Q&A – get to know me; what it’s like to be chronically ill!

I get asked a lot of questions about all things chronic illness and also what it is like to be a chronically ill Mommy, so at the beginning of the year, which now feels like a very long time ago, I asked, on my social media pages, if anyone has any questions they’d like to ask me about ANYTHING (I was feeling very brave that day)… So, here are the questions you asked and my very honest – maybe too honest answers?!

I have grouped the questions as there were quite a few!

Health related questions;

  • What is the one thing you wish people understood about Crohn’s Disease? I wish people understood that Crohn’s is a lifelong condition not just a stomach bug that you will get over in a week or two, and the severity of it. Hmmm, I guess that’s two wishes but could write an essay on this question, like most people who are chronically ill – there’s a lot we wish people would understand.
  • Tips on being happy despite chronic illness? This is a hard one, but honestly I think I have only truly been “happy” since having Arthur. Arthur has given me a whole new outlook on life and a reason to live not just survive, if that makes sense? But by no means am I saying have a baby to be happy. I am just being honest that before Arthur I did really struggle to be truly happy.
  • What was it like being diagnosed and having to adapt to life with Crohn’s? This is a weird one, I was 21 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease but had been unwell for a long time leading up to this… So for me it was actually a relief, it was relieving to finally have a diagnosis and a reason for why I was so ill. In hindsight, I didn’t adapt well. I continued to party and work hard like all my peers when in reality I should’ve put my health first.
  • What have you found online to be the most helpful for you? I have found blogging on Instagram and Facebook a great way for me get my thoughts and feelings out. It’s even better to know that my page has helped so many others! I find support groups can be really helpful if you want to ask others with the same condition a question… I have made some amazing friends through both blogging and support groups (and even now have a little chronically ill Mommy’s Whats-app group who I talk to daily). There is a Chronically Successful Facebook group so, if you have a chronic illness and would like to join, you can do here: Chronically Successful Facebook Group

Work/Career questions;

  • How do you manage anxiety surrounding health issues? Again, tough question because this is something I really do struggle with. However I find talking to my partner or Mom is the best thing to do when I am feeling anxious about my health. A problem shared is a problem halved!
  • How do you manage working with chronic illnesses? In my honest opinion and in my previous research for my masters, I find it all comes down to the employer/manager. The fact is without an understanding, compassionate and empathetic manager – it just won’t work. I have had some of the best managers who have supported me and helped me succeed. Unfortunately I have also had many who have not only knocked my confidence but made me want to quit.
  • How much and when do you share with your employer? I think it is best to be as honest and as upfront as possible because unfortunately these things can come back to bite you. However, my advice would always be to see how comfortable you feel with the person interviewing you and go from there. I think out of all my jobs so far, I have told them either at interview stage or once I have been offered the job – I never declare it on a application form but that’s my personal choice.

Lifestyle type questions;

  • Did you go to college? I did go to college and studied for my A Levels in Sociology, English and Psychology. I then went on to do my degree in Psychology and my masters in Occupational (Business) Psychology. Currently I am working on my next qualification which is equivalent to a doctorate and will make me a Chartered Occupational Psychologist.
  • How did you know your partner was the one? Because over the course of 10 years we always ended up back together. Also I have never met anyone so supportive, kind and loving. He is more than a partner, he is my best friend.
  • How do you handle people who aren’t supportive of your illness? I show them the door. To put it bluntly… If they can’t support you at your worst times are they worth having in your life for the good times?
  • How do you deal with losing friends? I find this really hard. I have lost so many “friends” since becoming ill. But you know what? I have also made some amazing friends from having these illnesses. You just learn to leave these people in the past and remember who your true friends are.

Motherhood questions;

  • Do you say no to social gatherings because you don’t want to disturb Arthur’s routine? Nope, Arthur doesn’t have a ridged routine, we go with him. To be honest we don’t tend to plan much for evenings anymore anyway because once you become parents night times are precious to a) rest, and b) have some couple only time.
  • Do you miss your child free life? Nope. Never. Arthur is the best thing to ever happen to me and I really do feel like my life began the day I found out I was pregnant with him. He really is our little miracle.
  • Do you think you could handle having twins? I think you’d learn to adapt but I do take my hat off to twin moms and dads. Also, have you seen the size of my child? Imagine having to carry two Arthur’s?!?!
  • Does being a Mom get lonely sometimes? Yes, very., especially being a chronically ill Mommy. However, luckily I have an amazing support system around me who are constantly checking in to see how we are – but yes being a Mom can be very lonely.

So, there you have it, a little Q&A all about me. I hope you enjoyed the blog and if you have any questions or any blog post requests, then please let me know in the comments below. Also who’d be up for a couples Q&A soon? Keep an eye on my Instagram/Facebook stories when I ask what questions you have for Jam and I.

If you’d like to learn more about me; why not read my bio here?!

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