Invisible Disabilities Week: Interview with a Spoonie – Ruth

– Name:
Ruth S.

– Origin:
I was born in the South West of England, in Devon on Christmas Day 1996. I have lived with my mum and dad and brother (until he moved out), in the same house for 21 years in a town called Exeter. I love it here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

– Tell us a little about you! What do you enjoy doing?
There are so many things I enjoy doing. Including: Listening to music (especially my favourite group of all time BTS), going out for walks, blogging,  going to the gym, baking, hanging out with my friends and family, eating, watching anime, youtube and Disney films, playing video games (especially Animal Crossing)  and probably something else that I’m forgetting. I also have a beautiful calico cat called Poppy who I adore spending time with. She is the best thing in my life right now and I love her to pieces.

– Tell us about your chronic illnesses! Anything undiagnosed or are you going through diagnosis right now!
I suffer from anxiety and depression. It first started in around 2013 when I started college. My anxiety would give me migraines that would make me pass out, and I got depressed due to being too scared to do anything or go outside. I don’t get that anymore, but the anxiety and depression is still with me. Some days are better than others but having cognitive behavioural therapy last year, and being put on anti anxiety/depression tablets has really helped me.

– What would you say is the worst thing about chronic illness?
Definitely how overlooked it is, and how many people don’t know or understand about it. I dislike it when people assume that anxiety is just feeling a little bit nervous when giving a speech or something. And depression is just feeling slightly sad sometimes. It is so much more than that. For me, it’s constantly shaking, feeling sick and just feeling extremely numb all the time.  They are serious illnesses and disabilities, and more people need to understand what we go through on a daily basis.

– Are you a part of the spoonie community? Have you learnt anything from it?
I like to think I am. I love being a part of it and supporting others in the same types of situations as me. I have learnt so much. I have learnt about all sorts of different chronic illnesses that I didn’t know about before joining the community. I never realised there was so many. It has really opened my eyes even more to how serious this is, and how more awareness needs to be spread.

– What is your support system like? Do you have people around you who support and help you?
I definitely have a strong support system. The few friends that I have chosen, are really supportive and understanding. My best friend of 21 years (Tyler) liked to take me out in her car to the beach, and we would just sit in the car and chat and watch the waves. I found it very calming when I was having a bad day. I am really going to miss her when she goes travelling in a few weeks. My parents are also very supportive, and have never judged me when I went on tablets and have always been understanding especially during my years at college when I was really, really struggling. Also, at work, my colleagues are very nice about everything. When I had an anxiety attack and a migraine at work once, they were extremely kind and let me sit in the staff room with the lights off for 20 minutes. They all kept on coming in and checking if I was okay. It’s lovely working in a place with people like that where I feel safe and comfortable if anything was to happen.

– What is one achievement you have, that you thought you wouldn’t with chronic illness?
I work in a shop, and we hand out surveys so our customers can give feedback. My biggest achievement was getting my first positive mention from a customer. If I had told me of 5 years ago that that had happened, she never would have believed me. Back then I could barely make eye contact with people, let alone help a customer to the extent that they remember me in a good way. I was probably usually remembered as the super awkward, anxious looking one who wouldn’t do anything. But yes, seeing that for the first time really made me smile, and I have had a few more since then. Read my experience of working in retail with anxiety here!

– Any spoonie specific social media you would like to share? Can people follow you there?
I don’t have any spoonie specific social media at the moment, I’m afraid. But feel free to check out my blog, and comment and share. It would mean the absolute world to me.

Read more about Ruth, over on her blog!

Read all Invisible Disabilities Week posts here!

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