You went from being a healthy, active, participating member of society to being house or even bedbound. Now what? Well, first you’ll likely need to shake the dust off because that’s a lot to sift through emotionally, but then hopefully you’ll be off to figure out what you can still do to contribute to your life, even if only from bed. Maybe there are crafts you had wanted to try before you fell ill but didn’t have the time? You might be pleasantly surprised at just how many crafting options there are out there, from coloring to jewelry making and everything in between. If you’re looking for ideas from people that are actually chronically ill there’s a great group on Facebook called Chronic Creatives, and it’s filled with people sharing a myriad of crafts. Not only is this a great place to gather ideas, but it’s also inspiring to see so many chronically ill people sharing their hard work, making lemonade out of lemons if you will.
So, you’ve conducted your research and chosen a craft, what’s the next step? Well, depending on your abilities you may not be able to get out to the craft store. If you’re unable to get out, Amazon is a great place to start gathering supplies. If you don’t have Amazon Prime (free shipping) try to find someone who does and ask if they would be willing to add you to their household account. The person who generously allows you to do so doesn’t have to worry about billing (you are not using their billing information/credit cards), your portal will only contain your billing information. Amazon obviously isn’t as fun as going to a craft store but in a pinch, it still works and not having to pay for shipping is a huge plus, especially when ordering little things like paintbrushes.
Your supplies have arrived, you have created a work of art and now what? You likely found the experience of being creative very rewarding, and frustrating, yet fun. You now have a creation but perhaps not many people to share it with. If you’re like me, your world has grown very small since your chronic illness became a way of life. The texts have mostly stopped, and the emails too, pretty much people went on with their busy lives. It’s okay, it happens. It doesn’t feel okay, but hey, it happens to so many of us. Thank goodness for social media! There are some great avenues to share your work on social media. Depending on what your intent is long-term the avenues will vary, but here are a few: a blog page just for your creations, an Instagram site dedicated to mostly your creations (I use my IG to post art and spread chronic illness awareness simultaneously), or even a Facebook page (this can be created off of your personal page) which you could even turn into a business page at some point depending on just how crafty you end up. One of the perks of creating these avenues is you can do it totally anonymously if you so desire. Why mention that? Well, with chronic illness the energy isn’t always there to make the masterpiece you’d like, and the budget might not allow the supplies you’d like, so you try your best, but you know it could be better. Posting anonymously allows you to get your stuff out there anyway, despite if you love it or not. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (some people may love things you thought were eek worthy).
But why even bother posting on social media? I’m not trying to twist your arm into posting, but I do think it’s important to connect with other like-minded folks. Sharing your creations is a way to join with others, on a different level. It’s a way to say, “Hey I did a thing!” Being creative is healthy for the brain, for the mind, and the soul. It gets you out of your own way for a little bit. Let’s face it, being chronically ill isn’t what any of us wanted for ourselves, but being creative and sharing your creations with other artistic type people (chronically ill or not) helps breathe new life and creates new mostly positive memories, often tangible ones to reflect fondly upon. It’s a journey at least worth trying, you might find you get to know a part of yourself you never knew, and you just might like that side of you.
If you are a creative person, do you find it helps make chronic illness more tolerable? If you have any tips you’d like to share or questions, or comments please feel free to do so below. About a year ago I wrote a post with ideas of crafty things you could do from home and it ended up being my top visited post from last year (aside from the home page) so I’m thinking this is a topic explored by many. Watercolors and sharing on social media have been a life saver for me. I felt stuck, alone in my room, before I created an anonymous Instagram account just for watercolors and started posting daily, no matter how cringe-worthy the painting was, because no matter what, the socialization is important too. Speaking of which, a few more of my doodles below. Oh and eventually I did come out of hiding and added my name to the IG account. 😊 Wishing you all a day that is kind to you!