Karen Haggerty

Writer & Clinical Hypnotherapist

Mental illness v. physical illness #mentalhealth 


I've often heard and seen trial by media but I saw something quite new this week. Medical diagnosis on social media. First on Twitter, quickly followed by the tabloids. Katie Price has been diagnosed with PTSD and entered rehab.

This, sadly, happens all over the world every day. The only difference is Katie Price is a celebrity and her story is being covered closely by the press.

Usually, we see the setting up of two camps with this type of 'news': I love him/her and wish them well, or I hate him/her and don't care or worse. This week changed the usual two camps and a third sprang up. The third one shouted, 'We don't believe you or your medical diagnosis!' They are calling Katie, and by default the doctor who diagnosed her with a debilitating mental health issue, a liar!

Echoes of the past came flooding back. In times gone by, if an illness was not visible it did not exist. More importantly, who are we to diagnose a mental or physical illness without the requisite years of training at medical school, just by having a social media account?

When I wrote about having cancer on my social media platforms last year no one challenged me. No tweets saying I don't like you, so you and your oncologists are liars and attention seekers.

I wonder if things might have been different if Katie needed medical care for a physical illness. Of course, they would have been! How many vulnerable Twitter users will read the abuse and disbelief that Katie is receiving and decide not to seek help for fear of similar ridicule?

Miss Price is the Mum of five beautiful children. Some are old enough to read the same hate-filled tweets about mental illness that I have. Her own much-loved Mother Amy is terminally ill and desperately needs Katie to get better so they can enjoy precious time together.

Let's stop using mental illness as a weapon to belittle, punish and hurt others.

I wish you well, Katie Price, from the bottom of my heart and pray you will soon be home with your loved ones. XX
Karen Haggerty

(Daughter of a Bi-Polar Father.)