When you can’t see a person’s illness, it can be hard to accept that it’s real, or that it’s very serious. I understand that.
When your loved one has a crushing cold or a sinus infection, it seems very important and obvious that she should have her rest. If you have depression with sleep disturbance, even deprivation, it is just as important–perhaps more so, because your illness is life-threatening–but it is NOT obvious. And you can become very ill very quickly, even spiral into a crash, if you do not fight to protect your needs. This can be difficult and frustrating and even dangerous, when your illness is invisible.
How dangerous? Well, for starters, the chest pains started a week ago. The visual disturbance and the beginnings of hallucinations started yesterday. Yes. From depression. From the sleep disturbance and deprivation associated with depression.
It’s not a mood. It’s not something that can be set aside when someone else has a cold or flu. “Yes, let’s just put that on hold for a while, until you get better. Then I can indulge this illness again.” I am so tired of being expected to do that for people, just because they can’t see or believe in my illness.
If I could choose to set this aside, I would. Permanently. I would never go through this again. I am desperate right now to get my sleep under control so I can then focus on my stress response. Later, when I have those pillars under me, I can work on the soundtrack in my head.
But as long as I am battling the physical symptoms of my invisible illness, I am vulnerable.
So I fight. And hope that I do not become so tired of the fight that I give up and let this thing take me.
A place I’ve skated too close to over the last week.