I am so pleased to welcome Kaisha to BrizzleLass with her story of Chronic Illness and Depression. Many people don’t appreciate how having a chronic illness can have such an adverse affect on mental health or even the other way around. I thank Kaisha for her honesty in telling her story, and for sharing it with us here. At the end of the post are links to Kaisha’s own blog and her social media pages so that you can follow her story from here.
Before I begin, I just want to say a big thank you to Claire for inviting me to write a post for her blog. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
Claire approached me asking my experiences on Mental Health and what I know about it. I found the question ‘what do you know about Mental Health?’ stopped me in my tracks. What do I know about it? Unfortunately, I know a fair bit because of my circumstances. Everyone will handle it in their own way, and it will affect them in different ways. No two stories are the same. But I’m here to tell you my story, Kaisha’s story.
My first experience of mental health issues started at the age of five; however, I wasn’t aware that the disorder I suffered with belonged under that particular heading. It wasn’t until I was older and still suffered with it, that I realised it not only affected me physically it also affected me emotionally. The disorder I’m referring to is an eating disorder. It’s like a little devil that perches on your brain and stays there, even when you have better control over it. Unfortunately, since the age of five mental health issues and I have rubbed shoulders multiple times, I’m now 26 years old and I feel like I have a constant shadow even when it’s sunny outside.
Throughout my childhood I was prodded and poked constantly by various doctors as I had a lot of health problems but they couldn’t tell me what they were. They could misdiagnose me, but couldn’t seem to actually diagnose me. Now that went on for around ten years. I’m sure you can imagine how I was feeling at this point. No? Numb. Scared. I KNEW that there was something wrong with me, I wasn’t imagining all the pain, but people had doubts which then made me turn against myself. I felt that I was crazy, which in turn tricked my mind and made me spiral into a sense of confusion.
But then one day I woke up with a feeling I couldn’t get rid of, I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to the local supermarket to get biscuits (as you do) to try and take my mind off it. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Oh it was, until I got into the shop, forgot where I was and nearly fainted. Fast forward to blood test results where I got told I had a chronic illness. Hypothyroidism. I got told to take medication for the rest of my life, I was 21. Mentally and physically the news hit me hard. I didn’t want to go anywhere, I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I was frightened. I had lost the control of my body and given it to little tablets. I didn’t know what my body was going to do, how it was going to react to the medication. I put on weight which then made me sink even lower into a dark hole. I had no idea what to do, and nobody understood or could begin to understand how I felt at that point. Why should they? They weren’t me nor were they dealing with that.
A year later I got diagnosed with stress and anxiety disorder because I was being bullied at work. I had another thing to add to my already low state. About seven months after I gave birth to my daughter, I found myself having the same sinking feeling that something wasn’t right with my body. Back I went to get tested for various things and found out I had a syndrome which is related to my chronic illness. Blow number three.
A year or so after that I wasn’t right again, back I went. This time I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, again, linked to the first chronic illness. Blow number four. Here I was at 25 with two chronic illnesses. Coming to terms with the fact that I would never get better and I would have to learn to make myself comfortable, was and is very difficult. I went to a dark place within myself because I felt like a freak. I felt like I was letting my family down, especially my daughter. Who would want to be around someone that was this ill? That question was constantly in my head. Not long after that I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and then got told I had been diagnosed with Joint Hypermoblity Syndrome in 2007, but nobody told me. So all the times that I felt like I was going crazy, having to prove that I was feeling like rubbish; I actually was ill.
That is something I still can’t get my head around; it feels like my mind has been playing tricks on me, a sense of betrayal that I wasn’t believed. Being 26 years old with all the illnesses I think ‘why me?’ Especially because all of the illnesses I have are linked to each other and are chronic, which means they will never, ever go away. Because I have to change my lifestyle and find a new me, I have to learn to accept that I am no longer the person that I was. I might have good days; I might have really bad days, but to accept that I’m not just ‘sad’ and a simple ‘take your mind off of it’ won’t help, is extremely difficult.
I don’t know where to turn most days because of it all, I would love people to understand. But how can they? They’re not me; they don’t live my life or have my daily struggles. I try my best though; I try my best for my daughter. I have lost control of most of my body thanks to circumstances out of my control. Kick in the stomach really. As long as I try my best and deal with things in my own way, rather than how others tell me to, it will be a huge thing.
People don’t often realise that depression can be caused due to illnesses, there is far too much stigma attached to the word ‘depression’ and people are being judged on the word rather than being heard for their story. Well, this has been my story, from the heart and completely honest. More illnesses need awareness, but mental health issues need less stigma and less assumptions. As the saying goes ‘always be kind because you don’t know what someone deals with behind the smile’.
Kaisha can be found at the following links…