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Next up in my Black Disabled Voices series I would like to introduce Andrea Willis and her blog: Life of a Fibro Warrior. Andie is a supporter of A Journey Through the Fog which I’m very grateful for, and she raises awareness of a number of chronic illnesses through her own blog and social media accounts.

A message from Andrea:

“My name is Andrea, also known as Andie, I am 47 years old, married and have 3 adult children at home. My health challenges started when I was 16, suffering with what I didn’t know at the time was endometriosis. 

At 17 I had my first back spasm and since then it has been a long road battling with my mental and physical health and fighting the system. I was diagnosed with clinical depression after the birth of my 3rd child and continue to suffer with my mental health to this day. 

My main conditions are fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and severe neuropathy.

I am a strong and resilient woman and will continue to fight every day.”

Life of a Fibro Warrior Blog

Andrea Willis

Andie writes a blog called Life of a Fibro Warrior which she started in 2014, where she shares her health experiences to try to reach out to help others with the same medical conditions. She also uses her writing as an outlet to express her own emotions.

You can find out more about Andie, check out my blog, here.

Here’s a snippet from one of Andie’s blog posts:

Empathy goes a long way

1. People with chronic pain seem unreliable (we can’t even count on ourselves). When feeling better we promise things (and mean it); when in serious pain, we may not even show up.

2. An action or situation may result in pain immediately. several hours later, or even the next day. Delayed pain is confusing to people who have never experienced it.

3. Pain can inhibit listening and other communication skills. It’s like having someone shouting at you, or trying to talk with a fire alarm going off in the room. The effect of pain on the mind can seem like attention deficit disorder.So you may have to repeat a request, or write things down for a person with chronic pain. Don’t take it personally, or think that they are stupid.

4. The senses can overload while in pain. For example, noises that wouldn’t normally bother you, seem too much. (Sensory overload)

5. Patience may seem short. We can’t wait in a long line; I.e social distancing outside a supermarket! or can’t wait for a long drawn out conversation. 

6. Don’t always ask “how are you” unless you are genuinely prepared to listen.

10. Small acts of kindness can seem like HUGE acts of mercy to a person in pain. Your offer of a pillow or a cup of tea can be a really big thing to a person who is feeling temporarily helpless in the face of encroaching pain.

Please head over to her blog to read the full post.

Awareness Campaigning Work

Andie is also active in awareness campaigning. She and her daughter Charlotte recently participated in the Versus Arthritis campaign to educate and highlight the needs of people with various forms of the condition, for which there are over 200.

The campaign included TV adverts to help spread awareness to a larger audience. Find out more about the Versus Arthritis campaign here.

Please show Andie some love and support by following her on social media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Andie and her daughter Charlotte

Thanks for reading. If you, or anyone you know would like to be featured in my Black Disabled Voices series, please get in contact.

For more personal stories, reviews, news, inspirational quotes and in-depth discussion, please head over to my Facebook page.