Opening up about my battle with COVID and chronic illness

I recently had the honor of sharing my art journey on a podcast with Paige. I’ve already shared a lot of my journey here on Instagram but went further into detail with Paige about some things I just wasn’t ready to share until now.

The pandemic has been hard on me and family. As someone who struggles with chronic illness I was crazy anxious about getting sick. When I eventually did get covid two December’s ago, a hole developed in my lungs which put me on a long road of rest and recovery. After several months of still not feeling myself, I went to therapy to work through a lot of the anxiety and discomfort I was still experiencing. I quickly learned I was suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ADHD as well as some other long covid symptoms. Looking back on my life I could see where these had caused uphill battles in my life but also that having a big, recent disruption to my health caused a spike in difficulty processing my environment that I could no longer ignore.

You might be wondering how all that ties in my art business and that’s something I’ve been working through this past year. Art for me is the one place I can understand the world with my senses. When things become too loud or the world moves too quickly under my feet, I turn to art. But an increase in sensory challenges quickly made my work difficult. I could no longer push through when I was tired or anxious and my art suffered immensely under the pressure. But something beautiful came out of this experience, too. When I came to my wheel ready for work with the world quiet around me, I was able to connect with what my mind and body needed in that moment. The spinning of the wheel and rhythm of work with clay allowed me to discover something I was desperately searching for — peace. I only found this peace through lots of therapy sessions with an occupational therapist who helped me find ways to cope with my new sensory challenges. I had to listen to my body: giving it the rest it needed, setting up big boundaries between me and work, and continuing to give myself grace. Maple Leaf Pottery provided not only income this past year but also space to allow my body to heal without the pressure of a 40 hour workweek or big deadlines. This business provided a way for me stop ignoring the uphill battles I always run into when trying to work and live “like everyone else could.” I had to lean into my body’s rhythm of work and life and my eyes were opened with compassion for those who struggle with chronic illness and long covid.

So all this to say, I hope you have a chance to listen to this conversation, share with a friend who might be struggle to measure up to society’s work standards or heal as quickly as they would like from a virus that is wreaking havoc in our world, or reach out for help if you are struggling with anxiety. I promise you there is hope in all of this and that you aren’t alone in making sense of the craziness we have all experienced these past few years.

You can listen to the conversation here.

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