Life saving distractions

You aren’t lazy. Nothing about coping with chronic illness and pain equates to slothfulness. Each moment that you decide to stay in the fight is brave and exhausting. Every second that you don’t give over to the ease of eternal sleep shows enormous strength and fortitude. You are amazing and your struggle is acknowledged by the millions of us who gear up to face each day. It is difficult to find distractions from pain and other loud symptoms. I often have to use multiple techniques at once. This might look like someone with an attention problem to an outsider. If…

I’m just girl – Diagnosing Part 3

I just assumed that every person became light headed when they stood for an extended period of time. Standing up quickly or being overly active would always leave me with a spinning room and short light show. It was something I naturally compensated for through the years. I figured that everyone lived with these daily sensations. After all, the human body is a weird machine.  No one in my family has much trust in modern medicine. From religious reasons to superstitious avoidance and general unease with the practice, I wasn’t brought up with doctor visits. The occasional trip for stiches…

Like. Lust. Love

Developing and maintaining a romantic relationship isn’t easy on the best of days. We all carry baggage and have expectations that we place on the other person. Even if someone’s situation is “perfect”, they will bring trauma and scars from their past, often subconsciously.  When it comes to handling romance with bent and broken bodies, the obstacles can feel unbeatable. But, they aren’t. Let’s start with dating. The word alone can cause a flood of anxiety. It’s a world where possible partners take a quick look at a picture, then swipe either approval or dismissal, before personalities are even brought up.…

Response required yesterday to a letter received today

We try, desperately, to meet and match deadlines set by the world. But, from work to leisure, time works differently for the broken. Our bodies’ needs outweigh our desires to keep up with a “normal” pace of life. On the truly terrible days, I can’t function. I can’t leave my bed. Every micro-movement, even just laying still, causes agony that doubles down on the internal pain radiating from my nerves, muscles, and joints. Hell-level migraine days see me curled into a ball crying, vomiting, and losing my will to live. There are moments where my stomach refuses even water and…

Suffering with responsibility

A few times a year, one or two celebrities pop up in the media because of a chronic pain related medical diagnosis. This type of sharing seems to be on the rise. There are good and bad aspects to pointing a spotlight on under-explained conditions through a celebrity lens. Often, the headlines focus on how the celebrity has suffered exhaustion and needs to reschedule or pause their current projects. An emphasis is placed on well wishes and very little if anything, is written about the amount of non-famous sufferers. A few general terms (mostly pain and fatigue) are put as…

Air travel

I use to travel, a lot. Multiple times a year, different countries, long trips and short trips, all of which I did with relative ease. I started traveling at a very young age, the simplicity and near-comfort that I felt with the entire airport routine (regardless of my location) has been a part of my identity for most of my life. From being the one who knew all the tips and tricks for getting through different airports quickly to feeling elation at landing in every new city, I reveled in the energy and unexpected adventures of frequent travel.  With my…

The good stuff

So many terrible things happen when you have a chronic illness. There are hours, sometimes even weeks and months, which go by before a calm spell hits. At that time, with the chaos of survival temporarily quieted, we have a chance to appreciate the lessons we learned during the bad days. Those small servings of good stuff can help us find reasons to push through and keep fighting.  The primary lesson learned from dealing with a chronic illness is patience. It is inevitable. You can only push yourself so hard when your body is broken. Developing patience with yourself is…

Losing my face

It would be a lie to say that how I look doesn’t matter. Pretending that we aren’t all judged immediately through passing glances and in-person meetings. Claiming that pictures aren’t scanned by thousands of eyes searching for every perfection and, more eagerly, every flaw. I know this. Everyone knows this.  It’s a world crammed with warring messages, “Everybody is perfect!” and “Plastic surgery is at an all-time high!” “Love your body.” and “Eat less. Exercise more.” You are told that you will never look good enough, but you pretend that you think you are perfect. Fix your face with filters,…

A chaotic home

Life throws so many obstacles our way. It can be easy to get caught up in it all. This means sometimes forgetting your limitations and needs until you have passed a tipping point. Add to this the general difficulties of living with chronic symptoms in a chaotic home environment… maintaining your normal flies out the window. Many people with disabling medical conditions don’t get a lot of say in where they live. Some stay with family, others can manage independently, and some end up drifting between temporary shelters and homelessness. A few of us live with partners, friends, or strangers.…

Medical desperation

There are so many people with chronic and mysterious symptoms that the western world has developed show-and-tell entertainment around being sick. There are television shows, corporate websites, online series, and major news segments dedicated to showcasing all of our complications. Why do we engage with industries that make a profit off of our pain? Simple. We are desperate. With hundreds of thousands, even millions of people looking for cures to their long-term ailments, the appeal of sharing your problem with the world and getting a solution quickly is overwhelming. Maybe there is a doctor out there who is interested in…