This week starting the 11th of May is M.E/CFS and Fibromyalgia awareness week. Its actually M.E/CFS and Fibro international awareness day on the 12th of May. I’m going to try and blog every day this week something to do with M.E/CFS or Fibro or both.
Today I thought I would talk about how important mental health is within these illnesses. Mental health is quite a touchy subject within the M.E/CFS and Fibro community. This is mainly because a lot of people get accused of these illnesses being inside their heads, depression causing it or it not being a real illness. If only this was true and no one would suffer like this. This isn’t why I’m wanting to talk about mental health though.
When I was first diagnosed with these illnesses of course one of the first things I decided to look up was whether I could die from it. I’m not going to sugar coat it or anything. Of course I knew about M.S and how awful M.S can be, I thought M.E being in the same family as M.S couldn't be much different. Luckily for me, M.E can not end your life naturally although there are very few cases that disagree. I left this bit of research at this and didn't think about it again.
Unfortunately for me as my illnesses leave me in the house a lot, bed bound most days and in a hell of a lot of pain this has left me with anxiety and depression. Just to point out that yes, a lot of people with chronic illnesses have depression, anxiety and other mental health problems but no, unlike a lot of people think, this isn't the cause of the illness. I would like to see if you could hack all the symptoms of these types of illnesses and not feel depressed.
As I explained before, I did wonder about if my illnesses did result in someone dying. I didn't think until now about the people who suffer from these illnesses that unfortunately ended their own life because of it. I first found out that people with M.E/CFS and Fibro are 10 times more likely to commit suicide. This shocked and sickened me. I’m so shocked with the way a lot of doctors and nurses have treated me and how saddened I always come away from the GPs or hospital feeling. Maybe if they knew this, which I hope they don’t if this is how the treat me, they might feel the need to help more and not just dismiss everything. I’m not going to lie, I haven't tried to commit suicide but I won’t deny that I some times don't feel like carrying on and just give up day in day out.
A lot of people that did commit suicide that have these illnesses is not only because of that pain and fatigue and other symptoms but because they are sick of explaining themselves and not being believed by not only doctors and nurses but their family and friends.
You have a choice before you speak. You can either help or make someones day or you can ruin it. You have no idea how someone will take your joke or comment, it could end up in them taking their own life. All I’m asking is that you don’t try offer advice or try help with the illness but just listen and support them thats all we ‘spoonies’ (a term for people with chronic illnesses) really want.
This doesn't just go for people with chronic illnesses, but anyone. You have a choice, is your comment worth someone potentially taking their life.
Take care and I’ll speak to you tomorrow.