Living with chronic illness wasn’t something that I had planned nor, understandably, something I wanted. But it’s the life I have so I’ve got two choices: make the best of it and keep going to raise awareness and accessibility or stop. I don’t want to stop! Even if some days I feel like I’m on a tough battle I can’t win. I do keep going, winning a fight with my body and mind each day.
In November 2012, I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome then a few years later Endometriosis and Chronic Migraine. As you can imagine each of them has its own unique characteristics and complications – it’s all fun over here! The world of chronic illnesses wasn’t one I knew, so I boarded on a research mission; taking in information about the groups of symptoms which now had a condition to match up to. I was in a minefield trying to make sense of it all and understand what my body could and couldn’t do.
A chronic illness stays with you for life. I need to understand why I feel pain for no apparent reason. I need to know why some days I feel as if every single inch of my body is on fire and, on other days, I feel completely and utterly FINE.
On the outside, I look like any other slightly tired 20 (something) wife, mother and businesswoman. The thing with chronic illness: unless you tell people, they would probably never know. There’s no visible sign to show that something inside you is broken or hurting. It’s very hard to explain to people what these conditions are, what they mean and how they affect you, because every day is different.
I had decided to start talking about it, perhaps because it would help me to make sense of it. Maybe it will help others. Maybe it could help the young women who have no idea what is wrong with them, but they still can’t feel great the way their friends do.
Then it dawned on me. What makes most women feel a bit more human, give them that tiny bit more get up and go. Clothes!
The greatest barrier of fashion is we can be discriminated against or judged for something that’s out of their control, no woman wants to walk into a maternity store for jeans when they are struggling with fertility. Designs that whilst are amazing they just don’t suit bloating stomachs or aching that can be relieved by the trusty heat pack.
We are only human. Each of us will experience something that is out of our control at some point in our lives and which makes us feel afraid and lost. When that happens, we need people to turn to, people who will help and who won’t judge us. That’s where I’m Fine Attire comes in. We are there for everyone currently struggling with their conditions and need that pick me up. We might not be able to fix everything that’s broken, but we may be able to make the journey a little less painful.