When Chronic Illness & Mental Illness Gang Up On You
April 2, 2018
If you’ve been around these parts for a while you’ll know that I suffer from both chronic illness and mental illness. Although you wouldn’t be wrong to think that my mental illnesses of depression and anxiety are part in parcel with the chronic illness, you’d be both right and wrong. Although I’ve been plagued with depression most of my adult life, being diagnosed with chronic illnesses has made living with depression a little more difficult. It’s hard not to let the symptoms of my illnesses gang up on me and make me feel worthless and a terrible mother.
A while ago I posted about my struggles with chronic illness and mental illness on my Instagram feed. It was a particularly bad day where my energy levels were so low that I struggled to lift my head and my pain levels were so high that even if I had energy moving would be problematic. I felt like my mind and body were not cooperating. They were ganging up on me, letting the dark and intrucive thoughts creep in. On that particualar day there was light to be found in Alex.
Although we weren’t able to run around the house chasing the dog or play with his toys on the floor. We were able to snuggle on the sofa, watch movies and spend some quality time together. To some that might sound like a wasted day, but to me when my pain is so high and unmanageable and my mood is so low these days are magical.
A few people saw the post and commented. One person in particular, who posts about mental illness had never considered how chronic illness and mental illness can be entwined. They encouraged me by telling me that I am doing a good job as a mother and human being. Their words made me realise that it is the love that alex will remember when he grows up and not the day trips to the zoo. He will remember the quality time he got to spend with his mummy.
There will be days when my fibromyalgia and depression gang up on me and whisper horrible little lies into my ear. There might be days where those lies might still be taken to heart, but deep down I know that I am not a bad mother, and NEITHER are you.
if like me you struggle with chronic illness and or mental illness and feel like your a bad parent. Trust me when I say that your abilities as a mother isn’t measured in the places you visit, the crafts you make or the sitting on the floor for hours playing with your child. Your ability as a mother is measured in the love you give.