Living with a Chronic Illness - Hitting that invisible brick wall

Living with a chronic illness

I've decided to put together a series of blog posts to talk about how living with a chronic illness affects me and my first post talks about the invisible 'Brick Wall'.

I'm not a doctor and everyone is different but this is my experience and some of the ways I've learnt to manage, granted most days not that well but I like to think that I am now on a happier path.

Anyone out there who suffers with a chronic illness or health condition will know how difficult it is managing on a day to day basis. Simple tasks become unachievable and pie in the sky. I'm not talking about taking the dog for a walk or going to the post office. I mean your most basic tasks, making breakfast, getting dressed, or brushing your hair can seem like a mountain to climb.

To think all those years ago I would end up with a chronic illness which affected me daily I wouldn't have believed anyone. All those small tasks I took for granted, never mind a full time job in IT, a busy life outside of work and just living for the moment.

Now my life is very different and it's been hard, I mean really hard adjusting to my new life. I am now so reliant on others and I know I am lucky to have a very supportive family and friends. They all help me in so many ways and I really wouldn't still be here without them. It has though been so very hard to come to terms with this life changing illness and there are many days I do still struggle with it.

Anyone who is on a similar path to me will understand that it's not just the chronic illness you have to deal with, it's how it affects you mentally. And oh boy it really does.

There are many things I've learnt over the last decade or so and this is one of them. Any physical health issues will manifest and affect you mentally, trying to ignore them will only make it worse.

If you are struggling with a health condition please don't do what I did and hide it for years. It's not being brave and when you hit that brick wall where you can't even get out of bed. Believe me you will hit it at some point. Hiding how bad you feel will only make it worse.

My family were shocked when it happened to me. Yes everyone knew I wasn't well and overtime things had changed but because I hid how bad it was, the realisation was so much worse. I became a great actress at hiding how much pain I was in and struggling to keep going to work eventually took it's toll.

Before I hit the brick wall I would rest all weekend just so I could get through the week at work. I later found out that this is referred to as 'Crash and Burn' and I had a maximum of 2 years of working and living like that before I would have been basically screwed.

Maybe luckily for me I hit the brick wall before that happened or sometimes I think maybe I didn't have 2 years! Who knows? What I do know is I wish I hadn't hid my illness for so long. If you take one thing from my post, it is to tell someone before you hit the brick wall, don't hide it. Talk to your partner, wife, husband or even your doctor. You need to talk someone. Only then can you move forward.

It won't be easy. I give no illusion that it will be easy. I just hope that it helps and you don't end up like I did because when I hit that brick wall it was damn hard. I believe that if I had asked for help sooner then it wouldn't have been as bad or as hard as it was.

Until next time (gentle hugs)

Jo x

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Living with a chronic illness

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