Being true to yourself never goes out of style

photo-of-woman-looking-at-the-mirror-774866.jpgHad to take a Legally Blonde quote for this one.

Living with a Chronic Illness is tough, being LGBT+ can also be tough. Having a job as a stopgap to hopefully bigger and better things – also tough. Life is tough.  And there are many situations you may encounter in life where you feel you need to not be yourself. Where you feel you should pretend to be someone your not or downright lie as to why you want to take x day off. (As the mother suggests and does often).

Maybe there’s a bit of Hufflepuff in me, but I value honesty and integrity. I don’t want to be living a lie and I want the freedom to post about events I’ve attended on social media without having to worry about who’s seen it.

I used to try and pretend to be someone I’m not, fit myself into that perfect mould that people told me to be. Attempting to conform with that on application forms, contemplating the mould in the decisions I made in life and when I was a lot younger, pretending to be someone I’m not to make and maintain friendships.

My advice is don’t. Also don’t lie. Chances are you’ll get found out eventually.

I’ve got a lot further when I’ve been honest. When I’ve shown my genuine passion and interests.

I’ve also got myself into very bad situations from not disclosing my disability and as a result having to push myself more than my body was capable of. This caused a decline I haven’t come back from in 2017 and over the summer it caused some psychological trauma from being on a carpark floor in front of colleagues for two hours and having to go to A&E. It also caused me to be unable to walk for two weeks and drop attacks that I am only just getting some control over.

Never had this made being true to myself ring so true.

I have also found that I am a lot happier when I am being true to myself. In whatever way that may mean. It also helps me to create a narrative I can use throughout my training contract applications and soon LPC applications (I’ve heard this helps).

So yes be true to yourself. In all parts of life. Now this doesn’t mean sharing everything and anything. There’s a lot I don’t share. I don’t share the details of my illness in anywhere near as much depth as I feel them, for example. It just means being honest, and not pretending to be someone your not.

 

 

I saw you do x so you’re well enough to work

I feel this is a common misconception that muggles have, as if work is a low energy task that we an just do if we’re atall seen out of the house. And it hurts us chronic illness wizards beause we then very much fear being sruitinised for every little move and push ourselves to go into work even though we very much should not be at work. We put on our fake smile and go with it beause anything is better than being stuck in a house.

But it is very much a misconception, regardless of the job you have. Yes I may be able to pop to the shop up the top of my road to grab some essentials but that doesn’t necessarily mean my “sick leave” is me faking ill beause I’m lazy and I cannot be bothered.

See the thing is, having ME is not that linear. I wish it was.

The problem is working 8 hours a day even if it’s largely desk based is a high energy task and the nature of work being 8 hours with one break makes it even more high energy. For anyone trying to maintain they’re focus and accuracy especially if doing repetitive tasks is difficult. For someone with ME this is even more difficult of a task to do and makes us feel really poorly.

Compare that to just popping to the shops, yeah it takes energy but I can rest after what is a 10 minute round trip. Not all activity is equal and just because we’re off sick because of our disability it doesn’t mean that we are off sick from adult responsibilities. They’ll always be there.

On the more extreme end of this you may see someone with ME or any other invisible illness going out to the cinema or going to the theatre. Theatre trips are booked in advance so yes I will be going. And that one day of activity or two hours if you live in a convenient location is nothing compared to working 8 hours a day 5 days a week. You have an opportunity to rest during the day for those two hours. The same goes if you see someone out for a meal with they’re family or friends.

Stop being quick to judge. And I’m saying this as someone who also used to be quick to judge because I sacrificed all else for my degree so when other chronically ill people were struggling and I saw that in social media I just felt they weren’t prioritising their degree enough and putting too many spoons into having fun.

But here’s the thing. Just because we’re disabled doesn’t mean we’re less worthy of a work life balance. And the view that if you are capable of doing anything else then you are capable of working can be very harmful to people with invisible illnesses both physically and mentally.

Do you know why? Because it leads us to push ourselves to dangerous limits in order to avoid such scrutiny. And that is not okay. We shouldn’t feel the need to do that.

Invisible illnesses come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. They often fluctuate over time. We all need to learn to stop being so quick to judge and just respect that we all have our own limits.

Moving back in with your family as an adult

Silhouette of woman sitting in bed by window

I know plenty of people who live with their parents or even go away to uni and come back and intend to stay with their parents and are okay with that. But I know an equal, if not greater number of people who really struggle to live with their parents as an adult let alone move back in. And as I am finally moving back out, I thought it would be a great time to write about it.

Moving back in with your parents after spending the best part of three or even four years away from home at uni or doing anything for that matter is odd. And I think odd is the best way to describe it.

On the one hand your aware your family are happy to welcome you in and maybe even have you around again but on the other hand the family have recreated a dynamic without you in. I really feel this on a regular basis because I have brothers who are 13 and 10 and I’m 21. It feels like they’re this perfect family of four and I’m on the outside.

I just don’t fit in anymore. I never did to be perfectly honest.

But now I’m an adult I feel like I’m walking on egg shells. I have my own life and I’ve got used to living with friends or in halls. I just can’t seem to fit back in to family life. I feel pressured and unable to nap even when my body really needs it because people will come into my room without knocking and if they do knock will call me lazy or not understand my illnesses.

And it fucking hurts. Because family are meant to understand. I expect family to understand. And I don’t know why still expect them to because after being ill since 10 they have never understood and I’ve never even felt like I could let on that I was in pain etc. Maybe there’s a little bit of Hufflepuff in this Slytherin…  

I come home from work and want to have my family say hello, I want to talk about each others days. Because that’s what families do? Isn’t it?

Not mine. I am way too needy for my family. I come home, barely get a hello from anyone but the dog and if I try and talk to anyone I get some form of go away. And that’s difficult. There’s one thing being at uni and knowing you could find someone to chat with if you wanted to. Another thing coming back home and having that expectation of a family not be real.

I have been in literal tears over my family multiple times since coming home because well… I don’t know. I’m an awful person. I’m too needy for them. I don’t fit in. And yeah there were tears before I left home but coming back to nothing having changed somehow feels worse.

Don’t get me started on the kitchen. A) I can’t always cook and wash up on the same day and that’s obviously not okay in my family. B) The fucking sponge in the fucking dirty water in the fucking washing up bowl. Yeah I just used way too much fowl language and that expresses how much annoyance I have over something that seems so petty. I know compromises have to be made in a family but I make compromises to my ideal sleep pattern, to when I have a bath, to when I cook, to the food I eat as there is not enough space for me to have a shelf and buy my own food. Let alone to batch cook like I need to for my health and freeze stuff. The sponge is just one step too far.

It’s the interrogation over where I’m going, what I’m doing, as if everything needs to be put on the family calendar. And many other little things that make me feel unwelcome.

And despite knowing rationally that many adults still live with their parents, it’s the social stigma that comes with being in your 20s and living with your family.

It’s difficult and I know this is real first world problems and “your lucky your family let you back in.” But it’s not easy and I know other people go through the same feelings so I wanted to talk about it.

I hate moaning. I hate not putting a positive spin on things – especially when they are seemingly pathetic. But I do hope someone could relate in some way.

 

Endometriosis: The devil within me

stock-vector-yellow-ribbon-childhood-cancer-day-awareness-vector-eps-icon-icons-sign-signs-international-world-1237489360I have endometriosis. Well suspected endometriosis. It is only since getting it more under control that I have realised just how much it has limited me and just how much it has affected my mental health over the years.

Endometriosis is a condition I am so comfortable talking about now. Maybe too comfortable but that’s okay. It’s better than not being at all comfortable talking about and not being at all able to express why your in such an unbelievably unbearable amount of pain and are barely able to sit through half an hour of a two hour lecture without an unbearable amount of pain from having the slightest amount of urine in my bladder, general endometriosis pain (whatever that is) and nausea or the ever so fun period diarrhoea. Or the fact that the endometriosis acts as an alarm clock, waking me up at 7:30 sharp (I kid you not).

But now it is more under control it is more of a devil. Now the extreme endometriosis pain isn’t a standard 24/7. It’s a reminder that one day it could get that bad again. The fear of how I will manage on top of everything else, how will I be able to work full time and keep up with my financial responsibilities? I’m going through a progressively getting worse flare right now and there was a day where I was getting those awful pulling burning pains but up around my stomach, whereas normally they’re a lot lower. I could barely stand and it took all the will in the world to get into work. Did I do it yes because god forbid I could be off sick for a day. I had another day a couple of days ago. First day of my period and me being lucky happens to get pain with bowel movements and urination and that’s how my suspected endometriosis has always worked. This pain was so severe that I nearly collapsed on the toilet floor and I felt sick. There was no way I was getting myself home so I stayed at work but it was bad. What if the flare keeps on getting worse, it’s a real fear.

It’s the illness that has made me do intentionally harmful things to my body in a desperate bid to relive the pain. I’ve burnt myself with hot water bottles and heat pads to the point of causing blisters. I’ve taken way more ibuprofen and paracetamol than is healthy. Taking a days worth of ibuprofen in a dose is not healthy.

It has made me so desensitized to pain that should cause alarm bells and if I atall let on how bad it was, does cause alarm bells to those around me.

This illness has made me spend unnecessary time and energy worrying about the children I may or may not be able to have and how much guilt I would feel marrying someone, knowing I was unable to have children. Or knowing sex might be so painful it that it may seldom happen.

Although it is not the most debilitating condition I have, it is by far the one that has messed with me the most. And that’s why more awareness needs to be raised for it. Even now the more confident me, doesn’t want to bother doctors with asking to be rereferred to gyne because “it’s not that bad” and true compared to Han of the past. But that doesn’t mean it’s not bad enough and I urge any women experiencing the symptoms of endometriosis to seek help.