Invisible Illness
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Invisible Illness

This is an email from Mental Note, a newsletter by Invisible Illness.

Mental Note

The first Invisible Illness newsletter

Photo by Jan Padilla on Unsplash

Hi everyone!

This is Ryan here, testing out the new newsletter function on Medium. With everything going on in the world right now, we want to thank everyone for your thoughtful and very vulnerable personal essays on Invisible Illness. We could not do it without you, and on behalf of the editorial staff here, we want to thank you all!

Here are 10 stories that struck out to us this week from our writers. It is a subjective analysis from me and we have a lot of very good pieces, so I apologize if I left out some good ones. I want to give a special shoutout to our columnists, Nikki Kay and Mason Sabre for their incredible work — check out their columns on our home page. Congratulations to Amanda Robins as well, who has seen a lot of success on her really raw and powerful pieces on narcissism. I also want to give a shoutout to Rachel Lewis Curry for the name of the newsletter, and the collaboration between the staff and writers on Invisible Illness makes it my favorite Medium publication.

Here are 10 stories to check out from some of our best writers, with some of their strongest words quoted below:

“When Life Simply Doesn’t Get Better” — By Karin Cho, Curated in Mental Health and Self

“The child in me who felt abandoned and hurt is still in me, the teenage girl who was beaten, raped, and on the edge of death is still in me, and I embody all the different parts of myself. I owe it to my childhood self to become the best person I could possibly be, for the Karin who was suffering all alone in the dark. I’m here to say, I’m here for you and I will never abandon you.”

“A Devil on Both Shoulders: The Addict’s Dilemma” — By Timothy O'Neill, Curated in Addiction

“And I’m still thinking of drinking. Right now I’m drinking Powerade and letting those sweet chemicals flow down my throat. I have to have something by my left side while I’m writing. I don’t know what it is. I just do. As long as it’s not alcohol. Of all the drugs I’ve done alcohol always brought out the darkest parts of me, parts I’d rather write about than have manifested in tangible reality. I think I might have managed to knock one devil off my shoulder, but he’s been replaced by a gremlin who is less cunning but just as hungry.”

“He Won’t Make It To 30” — By aimeepalooza, Curated in Society and Mental Health

“I do not understand the death of an innocent man. Nevermind. I do understand. I do. I’m going to call it what it is: Racism. I hope that we take this monumental and much-delayed teachable moment, that we listen, grow, and change. I appreciate having leaders willing to lead us from this tragedy in a positive way.”

“My Experience of a Transient Ischaemic Attack” — By Sumera Rizwan, Curated in Mental Health and Health

“When I came out of the machine I could feel my fingers, gradually I started moving my hand, within a few hours I could lift my arm. It was very slow progress, but every move made me feel extremely blessed and accomplished.

It took me a couple of days but thankfully I recovered completely.

I still carry the imprint of that scar in my brain and obviously I can never forget how it made me feel.”

“I Am Not Afraid of Death” — By Sanchi Bhat, Curated in Mental Health

“My granddad was put on the ventilator a few days before his death and was in a coma-like state when I said my last goodbye. A week later, he passed away. I remember crying for days at a stretch because I felt like I would never be able to see him again, even though we didn’t know each other that well. The logic of death and the perishable nature of human existence seemed to have jumped to the fore for me. Despite knowing this, I still couldn’t reconcile my granddad’s death with that of nature’s law that I was aware of and researched about: everyone will die.”

“This is For the Lonely Ones” — By Ashley Chow, Curated in Mental Health

“Loneliness is what it means to be human. It’s up there along with love and joy. As much as you’ve always wanted to fast forward through the achy breaky parts in your life, loneliness is there to widen your capacity for love. It breeds in you deep compassion, astounding empathy for the hurting ones, and an appreciation for who you are when you’re on your own.”

“The Difference Between ‘Being Tired’ and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” — By Susie Ray, Curated in Health and Disability

“Although it is a recognised illness, the number of doctors who still do not believe in it or trained in it is frightening. And the number of co-workers, family members, teachers or friends who assumed I was avoiding work has been unbearable.

This illness is invisible but it’s sufferers are not. Awareness is needed and research is required so the medical gas-lighting and stigma of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can come to an end.”

“5 Signs You Are Dealing With a Narcissist” — By Alexandra Tsuneta, Curated in Mental Health and Relationships

“Dealing with any kind of abuse and trauma will leave you overwhelmed and exhausted, and moving on is a very difficult task. Accepting that being abused has far more to do with your abuser than with you is one way to begin to repair. Narcissistic personalities are unable to feel “normal” human emotions, and thus emotionally reasoning with them is impossible. Instead, begin to emotionally reason with yourself to begin to patch up the holes that your abuser has caused.”

“You Are Not Alone — Social Anxiety is Getting The Best of Us” — By Kelly Eden, Curated in Mental Health

“When I started to panic about the party, my partner offered not going. He’s an extreme introvert, so he’s not bothered either way. But I know what I need to do. If I don’t go, I’m giving that anxious voice permission to get out of the box and sit on my shoulder. To whisper in my ear. I’d be letting it have power. The only way to put the lid back on, is to socialize. It will be painful and I may have a panic attack before we go. That’s okay. It won’t kill me. I’ll go because I refuse to let anxiety be my master.”

“I Was Labeled a Sult in School. This is What Was Really Going On.” — By Nikki Kay, Curated in Mental Health and Equality

“And for other people, slut made it easier to dismiss me. To them I was a bad kid, a bad influence, someone parents didn’t want around their own children. The other kids could take out their teenage angst on me, their parents could derive comfort from the fact that at least my daughter’s not like that girl, and the teachers could turn a blind eye on my behavior outside of school as long as I maintained my academics inside.

Slut served to isolate me more and more each day from the people who could have seen me, helped me, saved me.”

Thanks for being such great readers and writers, everyone!


Meredith, Marie, Ryan, and the rest of the Invisible Illness team!



We don't talk enough about mental health.

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Ryan Fan

Ryan Fan

Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member:

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