This week I decided to put myself out there and not only reveal my true identity but also to tell my story which was told by Take A Break magazine in their January issue.
My initial thought was to 'hide' in the magazine and that people who knew me wouldn't know it was even there. So, no problem, I could just go on about my life. But as the New Year started to unfold something in me prompted me to share it with my mum and sisters, and nervously, I did. I wasn't expecting to get a positive reaction from my mum truth be told, but when I did, it encouraged me to share further.
I wanted to share the magazine article to raise much needed awareness for the condition I suffer with, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome but also to finally to be truthful about the realities and hardships I've had to face. More specifically with my mental health.
Talking about mental health issues and attempted suicide in public is generally a taboo, but talking about it amongst the Indian culture is a whole other ball game and I wasn't sure if my family were ready for me to put it out there for people/ "the community" to know about.
I made the executive decision to physically share it with my wider family members and friends (following my mum's lead to my surprise!)..
I wasn't sure on the reaction I would receive, so I was very scared and anxious, almost expecting someone to call me stupid for admitting these personal things. The prospect of opening up to someone is daunting let alone letting yourself be an open book for many people!
But now I have it is still quite frightening wondering what people truly think, however it is somewhat freeing as if I have just peeled back a mask that has been covering part of me, and now I can be truly seen. I suppose a good metaphor would that the scars on my body I've been concealing all this time are now on show for all to see. They may not be pretty but they are a part of me.
I have had a lot of positive comments from people who have read the article, saying how brave I am to put myself out there like that and strong for going through what I have, but I want to make the point that it was never about receiving an imaginary medal or receiving praise. I know there are many people out there who would read it and have been through a similar experience with their mental health hitting its lowest and feeling that they didn't want to be here anymore, perha
ps thinking, "well she isn't the only one!" And to that I would say, "absolutely, I am not". I wanted to show that living with a chronic health condition can indeed have such an impact on a person, and that you may see them happy, smiling, dressed up and even being out and about but that doesn't mean that's the whole picture. This is most probably them on a " good" day, which to 'normal' people is an semi "okay" day, and they probably have some kind of mask on, or it's their day to forget everything and to feel normal and like everyone else, or sometimes they are keeping a brave face on for those around them to make others feel more comfortable.
I suffer with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, type 3 - a connective tissue disorder that causes laxity throughout the whole body, mostly joints but it could be anywhere in the body. This makes everything over stretchy and therefore unstable. For me it mainly affects my joints -hips, knees, shoulders, fingers, where I've had lots of subluxations (joint slips out of place). But I've also suffer with severe acid reflux due to the laxity with my lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach or the flap in simple terms! And there are loads of other things which I won't bore you with. The main symptom is PAIN. I put this in capitals a
s it is CONSTANT. Yes, all day, everyday. Sometimes it's a 5/10 or it could be 10/10 leaving me bed bound.
Due to the unstable joints the muscles around them have to work harder to keep them in place for them to do their job and therefore if the muscles are over worked then it can bring about pain. However by me saying over worked it certainly does not mean a few hours in the gym or a whole day of house chores, for me it could be a standing for more than a few minutes or doing the vacuum for 5 minutes (which for that reason I don't do anymore), so the result is doing less and less activity to try prevent the pain. This then leads to and has led to for me to depression and anxiety, which resulted to my attempted suicide which was outlined in the Take A Break magazine article, but there is a lot more to the story and I will share this in my next blog post!
Much love xoxo