Let’s do a 2020 wrap up, looking toward 2021

A great start to this, but I just looked for my “Word of the Year 2020” blog post and realised I never made one?! So much for building this post off that one… I guess I gotta start there then…

For those who don’t know, instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I prefer to have a Word of the Year – I think this tradition was originally inspired by the Mamamia Outloud Podcast ladies who do it annually as well.

It’s more about having a “theme” for the year that you want to focus on, rather than specific goals that are probably unattainable and you’ll fall off the wagon 2 weeks into January. Also, you save money on gym memberships…

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Why do positive things happening to me make me terrified?

This is going to be the epitome of an uncomfortable blog for me, and that’s saying something considering the traumatic things I’ve written about. But this blog is more about one of my deepest fears that have developed after those traumas…

I’ll say why I find this uncomfortable up front, because I think it’ll help me write honestly. But, basically I hate writing in a way that outs me as a person with a negative mindset, cos I’ve spent so long building my personality around my ability to take the negative and stay positive.

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2020 has killed my eternal optimism. Send halp.

CW: Mentions of r*pe, intimate partner abuse, physical and mental health issues.

Ok, I’m just being dramatic.

But sort of not.

Someone tell me how I’ve experienced intimate partner abuse, rape, multiple chronic illnesses that have tried to kill me and isolated me along the way, and so much harassment and abuse… and 2020 feels like potentially the worst thing I’ve experienced.

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Self-isolation is a fun way to realise I have PTSD about isolation

I came into this isolation idea feeling quite comfortable with the whole idea of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew it’d suck in the way that this stuff always does – with all that grief and annoying emotions. But I’ve done it before in much worse situations, so this would be child’s play.

Or so I thought.

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Iso-grief is a real thing as we hide from the coronavirus

Being self-isolated has brought around a lot of different feelings for all of us. In some ways it’s making us creative – like figuring out how to play beer pong on video chat with friends in other houses.

I’m seeing (and posting) food and workout photos on social media, but also we all know that we don’t tend to put the arguments and weeping videos on there too.

So… I can’t help but guess that life in everyone else’s bubbles is probably not always as amusing as your TikTok dances.

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Sick Girl’s Tips to Surviving Self-Isolation during COVID-19

I don’t want to brag, but I had to isolate myself before it was cool

I’m a high-risk, immunocompromised woman with a lung condition so COVID-19 has thrown me into self-isolation and now it seems like most people are doing this as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic increases.

But this isn’t my first time at the rodeo and I’m here for you guys!

At the end of 2018 I had an undiagnosed Inflammatory Bowel Disease and a rare parasite that had me lose 20% of my body weight before it was diagnosed and treated 8 months later. 

It caused me to have a nervous breakdown and go into hiding for around 9 weeks. While it wasn’t full isolation, it wasn’t far off. And it felt more isolating that I can even describe. And that’s just one of the times I was too sick to leave the house for a decent period of time.

I’ve written other blogs about that saga, but this one is my attempt to consolidate how my Type A self-healer personality got me through this excruciating pain, fear and loneliness in a way that was surprisingly positive and constructive. 

Here are my Sick Girl’s Tips to Surviving Self-Isolation during COVID-19

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COVID-19: An immunocompromised person’s perspective

Edit | This was written 12 March 2020 using the most up-to-date, government advice and links that I could find in New Zealand but please do your own research. Advice is changing on a daily basis.

Watching the COVID-19 epidemic, now pandemic, create so much panic has been a really interesting thing for me to watch.

As a person who would sit in a higher risk patient category in a currently low risk country (New Zealand) where some people have been stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitiser, I have to say…. what in the world is happening?!

I have a Primary Immune Deficiency (PID) and Bronchiectasis which is a respiratory disease – a wonderful combination that doesn’t pair well with Coronavirus.

So why am I not afraid? Why am I not panicking as much as other people? Why am I not bunkering down?

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Can you be sick and sexy?

There is so much to unpack when it comes to talking about chronic illness and sexuality – mostly because we don’t talk about it.

As a person with invisible illnesses, I would say that I don’t have it as hard as people with visible physical or intellectual disabilities as there is a tendency to totally infantilise or even fetishise them. So this isn’t about that – I can fake being well to the point that I’m not treated “differently” purely because of how I’m perceived.

In saying that, being sicker than most my whole life, and now with several chronic illnesses, I think I can confidently say that the medicalisation of my body has taken some of my sexuality. But I want it back!

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Trauma has made me who I am, and I like it

I’ve noticed a lot lately that my perception on the things I’ve been through is really different that other peoples’ perception of it.

When I talk about my health and life lows without cushioning what I say, it seems to make people uncomfortable because it sounds terrible. But the honest truth is that it’s not. You don’t need to say you’re sorry for what I’ve been through. I’m happy about all of it.

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What I learnt from my involuntary weight loss

Content warning: Weight loss, eating disorders, fatphobia, discussion of physical and mental illness

We’re all screwed up. Honestly, we are so brainwashed it’s out of control.

In the last year I’ve lost 20% of my body weight then gained it all back. I went down two dress sizes then went back up them. I lost most of the fat on my body, then I got it all back. I lost the natural shape of my body, then I filled back out.

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