in all my needs and sufferings of life

  • Emma Violet

A project exploring what it's like to be chronically ill as a young person.

I feel like I have spent my whole life in hospitals and doctors surgeries from having pneumonia at age 2 to remember- ing my first broken arm at age 6 the medical industry has been a prominent thing throughout my life. I was diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome at age 11 and then Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy at age 21 and both have impacted my life massively. I am also undergoing the process of being diagnosed with Endometriosis which in Covid times has been very complicated. My chronic illnesses can cause intense physical pain that without prescribed codeine I can’t get out of bed without feeling like I’m going to pass out or throw up. Not only does it physically effect me but also mentally I have developed trauma from constantly being poked and prodded by doctors and being misdiagnosed or had my pain ignored simply because I’m a young woman. I am using this project as a way to raise awareness around chronic illnesses and invisible disabilities particularly in young people. It’s often assumed that young people are invincible without a care
in the world however being a chronically ill young person that’s not so true. I have to plan every little thing to make sure I don’t have a flare up or worse end up in A&E. Susan Sontag explains illnesses as ‘ “Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”. I feel that most people who are chronically ill relate to this and unfortunately we spend more of our life in the ‘Kingdom of the sick’ and unfortunately we always will be. A Chronic Illness means I can never get better I can just manage my condition and hope I don’t get worse. It’s like being on a roller coaster that I can’t get off and is just going down- hill and I’m praying it levels out. I hope this project enlightens you on what it’s like to be chronically ill.