My secret disability

Anna banna
Every second month Anna shares her musings, personal insights, and observations of our diverse lives.

By now most of you will be aware that I have a physical disability. However, I’m okay sharing that I also struggle with anxiety and depression, which is not officially diagnosed or treated with medication or therapy? I think I’m good at hiding my mental health difficulties, but I know there are times that they crawl out and completely overwhelm me.

For example:

My regular selfie would look a lot like this.

But when it all gets dark, to start with, I probably wouldn’t take a selfie, but if I did it would look a lot like this.

You may wonder why I don’t choose to see my doctor about  my anxiety or depression. Well, there are several reasons.

Firstly I have received so much medical and social attention and treatment relating to my physical impairment that I’m not prepared or ready to face the same experience regarding  my mental health.

And secondly, I wonder, would I truly be believed? What if they say it’s ‘simply’ a side effect of having a physical impairment? As well as all the stigma surrounding mental health.

Those people who know me, aren’t you thinking, “but she seems so happy all the time”? My response, exactly! I hide it. And because I hide it, I wonder if I would  ever be believed?

Aren’t we all hiding something, after all?

I found an article that is somewhat validating. It’s titled Mental Health and Disability and published by the International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation.It states in its conclusion:

People with disabilities are at greater risk of mental health problems than other members of the community. A multitude of factors appears to contribute to this association including the life consequences of disability, the poor health of people with mental disorders and the circular relationship that exists between disability, social exclusion and mental health problems.

I know I’m not alone in having a physical disability and experiencing mental health difficulties. It’s probably more common than we realise. But this small disclosure doesn’t mean I’m going to seek professional help…not yet anyway.

Have you experienced the darkness within?

One thought on “My secret disability

  1. That’s great that you’re sharing this, as this may help others feel not so alone with their mental health issues. The issues discussed are really important and need to be recognised. I hope you will find a respectful and trustworthy health professional that may encourage you to seek help.
    I was so ashamed of my depression and anxiety that I did everything to hide it. Eventually it exploded in my face when I suffered acute psychosis and was running around thinking everyone wanted to kill me. I ended up taking my mum to an emergency hospital because I thought I’d been tricked into overdosing her. They told me to stay in emergency after mum had been treated and my rollercoaster ride with bipolar began.

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