In general, I have felt alone on my journey with chronic illness. Living with illness is isolating--especially if it is an "invisible" illness. Invisible illnesses are those that others cannot see because you don't look sick on the "outside." I don't wear any casts or bandages--an obvious sign of injury. But just because you can't see something, doesn't mean it isn't real or hurts any less.
It can feel like you are missing out on a lot of life when you are sick, especially if you cannot keep up with school, work, or friendships. My life centered on doctor's visits, the emergency room, restricted diets, protocols, and avoidance of anything that could make me sicker. I withdrew from my peers and spent most of my free time playing the piano, dancing, and enjoying my pets. It was easier to be alone rather than try to explain myself to others or face criticism.
All of these factors contributed to my feelings of isolation. But there was one thing that made the isolation unbearable--NO ONE TALKED ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE AN ILLNESS. No one wanted to talk about anxiety or depression any more than they wanted to talk about bowel problems or chronic pain.
I am certain I wasn't the only young woman struggling with chronic illness and emotional trauma, but it seemed like it. There is so much shame around illness that for many of us we keep our stories to ourselves. In fact, there are hundreds of people going through similar health struggles but we often suffer silently.
Now I am an adult and I have had many years of living with chronic illness--physical and emotional. When I made a decision to educate and support others struggling with autoimmune disease and trauma, I made a pact that my number one mission would be honesty.
I am telling my story because I want to share things I wished others would have shared with me--the behind the scenes of illness. Illness should not remain invisible. Illness can touch anyone at any time and is more common than we sometimes realize. This is what makes us human. I want vulnerability to be a necessary part of healing.
So here I am! I hope that my story and what you find within this website will make you feel less alone. We support each other's healing by sharing our stories. Strength comes from knowing there are many things that make us unique but just as many things that make us the same.