I Am Not My Chronic Illness?

If I were to summarise this blog it would probably go something like “the story of a girl studying graphic design”. But that was before I got diagnosed with a chronic illness. It is true that at one point I did study graphic design, but not for very long. If we want to get scientific about it we could say this blog has been around for 603 days and I was in college for 11% of that time (71 days to be exact). So this blog really isn’t about a girl studying graphic design.

Discussing chronic illness. Image shows tea cup with fancy cotton tea bag in cup.


It might not affect the books I read or the movies I watch but it does affect what I do every day. I am constantly reminded that I have this illness. But I also have to remind myself that I am more than just this illness.

For the past year it has been the story of a girl living with a chronic illness and a single ovary. I wish I could say having an ovary removed gives you superpowers but it unfortunately does not. And to be honest it really doesn’t affect my life. But having a chronic fatigueΒ does.

And I think thats why I would describe this blog as the tales of a girl studying graphic design. Because while its not true right now, its a plan for the future. It might not be a very good plan and I know that my illness is going to have some sort of role in it. But its better than spending my days just being that girl with the chronic illness.

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what the point of this post was. But I’ve been having a pretty bad week and this was the result. Think of it as some weird therapy session type thing. But one shared with the whole internet.

63 thoughts on “I Am Not My Chronic Illness?

  1. Hang on, you can pull through. We all have crap to deal with. For me right now it’s a lack of cash flow…

  2. We are so much more than a single definition. Even if they’re true, they aren’t the whole of the complex and varied structure that makes a human being a soul and personality. This is beautiful.

  3. It is ok to vent and let it all out. I hope someday your dreams and goals come true for you. I also hope that you get well soon. I may not know you personally but I do know that we are only human and we have good days and bad days. I will support you as I follow your blog and be here to pick your spirits up as much as I can :).

    Your fellow blogger Jennifer aka Craftastic.

  4. Thanks for sharing your feelings with your readers.
    The point of your post is clear to me, and you are quite right, it is an affirmation that you are much more than your illness, and athough it will accompany you (for a time?) you aren’t going to let it take over your life, because you’ve got lots of other things to do, like study graphic design and write your blog, among many other things. πŸ™‚
    Tomorrow’s Friday, in Spain, my students call it Saint Friday! Hope you have a good weekend πŸ˜‰

  5. You reach people all around the world because of your blog. Good on you for keeping up the regular posts, and for sharing your dreams and hopes for the future. Getting well is the first step in reaching them. Sunshine and hugs from Down Under.

  6. Living with an illness is really rotten. You’re right – you are not your illness, you are all of you. That includes your illness, but only part. You have goals and dreams. Work for them the best way you can! You are an inspiration.

  7. When you are suffering from something that impacts your productivity, energy, and mood on a daily basis, it’s easy to think that this is who you are. I have had the same fight with years of depression and fatigue. Even though I had good days, everytime I was in the middle of a bad one, I thought my disease was who I was and that I would be that way forever. But I’m not any disease I have. I am just affected by it. Who I am is much more than a single label. Hope you find a path to better health and more energy. It can take a lot of work to unravel the causes of fatigue, but it’s worth the effort.

  8. Don’t want to ‘like’ this post. You are in a difficult place just now but I get the feeling that writing the post sorted things in your mind. I wish you strength to deal with it all.

  9. Wishing you a better week. I too didn’t wish to like this post, but doing so to show support. x

  10. Hi Emma – thanks for dropping by. I can see life is not a bowl of cherries at the mo’. Nonetheless I thought your latest blog was really positive in describing how you are dealing with a difficult time and it obviously resonated with many of us. Thank you. Moke

  11. People do recover from Chronic Fatigue, I know a doctor and a linguist who did, so never lose sight of that. Graphic design can be done from a desktop these days as you saw from my blog. Keep aspiring.

    1. I know chronic fatigue gets better but I haven’t heard of anyone totally recovering from it. I recently spoke to a neighbour who has had CFS/ME for over 20 years. But yes, thank you.

  12. Are you sure it hasn’t given you super powers? Maybe the chronic fatigue is your super power and it’s just backlashing because you’re not using it right. Have you tried passing it on? Putting other people to sleep with the power of your mind??? πŸ™‚

  13. Time isn’t as linear as people think. If you claim your future, and prepare yourself mentally for when it happens, you are already there. It’s good to see someone so young who understands that.

  14. Do not worry, you are young.Everything will get sorted out.

    if you believe in Hinduism, I may be able to recommend some slokas . which are defective.

    You need not convert.
    PS. Hinduism does not believe in proselytizing.

    All the Best

  15. Thank you for stopping by and liking my post. I love your watercolour paintings they are lovely. Living with chronic illness must be difficult for you but keep gently reminding yourself that you are doing fine and be kind to yourself . I hope things start to improve for you x

  16. Hi Emma
    Writing is not always about making a point. Some of the best literature in the world reads so brilliantly and makes no point at all. We can’t be so businesslike about the business of writing always. Or there’d be no meaning to Ars Gratia Artis. Carry on spinning out words!

  17. Sending good vibes out to you. I have a daughter who struggled through years of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. She did get better over time and was able to leave our home in Northeastern US to go to Hawai’i for grad school. She is much healthier in that climate.

    1. I find it super weird how the climate can affect these things. I live in Scotland which is not known for being very warm even in the summer. And yet I still become ill because of the heat. Its a very strange.

      1. Sometimes, I think it is the changes that are a pain. My daughter is very sensitive to large changes in air pressure, so an approaching storm system can set off symptoms. Another part of it is the extremes, as she would have problems if it was too hot but also problems if it was too cold.

  18. You don’t have to apologize, we all have had our share of crappy weeks πŸ˜€ You definitely are not your illness, and it’s good to make plans for the future. Just don’t give up, there will be good days, weeks, months, and years again.
    Best wishes to you! πŸ™‚

  19. Yep. Mine is Lupus. As I understand it, the name came from the idea that the disease gnaws on your joints like a wolf. So, I named mine Lupita, and most of the time I make her heel, but sometimes she really wears me out. We are not defined by chronic illness any more than we are by the animals we own (except, perhaps, for the cat lady…). Give it a name, make it your pet. Maybe I’m weird, but this practice definitely helped my state of mind.

  20. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m glad you talk about it. That’s part of the healing processes. I have been in bed for eight months unable to walk but hope, as giving me the opportunity to walk again. You can start your week over any day, lov…

  21. Living with an illness that prevents you from feeling well everyday is so tough. I hope you experience some healing and continue to post!

  22. You are most certainly not your illness!!! You are a girl who chooses to do anything she wants including Graphic Design, painting amazing watercolours and writing a very human and honest blog. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Yes you are right – you are so much more than a medical condition. And on the bad days, I hope you always try to remember that there is so much more to you.

  24. I really like this post and found it quite validating, as someone in a transitional period of life with fluctuating ideas of identity. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Damn straight. You are not your illness. I’ve got endometriosis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and a couple other less annoying diseases. But through our art, we can express our frustration and keep our heads above water. Keep fighting for your health and you’ll get back to the graphic design eventually if that’s your passion. If not, you’ll find another passion.

  26. Good evening Emma – I know this is an older post, but just wanted you to know that by posting this information it can help someone else with the same or similar situation to face. My writing has been my greatest therapy and those who read and comment on my posts have only served to enlighten me. Chronic fatigue is not easily dealt with and has a way of constantly reminding you that it is there. Write about it whenever you feel like writing about it. Many of us out here that will read it will benefit from what you have to say.
    Thanks for sharing this with us…
    Have a beautiful evening…

  27. I’ve just read your blog for the first time. Thanks. for your condition. I have cerebral palsy I hear know a lot of people who let their struggles define and confine them. I totally agree we are much more than what we deal with.

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