The Struggles Of Living With An Invisible Illness

Steve October

I’m sort of used to living with medical issues that people can’t see now, it goes by the wayside especially when people are more focused on my pecs or my handsome chops! The phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ could not be more applicable to my situation! 

Whatever your hidden illness is, be it a stoma, diabetes, Parkinson’s or even webbed feet, you may feel inclined to keep it from others.

You may want to keep it a secret to avoid putting yourself through that anxiety of wondering what people will think, whether they’ll judge you or even attack you for being different.

I’ve been very honest about having a stoma, I publicly announced it as quick as possible to help me reduce my own stigma about it. I knew if I didn’t tell people soon enough, I would make a huge issue about people finding out. Honesty was the best approach, I don’t like having a stoma, but I don’t care what people think and now it’s a part of me I’ve been able to accept the situation easier. 

For me having a stoma is now no different to being self-conscious about the size of my biceps or the strength of my quads.

If anything, my insecurities around muscle are a lot worse than my insecurities about living with a stoma. The whole physical perfection issue is a big one for me. Am I big enough? Am I strong enough? Am I ever going to be my definition of amazing? Its unhealthy to have such a critical view of myself, however I do work in an industry where you are your biggest advert. I try not to get to wrapped up in social media as it can destroy your confidence but using social is a big part of what I do.

Having a stoma made me realise how hard I am on myself.

I’d happily post an image of my body waist up with the stoma clearly visible, but I would never post a leg pic that shows my calves. I hate my calves, so I draw as little attention to them as possible!

We are all so bad at focusing on the bits we don’t like and as soon as something triggers us, we react emotionally because of these insecurities. So, I do understand if you are keeping your hidden illness to yourself. But we should be a little more grateful for the opportunity our stomas have given us.

We all faced the possibility of death and now we are blessed with another chance. Stay focused and be proud of who you are. If you struggle, then look to those who inspire you and seek support from those you trust.

“Having a stoma made me realize how hard I am on myself.”

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by Steve White

Steve White

About the author

Hey guys, I’m Steve - a Northern lad who moved to London to start a career as a Personal Trainer. An accident led to my temporary stoma and I had quite a traumatic time, but I'm doing what I can to help others. An important fact about me is that I am blessed to have the most adorable, loving cockapoo called Sally. Follow me on Twitter @SWfitnesslondon or find me on Instagram.