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Disability Narratives

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Interview excerpt: Charlotte finds preconceptions about physical and mental illness makes it difficult to share personal information.


Image representing Charlotte

That actually, you know, the lines that we draw between physical and mental health are very, very artificial, and not very helpful at all. So, yes. But it does make it - I mean, that's why I talk about anxiety and IBS to people, rather than CPTSD. Because it's easier to categorise - like 'oh okay, you've got stomach issues, got digestive issues, okay I get that'. 'Oh anxiety, yeah, everybody gets - you know – ‘anxiety'. But when there's physical constriction in the chest and you can't - Like that day when I couldn't speak, I could feel my chest - you know - like I didn't know whether I could breathe. I've never had a complete full blown panic attack, but - you know - those are very physical symptoms. But to talk about CPTSD would be things like ‘disassociation’ [laughing]. Like what is that to explain [sigh]? So in a sense the physical stuff is easier to discuss with people, and not feel too exposed and too vulnerable. The mental health stuff is still a fear of stigma, and fear of - not that people will think I'm crazy, but just. Just some people don't understand it, and it's very exposing. And, you know, and why should I go into it with anyone who's just interested, you don't know what they're going to do with the information. 

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