Welcome to my blog where I'll be sharing all things Chronic Illness

It took 20 years for me to be diagnosed and during that time I didn't have much access to support or information. I basically felt alone.

Symptom management, coping mechanisms, emotional intelligence, maintaining employment or just having people to talk to who understood would probably have made my life easier and helped me to come to terms with and manage my situation quicker.

The growth of social media has made support and awareness so much more accessible over the past few years, which is great for the chronic illness community, especially those who are newly diagnosed.

Something I’ve learned over the years is that support comes in many forms. As well as friends and family, we can also benefit from professional individuals and organisations through talking therapies or courses to help deal with the emotional and psychological impact of living with chronic illness, to practical methods to help us manage daily living or employment.

Being the independent person that I am, I found it difficult to ask for and receive support for years. I thought it made me look weak and I felt vulnerable. Things like therapy and support groups were taboo also, as I grew up thinking they were just for ‘mad’ people or those with addictions.

I couldn’t imagine how they could help me deal with the trauma I’d experienced - not only from chronic illness but other emotional and physical experiences.

Over time I understood that we all have mental health and it includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act, the choices we make, how we handle stress and relate to others.

I’m so happy that I eventually took the plunge and utilised the services available to me. Counselling, coaching and medical information from knowledgeable organisations helped me to come to terms with my conditions, manage my mental health, find happiness and have hope for my future.

The positive impact motivated me to study counselling and coaching; enabling me to help others achieve the same.

There are so many in the community who not only have firsthand experience of living with chronic illness and, like myself, use their experience, skills and knowledge to guide, support and inform others so they don’t have to go through it all alone.

Having access to these resources is such a blessing.

So, as well as using the Chronic Warriors platform to share stories of how those in the community are able to excel and live a fulfilled life while managing chronic illness, I also want to highlight those who provide resources and services to help others.

In this month’s podcast episodes I’m delighted to share the wonderful work being done by two Chronic Warriors.

To hear about their experiences and what they do, tune in here CHRONIC WARRIORS PODCAST | Chronic Warriors (

Part 1 Sunday 5th September with Des Quinn

Part 2 Sunday 19th of September with Rachael Mole

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I’ve always been used to pushing through pain when it comes to exercise, but recently I’ve been reluctant to even do any at all and I’m just starting to figure out why.

For the past 16 months I’ve been dealing with ongoing injuries that seem never-ending. It started with nerve damage in my left wrist last February (I pushed down a soap dispenser!), followed by my right ankle in October (walking in the Corfu sand too much) and then my right shoulder rotator cuff in March - no idea what caused that one.

So I’ve been getting osteopath treatment for all 3 and a few months ago started a rehabilitation program which consists of stabilsiing and strengthening exercises.

I’m dying to get back to being able to lay on my right side, wash the dishes, drive, dance, boxercise and basically do normal things without pain...who am I kidding, what have I ever done without pain…

The injuries are finally beginning to heal, but there’s so much work to do to be fully functioning again and no guarantee it will happen.

However, I’m doing my best to maintain a positive mindset and hope for the best. Most importantly, I have to put in the work.

Anyway, as eager as I am, I’ve not been consistent with my exercises at all. It’s as if there’s a mental block.

I’ve never felt so overwhelmed and anxious about exercise!

I think it’s a combination of being apprehensive about causing flares in other parts of my body, re-injuring myself and the fact that healing is taking so damn long!

Re-injury would feel like a setback, a flare could render me immobile; particularly in my back as I possibly wouldn’t be able to use my crutches with the shoulder and wrist injuries being on opposite sides.

I’m generally used to the ‘everyday’ pain and flares, but it’s so much harder when it’s a new injury.

I know these are fears or concerns for many of us and a common reason that stops us exercising. Recently, I’ve realised even more how important building muscle strength, regular movement and using my body in the right way is.

I’m working on getting my head around this, so my mission is to get myself into the right mindset and to let go of the fear and apprehension so I can get my body back to ‘normal’.

In light of everything I’ve said, this month’s podcast is all about exercise and I’ve got a couple of really inspiring Chronic Warriors joining me.

They’ve had their struggles, have worked really hard to get to where they are today and share their experiences and knowledge to help the chronic illness community.

Whether you’re interested in energetic or gentle exercise, I think they will inspire you just like they’ve inspired me.

Part 1 Sunday 8th August with Tracy Rodriguez

Part 2 Sunday 22nd August with Mairi Sutherland

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I wanted to play football for England as a youngster. Then I wanted to be a flight attendant and travel the world. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas and life didn’t turn out the way I expected.

From my teens to my 30's I had lots of jobs, but was unable to maintain any of them or build a career due to not knowing what my body was going to do from one minute to the next.

Will I be able to get out of bed today? Will I be able to walk? Oh, I can't move my neck. There goes the knee popping out of the socket again.

To add to the frustration, I also had no idea what the cause was.

From retail to office work, every time I lost a job due to being absent too often or not being able to make it through the day it chipped away at my confidence, motivation and hope...for a while. Then I’d pick myself up and try again.

After many years of this rollercoaster and a dip that lasted far too long, I went through a soul-searching mission to find my purpose.

I knew I wasn’t ready to give up on myself and I knew that I needed to find a career I was passionate about, because getting out of bed and pushing myself to go to a job I didn’t enjoy and having to answer to someone who didn’t understand or care about my health was so hard to maintain.

So this new chapter of my life began with me running a youth empowerment organisation, using my life experiences, counselling qualifications and other relevant training to help young people empower themselves through personal development workshops and mentoring. During this time I also found myself coaching adults in personal development as well.

I ran the organisation for 5 years with a business partner, but found it was becoming more and more challenging to keep going. Consistently delivering my services at schools and other establishments became draining physically and emotionally, with the added challenges of raising a teenage son, managing flare ups, fatigue crashes and other symptoms.

So, I had to rethink my strategy and find a new plan of action. I decided to become a personal development coach,

As I said before, I’d already been coaching adults but I decided to get some qualifications to make it official. I did some home study courses and began working with clients who I either coached in person or online. Clients ranged from people wanting to change careers but unsure what they wanted to do, to people with chronic illnesses similar to mine who were finding life difficult to navigate.

Again, having to be present for one to one and group work became difficult as symptoms and fatigue increased, so I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink how I could still help people while earning an income. So I decided to focus on creating online, self-study courses for people with chronic illnesses. This not only allows me to have a passive income, but also provides resources for people in similar situations to be able to access my coaching tools at their own pace without having to be present for coaching sessions or online coaching groups. I still work with clients directly, but much less than I used to.

I also do voiceovers and I’m in the process of setting up an online health store - another avenue for passive income. I have my fingers in a few other passive income pies too.

As you can tell, I've had to rethink, regroup and restart many times. What I've shared here is just a snippet. But I've never given up on myself.

Being self-employed certainly has its pros and cons. Income can be inconsistent and you have to be self-motivated, but I think for somebody who has an unpredictable chronic condition or is unable to leave their home, there are definitely more pros and so many more options than there were before. And it’s so much easier nowadays with social media and remote working! Just think about the past year with covid….

Part-time or full-time it can increase your income, self-esteem and self-worth.

Whether it's working from home selling beauty products for a company, proofreading essays or websites, voiceovers or running an online business there are many options for people in our position. If you plan and structure it in the right way, you can work the hours you choose and even from your bed if you need to.

There may be times when the pain and fatigue are just too much, but please don’t let that stop you from trying. If you try something and it doesn’t work out, take time out, have a rethink and try something else.

So get your thinking cap on, remember who you are aside from your condition and explore your options.

What skills do you have? Start with the basics. What are your qualities? Think of all the things you do as someone with a chronic illness, because we have to have skills to manage our lives on a daily basis.

Think outside the box and don't be afraid to try something new.

For a little inspiration, tune into this month’s podcast episodes where I speak with two Chronic Warriors who are running their own businesses while managing their conditions.

And if you need a little nudge and direction, why not check out my free Self Audit worksheet on my courses page COURSES | Chronic Warriors (

Remember, your condition is PART of you, but it’s not ALL of you!

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