A silent evil. An invisible disease. An under-the-cover illness. No matter what you call it, life can be tough when your struggles can’t be seen from the outside.
Just ask Laurie Holbrook. The Alnwick singer-songwriter has lived with Crohn’s – a type of inflammatory bowel condition – for five years.
Since being diagnosed at the age of 14, the teenager has endured more than just the symptoms of the disease.
Aside from stomach pain, regular bouts of fatigue and feeling unwell, the 19-year-old has also had to put up with critical or negative comments from others who are quick to judge, but unaware of the illness that lurks beneath.
So recently, following surgery and a lengthy spell in hospital after suffering temporary paralysis of the bowel and plummeting to six stone in weight, the fed-up guitarist decided to put pen to paper.
In just an hour, he came up with a song to raise awareness about the difficulties of having such a disease. Re-evaluate isn’t about Crohn’s per se; rather living with any hidden illness, mental or physical.
And since going live on Facebook last week, the inspirational acoustic music video has been viewed more than 1,000 times and attracted a string of positive comments.
He said: “It’s a song about how some people are so blind to judge someone without knowing a thing about the person they’re talking to.
"Some people should take more time before tagging others. Things like Crohn’s are rubbish, because it can’t be seen and therefore you are pinned as lazy, miserable, unmotivated, weird etc, just because people see you looking down and being unable to do much physically.
“You tend to get random people looking down on you, filling your head with advice, and it makes you numb to empathy after a while.
“I don’t talk much about having Crohn’s, but writing the song was a release and a weight off my shoulders.
“In an odd way, Crohn’s has changed my life for the better; it has given me perspective and shows what is meaningful.”