Have you ever found yourself thinking, "Oh, for Heaven's sakes just pick yourself up you layabout?" when you read of someone being on benefits or on long term sick pay for a mental disorder?

I think we all have and you know what? You should stop RIGHT NOW and think again.

I can't speak for what other people are going through but I would like to share a little analogy with you that might just make you think twice before judging others in the future.

Imagine if you will, some nasty person injects you with a poison that gives you the following symptoms:

• Uncontrollable shaking
• Nausea and vomiting
• So much tension in your arms and legs that you cannot walk properly or indeed even hold a cup of tea.
• Terrifyingly dark, racing thoughts.
• The constant urge to run and hide.
• Heightened hearing so every noise makes you jump.
• Heightened vision so that the world looks very “trippy”.
• Loss of appetite.
• Inability to concentrate on even the most basic of tasks.
• Insomnia.
• Pins and needles.
• Headaches.
• Crippling stomach pain.
• RACING heartbeat.
• Sweating like a stuck pig.

Not a very nice poison is it?

Now imagine you are told that this poison may well stay in your system for up to three weeks.
What if you were told that the symptoms would occur again and again for the rest of your life?
What if you were told that the only antidote was somatisation or mind over matter?

Next, imagine if you are then told that despite all of these rather frightening symptoms happening all at once and all day long, you would have to:

• Get yourself out of bed (with legs that can’t move) and walk to the bathroom for a wash (with hands that can’t stop shaking) whilst vomiting at the same time.
• Get dressed.
• Force food into you having just been sick.
• Brush hair/shave (razors?! With hands like this?!)
• Get on your bike and cycle to work with your vision flashing and your eyes exploding from all of the noise whilst trying to make those legs work.
• Get to work and manage to talk to collegues, do your work and try your best to “appear normal” knowing that they can see your shaking hands, your beads of sweat and the way that you walk like a robot.
• Deal with having to buy food after work that you DO NOT want to eat or cook because you feel sick.
• Spend time with your partner in the evening trying your best to pretend to be normal for them because you know that you are stressing them with your illness.
• Or even worse- go to a pub or a party full of loud, drunken, hectic people once again having to PRETEND to be normal.
• Finally fall into bed knowing that you won’t sleep as the dark thoughts are turned up to 11 in the silence.
• Wash, rinse, repeat the next day and the next and the next.....

Could you do that easily?
Would you want to?

I think most mere mortals would rather curl up and die rather than have to live like that?

Well folks, that is what it is like to be me day in and day out.
And that is what it is like for millions like me.

Do you still think we are layabouts who should pick ourselves up and just get on?
Because actually, me and my brethren pick ourselves up and get on with it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
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