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Having a Chronic Illness Can Affect Your Mental Health

By HERWriter
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Being Chronically Ill Can Affect Your Mental Health Milles Studio/Fotolia

Funny thing about some chronic illnesses. They are often invisible. And sometimes other people, even those who are well-meaning and genuinely concerned, can get the wrong idea. Sometimes a person who has a chronic illness can look like someone who is depressed.

I live with a chronic condition which at one time rendered me unable to leave my house, with a hypersensitivity to lights, sound, and movement of any kind, including my own.

It goes by several names, for instance it has been called at different time myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS, chronic fatigue immunodeficiency syndrome or CFIDS, and now systemic exertion intolerance disease or SEID.

I remember one kind-hearted friend giving me coupons for a local coffee shop, saying she knew I had been down, and maybe getting out would be good for me.

I had tried to describe my illness before and realized I hadn't gotten through. I decided not to try again. She thought I was depressed, a little under the weather. A little encouragement to get out and about and perhaps I would feel less depressed.

But the reason I wasn't going out was because I wasn't physically able. I could walk, but I couldn't navigate through a store, or restaurant, or field the sensory (over)stimulation of lights, tables not to bump into, and people talking to me too quickly for me to understand.

I also could not eat any of the baked goods or drink the coffee due to the food sensitivities that made my symptoms flare like fire.

Mind you, though the reason I couldn't go out was not depression, I'd have to say I was also depressed. And that can often be the case for people dealing with chronic conditions.

Very wearing, not being able to do the things you'd like to do, the things you used to do. Being chronically ill doesn't necessarily mean a person is helpless but many are. And others are able to care for themselves but may have had their lives and their activities sharply curtailed.

Many are no longer able to support themselves, and may be working part-time, or not at all. Some can get around their houses but can't go out to do their own grocery shopping or run their own errands.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Very informative and nice article

January 5, 2016 - 12:17am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your encouraging comment:)

January 5, 2016 - 7:59am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.