Monday, September 10, 2012

On Invisible Illnesses, Or Get Some

Many of you probably already know this, but for those that don't, now you will. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at the age of twenty six.

You probably just thought I was joking when I've said ADHD is fun in the past. Alas, no, and it actually kinda bugs me when people joke about being ADD when they aren't. 

Having difficulty focusing on something you don't want to do doesn't make you ADD. 
Having one spacey day doesn't make you ADD.

It's trying to focus on something you actually want to do and still being unable to cut through all the chatter in your head.
It's having impulse control issues that one day cause you explode at someone over something trivial and the next day cause you to forget to pay your rent because you wanted to go to a movie.

But I digress. My intent and inspiration for this blog was to discuss the Invisible Illnesses in general, as well as to address those cynics out there that want to provide excuse after excuse as to why they won't get help for their issues.

There are SO many stigmas surrounding Invisible Illnesses. People who don't understand depression assume its victims are just lazy or are vying for attention. ADHD spent so much time being over-diagnosed that plenty of people think it's a cop-out for people that don't want to work hard. 

And those are just the two I know off the top of my head. Fibromyalgia, Aspberger's and other Autism spectrum disorders, Anxiety... The list goes on and on of maladies suffered without external, physical "causes," which seems to translate to "no good reason."

To those who don't deal with Invisible Illness, do the rest of us a favor and go educate yourself. Stop making assumptions. Stop making generalizations. And for the Pete of sake, please stop judging us.
Instead, try talking to us. Find out what it is we are dealing with. Do a little research on your own. Try giving a damn. It won't hurt too terribly bad, I promise.

As for those that suffer, but adamantly refuse to seek treatment, I have this to say: GROW THE FUCK UP. 

Sure, that may seem harsh, but here's the reality of it. It won't get better on its own. You're not going to wake up one morning and miraculously be cured of depression. Hate to burst your bubble, but that's not how it works, sweet cheeks.

Sure, you may have had a bad experience. And I'm not even going to touch the argument about the pharmaceutical companies.

Sure, there are aspects of it that suck, but here's the part where YOU need to do your research. Look into reviews. Find a good doctor. Trial and error. Find someone that works with you and for you.

Yeah, it takes effort. Suck it up, buttercup. I mean, seriously, would you rather spend the rest of your life feeling miserable/useless/in pain/whatever simply because you were too stubborn/lazy/whatever to get the help you need?

And I *really* don't want to hear about "I can't afford it." I've been without insurance since 2006 and I have managed to make it happen when I needed it. Sure, you may not be able to go see a therapist every week, but you can make something happen.

Here's my real point. YOU have to make it a priority instead of a sore spot. YOU have to go out there and make it happen. The people in your life that love you probably want you to be better and would probably gladly hogtie you and drag you to the doctor (especially if you are defensive about your issues and antagonistic about getting help), but such tough love won't do a damn bit of good if you won't work with the doctor. 

Yeah, the doc is probably going to tell you stuff you already know. The thing is, if you already know about the good things they're telling you to do in your life, why aren't you doing them? If you already know, why aren't you handling it?

Tough pill to swallow, isn't it?

Look, I can appreciate wanting to handle it on your own. I am fiercely independent, and I loathe relying on anyone. But there are times when it is a necessity. The doc may tell you stuff you already know, but s/he may also tell you things you didn't. Their job is to be objective, which means they'll probably be able to provide you with insight you wouldn't otherwise get.

So here's the long and the short of it. 
If you don't suffer, don't be a dick to those that do.
If you do suffer, quit yer bitchin' and get the help you need, The Man be damned.


  1. Well said. As someone who was diagnosed with manic depressive/bi-polar disorder five years ago, I know exactly what you are talking about. People (ie:family) don't like to discuss mental illness. It is a very taboo topic.

  2. Amen, sister! Depression, Anxiety, and Chronic Migraine/Vertigo. Medicated for all of them, spent tons of time and money on doctors and meds that I didn't really have. But I did it for the sake of my relationships and my sanity. I know too many others who chose not to that have ruined their lives and their relationships with loved ones, and I vowed that would never be me!

  3. I think the underlying point here is that we all deal with shit. We all have something we bring to the table. I truly believe we all have to battle something. It's a matter of figuring it out and overcoming it. This takes a lot of time, money and belief in yourself that you are not crazy. Those of us who are figuring it out are already a head of the game. Thanks for the education on ADHD.

  4. You really opened my eyes on this.

  5. That is wisdom applied to many topics. Be strong.