30 Ways to Creatively Engage with your Illness

This is brilliant, and should be shared for both Chronic pain and mental illness.

Breaking Stigma

It’s easy to lose interest in life when you’re consumed with pain, depression and other awful symptoms. I’ve found engaging with my illnesses and experience creatively very empowering.

You don’t have to be the next Van Gough, Ansel Adams, Sylvia Plath, PewDiePie or Alicia Keys to be creative. I have compiled a list if ‘creative’ things you can have a go at, even if you think you suck.

By creative, I mean expressing yourself in an imaginative, artistic, innovative, inspirational, personal or unique way. You can ‘creatively engage’ with your illness by using any creative medium to:

  • process the pain and grief your illness has caused;
  • externalise overwhelming feelings;
  • articulate acceptance;
  • rest and relax;
  • create awareness about your illness;
  • reach out for support;
  • distract yourself for a while;
  • innovate a way to re-engage with an activity your illness has prevented you from doing;
  • encourage others to persevere;
  • show others they’re not alone in…

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Tennis Balls are not JUST for Tennis.

At last, some extra help with the pain! The sports massage therapist in me tells me that starting on tennis ball massage and stretching again will help quite a bit. At least it will help all of us stay sane til our next appointment. Thank you so much!


Hello everyone! Today’s tip is for those of you with tight, sore muscles that keep you in pain and away from sex. I could spend pages writing on just this topic, but for the sake of keeping things simple, to the point, and easy to understand, I hope you will find this sufficient!

Last week I woke up, turned to get out of bed and felt extreme pain. It felt like the top of my spine at the base of my neck was going to pop out of place, combined with insane tightness in my shoulders and the muscles of my upper back. After carefully getting out of bed and doing some research I discovered I had a rhomboid/trapezius spasm. (If you’re curious I urge you to look it up!)

Thankfully my lovely boyfriend was able to go to the store on his break and buy me this cheap (1.99$)…

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TW: More Body Image Blues.

TW: Stay safe lovely people, we talk about body image and eating stuff.



I looked down at the pan in front of us. Nineteen was trying to cook something for our tea, but we all felt exhausted, scared of the constant pain we all feel, and just not hungry. Nineteen felt disinterested. She didn’t want to eat because she was worried it would taste of ash, worried she’d get fat (like he used to like, love handles gave him something else to make fun of), worried she would just be stuck in this out of control body forever…

She was pretty much having a panic attack in front of a pan. I counted six pieces of pasta sitting there, the ravioli kind. There was more in the packet.

“Nineteen, why are you only eating six pieces?”

“I don’t think I’ll manage anything else,” she replied, her hands shaking as she picked up the packet for the sixteenth time. “I can save that for tomorrow.”

I looked at the pathetic amount left in the packet.

“Nineteen, just make the rest and don’t worry. If you can’t eat them now, we can always eat them tomorrow. They’ll be pre-cooked and ready to go then, no hassle.”

She agreed and I watched her drop them into the pot.

The Dutchman was on IM to us the whole time, telling us that we would be ok and he was there to help. I told nineteen to just add olive oil, salt, butter and pepper to the meal, but she was still worried that it wouldn’t taste good. The Dutchman said to make it taste good,so she added mixed herbs.

Sitting down to eat it, she was pleasantly surprised by how nice simple ingredients did taste. She asked me how I knew, and I replied that I had been making food for a very long time, and that experimenting with new things didn’t bother me in the slightest. Eating a little bit of something tasty was something good.

Nineteen told the Dutchman she felt out of control and eating is the only thing she can control at the moment. He reminded her that if she ate, she was controlling something. She was fighting an urge, which would control it. She hadn’t seen it that way before… Nor had any of us.

This morning I woke up in pain again. Getting up hurts, I swallowed my pills and headed downstairs, and looked at the various breakfast options. Not enticing.

Nineteen’s feelings are still pretty strong over food. When she feels threatened and out of control of her circumstances, she doesn’t want to eat because it feels wrong to let your body dictate what it wants you to do. It has been a struggle asking nineteen to let me make breakfast, but luckily she’s let me.

At the minute, we have lost about 3kg. I personally attribute that to being unable to eat properly for a while and not being able to exercise at all for at least a month. The heart arrhythmia hasn’t helped, and we feel tired, so putting on muscle has been next to impossible.

I hate being this skinny. If there was ever a time for me to feel triggered, it’s now. Looking at the unhealthy hollows my cheeks form, the knobbles on my knees where the patellae are sticking out, the nasty sticky-out cow bones of my hips… When cows are underfed, their hipbones look huge and pointy and anomalous. That’s how I feel.

Even nineteen doesn’t like our weight loss. She likes to be able to feel like she can defend us at the drop of a hat. Like this, we couldn’t even fend off a fly.

The younger two don’t like our knees. They don’t like the bones that stick out and look weird- they always hated that back when it was them. So, we all have our issues.

All of us are struggling with still being in pain, with no answers. We are hoping that the appointment with the gynaecologist on the 5th August will help… Otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board.

We all just hope that whatever this turns out to be, the Dutchman will still do his thing- that is, be there whenever we need him. He promises he will, and he’s not giving up. He has never given us a reason to doubt him before, so I don’t think there’s any chance of him getting sick of us being ill.

We are so lucky to have him.

TW: Pain, sadly

Holy mother.

Since deciding to stop the contraceptive pill, life has been interesting. Still the same palpitations sadly, but now it’s that time of the month…

14 and 15 remember this well. Forcing yourself into your school uniform, dragging yourself in, not having a clue what was said and being so far out of your own body because of the pain it felt like you floated.

We’re back here again.

The pain is so bad it makes us want to cry. We have our next hospital appointment on the 5th August, after much arguing and cajoling. Hoping very hard that we will be ok, and that 19 can whup ass- she usually does!

Endometriosis looks pretty likely now. All we need to do is get the doctors to think along the same lines as us.

All pain is gone. (TW-ranty)

TW- an angry rant from me, 19. Sorry about that. Stay safe.


So in a moment of madness, I decided it was time to push my stupid body. The one that disobeys me, hurts every fucking day, causes all of us endless anxiety and loathing on occasions. I ran up three stairs cause my heart had been behaving and BOOM-

It felt like I was going to faint. I just got to the bed in time. Black spots and white stars flashed in front of my eyes and my heart screamed bloody murder at me.

What the fuck was I thinking? I already pushed it too hard yesterday- I demonstrated (craply cause I can barely stand by the evening) roughly for two new kids, and it almost broke us. It fucking hurt. Fifteen took over and got us into the car (Dad picked us up) and we spent the rest of the evening trying not to think of how much it fucking hurt.

Now I run up the stairs… and Mum catches the tail end of my stupid experiment and thinks I am RUNNING AWAY from her to HIDE something.

Yeah. I’m hiding the fact that the dog was upstairs cause I can’t fucking stand being so godsdamn lonely in the house all the time.

That’s all, Ma, I’m not hiding blades or a knife. I’m hiding my feelings here right now cause no matter how hard I try to explain the fact that hoping for a fucking end to my pain is like a death sentence for our emotions, you don’t seem to get it. Perhaps you’re exhausted with caring for our nana, and you wish something would go your way. Perhaps you want something to change and for our pain to vanish, and for something to finally start being right about 2016. For you, it’s been a bust, we know… but…

Hope has been a dangerous thing to us. We hoped for a more understanding answer on that appointment with the consultant than, “Well it might be IBS. Here, take two medicines that may or may not help, stop taking tramadol and you’ll probably be totally fine.”

Sorry, but no. One does nothing, the other froze our digestive system like it does when we get migraines. Eating better has helped a lot with some of our discomfort, but the fucking pain is the same. Like knives in our stomach. Like something small and with too many teeth is clawing to get out through an ovary, the right one. I think we ovulated the other day and Jesus, that was rough. Agony through one ovary (the left) and searing pain along our left hipbone.

So no, I’m not hiding anything. No, I’m not cutting- god knows my body is in enough pain without adding to it. Yes, I can run- adrenaline makes a fine taskmaster, though a dumb one. I pay for my mistakes in pain, and that’s why I walk with steps like I’m terrified to wake the sleeping monster. It’s because that fear is real.

Days like this, I cling to the future because living in the present, with no hope and a lot of pain, is torture.


I want to run, I want to lift weights, I want to tickle my friend’s kids without the searing pain from bending over. I want to wrestle with the dog without the worry she will jump up and -splat- her paw will hit the ovary that’s still screaming. I want to actually feel normal when I go up the stairs as opposed to getting half way and struggling for breath.


I hate being this ill and I hate having no options for relief. I want someone to come along and take the pain away, but currently, for the pain to go, we have to get 26 to use her iron will to force it away.


Problem is, it just comes back to haunt us later.


Current listening for today.


TW: flashback aftermath

So we are still wondering when our brain will stop throwing unpleasant realisations at us all…

We thought we had miscarried earlier than we had because we thought, somehow, that there was no way we could have done all that dancing in Paris whilst pregnant. Turns out we did- that flashback was vile.

Hands red. The grinding pain. Silent scream, jaw wide, eyes rooted to the red palms in front of me. Agony.

(END FLASHBACK, thank god)

There was something bothering me, 19, about the dates. It all made sense right after that flashback. July is the month. We estimate that we were about five or six weeks pregnant.

The Dutchman has spent the past two hours comforting us. We all love him so much.

Fay? We miss you.