Change for your mind
by Dr. Wolf Shipon, Clinical Director, Inner Wellth
A personal note on invisible illness and silent struggle.
All around you are people with silent struggle. Anxiety, depression, bereavement, financial troubles, caregiving for aging parents, now immigration issues, being drug-addicted, helping drug-addicted loved ones, and dealing with various insecurities, fears, and phobias.
Then add to that all the people who have serious medical stuff going on. A lot of people don't know this (somehow, because I'm fairly open about it) but in 2012 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus (seropositive for both) and was told I would stop working in 2-3 years by a PhD/MD in rheumatology, because most people do.
I still have 2 jobs. In fact, I work even more.
If I didn't I think I would be sicker.
What does this mean? Well, at any given moment (really) I can identify about 32 places on my body that hurt significantly, usually joints, large and small, on both sides. It ranges in pain levels on average from 3 to 10, 10 being the worst. The pain feels like a combination of sensitivity (everything hurts more, like everything is already bruised) and outright crushing vice-like pain. I describe it as having a serious toothache except it's everywhere in my body. And I am better at predicting storms than any weather forecaster. I am the forecast.
Did you know chronic pain is co-morbid with serious depression? If you cannot control the pain, you cannot control the depression, and I have seen the worst of it myself.
I push myself not to feel this way. Hemp oil has been a miracle for me and helps me almost instantaneously. I also find if I exercise I feel better, and spinning has been like a dream come true. Exercise I can actually do, and I feel better afterwards.
Maintaining my inner peace is critical. To do that, meditation has helped but honestly, fishing on my kayak is the best.
I'm stating all of this because maybe you just didn't know it about me, maybe you don't know it about someone else.
Or maybe you're going through something yourself and unlike me, you actually have a shred of dignity so won't speak of it.
I urge you to think about it, when you talk to others.
I urge you to do this especially when it is someone with whom you disagree. Maybe that person is going through something too.
And more than anything, if you are going through something yourself, talk. Keep talking. Keep telling. Keep having the courage to reveal it.
Don't keep it to yourself.
Don't go silent as I have done too many times.
That is when you become the most isolated and the most concerning.
You owe it, if not to yourself then those you love, to speak up. Get help. And be there for everyone. You never know who might really need you today.
You can get stronger and can help someone be stronger. We are all more resilient than we know.
Thank you for reading this.
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