Hi, I’m Liz. I am a 17 year old girl, suffering with chronic pain for the past 3 years and I am the creator of Colour of October. The story of how I got to this place is very long and I intend to eventually share it all, but for now I’ll start with the basics…
3 days before my 14th birthday, on the 28th of September, previously being completely healthy and active, I developed pain that did not subside and spread from my abdomen to my back, to my legs and to my shoulders. This led to needing to use a wheelchair full time to mobilise.
I’ve had nearly every possible test you can have and virtually all of them have come back completely normal. So this must mean I’m fine, right? This was what I was told by many doctors and specialists, and I have been treated very poorly because I don’t have a typical condition- something that can easily be diagnosed, treated and cured. Some professionals have tried to make me feel like my experiences are completely illegitimate! You expect to go to the doctors when you are feeling unwell and they understand what’s going wrong, diagnose you, and give you some pills to fix it! I learnt at 13 years old that, that is not always the case.
Thankfully, after many months, we were put in touch with an amazing team who are used to dealing with adolescents in chronic pain. I was reassured I was not crazy at all and that my pain absolutely was real! This was when I learnt about chronic pain syndromes. My “diagnosis” currently is that I have a widespread chronic pain syndrome, this can have many alternate names such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc… But they all mean similar things- the nervous system is heightened. Meaning my body interprets normal sensations as pain (stay tuned for a blog post going into more depth about this). There’s a fair chance you’ve never even heard of this- especially in someone “as young as me”. And that is precisely the reason why I have created this outlet- to raise much needed awareness.
Chronic Pain is surprisingly common in young people and yet it is rarely talked about. This leaves people feeling absolutely alone, crazy and misunderstood. It’s been hearing stories from people with similar experiences that has kept me sane- and a lot of the stories have come from online outlets.
It’s just so happened that during the past few years, I’ve grown a bit of an audience on Tumblr after sharing both my art and humour on a blog called ‘Colour of October’. This has inspired me to push myself further with my art, and has given me many amazing opportunities. I feel like this is an opportunity I have been given to talk about chronic illness in young people and make some kind of difference…
My hope is that someone else who is struggling just like I am, sees this, and feels a little bit less alone.
If you are reading this and you are going through something similar, please know, YOUR PAIN IS REAL, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, IF SOMETHING DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT IN YOUR BODY, THEN SOMETHING DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT. YOU ARE YOUR OWN EXPERT, AND YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH ANYONE TRYING TO TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY.
Thank you for reading my first blog post! I hope you will stick around and travel with me on my very rocky road to recovery, filled with pain, puns and pencils.
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