It’s no secret that I’m not well at the moment and there are a few different things going on. Living in a body/mind that’s ill but outwardly appears to be relatively healthy is tricky because people are quick to make assumptions based on appearance.
Take today, for example, my friend took me out to the garden centre where we had cake and bought plants then off to The Range where we bought a heap of junk and went on a little adventure. (All documented on my instagram story, link at the bottom). I didn’t look ill. I was laughing and joking, pushing a heavy trolley around, lifting a 40l bag of compost [or soil as I kept calling it] and having a good time with my friend. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t anxious and dizzy in the shop or that I’m not suffering with a mental illness.
I haven’t taken time off from my current job as a direct result of mental ill health but with the way things are at the moment and it’s got me thinking. I know that if my colleagues had seen me out and about today and I was signed off there’d be gossip going around the office tomorrow about how I don’t look ill. Do you have to monitor your behaviour to appear ill at all times?
Growing up, like a lot of parents, my mum set the rule that if you were too ill to go to school you were too ill to go out and play after the other kids got home and I think in a way I still apply that rule to myself as an adult. If I was off work I would struggle to justify myself going out and having fun with friends even thought that is exactly the kind of thing that can help when you are suffering from anxiety/stress/depression.
When Naomi messaged me on Friday asking if I wanted to go and get Pick n Mix today I was really looking forward to having a chat and a laugh and getting sweets. I don’t think either of us knew what we would end up getting up to but it was something to look forward to. On a Monday and Thursday night I go to the gym with my friend Megan and she’s suggested some dates for going out for pizza/having a Netflix and pizza evening and again, it’s a nice distraction. Plus this Friday I saw my friend Andie (and she brought me chocolate ❤ ), our weekly cinema trips keep me busy on a Friday evening. [I’ve only just realised that all my friends are feeders :’) ]
It’s a sad state of affairs to think that if I took the time off that I may need in order to get better I would feel guilty about doing all these things. I would probably even feel guilty about working on this blog. There would be a little voice in the back of my mind telling me that if I’m well enough to write blog posts I’m well enough to be in the office despite the fact that everything and everyone seems to be telling me the opposite at the moment.
Do you think there is a certain obligation for people to act or live in a certain way if they’re ill? Let me know in the comments.