Olivia Wilson

@olivia-wilson-1 | contributor
I love to write about life's journeys, my family, our travels, and all the bits in between. I love to read other people's stories and see what drives them! These are my best medicines!
Olivia Wilson

Not Letting Friends See You When You're Sick

I’m the girl who has it all – that’s me! I’m the girl over there who always blow-dries her hair and has time to do her makeup. I’m the girl who always plays with her kids in the park. I’m the one who is always doing exciting things. I’m the girl who’s been partying with her friends all weekend. I’m the girl who’s always at the beach. I’m the girl who works, runs the house and keeps it all together! I’m the girl who has the immaculate house. I’m the girl that has so much time to herself. I’m the girl who has beautiful holidays. I am that girl, I really am, but I’m also someone else. I know you look on, watch and judge; the crucial thing is, when it comes to me, you’re missing a huge part of the story. All you see is what I allow you to see. I try to be my best for my family and my friends, but mainly for me. I know my daily limits, and I work to a strict timeline. I photograph the best bits, I record the funny things, I tell my friends about the outtakes. That doesn’t mean I’m not in pain, it doesn’t mean I’m not feeling dreadful, it doesn’t mean “ it’s ” not real. I’m creating and living in my own movie, “The Best of Me,” starring “The Real Fake Me.” That’s all I want you to see: the girl who’s holding it all together, the one who makes everything look breezy. I keep going with the things that keep me going and when I really, truly need to stop, I stop! I close the curtains, I turn off the cameras, I stop uploading to Instagram and Facebook. I ignore Twitter, I stop my emails from bleeping. I switch one life off while the other takes hold. This is the best and only way to keep being me! When a bad day hits, no one wants to see her. No one wants to be reminded of the state she gets into when “it” takes over. I want to be Me – I want you all to see me, not her. She isn’t me. So no, you don’t see her, you never see her. I’ve only introduced you to the real, fake me. I’m the girl over there who always does her hair and makeup no matter what a struggle it can be. I’m the girl who always plays with her kids in the park for five minutes, no more, because I need that energy for getting us all home and feeding everyone. I’m the one who is always doing exciting things but I sure as hell pay for it. I’m the girl who’s been partying with her friends all weekend after I’d cancelled, last minute, the previous eight attempts to get out because I’d maxed out! I’m the girl who’s always at the beach as long as the next day is booked in as a rest day. I’m the girl who works, runs the house and keeps it all together in between naps, doctor appointments, hospital trips and more rest. I’m the girl who has the immaculate house in photographs. I’m the girl who has so much time to herself and spends it sleeping so I can get back to life. I’m the girl who has beautiful holidays where I spend lots of time missing out, in pain and resting in hotel rooms. So here I am, the Real Fake Me. Hello! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Olivia Wilson

20 Things to Know If You Got a Difficult Diagnosis

I guess when you are diagnosed with a chronic condition, you don’t immediately have all the information you could really do with.You know what the symptoms are because that’s how you’ve ended up in hospital or the neurologist’s office, but you don’t really know what the future holds. I guess my onset was so sudden, so severe, that I just didn’t ever get the chance to imagine that I wouldn’t get better, and I never considered the impact it would have on my whole life and everyone in it. I am nearly 11 years on from my diagnosis of transverse myelitis (a neurological condition that affects the myelin covering the spinal cord). Looking back at the 25-year-old party animal lying in that hospital bed with no feeling from the neck down, I’m shocked at how unruffled I was, how cool, calm and collected I was. I guess I just imagined it would all be OK, and within a few weeks, I’d be back on the dance floor, dancing the night away with my friends. Maybe that was the best way to think about it. Maybe living in a constant state of “this is only temporary” was the way I got through it day to day. After 10 days in hospital, a crazy amount of steroids, lots of blank stares, and prods to my limbs, I was sent home with a wheelchair and a very heavy heart. I could see the worry and sadness in other people’s eyes as I tried to get on with things. I vividly remember trying to fold the laundry one day, but everything I picked up, I promptly dropped. At 26 years old, this is a massive reality check that I just wasn’t willing to deal with. I had lots of physiotherapy to help me walk. I saw the occupational health team who handed me special cutlery, a seat for the shower, a holder for my kettle so I didn’t have to lift it to make a cup of tea, and then they sent me on my merry way to a life that was unrecognizable to me. I have spent the majority of the past 11 years in between a state of anger and putting a brave face on. I guess I stopped waiting to get better and reality hit home. I’ve recently had two years of feeling great, no relapses, getting to the gym, moving to the other side of the world to enjoy the sunshine and then bam… Another reality check. I been diagnosed with another condition I need to deal with. This means the sharks are circling again. The doctor told me it’s really common that once you have one autoimmune disease, you are more susceptible to others. Who knew? Who kept this big secret from me? I listened to all her advice, took the appointments she had made me for all sorts of specialists and I started my walk back to the car. I was angry. I was deflated, hooked up to a heart monitor and I was thinking, “This is so unfair.” Then I got to thinking what they really should tell you before you leave the hospital with a difficult diagnosis and a heavy heart. What they should tell you, and possibly tell you again so you really hear it, is: 1. You’re not on your own; there are many other people with the same diagnosis and they will become new friends and a huge support to you. 2. You will feel immense amounts of love from all sorts of people who want to support you. 3. It’s OK to feel the way you feel. 4. You will have good days. 5. Your children love you no matter what and you are not letting them down. 6. There are people who will drop everything just to run to your aid. 7. No matter how many times you have declined the offer of a night/dinner out, your true friends will never stop inviting you. 8. You can find kindness in strangers, lots of the time. 9. Your family will become closer than ever before. 10. You can find sheer joy in things that maybe seemed insignificant before. 11. You will know how loved you are through the kindness you are shown. 12. You must be kind to yourself. 13. You will become more aware of other people’s struggles. 14. You will become more compassionate. 15. You will learn to be more patient with yourself and others. 16. You will get used to asking for help, and your friends and family do not mind. 17. You can be happy. 18. You can travel. 19. You will get through the tough times. 20. You will still be you. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .