Patti Edmon Altered Attic: awareness is a good thing...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

awareness is a good thing...

I came across this logo while reading My Vintage Studio, one of my favorite blogs, and it was like - WOW!  I've never heard about this before and it's the week, too late to do a lot aside from posting the info and reading the daily blog and spreading the word as widely as I can through my own blog and emails.
Having an invisible ailment - and I know of several blog friends who live with chronic illness that isn't readily apparent - is unique and presents different situations from, say, being in a wheel chair, or, God forbid, having a terminal illness. I'm not sick enough to be bedridden or homebound, though I don't travel too far or for very long. But I do have a handicapped tag hanging from my rearview mirror, and I get some pretty odd looks when I'm in a huge parking lot and actually use it; I miss out on long, late dinners and pretty much everything that happens after 7 or 8 at night.
I have been isolated socially for a couple of years now, and my old circle has closed, there are no loose ends, which is how it should be. But does that feel good? no.  I mean, should I still be getting regular phone calls every time an annual event hits the calendar, when they already know that I'll have to decline? No, I think not. I have found a lot of new ways to enjoy myself and have fun, but sometimes I miss those old ways and the grief cycles like seasons, sneaks up on me now and again. 
But, for every one of the lemons I've bitten into, I have made some tasty lemonade. Every piece of art. Connecting with amazing, talented, warm and REAL people... good friends. Time to consider what really is important, letting the petty, the trivial, the energy-consuming non-essentials slip away. But, occasionally there's a glass that I forgot to put the sweetener in, and wow, a long draw through that straw and I'm really awake - and stinging. 
So, I'm glad I found out there's a week dedicated to awareness.  Take a look at the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week site if you have a moment.  Next year I can start in August, getting materials for my church, wearing T-shirts, perhaps finding a way to contribute. Until then, here's to every one of you who spend the day dealing with lupus, RA, diabetes, Chron's, damaged ulnar nerves, sciatica... any and all of the enormous and growing number of illnesses that alter our lives.


My Vintage Studio said...

Hi Patti.
An amazing post. Yes, some days and even weeks are lonely. Friends disappear...even worst moving to a new city, not knowing anyone, and then you get an illness. But art heals the lonely soul.
Hugs, Sharon

Marylinn Kelly said...

Patti, What I have found, among many things, is that the solitude of illness turns up back to ourselves, truly our greatest resource, and gives us time for communing with wisdom greater than our own. Not an antidote for loneliness but not chopped liver.

Grace Lee said...

Hi Patti,
Thank you for this blog entry.
I also have a chronic illness and have been unable to work for a while. I have been mostly at home for the last two years. I've most recently been recovering from a hip replacement and should be able to be getting out again soon.
I admire you for openly sharing your situation.
Thank you for generous comments on my blog.
-Grace Lee


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