feel like I am constantly glass half empty because If I'm not feeling good in myself I don't feel good or believe in anything else. It is hard to be happy for others as well, which makes me feel even worse!! You start doubting yourself of being good enough and as I am a sensitive person it's easy to over think everything.
Things like, can people notice my face is fat? Will these symptoms ever go away? Do people get annoyed at me for taking sick days or being moody?
In all honesty it's easy to drive people away and thats also a part of confidence. If you aren't happy in yourself you can't make others happy. I have been quiet and distant to even my closest friends in the hope they will still be there for me, I know it works both ways but I can honestly say I just don't have the energy for it.
Going onto the future. I'm not saying it is this negative every single day living with an illness, far from it. Most of the time I am happy, positive and a fighter. It just seems lately I am in the biggest funk and can't get out of it.
Working in social media AND running this blog means I am CONSTANTLY surrounded with beautiful people online and people succeeding. This goes back to self confidence and how comparing yourself to others is very easy with social media playing a huge part of my life.
This blog has also suffered because of my current health flare up. Which brings me to my future and how to better where I am now. I have realised getting better doesn't end when you come out of hospital but it can takes months if not years when it comes to the emotional impact a flare up can have. I pressure myself so much to loose the weight, have better skin, look pretty, update my blog and always be positive and happy and quite honestly I've burnt out.
I'm not saying i'm quitting blogging but i'm definitely going to tone it down at the moment. I'll blog when I can and when there is no pressure attached to it. It is a struggle to photograph myself when I don't like how I look right now.
so to recap, if you have friends or family that go through an invisible illness just remember it's an every day battle and we must be there for each other. I posted a quote on instagram the other day 'if the world was blind, how many people would you impress' and I think it's really something to think about. We have all become so vain and self involved (myself included) and I hope that in reading this even a few of you will have a second thought when someone close to you is poorly or down. Or if yourself is going through something similar, than let yourself live through this patch and don't beat yourself up.
I have learnt that there are highs and lows and I must focus on getting my health better and the rest will follow. I hope this posts makes you more aware or even shines a light on why I may have been distant.
Please feel free to comment.