Hi, I’m Liz and I have been battling chronic pain for over 6 years now. It’s been really tough but I’m still here, rolling through the pain day by day, fighting my chronic illness with passionate creativity. I hope by sharing my story and by continuing to talk about both my physical and mental health, I can help raise awareness and help anyone else who is struggling.
My journey with chronic pain and illness started 3 days before my 13th birthday. I woke up with lower abdominal pain that spread down my legs, within a few months making it impossible to walk. In the early days, I couldn’t even stand so I had no choice but to start using a wheelchair.
I went to every doctor under the sun, I was told time and time again that I was just a teenage girl being hysterical. I was treated with disrespect and found the experiences extremely damaging as I began to fear going to the doctor.
I learnt to rise above my negative experiences and continued seeing doctors. I was eventually told I could call what I have a chronic pain disorder, which is similar to chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. However, I don’t fall into a perfect diagnosis which has been a point of frustration.
I’m now 20 and have been using a wheelchair for a good 6 years. I’m still battling hard, but I’ve come so far. Along with my physical health issues, I’ve also endured a lot of mental health issues and have been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety and OCD. I won’t lie things are tough going but I’ve come to learn that I know my body best and it is what it is.
I underwent tonnes and tonnes of physio and rehabilitation, which helped but only up until a certain point. The hospital physio helped me to be able to stand and transfer independently. We worked on walking for a long time and it got to a point where I had to refocus on the good things that were most important to me… focusing on my relationships, finishing school, driving and challenging myself with my art. Winning prizes and growing my following and earning money from the thing I love most, my art.
“By putting myself outside my comfort zone and being involved in art exhibitions and projects raising money and awareness for mental health, helped me grow.”
I’ve stopped the search for answers because that was only burning me out. Instead of physio I now do personal training at the gym. I swapped the hospital for a much more inviting environment and I’m loving it!
I’ve been lucky enough to also have quality people around me, supporting me and my family. I’ve also had my art. Drawing, painting and creating has given me ambition and a drive to keep growing my talents and sharing them with the world.
If you are reading this and you are going through something similar, with a mystery illness, please know: You are not “crazy”. You are not a liar. You are not alone. Your struggle is real. You are valid. And you are the expert on you. Back yourself because you are worth it!
Much love as always,