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Tag Archives: mental illness


There are many ways in which people feel invisible and isolated, but one of the most widely known, and unknown, ways in which people use more strength and effort to achieve what others take for granted is living with an invisible illness.

Pushing through your daily routines with pain can be truly punishing and at the end of the day exhaustion ensues.  For some, such supreme effort can keep them homebound for days seeking recovery.  The mental and physical fatigue is very real and cannot just be “slept off.”

It is estimated that over 10% of the population in the United States has an invisible illness and the percentage expands for those with an invisible disability although I suspect that the number is actually higher (these are classified differently under the Disabilities Act – the U.S. Census estimates that 19%, 1 in 5, of the population – over 56 million people – have a disability).

Many invisible illnesses have neurological origins and are woefully misunderstood.

The saddest truth is that you will be judged and quite harshly by some.  There are more critics than those who will empathize.  Some will create drama over their aches and pains and soak up all the sympathy that they can.  But, as Maya Angelou aptly put it, you don’t have to be one just because you have it.

invisible_maya angelou

I don’t feel that those of us with invisible illnesses are looking for pity or a public showing.  However, private concern, compassion, kindness, and understanding seem like too much to hope for, but are genuinely desired.

The range of invisible illnesses include genetic diseases, Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, to Multiple Sclerosis, ALS and Alzheimer’s in early stages, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Depression and all mental illnesses, to Heart or Lung disease, Endometriosis, Diabetes, and Cancer.  The broad scope and list of such illnesses is long and very real for those suffering.  We want to remain positive, we want to feel good, and we want to live without pain.  We wish that we could.  But, when we have experienced it we have two options: selfishly claim that ours is worse than others and become bitter or empathize with another’s pain and acknowledge with comforting compassion and patience.

Those suffering with invisible illnesses often feel that they live in an invisible world, as their lives and feelings are hidden away to please others (who rarely are) or prevent discrimination from affecting them in any way at work, school, or social situations.  They fight twice as hard for every day in misunderstanding, fear, and the vast unknown.


While completely misunderstood, you cannot classify hundreds of millions of people around the world as “faking” or seeking attention.  Most will not receive any and will struggle alone.

Life happens and we do not always have the choice of health and wellness.  Masking it to make others feel more comfortable only adds to the difficulty.  Each of us is fighting a battle that no one else knows.

The first step is empathy and acceptance. Appreciate that while beauty may be skin deep, illness can and does indeed go to the bone, and strong people bear it as well as able every day.  The majority of people do not want to experience pain, struggle, or seek medical attention as often as they must to live active and functioning lives.  However, criticism, demeaning, and intolerance wound further.


If you are living with an invisible illness, what has your experience been?

Thank you for sharing.


hello my mental health

I don’t like to get political with my posts.  It is more important for me to represent a more empathetic and supportive viewpoint.

However, in the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, and yet more political posturing about gun control and constitutional rights to bear arms, I have yet to hear about improved mental healthcare access.   Please add this topic to the crisis responses and discussions.

Millions of people have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.  Terror attacks have taken place (and continue to do so) around the world using guns, cars, trucks, knives, and other implements…at concerts, on streets, at schools.  Men, women, and children of all ages are impacted.

The aftermath of such violent, horrific, and unstable events, leaves a trail of wounds and scars.  In the US, insurance coverage parity is lacking between mental and physical health care. To the millions struck with Trauma, Panic Attacks and Anxiety, Grief, Depression, and PTSD in light of recent disasters, they are one and the same.

Many people that I have met do not seek mental health therapies because they cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenses.  Provide reduced rates for subsidized or free therapy; add affordable and easily accessible mental health care providers to urgent care centers.  Lobby insurance providers and our politicians.  Resources and coping skills are critically stretched to the breaking point.

The ramifications of these traumatic past few weeks have yet to be fully felt, but “echoes” will continue for a long time.   Let’s stop making it an issue that is “someone else’s problem.”  What proactive steps can be taken to lay the groundwork?  Can we create healthy environments that care for all  of peoples’ needs before it’s too late?


Take Action on Advocacy Issues.  Donate to a Mental Health Charity.




Education about mental disorders is still woefully low compared to those who suffer its effects.  Whether you, or someone you love, has depression, despite the soaring numbers of those afflicted, each individual feels desperately alone, ashamed, afraid, and overwhelmed.  Sometimes it is chemical, but it can also be situational or genetic; While precariously keeping it together, a major life change can trigger genuine mental and physical symptoms.  Whether you chose the wrong job, the wrong person, served in the military forces, cared for the elderly, had a family history of mental health issues, the death or estrangement of a loved one, and other vast and devastating experiences of daily life – symptoms are real and identifiable.

Social, psychological, and biological causes, combined with the social stigma can literally kill.  Mental disorders affect 350 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and more than half receive no treatment.  In my work, I meet with so many affected individuals or relatives, afraid to seek out help or unable to afford the care they desperately need.  Education, accessibility, health insurance parity, and affordable medical care are critical to saving lives and families.  Communication and the safety to express genuine feelings and concerns, without retribution, is critical to asking for help.  It is not a weakness and no one seeks to be disabled by a mood disorder.  There are legitimate health risks at every age.

Saving your life, or that of another, is an act of bravery.  It is not cause for shame, it is an accomplishment to take action.

depression infographic

It is a brutal fight, taking all of your strength to rise again, with personal trust and confidence eroded.  Disorganized thinking, difficulty concentrating, or remembering basic facts are part of the cognitive dissonance that depression causes.  Multi-layered therapies appear to have the best rate of success.

depression_brene brown

Education is the tip of the iceberg.  Even if you are unable to seek help, or interact with others, the ability to take a free and anonymous mental health screening is a brilliant self-assessment tool.  Being self aware and sensitive to your own individual needs can begin the process of healing and receiving help in an overwhelmingly isolated and painful situation.  It takes months to recover one’s sense of self, or at least heal enough to gain the energy for perspective.  There is no magic pill, but developing coping skills and mechanisms, means that even if those daily steps are slow and tiny, they are moving forward, one at a time.


Thank you for stopping by!  I hope that you enjoy your visit and I’m glad that you are here.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Gut Feeling.”

I used my gut feeling last night and wrote a post about mental illness and those who have had a mood disorder or depressive episode. It was my hope that it would help someone not feel so alone, but it is a gamble. People could read the post or might find it too serious and stop reading my blog. That is scary.

To me, that is what following a gut feeling is. You feel a drive, an urge, a voice prodding you along and even though you don’t know how it will turn out, you leap into the unknown and try anyway. It takes strength and courage to follow an instinct or intuition that only you experience but you take a deep breath and believe.

Will it work out? I don’t know yet. But, I still hope that I will be able to help someone along the way.

show kindness

Whenever I defend someone with depression, anxiety, mood disorders or mental illness, I get slapped with more labels than a Walmart rollback.

One of the hallmarks of Depression is two weeks of unrelenting Sadness.

So, let’s get something straight. Almost everyone you know has experienced anxiety, a depressive episode, or more severe mood disorder. In fact, there are certain circumstances that can cause one:

Anyone who has been a veteran and seen active combat

Anyone has buried someone they love

Anyone who has ever had a baby

Anyone who has ever had a miscarriage

Anyone who has ever been pregnant

Anyone who has ever had heart disease

Anyone who has ever had cancer

Anyone who has ever had fibromyalgia, arthritis or dozens of other “invisible illnesses”

Anyone who has ever lost a job

Anyone who has ever begun a job

Anyone who has ever had a toxic boss or coworkers

Anyone who has ever moved

Anyone who has ever been homeless

Anyone who has ever known hunger

Anyone who has ever been married

Anyone who has ever been divorced

Anyone who has ever suffered heartbreak

Anyone who has mourned a loss or suffered from grief

Anyone who has ever had obsessive thoughts

Anyone who has ever had a drug or alcohol addiction

Anyone who has had a dysfunctional family

Anyone who has ever been adopted

Anyone who has ever been separated

Anyone who has ever been lonely, bullied, shamed, or excluded

Anyone who has ever hit puberty or menopause

Anyone who has ever had anesthesia or surgery

Anyone who has ever struggled to pay their bills

Anyone who has ever faced eviction

Anyone who has ever been robbed or scammed

Anyone who has ever suffered from abuse or rape

Anyone who has ever suffered from dementia

Anyone who has ever suffered from chronic pain

Anyone who has ever suffered from a terminal illness

Anyone who has a genetic relationship with someone who has had anxiety, depression or a mood disorder

Anyone who is currently experiencing any one of the above circumstances

Anyone who will be experiencing any one of the above circumstances

Anyone related to anyone who has, or will be experiencing, one of the above circumstances

Anyone who is taking medication or recreational drug meant to suppress, effect or increase serotonin, norepinephrine, gaba pain receptors, dopamine, or stimulate other parts of the brain including the pleasure and reward centers

If you are Happy, Happy, Happy, but have a 2 Drink 2 Valium minimum during stressful times, you are experiencing anxiety and using anti-anxiety medication

Even the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths who are feeling no pain suffer from a Major Mental Illness that has gone untreated

Anyone who has ever had Anxiety, Depression, or a Mood Disorder and been treated has tried to Heal, Restore, Reflect, Improve, Function, and Adopt Positive thoughts and Lifestyle changes.

If you have been on anti-anxiety, or antidepressant medication, and you call someone else “crazy”, you are forgetting that you have had more advantages than most and could use your experience to help comfort or empathize with someone else

If you have any more labels left over, I suggest you use them to wrap up your packages and give everyone else a break.

If you have read down to the bottom, thank you for your patience and reading my post.

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