If you have a broken arm or a broken leg, if you’re blind or you’re in a wheelchair, it’s likely that people around you rightly make allowances for your conditions. Maybe they stand up to let you sit down on the tube, or are a little kinder when you ask for help completing menial, everyday tasks.
But millions of people suffer through silent conditions every single day. These subtle illnesses can leave sufferers feeling as debilitated and frustrated as those with visible conditions do, but sympathy and understanding can be much more difficult to come by.
It can be difficult to know how to combat these, and easy to feel as though you’re completely on your own. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common silent conditions, and how you can combat them.
Depression has been in the news a lot in the last few years. It seems the world is finally recognising how destructive this disease is. On in four of us will battle depression at some point in our lives, and it’s linked to the biggest killer of men under 50; suicide.
It’s really important that you recognise the signs of depression in yourself and seek help as soon as you can. Some common symptoms include:
- Continuous low mood or sadness
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling tearful
- Feeling guilt-ridden
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Lack of energy
- Disturbed sleep
You can find a full list of symptoms on the NHS website.
If you’re struggling with depression, don’t try to fight it alone. There’s help out there. Visit your doctor, and make sure you tell someone you trust how you’re feeling.
If you feel like you might be heading towards depression, it’s really important that you practice self-care. Stay active, and make sure you’re making time to do the things that you enjoy. There are some great tips for this on the Mind website.
Those of you who have been unlucky enough to suffer from anxiety will know that it’s a crippling condition. It affects a whopping 10 million people in the UK.
Anxiety causes suffers to feel long-lasting symptoms of stress and panic. It can leave people unable to leave their houses or go to work.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Dry mouth
If you feel you might be anxiety prone, there are some things you can do to try and make yourself feel better, including taking care of your physical health and using specially developed breathing exercises. You can find more information on the Mind website.
Most of us enjoy sleeping. There are no doubt millions of people who wish they had time for a few more hours of snoozing every night. That’s because sleeping is good for us. It re-energises us, and gives our body and mind time to rest and repair.
Insomnia causes people to have difficulty falling asleep, and then staying asleep once they’re there. It has a number of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking in the night
- Not feeling well-rested
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty paying attention
- Increased errors
Insomnia can seriously impair your ability to do things safely, such as drive a car or operate heavy machinery. It’s really important that you seek help from professionals if you have it, as you could be putting yourself and others at risk.
The Sleep Foundation have some great advice on when you should get help for your insomnia, and how you do that.
If you feel like you might be starting to struggle with your sleep, don’t be fooled into thinking that tiring yourself out before bed is the best way to go. Your sleep problem is likely not caused by having too much energy, it’s probably because you are stressed or anxious about something. Exhausting yourself with exercise will only make things worse.
Instead, make sure you are setting aside time to relax before bed, incorporate meditation and breathing exercises into your daily routine, and drop unhealthy habits, such as eating too much junk food.
Whatever your silent condition, it is important that you remember that you are not alone. Always seek help and support if you feel as though a medical condition is becoming unmanageable.