My name is Emma, and I have a chronic illness.

I repeat.

‘My name is Emma, and I have a chronic illness.’

I say it again and again to myself as if I am part of some special support group, sort of like Alcoholics Anonymous, but instead we are a group of tired individuals who can’t actually attend meetings because we are exhausted and in pain. So instead we take to the internet, we sift through pages and pages of useless information looking for a hint of anything that might help make our life that little bit easier, or something that is a new cure for what we have, a life changing drug that can cure all pain or in my case, a diagnosis.

I understand that ‘yet another spoonie starting yet another blog’ is something that the internet doesn’t need, but it is something that I need (not that I really consider myself a ‘Spoonie’ – But more of that in another post.) Mainly because I thought that it might be a good place for me to write down some of the endless nonsense that fills my brain on a daily basis. Another reason is because I thought that there could be some people out there who would actually find reading my blog funny or insightful. Look at me blowing my own trumpet before I’ve even really started.
Another reason I am using the blog is to try and keep my skills as a writer up.
Since graduating in 2012 from the University of Stirling with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Film & Media and Journalism studies (I know it’s quite the mouthful) I haven’t had the opportunity to write or even blog. I used to love having to write thousands of words a week for my course, for essays, for the newspaper, the blogs, anything. But since university I had to follow the path that so many take, of not taking work in the field that they love or excel at due to the annoying fact that you need money to live and sometimes you just have to take any job you can get to pay the bills. Always lying to yourself that:

‘This week I WILL look for a job related to my degree!”

Then as the days turned in to weeks and the jobs in my field came and went, I found a whole new reason to justify not looking for that new job that actually excited me and got my creative juices flowing.

‘What can possibly be more important than using the degree you spent 4 years of your life and getting thousands of pounds in to debt working towards?’

I can hear you screaming at me, much like my inner monologue. Well, the first way I justified it was that shortly after graduation and coming back from the holiday of dreams, I met the man of my dreams. I fell in love. As sickly sweet as it sounds one minute there I was planning on travelling the world and blogging as I did so, or applying for a writers job or something linked to my degree, possibly social media related purely for the fact that there isn’t really a social media that I don’t use and abuse myself so why not make a living from it? Really anything linked to my degree anywhere in the world was the plan. I didn’t want to be like everyone else where I grew up, not that there is anything wrong with the people from this town, they are my family and my friends after all, but I wanted to do something different, but then along came this man and I couldn’t drag myself away from my home town.

I grew up in a town in West Sussex, Horsham to be exact, where the term ‘middle class’ is an understatement. I know that for anyone who is reading this who didn’t grow up in West Sussex you won’t have any idea of what I am talking about.

mapI’ve enclosed a handy map highlighting exactly where this little Garden of Eden otherwise known as Horsham is, just in case you feel the need to visit it. I really shouldn’t complain. Horsham was actually a great place to grow up. Wikipedia informs us that Horsham is ’31 miles (50 km) south south-west of London, 18.5 miles (30 km) north-west of Brighton and 26 miles (42 km) north-east of the county town of Chichester.’ Being surrounded with all these great places to visit and waste teenage years had it’s benefits, as did the fact that Horsham is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and nothing really that scandalous happened. Well, other than my Design Technology teacher murdering my Maths teacher who was also his wife because she was having an affair with the head of the Maths department. That was pretty big news. But until recently when developers decided that Horsham was THE place to live and started to build thousands of houses bringing in many people from the outside who those native to the town call ‘undesirable’ Here are a few other little facts about Horsham just to really build a picture in your mind.
The Channel 4 TV programme The 10 best and worst places to live in the UK named Horsham as the 2nd best place in the UK only beaten by Winchester, and one of the reasons they gave for this was because;

‘There are no homeless people in Horsham’

That is without mentioning all of the other highlights Horsham has to offer, including some excellent schools, great links to London so the commuter loves living here, the lovely Conservative feel of the town and also quite a few famous faces have graced our streets in their time or still call the place home. But I digress. The main reason I wanted to be different from everyone else in my home town is because of the fact that no one really leaves. Ok people like me go away for university or might travel for a year or so, and the people who have travelled are seen as these brave souls, but eventually we all end up coming home to The Sham as it is lovingly known. Obviously there is the odd person who leaves, but in traditional Horsham style they all seem to leave for the same place as well, Australia, where it turns out there is also a Horsham. The majority of the people who have left the town and have moved Down Under are seen as heroes. They broke with tradition, they are radicals, mocked for leaving and then begged to return, but needless to say, it isn’t uncommon for people who have made the big move somehow always end up finding all of the other Horshamites who have moved down there too and having a reunion, or becoming friends. Making it a home-from-home.
I mean really, if you’re going to travel 17,048miles just to hang out in bars with people from your hometown anyway, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it? Yes everyone looks great with a tan, and there’s only so many times you can justify going to Shelleys (The town nightclub, and even that is a very generous description) but when a simple task such as going to the toilet is possibly life ending should you not have all stayed in Horsham anyway. Unless you are going to do something amazing.

Anyway, where was I? Oh that’s right I was trying to find all of the reasons to justify why I never used the skills I gained at university to have a career and travel the world etc, yes now I remember. All of the reasons listed above are indeed reasons, but the real reason I never followed up on any of my plans… my health.

After university my health started on a rapid decline until the point at which we find ourselves today. Sitting here in my bed whilst Netflix plays yet another film that I’m not really watching and writing total nonsense whilst I pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw typing away on my MacBook Pro, but with a less desirable closet, nothing actually profound to say and a chronic illness.

You know what? Now that I have teased you with the facts that I have a chronic illness I will make you wait until the next post for all of the details on it. Mainly because I have to get ready for another doctors appointment, but also because this post has covered so much and so little at the same time that perhaps I should at least make one whole post completely dedicated to my health. God knows, I will need it. So until next time.

Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful.

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