The Truth Behind The Photo: Life With Invisible Illness
Anyone who knows me well will know that I have Adrenal Insufficiency along with a cohort of conditions which make me very unwell on a good day, In fact for the past 6 weeks my health as been worse than it’s been in a few years and I have been pretty much housebound apart from a few trips to the doctors and other health care professionals. I lead an interesting life with invisible illness.
So why am I in London and how did I get here when I am apparently so unwell?. How is it I can travel to London on a train, prance around the city taking photos and eating up a storm?
Well if I shared the photos I have taken it may appear that way. Hey social media is all about appearance and one could easily manipulate photos to make it look like they are having a ball travelling and enjoying the sites of London.
Reality With Invisible Illness
I needed to come to London to see a specialist. For the past few days I have been dizzy and sick and feeling exhausted. I told my husband, I don’t know if I can make it.
However I put every effort to make sure I made it and took the opportunity to get here.
I was given the chance to attend a cookery class in Soho. It’s only for one hour, however it’s work, a paid partnership with a brand which covers my travel and one nights stay here in London.
When your specialist is in London and there is a chance to travel down without paying for £100 tickets you take the opportunity…well I certainly do.
So last night I rested in bed, I wanted to pack but was too tired. I went to bed. In the morning, I decided to just take a handbag. I packed my medication, diary, laptop and a set of thin clothes for night.
I knew I would not have the strength to pull a suitcase so I packed light.
John dropped me off at the train station. I got on the train and rested in the seat for 40 minutes. I made the three minute switch at Manchester to the London train and rested once more.
I couldn’t sleep but I was quite comfortable and travelling in first class.
Travelling When Unwell
I like first class, my ticket to London was first class which meant I was given a meal and orange juice, I also got a water bottle and some snack which kept me going until I arrived in London at 3.30 in the afternoon.
I always stay in the same YHA hostel which is about a 4 minute walk from the train station. I was tired and dizzy but their is a bench part way and I took a break to manage the distance.
I arrived at the YHA, checked in and found my bed. I hopped into bed and slept for a good 4 hours. At 8pm I woke up. Feeling a little refreshed I checked my emails and social media. I then went to get some dinner.
Their are three places I can eat when I go to the YHA, Pizza express, A Pub or Pret A Manger. These buildings are literally next door to the building I am staying and don’t require a long walk.
I’m doing weight watchers or at least trying so I bypass Pizza Express and the pub and visit Pret, which is my favourite.
I stop to take a photo of myself in London. A picture can be so deceiving I think to myself. If I told friends or others on social media that I was in London and shared this photo, they would assume I am well and having a fab break.
It put’s me off. Sometimes people don’t understand through lack of experience I guess but I choose not to share my location on Facebook out of fear of being misjudged.
I arrive at Pret A Manger just before close. Most of the food options are gone, but I find a tasty soup, a drink and a sandwich. The guy at the checkout gives me a muffin “on this house” which was an act of kindness I appreciated.
I quickly go back to the YHA and find a table to eat. It’s 9pm and I am ready to eat. Again I take a photo of the tasty food. Again I think about being judged.
My anxiety and fear of what others think is getting the better of me. I take a photo anyway.
I have the soup for dinner and plan to save the sandwich for later, but I am still hungry and manage to eat the whole thing.
The meal was great and cost a little over £7. So far I have spent £7 in London. I sit and begin to write this entry for my blog.
I will be going back to sleep soon. This is my life with invisible illness. I still haven’t told anyone I am in London, except my VA who helps me with keeping my blog afloat. Tomorrow, I check out at 10am. I will attend a one hour cooking class and then go to an appointment.
I’ll then get back on the train and make my journey home.
What will people think when I share that I have been in London? How will they react I ask myself. Will I be judged? Will people say, she must not be as unwell as she says she is?
Well maybe they will or maybe they won’t.
I guess with invisible illness comes judgement and when you put yourself out there you open yourself up to criticism and talk.
At the end of the day I have done what I had to do to continue the process of being treated for my health condition.
Yes I have had a nice meal, travelled on a train and slept a lot in a YHA hostel but it was all for the purpose of improving my health.
People will see a photo and make assumptions. It’s the story we choose to share and the truths we tell that open one’s eyes. I felt it was important to share my truth and here it is.
I am unwell and yes I am in London but things are not as they may always seem.