Many of you know I get on my soapbox to highlight the struggles and needs of the overlooked thousands of teens and young adults who live with debilitating chronic illness. People – you and me – tend to get so busy we forget about them and their overworked and over stressed parents/caregivers.
Can you please take a moment today to send a quick encouraging message to one of your chronically ill friends or another group of people whose struggle is near and dear to my heart: one of your friends you know struggling with mental issues?
Next step: Brainstorm ways you can serve them (the patient and their family) in big and small ways. Something as simple as a pizza gift card can help take care of their dinner AND ease their financial stress when medical bills are never ending. Most importantly, it helps them to remember they are not forgotten…. that they matter.
Back to my soapbox: I love the dedication of the medical teams who REALLY understands invisible illnesses and works diligently to not only ease the symptoms, but search for a cure. This soapbox is NOT for those dedicated medical team members. However, I REALLY get on my soapbox when some in the medical community seem to feel better when modern science can not explain a physical chronic illness so they tell these kids it’s all “in their head”. I have heard this told to countless patients we met through Mik’s charity, Mik’s Hidden Hearts Alliance, all over the country.
(1). Majority of them did not start their illness journey depressed. Living years in pain and isolation CAN cause feelings of depression. However some doctors just want to focus on the depression, claiming the physical symptoms the patients are facing are due to their “sad” feelings, refer them to a psychiatrist without trying to cure the illness or do not believe the physical symptoms are caused by a chronic illness that in many cases, still in its infancy in research.
2. No matter what, mental disorders are REAL. Those who suffer from it are similar to our chronically ill teens in that both groups fight an invisible battle everyday. Just because you can’t see it does not mean it is not real.
3. Do I believe all our chronically ill teens should be diagnosed as depressed? No – because this may not be the case (everyone gets the blues now and then) and this is like a pat on the head non-serious answer that tends to trivialize their physical symptoms AND it lessens the importance of those suffering true long term depression battles.
Both chronically ill patients and those patients suffering from a mental illness needs our understanding, compassion and hope. Treat your immediate world a little nicer. Practice patience in our rush get out of my way society. Reach out to them on a regular basis to let them know they are not forgotten.
Because you will never know how far your one smile or your one kind word can make someone’s day a little better. Spreading kindness and understanding gives life to hope. Hope encourages all to keep on trying.
And please remember – there is NO shame in asking for help when you or a loved one realizes the “blues” is much bigger than a temporary down time. Get professional help. If we were more transparent with one another, we would realize many people we think have it “all together” are really struggling with their own invisible battle. Regardless what your personal battle looks like, we are all in this together. Love thy neighbor and let’s work on making our world a little more compassionate and understanding. End of Soap Box : )
Mik’s Hidden Hearts Alliance is dedicated to bringing positive encouragement and hope to homebound and hospitalized teens and young adults who suffer from Dysautonomia and other life-changing chronic illnesses through social outreach, Hope Kits, Hospital Teen Program and Dysautonomia Awareness. #dysautonomia #chronicillness #Hope4DysTeens #TheHidden Dysautonomia Teens