Writing with a Chronic Illness.

I’m a writer. I love to write, i’m always tapping out or scribbling down something. I write poems, short stories, blog posts and bits of anything that comes into my mind. My dream is to write a book and have it published. I dream of walking into my favourite bookstore and seeing it on the shelves with all the other books I love to read. But writing with a Chronic illness is hard work, really hard work and it’s so frustrating it makes me want to scream.

Being a good writer means discipline. It means having the motivation to write every single day but it’s hard to do that when you feel like your brain is on fire. The words get jumbled inside my head and I can’t find the words I want to say. I get frustrated alot and my plans for different projects have to put back to the side so I can rest and come back to it later.

Writing is my passion. It always has been. It saved me from a lot when I was a child. When i was scared or alone or hurt, I’d grab out my pens and pad and start writing a story and I’d disappear into this make believe land that I created myself. I’d write about things that were so far from reality that I’d disappear into this fantasy land and I’d only come back when I was happy again. I dont remember any of those stories anymore, all my old pads were burnt when I left home. I wish I had them now so I could look back on them and realise how far I have actually have come with my writing skills. I do get so down on myself and tell myself that I’m a terrible writer and i’ll never write anything good enough that people will like reading.

Being a good writer takes time and practice and the only way to improve is to write. A lot of my writing today looks like a child has took to the page and attempted to write an adult story. Maybe that’s just how I perceive it and maybe I’d just been too down on myself.

Put together the brain fog from my chronic illness and my terrible procrastination skills and you will find out that not a lot of writing gets done on my end anymore. That frustrates me to no end because writing is my passion, it’s my hobby and it’s my dream to write a book that people will actually enjoy reading. I used to be able to write page after page before I got unwell, whether it was in my journal of writing bits of my book.

Some of my achievements I will mention as not to be so down on myself. But I have kept this blog and my book review blog running for over 6 months and that does make me proud. This blog is focused on chronic illness awareness and my health journey. And my book blog, I talk all things books. Because if you know me, you will know that I love to read. Reading has also been another one of the things that saved me from so much hurt as a child.

Tell me your experiences with writing in the comments, whether you have a chronic illness or not. Any tips will definetly be appreciated because I need to get my book out there. I would love to hear from writers who are published or not published. I would love to connect with some of you out there! Follow me on my social media links and come and chat to me about writing or books or just general life.

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Book Review Blog.

– Charleigh.

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Dear My 18 Year Old Self

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Dear Charleigh,
I know things are tough, I know big changes are coming up.
You’ve been moved out into the big wide world, away from the safety of the refuge.

Your with a guy that you don’t really love, and who is messing with your head, who repeats to you that the devil is watching.

It breaks my heart.
I want to tell you that bad things are going to happen again, that everything will crumble around you.

I want to warn you of the upcoming battles, I want to tell you not to push everyone away again.
I want to tell you to be careful who you trust, I want to make you promise that you will speak out and not be afraid,
because your an adult now and your not in the refuge anymore, nobody is looking out for you,
Your on your own.

The guy you fell for, the one you looked to for safety and love, will hurt you in so many ways.
He will not respect your space and boundaries, and he will threaten you and scare you into doing things you don’t want to do,
he will keep a surprise in your draw, and try to get you into trouble.
The police will be called and your house will be searched.

Don’t push people away,
It’s okay to lean on people for support.

When all that’s over and he’s moved back to his parents, you will think everything is okay and you can carry on.
But it won’t be that easy.
Things will seem impossible, and you will do anything you can to block the pain out.
You will continue to isolate yourself,
and depend more on the online world you’ve joined.
You will lock yourself in your flat, hardly seeing anybody from the outside world,
You won’t leave the safety of your box bedroom and you’ll spend everyday there, scared to leave.

You will obsess over weight loss and will do anything you can to become your definition of perfect.
I would tell you that perfect is not attainable and it will destroy you.
You will take handfuls of water pills, laxatives, diet pills and restrict your intake until your barely eating anything.
I would tell you it’s not worth it and to get out again while you can.

You will lay in your bed at night unable to sleep, you will cry with loneliness.
I will tell you not to get involved with that girl, that she will tip you over the edge, that you will try to end your life again.

You will end up in a psychiatric hospital, but you don’t belong there, but still you are and you hold onto the safety that is there.

I would warn you not to trust your nan and that your mother will find out where you are.

Then after 2 months locked away, you have no other choice but to go back to the refuge.

Months go by and your still so terrified, you feel lost in the world.
Soon it will be time to move on again and you will be at a loss for where to go.

You will be left with hardly any options, you have 2 weeks to find somewhere else and your petrified.

I would tell you it’s okay and that there not against you, I would tell you not to take those pills and that it’s ok to be scared to move on.

But you probably wouldn’t listen because your scared and fear does strange things to people.

You’ll end up in a hospital again with no recollection of your actions.
You’ll feel even more stupid and lost and it won’t change what’s upcoming.

You still need to move on, you still need to go out into the big scary world.
You will move back into the flat that broke you except this time you decide to do it right, to do it properly.

You fight against the lie that giving up is the way, you buy things you need and everything is okay for a little while.

I would tell you that things will get bad again.

Eating will be scary and life will be scary.
You will run away and try to find something that confirms your real, you will take another overdose.

You will scream at them to let you home but they put you in hospital anyway and your devastated.

You will feel that the police have betrayed you and they do because they tell your dad that your in hospital.
You haven’t spoken to him or mom in months.

You try to fight them away, I would tell you not to trust dad, I would beg you not to let him in again.
That it will all go wrong but It will feel like the right thing to do.
It will feel amazing and right and good but it’s not.

He will come to see you a few times and you will think he’s changed and it will feel euphoric.

Soon he takes you out and about, he says he will help you make your flat a home and starts decorating and finding you things you need.

You stay with him for overnight leave and you realise that he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same old drunk he always was.

The hurtful word piercing man he was before, the blows to your chest are the same as before, the bruises are still the same as before.

You go back to the hospital where you lie in your room, burying your head in books and deciding not to trust anyone ever again.
It’s not safe and it’s not worth it.

You get discharged and hide away in your flat, ignoring everyone, missing your appointments and not caring.

I would tell you to stop isolating yourself, to let people in, let people help
but I am you, and I know you wouldn’t listen.

But then someone will come along
and make everything okay again.
You will learn to trust this one person
and you’ll let them in.

Things will get better,
things won’t be perfect and they’ll still be nights you lie in bed and contemplate if life is worth living.
The voices will still dominate your mind
but you won’t be alone,
you’ll have someone in your corner, fighting with you.

I would tell you to stay.

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Dear Charley….

*Written when I was 18 years old.*

Dear Charley,

When I look at the photographs from years ago, you sitting there with your ocean blue eyes and the fly away hair,
and the little blue dress,
it seems like a different person, it doesn’t seem like me
it breaks my heart.

I want to tell you that bad things will happen,
that you won’t always be that happy,
everything will hurt and you will want to die.

I want to warn you about that day and those nights,
I want to make you promise me that you won’t keep anything a secret,
because you’re just a child, you are only 5 years old and you don’t have to be brave,
and when you grow up a little,
you still don’t have to be brave,
you don’t have to be strong for anyone,
its alright to cry.

Afterwards, you will lay in bed,
you’ll be terrified and unable to sleep,
some nights, you won’t get to sleep in your own bed,
and you’ll spend the night in a dark dingy cellar,
you’ll shut you eyes and escape to a pretend land you’ve made up.

Soon it will seem like an awful nightmare and you’ll pretend it didn’t happen,
but it did happen,
and I know that’s impossible to accept.

By your fifteenth birthday, you won’t feel anything anymore,
you will be numb
and in one of those awful moments,
you will lock yourself in the bathroom and draw a blade quickly across your leg
and you will say to yourself,
‘if anybody is going to hurt me, then it will be myself’
You are in control, but I promise you that you aren’t in control,
its a cruel illusion,
because it happens again and again,
your exposed bones and scarred skin will not save you.

Over the years you will write pages upon pages and you will read hundreds of books,
and you will do you best not to upset or anger people.

You tell yourself that you are holding it together while you hide the scars under your clothes,
and you can’t tell anymore if you’re eating or not.
You will become so cold that you won’t like anybody touching you
and the anxiety rises up in you chest like a heavy weight.

I know all this seems beyond awful,
and I know there will be days when you are so tired that you can’t even take another step,
and whenever you want to give up entirely, just remember that you survive.
At 18 years old, I can tell you this, you survive the first time,
you survive the second time,
you survive all the other times,
these terrible things happen to you and you survive,
slipcovered in lies and scars.

Dear You.

A collection of anonymous letters to people who’ve been in my life, past or present. I did this idea a few years ago and I loved it so much, so I’m doing it again.

Dear You,

I can’t breathe without you. You are my life, my world. I would never be the same without you. You showed me the true meaning of family, after so many years of being abused and alone. I cannot put into words what you mean to me. You see my good, my bad and my ugly side. No one has ever stayed with me, through the tantrums, through the madness. I wish I could take away all your pain but I can’t, so I’ll just show you that I care and I’m not going anywhere. You expect nothing from me, and thank you for that.

I’m not the strong one, you are.

Dear You,

Fuck you. You spent 19 years of my life, sucking the innocence away from me. If I could go back, I’d speak up a lot earlier. You have turned me into a monster. I fear for my life, for my mind because of you. Will that ever go away? Who knows. I can never get that innocence back because of you. I feel things so intensely now, and that’s not always a good thing. I don’t know who I am because I spent the majority of my life in your grip. You don’t care about me, you don’t care about anybody. All you care about is yourself and getting as much money as you can. I will never forgive you.

Dear You.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I had to leave you. I’m sorry you’re suffering too. But I couldn’t stay. I had to get out while I could. Your words, your blows knocked me down every time. You’re the best though, when you’re sober. I wish you could be like that all the time. I’m sorry. I hope one day we can build bridges.

Dear You,

I’m sorry I missed out on all those precious last years. You were the best ever, you did everything for me. You let me have a few precious hours away from the chaos at home. I wish I could rewind time and see you again. I miss you so much. I think of you everyday. I wish I could have been there at your funeral saying goodbye, celebrating your life. But I couldn’t and I’m sorry for that.

Dear You,

You don’t know me anymore, but I remember you. Dementia sucked you away from me. But I will always remember you the way you were. Beautiful and so caring. I’ll remember baking cakes in your tiny kitchen and rooting through your draws to see what treasure was hiding there.

Dear You,

One day me and you will meet each other in real life. We will take on New York City and take so many geeky pictures. My heart is always with you, no matter how far away we are from each other.

Dear You,

You are silly but so am I so I guess we’re a perfect fit. I can’t wait for many more adventures and laughs. I promise you’ll get there one day, you just have to believe in yourself.