Finding a Chronic Illness Silver Lining

Doing more of what makes you, you.

Posted: Thursday 21st May 2020

I’ve always loved art, ever since I was little I would spend my days with a camera, clicking away. At the age of 11 I had saved up my paper-run money and brought my first DSLR camera- a big purchase for an 11 year old I must say. That camera was the start of everything for me, but unfortunately it went unused for far too long when I first became ill. Until I realised that the camera was the perfect outlet for what I was going through.

Unfortunately chronic illness takes a lot from us. It took my normal teenage years and turned them upside down. Although these years were extremely tough, there was always a silver lining. The thing I could turn to, that would clear my mind… this silver lining being Photography. For me photography was a form of mindfulness, while I was creating shoots, editing images and photographing, I was so focused on what I was doing that I forgot about all of the other difficulties I was going through. I forgot how much pain I was in, how weak I felt and how lonely chronic illness can be. And yes for sure, somedays I’m still in too much of a flare up to even think about photography. But I’ve learnt that’s so okay because even if I just make sure my camera is charged, or my camera cards have enough storage to shoot, that makes me one step closer to my creative goal and for me that is a form of self care. 

Photography and chronic illness are two major parts of me and my life. So much so that I even decided to do a whole portfolio on this relationship (all of those photos above and below). This portfolio’s sole purpose was to show what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. Combining something I know many of us go through everyday and my passion for art, this portfolio was completely a labour of love.

But that’s enough rambling about me, my point is that chronic illness can take so much from us, but if you can just find one small hobby or passion, then maybe this journey will be that tiny bit easier. If you’re looking for a hobby try to choose something that doesn’t seem like too much of an effort because girl I know how real the fatigue and brain fog can get. Choose something that can be your own personal form of mindfulness, something that will distract you from your situation and bring you that much needed happiness. 

Below are some ideas on hobbies that you might be interested in. They are all something that may be able to help you and might bring you a little bit of light in these hard times. But if none of these relate to you then thats so okay also, just do whatever makes you feel the best. You know you xo

  • Art (painting, drawing, photography, colouring, designing anything!)
  • Cooking or baking 
  • Learning or playing an instrument 
  • Writing 
  • Reading 
  • DIY crafts (candlemaking, soap making etc)
  • Fashion design 
  • Flower arranging 
  • Learning a language (might be a bit tricky with brain fog, speaking from experience haha!)
  • Nail art
  • Makeup 
  • Journalling 
  • Knitting 
  • Netflix (my personal fav lol, and yes we are definitely considering this a “hobby”)

I think that if we shift our mindset from “these activities are just a hobby”,  to “these activities are a form of self care and mindfulness” we can create just 30 minutes in our day that allows us to feel as if chronic illness hasn’t taken away who we are. That we are more than our illness. 

Thinking of you all, 

Kate X

Here are some more photographs from my portfolio:

Disclaimer: All of the photos above represent many people with chronic illness, not just myself .

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