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How To Cope with Invisible Illnesses and Depression

You can live life around supportive friends and family, individuals who are there for you no matter how busy their lives may be.  You feel their love and you receive their ongoing support, however, living life with an invisible disorder can feel  like a “life of  loneliness.” Despite all the support, all the love you […]

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depression

You can live life around supportive friends and family, individuals who are there for you no matter how busy their lives may be.  You feel their love and you receive their ongoing support, however, living life with an invisible disorder can feel  like a “life of  loneliness.”

Despite all the support, all the love you may receive’ life with limitations, pain, and suffering can be very draining and depressing.  Many people with invisible illnesses walk around hiding the pain they feel inside both emotionally and physically.   

Many hide their pain with the false grinning faces that they wear on a daily basis.  Including myself.  And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter.  They are so rustic, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept inside your small dark soul.  These are the ones you created inside yourself.  In a space in your heart where the painful emotions have lingered for so long.

Yes, there is joy, love, laughter fulfillment, and companionship in your life– however, the dreary emotions that have build up inside your soul for so long have caused you to experience the pain and loneliness caused by your illness.  It’s become horrible and overpowering.  

I know because I battle with the invisible illness known as epilepsy.  On the outside, I look so normal.  No one would ever expect that I battle a chronic illness that has taken over my body and over time has begun to emotionally destroy me on the inside.

Battling depression with an invisible illness 

Depression is a condition that can slowly make its way into your life, especially when a chronic illness begins to take over causing you to have to stop doing what you love and live life with limitations.  Limitations that can help you physically, but emotionally the depression secretly makes its way into your soul because you are unable to become the person you once dreaming of becoming. 

Your pathway of life has changed and your dreams are niched. So what now? 

So how do you overcome the depressed feelings inside?  What do you do?  Some days you want to move on and change your life for the better and other days you feel like just giving up because of the emotional pain you’re feeling on the inside. Your illness is draining you.

Overcoming depression with an invisible disorder 

Honestly, I’ll be the first to admit life has not been a bowl of cherries.  But it was back in the 1990s when they couldn’t find a drug to control my seizures.  They sent me to a trial group to try medications that were still in the research and were getting ready to be approved by the FDA.  At this point in my life, I was tired.  Tired of taking seizures. I was frustrated with the cards I was dealt with and angry that I had no control.  That my illness controlled me.    

That day I walked into the waiting room with the other patients like myself, who were hoping to find that miracle drug that would control their seizures and make them live a life that was normal in their eyes. 

There were patients that were strapped down because their seizures were so traumatic that they needed to be held down so they wouldn’t hurt themselves.  Patients that had 90 to over 100 seizures daily. People who had brain damage and others who could barely talk.

It was then that I realized that the cards that I was dealt with weren’t so bad after all.  They were others much worse than me.  Yes, I developed epilepsy at the age of five through a virus known as encephalitis that had traveled throughout my brain and life has definitely been a rollercoaster, to say the least, however, they are others who have it a lot worse than me.

At that moment the light bulb turned on and after working years on my self I concluded:

Denial and acceptance

Our illness is not going to go away.  It is a part of us.  You need to accept that it is a part of you.  Once you come to terms with your illness you will start to see the anger you have built inside you for so long start to disappear.

Love yourself

For so long I hated who I was, but as you know hate destroys.  Once I learned to love myself my life changed for the better.  I focused on my positive qualities.  It was then that I stopped thinking about what I couldn’t do and started paying attention to the things in life that I could do.  I put all my energy into my positive qualities and created a life that would make me happy based on the things I could do.

A quote that always stuck with me was…

“To find extraordinary happiness and success, pursue your passion, work with your intuition, learn as a child, and adapt as water.”Pushpendra Mehta, Observe to Unmask

Self-Esteem 

I slowly began to feel good about myself.  I realized over time that everyone has something in life.  No one is perfect.  We all have obstacles to overcome.  You are not alone.  Everyone has something in life.  There is no need to feel like you’re on the bottom of the totem pole.  Everyone has something special about themselves.  Take some time to figure out what makes you special then use those special qualities about yourself to help others.  There is no better feeling in the world than helping someone else in life.  It will make you feel better as a person and it will improve your self-esteem.

Overcome the loneliness

I have so many people in my life who would listen to me when I need to share my pain, however, it is very difficult to open up and let others know the pain that we carry inside our hearts.  Not letting others know how you feel inside can cause you to feel lonely and depressed.  The best way to overcome this is to open up to others experiencing the same situation and that can relate to you and what you are going through dealing with your invisible illness.  You’re not alone.  

Tip #1: Go into a forum or chat group anonymously and share what you’re going through.  You’ll see that there are millions of people going through the same thoughts and emotions.  Sharing your emotions will make you feel better.  However, the trick to overcoming your loneliness and depression is to move forward and overcome these negative emotions.  

You can’t control your illness, but you can control how you deal with your illness.

Tip#2: Create a journal with short and long-term goals.  Think positive.   

Waking up each day not knowing what to expect can be frustrating and depressing. Even living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t guarantee a better life. However, in order to survive and overcome the depression, you feel inside, you must learn to fight back.  

The Bottom Line

“That we cannot change the past.  We can only focus on the present and create positive changes to improve our future.”  You never know what the next day will bring.  Make the best of your life by appreciating what you have, not what you don’t have in life.

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