All in the mind. 

I know, it’s been a long time since I posted. I’m sorry, but I’ve covered most of the big points around AS elsewhere in this blog, I haven’t had much to say.

Cracked skin man in poseBut recently I’ve noticed an upswing in people who I care about going through emotional and/or mental difficulties. Alongside this I’ve found that more people with whom I work have stress/anxiety/depression and related illnesses. It got me thinking about chronic illness and mental health.

An estimated 28% of the UK population will experience a mental health issue each year. People with chronic physical illnesses are up to 7 times more likely to experience one than people without one. LGBT people come off slightly better with an increase of just 3 times (source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics)

As you may have gathered, I’m quite opinionated. And I read the news avidly. The world at the moment is a scary place for any number of vulnerable people. The fact that all of those groups (bar one) are minority groups means that the middle class white conservatives that are currently leading the UK and US are able to use them as a scapegoat.

And amongst the political upheaval we have people. I can’t speak as a Muslim, a woman or a Trans person. I can however speak as a gay man who lives with a chronic illness. I am also one of the very lucky ones. I am able to work. I a hermit too, who rarely leaves the house apart from for work.

ProtestorBut even considering that, it’s still scary. Theresa May’s government has just removed the ability of 18-21 year olds to claim housing benefit. (They’re not likely to vote Conservative.) She has spoken multiple times about removing the ECHR and bringing in a “British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities”. An ominous title for a terrifying concept.

Just being politically aware at the moment is enough to drive most into a downward spiral, but add to that the almost constant pain, fatigue and inability to sleep properly experienced by people with chronic illness and the problems are compounded. For those people relying on the state, that just makes things worse.

But all of these things are simplifications. It’s possible for a strong Ankylosaur who lives a relatively average life to also experience a mental health problem. I wanted the main point of this post to be quite simple. If you’re in a bad place remember this:

What you’re feeling is normal. It’s only to be expected considering what you fight through every day. The fact that you’re here, now is enough to make me happy. Know that I’m really impressed with you, you’re an amazing person who touches so many lives. 

Maybe it’s time to take an hour or so to look after yourself? A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and I think that it needs to go viral. If you aren’t feeling great, just click on the link below and follow it step by step.

http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play

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