Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

Home » Join us » Members’ stories » My secret

My secret

my-secretI was a successful university academic, surrounded by friends, with an enviable lifestyle and a dark secret that no one has ever guessed. This secret nearly consumed me. Beyond this seemingly perfect life lay the secret – of mental illness. At home languished my tortured partner that no one had ever met.

It took consummate skill to allay people’s curiosity about my husband John. With ingenuity the persona of a glamorous and talented artist evolved. A few photos of his paintings with the handsome artist smiling congenially seemed to do the trick. However, it proved infinitely harder to explain the absence of Christmas festivities or the existence of any family. By comparison, it was a simple diversion tactic not to discuss holidays. They had the blessing of being rather vague and people are always eager to talk about themselves. Most of us are willing to believe appearances.

Over twenty years has now elapsed since John was first admitted to the Brookwood Psychiatric Hospital. No one has ever guessed my secret. This is just the way some carers need to cope. You may wonder why someone chose to keep mental illness a secret. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder struck suddenly and savagely. I was a stranger to the love of my life who seemed beyond my reach. When I turned to my family for support they decided it was for the best to sever contact. They told me I had let them down and John could be dangerous. It was a brutal lesson I was never to forget.

Over the years John’s mental and physical health has deteriorated, which now requires me to be a full time carer. This allows us to spend more time together. However, the decreased quality of our life has devastated my self esteem. At a conference last year I discovered that there were local support groups, such as the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People. Slowly my confidence is returning and I feel more positive. But if you were to meet me, you may never guess that behind this fashionable blond with smiling eyes lies a secret … but then you may already know me?

Recent Posts: Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

Disability Cricket Days

Check Physical Activity News page for details about Disability Cricket Days.

30 days wild

June is 30 Days Wild month so this week I’d like to follow on from volunteering opportunities in the great outdoors and look at some other ways you can Get More Active whilst enjoying the wonderful countryside in Surrey. One of the easiest ways to enjoy the countryside is by walking if you are able. […]

28.05.2021 weekly update

Happy Friday! Here is the update for this week. Enjoy your long weekend!

Big THANK YOU to our wonderful Volunteers

It’s volunteers’ week, and all of us here, in Coalition, would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our wonderful volunteers. We recorded a short video with all our thanks, watch it here!

Outdoor Gyms – the free, local way to build a bit of activity into your day!

This week I’d like to talk to you about outdoor gyms. You may have come across one in your local park and wondered about giving it a go. They are similar to the gym equipment found in leisure centres and can be found in public spaces providing a selection of equipment that anyone can use […]