Hello, everyone! My name is Christine, and I've had the privilege of being invited by the Alike team to answer a few questions. So, let's dive right in!
The first question is: What is your life's mantra?
Well, I live by a few mantras, but the one that resonates with me the most, especially in terms of my chronic illness, is "As you grow through what you go through." Life is a constant learning curve for all of us, and every negative and challenging experience we encounter teaches us valuable lessons. It molds us into better individuals, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. By shifting our mindset and seeking growth and wisdom from negative experiences, we can transform our outlook on life.
Moving on to the next question: What inspires you?
Without a doubt, it's other people who inspire me the most. Hearing their stories and witnessing their resilience, positivity, courage, kindness, and empathy in the face of adversity is truly inspiring. Being around such individuals is infectious, and their unwavering spirit motivates me to keep pushing forward.
Now, let's talk about what I take pride in. Having a chronic illness adds an extra layer of difficulty to everything, making every achievement a little sweeter. For me, finishing my education despite the hurdles along the way holds a special place in my heart. It symbolizes triumph over adversity, reminding me that I am capable of achieving great things despite the challenges I face.
Next up, I'd like to share my IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) story with you. I was diagnosed with IBD, specifically Crohn's disease, when I was only seven years old. Throughout my school years, I struggled with it, but it took a turn for the worse after I graduated. Stress plays a significant role in triggering my symptoms, and the stress of adult life hasn't subsided. Last year, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I developed abscesses, fistulas, and perianal Crohn's disease, leading to multiple surgeries and chronic pain. It was at this low point that I decided to start my Instagram account, as it gave me the courage to open up about my chronic illness and share my journey with the world.
Speaking of daily challenges, the biggest one for me is getting out of bed. Fatigue often overwhelms me, making it a constant battle to stay awake and resist the temptation to crawl back under the covers for a nap. It's a daily struggle, but I persevere.
Here's something that surprises people the most about me: my chronic illness. People find it difficult to link an illness with someone who appears healthy. We are accustomed to associating illness with a certain physical appearance portrayed in the media. However, it's crucial to recognize that appearances can be deceiving, and chronic illnesses can be invisible.
If I had to choose one thing I couldn't live without, it would be my medication. It plays a vital role in managing my condition and enabling me to live a fulfilling life.
Now, let's talk about why engaging with others who share similar experiences is essential to me. Living with a chronic illness can be incredibly isolating, especially during flare-ups. Even though we know there are many others facing the same challenges, we often feel alone. Connecting with individuals who understand what we're going through helps alleviate that loneliness and provides a supportive community where we can find solace.
Lastly, I've been pondering an intriguing and thought-provoking question: Would I erase my condition if given the opportunity? It's tempting to wish for a life without chronic illness, but when I consider the person I've become and the invaluable lessons I've learned along the way, I hesitate. Living with a chronic illness has shaped my character, instilling empathy, kindness, strength, and a deeper understanding of others. Eradicating my condition would mean losing a significant part of who I am today.
I hope my journey resonates with many of you, and I wish you all a lovely day. Take care!