Top Ten Items Which Help Me Manage My Chronic Illnesses

Picture is of a yellow bottlebrush flower

Welcome to my blog! Today we’re doing a bit of a different post, as we’re not going to be looking at writing or reading, but chronic illness!

As anyone with a chronic illness can tell you, it affects pretty much every part of your life. From what you eat, to what you wear, where you work, what your hobbies are, and even who you make friends with.

Obviously, when chronic illness is framed like that, it can sound like it’s all there is to my identity, but really it’s not. Accepting that something affects my life is not the same as letting it rule my life. So, with that in mind, let’s have a look at my top ten things that help me focus on other things–whether that be dogs, horses, writing, reading, or work!

Also, as a quick disclaimer. This list may have things that aren’t suitable, or won’t work for you, even if you have the same illnesses as me. Always talk to your health care professionals if you aren’t sure about something 🙂

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The Gift of Silence (or what 48 hours at a sign language weekend taught me about rest)

Hello all! Today I have a more meandering blog post for today, on a topic that I think is going to be really interesting to explore. Recently (meaning about six weeks ago, depending on when you end up reading this post) I spent a weekend at an AOW. For the uninitiated, AOW stands for Auslan Only Weekend. Essentially, it’s a weekend for students and Deaf people alike to come together and communicate only in Auslan (ie, the sign language that is the first and/or preferred language for culturally Deaf people)*

Despite the obvious terror of going somewhere I wouldn’t be allowed to speak my first language (English), and was expected to communicate in a completely new language that I’d only been learning for five months, I loved it. Was it hard? By golly gosh, yes it was. But was every single minute of it a wonderful learning opportunity? Yes, it definitely was. I loved that weekend with all my heart and I was almost in tears when I left.

And after I got home, it got me thinking about my experience at that weekend away. I came back tired, but refreshed. Which was a novel experience, because I almost always return home mentally and physically exhausted from being away. I have a chronic illness, and continual fatigue and pain is part of that particular parcel, and I often experience flare ups after being out of the house for a whole weekend. The mental, emotional and physical stress of these outings if often too much for me. So why did I come back from this one feeling “good” tired, and mentally refreshed?

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