As young person living with serious illness, I was constantly worried that people would tell me my symptoms were all in my head. I thought that if acknowledged my mental health struggle, people would assume all of my health problems were emotionally driven. So instead dealing with them head on, I spent years ignoring the mental health implications of living with a chronic disease.
As I’m sure you can imagine, that didn’t go so well. It took me longer than it should have, but I’ve come to learn that my mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. When mental health declines, physical health follows. When physical health declines, mental health does the same.
On our darkest days, we need to take steps to care for our whole selves – both mentally and physically.
At the the start of this year, I spoke to some of our Friends in the Fight about how they have overcome their hardest days while also living with a chronic illness.