Today I am excited to share Brenna's chronic illness story with you. She is a creative warrior who has been battling a multitude of chronic conditions including POTS, Gastroparesis, MCAD and many more for over a decade.
This interview is part of an ongoing series where we meet spoonie warriors from around the world who share their struggles and victories as they navigate life with various chronic conditions or invisible disabilities.
I hope this series will encourage you and perhaps help you to find answers and community. I know that many of the things which I now depend on to manage my conditions came from listening to patients with more experience. I hope that, by sharing these stories, newly diagnosed warriors will feel more supported and less alone.
I'd like to speak about my own mental health. I feel like some people misunderstand my condition, so I wanted to address the matter directly. Yes, I have a severely debilitating illness. Yes, I practically live in bed. No, I cannot go out and I cannot have visitors coming over without paying for it, but I am okay. Seriously.
In this interview series we explore how diet and chronic illness affect each other and today I have the honour of sharing Jo's story. Jo's appetite was severely affected by her mental health, but with the help of loved ones, she found a way to overcome it and get back to a place where she could once again enjoy a healthy diet.
When it comes to chronic illness, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, especially when it comes to healing through diet. It's up to us to try different approaches until we find our personal solution - the thing that our body responds to most positively.
I hope this series will inspire you to make changes to your diet too, you never know how much relief you could experience through just a few modificaitons. What you eat really can make a big difference!
Last year was a tough one for many of us, but looking back I realised that I have learned many important lessons which make me stronger and better equipped for the year ahead.
So although 2018 was a year of very high highs and very low lows, there were many lessons scattered among both the trials and the triumphs. This is the way life goes - it is never linear and it's always changing - but we can always look back and learn something from what we have been through.
Through the course of each year we will grow wiser, we will heal old wounds, we will get up and try again, but each time we will also be a little stronger.
Have you ever experienced that moment of intense pain in your eyes and head when you've opened the curtains on a bright and sunny day? Anybody who has experienced a migraine or even a hangover would likely understand what I'm talking about too. Although photophobia or light sensitivity might seem quite common among the general population, it can be quite debilitating when combined with a chronic illness like ME.
Most people struggle with glare and direct sunlight in their eyes, but what you might not realise is that some people with chronic illness actually cannot tolerate any light at all and might have to spend hours, days, weeks or even months in the dark - and it's not just pain in the eyes that they're avoiding!