I am always up for questions, but here are a few answers before you even have to ask! I’ve separated this FAQ page into blog-specific and personal questions.

Blog-specific questions

  1. What’s this blog about?
    “Illness to Wellness” is a result of a life-changing conversation that I had in November of 2013. This blog is about how to live and thrive while dealing with chronic physical and/or mental illnesses. I created it to build community and make sure that people felt informed, empowered, and connected. You can also find this blog on Tumblr (its original location), Facebook, and Twitter.
  2. What’s a spoonie?
    Here’s my definition and here’s the original source material, “The Spoon Theory.”
  3. I’m struggling; how can I help myself?
    a. Here are some general self-care tips.
    b. If you have the money and the ability, get yourself to a respected clinician who can help you get a diagnosis, get to the bottom of your problems with you, create a treatment plan, and gather a treatment team of professionals that would help you most. I highly suggest seeing both medical and a psychological professionals. Health psychologists have helped me come to relative peace with what I learned in my medical appointments. The mind and the body are so connected. 
    c. For illness-specific tips, go to illness-to-wellness.tumblr.com/tagged/whatever+it+is
    , using “+” like you would use a space. (Oftentimes, I tag things under their nickname or shorthand: for example, ADHD for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fibro for fibromyalgia, and so on).
    d. Also, try looking at the pages for these tags: spoonie, disabilitychronic painchronic illnessGI [gastrointestinal issues], and mental illness.
    e. Lastly, here’s my brief summary of chronic illness and how it can affect people’s lives.
    f. Feel free to ask me any other questions you have.
  4. How can I help my friend?
    a. Here are some general tips about how to be there for loved ones.
    b. Here are resources and tips for how to help with all different types of illness situations.
    c. This is for if you know what your friend has: for illness-specific tips, go to illness-to-wellness.tumblr.com/tagged/whatever+it+is your friend has, using “+” like you would use a space, in order to get a better handle on what it is that they’re struggling with. (Oftentimes, I tag things under their nickname or shorthand: for example, ADHD for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fibro for fibromyalgia, and so on).
    d. Also, try looking at the pages for these tags: spoonie, disabilitychronic pain, chronic illness, GI [gastrointestinal issues], and mental illness.
    e. Lastly, here’s my brief summary of chronic illness and how it can affect people’s lives.
    f. Feel free to ask me any other questions you have.
  5. Would you mind signal-boosting or donating to my fundraiser?
    There are so many of you out there with worthy fundraising causes, so I have to say no due to limited personal funds and space on my blog. I’m so sorry! I will always be happy to pray for you, however, so please message me!
  6. Would you share my blog with your readers/follow me back?
    Because there are so many awesome blogs out there, I don’t feel comfortable sharing your blog with my readers. I used to have time to look at all of my followers individually; I’m sorry that I don’t anymore! I wish I could tell you all individually how much I appreciate and care about you, as well as think that your blog content is fantastic.

Personal questions

  1. Who are you?
    Hi, my name is Emmie! I’m a cisgender female living in the United States. You can learn more about me here, by reading on below, and by seeing how I describe myself at the top of my blog.
  2. What are you up to in life?
    I am a first-year graduate student of divinity. I want to become a hospital chaplain someday!
  3. What do you have?
    Before I go into what I have, I just want to say: these diagnoses don’t define me. They’re a part of me and my body, but they’re not the most important thing about me. Now that I’ve said that, I’m comfortable saying that I have fibromyalgia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), some gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and food sensitivities (particularly to dairy and gluten), bipolar disorder type II, and subclinical generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was misdiagnosed with a lot of other things on the way, and other times was told that I was really quite healthy because my scans and blood tests were coming back normal. Both of these things are pretty typical for people with chronic illnesses as they go through the diagnostic process.
  4. How did you get diagnosed with these things?
    Here are my stories of getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder type II (otherwise known as “bipolar 2”).

    I learned that I had postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) sort of by accident. I did a test to see how my blood pressure would change upon changing position from lying down, to standing up, to sitting multiple times in a row at quick speeds, because my doctor was guessing that I had orthostatic hypotension due to the fact that I was experiencing lightheadedness, nausea, and dizziness a lot. However, instead, he was shocked to see how much my heart rate had increased upon standing, and my blood pressure hadn’t changed a bit. This is sort of the textbook diagnostic requirement for POTS. Thankfully, my case of it is pretty minor, but it does still affect my health quite a bit; reading about many of the symptoms for the first time was sort of like reading my autobiography.

    The diagnostic process for generalized anxiety disorder was easy because I so clearly had the symptoms; however, we’ve discovered over time that these symptoms more likely are just part of how my hypomania (a symptom of bipolar 2) looks.
    I figured out that I had PTSD because I was experiencing all of the hallmark symptoms. My therapist confirmed my findings.

  5. Can I see a picture of you?
  6. What does it mean to be a “survivor?”
    It means that I survived being sexually assaulted. If you want to read anything I posted during the time I was going through the legal system, trying to get my rapist prosecuted, I documented it. He walked away from the case a free man, but I also walked away free because God helped me forgive him, when all things were said and done.
  7. What’s your testimony (the story of how I became a Christian)?
    Quite a funny story. 
  8. Can I hear you play the piano/read your poetry/view your photographs?
    Absolutely! I hope you enjoy: piano, poetry, and photography (Tumblr and Facebook).