Living with disability

This site may be a recovery site, but the health issues pre-empting my addiction to prescription painkillers are still part of my story.

I have doctor’s notes like you wouldn’t believe – whole tomes dedicated to the multiple diagnoses I eventually left hospital with. I receive Disability Living Allowance which supports my changing day-to-day needs, and I am enormously grateful for it.

My daily life is at best a compromise and at worst, a full-on struggle, as I battle my body as well as my state of mind.

I have had and am still undergoing treatment for depression. I take a mood stabiliser for severe anxiety and have experienced the whole spectrum of mental health issues; from a thwarted suicide attempt to panic attacks, dizziness and post-traumatic stress.

I also have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which translates into my daily life as a limited energy supply which I ration out on a day-by-day basis. Some days I cannot move at all.

Then, of course, there’s the pain. Acute on chronic pancreatitis is not pretty. Pancreatic pain is somewhere at the top of the NHS pain chart. I choose not to take pain relief for it now. For me, the pain is nowhere near as bad as the prison of drug dependency, though some days it gets close.

So what do I do to stay positive? I know that when I’m wearing lots of make-up and nice clothes that I look like I don’t have all these problems. Those days give me hope. If I can fool others into thinking I am healthy and strong then maybe my body will follow.

Anyone living with disability or ill health knows the daily torments. The days when stairs are impossible to climb, when making a cup of tea feels like climbing Everest, and when pain is at the point of becoming unbearable. And yet, we have to live. We have to find joy.

I hope I am living to my best self. I have run a successful arts project, Telling Stories:, while battling fatigue and debility. I have written my book, many days while in bed with the computer propped up on my duvet by my husband.

I believe in pushing the limits of what I am capable of, despite the physical and mental payback, and I have hope. Blind hope that one day everything will be ok.

I bought this book after hearing the author on Woman's Hour. She is incredibly brave and her story is gripping, shocking and a real roller-coaster...