My name is Ashley. This is a place where I provide solid truth about what it is like to live with invisible illness in my every day
Whether you have come here in search of support for yourself or a loved one, you'll be sure to find some perspective on what it means to have an illness that isn't going anywhere
I use this platform as a way to express the experience of having an illness like fibromyalgia, the unforeseen hurdles of having a reproductive inflammatory disorder like endometriosis.
The key things I like to post are about what tools, books, and tips have helped me better cope.
And learning how to grow better, not bitter
Find some inspiration living alongside your illness. See that life can be full of joy, despite sometimes having heartache (and other aches!)
I have a new YouTube channel where I'll be posting videos more on life with chronic illness.
Welcome to my blog, I'm Ashley.
Here I write about my struggles and experiences with my invisible illnesses- fibromyalgia, endometriosis, chronic pain, and how to lean into a "new normal", without shame or stigma.
I love learning, reading and creating. I'm a student in communication sciences and I live in CO and am married to my best friend.
My hope is that some women out there can relate to my experiences.
Self-advocating in doctor visits, prioritizing self-care and pain prevention, researching latest medical remedies and treatments, along with financial management make it a full-time job to have an invisible illness. Add in college classes, and making sure your personal life is in good health is overtime.
Invisible illness? No, I am not in wheelchair, although some days I feel like I could be. I did try a walking cane for a short period, but found it didn't help my pain.
I have debilitating pain many days with fibromyalgia. I also have good days. But this does mean my fibromyalgia or other chronic conditions are gone...
Whether or not people realize it, there is a stereotype for those who "can be ill". Much of society is unaware that many illnesses and disabilities are not always visible. Just because someone looks well, doesn't necessarily mean they are well. They very might well have spent all week at doctor and imaging appointments, or doing everything they could to keep up with the other people in their life. There have been days where I have spent multiple hours on the phone with health insurance, medical records, or communicating with new physicians and facilities.
Chronic illness is a full-time job that you didn't apply for. But you have no choice to quit or take a leave of absence.
To those of you who with chronic illness and/or fibromyalgia:
-You are resilient for waking up another day.
-You're not alone. But you may feel you are. The way I found to cope with this feeling is to connect with others and write about my journey.
I feel that building our "emotional intelligence muscle" is key. Learning more about communication and self-development can never really hurt in a journey where endless support and skills are needed in order to cope. Books, audiobooks, podcasting or online engagement are a great tool to use for connecting with others who have the same struggles. It takes guts to power through some of these high-pain and multiple symptom days. And I'm here for it.
If you are the spouse or partner of someone with a chronic illness, and you support them with understanding and love, there should be monuments made in your honor. It is a long road, and rocky journey for the spouse or caregiver of someone with an invisible and/or chronic illness. The best thing you can do however, is offer judgement-free listening and space for them to feel what they are feeling. Ultimately, work on spreading awareness.
Compassion is the greatest medicine you can give your partner.
The Reality of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain
In my experience with fibromyalgia, it cost me from more than several things I love doing most. One of which, was my career as a massage therapist. When someone has fibro/chronic illness, they lose many abilities they used to have. And if this is invisible, it's even harder to relay this to others, because they simply cannot see the struggle happening. This is not something the individual wants, nor something they are "faking".
Fibromyalgia is a real, researched condition that causes widespread pain, decreased mobility, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, and cognitive difficulties, just to say a few. Scientists are getting closer every day to finding the potential cause of fibromyalgia and effective treatments for the condition.
I may not have the health I once had, or the abilities to run 5ks, lift heavy and go on long hikes. But what I do have is my ability to write, create, share and advocate for other women like myself, of whom I know are out there, right now, many feeling alone in their struggles. I was there, for a very long time. I did not reach out to others and was in denial about having a lifelong illness, one that no one would ever see. Some of those with fibro/chronic illnesses are able to rehabilitate themselves with dieting, pharmaceuticals, or both, and are able to resume their missed passions with a lot of fight. Some try and are still fighting without much rehabilitation. I am fighting every day. If you are also fighting, you are not alone.
Fibromyalgia has not been all bad news. In having an illness which is invisible, pulling from more inward strength has been necessary. I have found, with the right amount of self-education, and some other self-care tools, I've begun to rehabilitate my warrior spirit with engagement in the online community.
Blogging for support and connection, to spread awareness, and advocate for myself and others whom have an invisible chronic illness.
Wishing You plenty of spoons**,
**If you find yourself scratching your head in regard to what this "spoon/spoonie" stuff is, I highly recommend you read "The Spoon Theory", by Christine Miserandino, the blogger of butyoudontlooksick.com ...The Spoon Theory is a helpful analogy the author created while out to eat with her friend. Her friend wanted to better understand how her chronic illness, lupus affected her (the author) day to day. Using nearby utensils at empty tables, she proceeded to explain how her illness took more energy/effort/pain (spoons) to perform simple daily tasks that an otherwise healthy person may take for granted. This helpful analogy caught on and has been coined for use in the chronic/invisible illness community since to help other's understand our limitations.
Here is my very first YouTube video on general pain prevention and a short background story:
Check out the My Story tab. I share more of my personal journey with several invisible illnesses!
Check out my latest posts in the side bar or top menu!