The HS Experience
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa that there is a link between our physical and mental health. When I tell someone I have the condition, I am usually met with a few different responses.
Firstly, there’s the person who looks blankly at me and tells me they have never heard of the condition (this has on occasion included medical professionals with no hs experience).
Secondly, the person might say that they know of a friend of a friend who has it. And finally, the person whose face lights up and they say “oh wow, you have this too? ! I have felt like I am the only one!”
Come out from behind closed doors
It is this third type of person that I most want to focus on in this blog. There are many people who live with Hidradenitis and feel quite alone. I know I did at first. My only friend was ‘Dr Google’ as I had nobody else to talk to about my hs experience. Also, it was only as my HS became more painful that I noticed that my mood started to really plummet. I realised that it was time to start talking about it more and being more open. I told my boss and my family too.
Sun Tzu once said, “know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”
Improving mental wellbeing
So, I have taken this to heart. My mental wellbeing is important to me, so I learnt all I could about Hidradenitis and slowly found that by making a few small changes, I could improve the way I felt and improve my quality of life. Our physical and mental wellbeing a very interlinked.
There is no miracle cure, but there are lots of small changes you can try to improve the moment and improve the day. So the first change to try is acceptance – once you can accept you have the condition it gives you freedom to put your energy into other things – talking to friends and loved ones, dispelling myths, sharing your truth, learning from others, trying new products and becoming more content.
Through this you may find that your mood will pick up and you won’t feel quite so down. You won’t need to stay ‘behind closed doors’. In short, you’ll feel ready to try and take on a few more small changes and improve your quality of life.
Clare Knighton is a Peer support worker from Worcester, England. Clare lives with HS and has done so for the past ten years. She is passionate about helping others to talk more openly about the condition and about improving our mental wellbeing.