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Now what can I, a 45 year old, know about Young Warrior Partners you may ask yourself...

What can I say that will inspire and empower young chronic warriors that are looking for love but fear they'll never find it because of their illness?

I asked myself the same question…

Guess I’ll have to dig into the archives of my memory to tell you about my experiences in my teens and early twenties and how I hid my conditions from anyone I dated - well, from most people actually. I was embarrassed, had no diagnosis to even be able to explain it and hadn't come to terms with any of it; but it's not something I recommend.

I didn't really realise the toll it took on me mentally, emotionally and physically until later on in life.

I thought it was better to hide that part of myself so that I could avoid rejection and feeling vulnerable; not realising that if someone is for me, they will accept me as I am.

Hiding what I was experiencing was, in a way, denying who I was and adding to the trauma of living with chronic illness.

After many years of working on my mindset, I finally got to a place of self-acceptance, self-worth and self-love which empowered me to be open and honest about my health, realise my value and be more discerning about who I let into my world.

As my thoughts and feelings about myself became more positive and I had more life experience, my view of dating and relationships changed.

I gained more understanding about what is really important in a relationship and identified my priority list; accepting that it's unlikely that a partner will tick every box of requirements.

I also came to the realisation that if someone was unable to accept my situation, it wasn't due to me being unworthy but more about them. That's not to say that if a guy couldn't or didn't want to be with someone in my position it meant they were a bad guy, it just meant they weren’t the guy for me.

I mean, let's face it, chronic illness is hard enough for us to cope with and definitely takes certain characteristics and qualities from both parties to build and maintain a relationship; which can be challenging enough without the added element of chronic illness.

My message to those seeking love is:

  • Identify and be confident in what you can add to a relationship

  • Let your light shine brighter than your illness

  • Do not undervalue yourself

  • Do not lower your standards because of your condition

  • Identify and stand strong in what you need from a partner

Talking to this month's guests was such a delight and further proof that chronic illness and love can happen.

So, whether you're a young one or getting on a bit, I hope you don't give up on love because I truly believe there’s someone out there for every single one of us 💖

Part 1 Sunday 10th October with Daniel Parkes

Part 2 Sunday 24th October with Adam Halladay

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It took 20 years for me to be diagnosed and during that time I didn't have much access to support or information. I basically felt alone.

Symptom management, coping mechanisms, emotional intelligence, maintaining employment or just having people to talk to who understood would probably have made my life easier and helped me to come to terms with and manage my situation quicker.

The growth of social media has made support and awareness so much more accessible over the past few years, which is great for the chronic illness community, especially those who are newly diagnosed.

Something I’ve learned over the years is that support comes in many forms. As well as friends and family, we can also benefit from professional individuals and organisations through talking therapies or courses to help deal with the emotional and psychological impact of living with chronic illness, to practical methods to help us manage daily living or employment.

Being the independent person that I am, I found it difficult to ask for and receive support for years. I thought it made me look weak and I felt vulnerable. Things like therapy and support groups were taboo also, as I grew up thinking they were just for ‘mad’ people or those with addictions.

I couldn’t imagine how they could help me deal with the trauma I’d experienced - not only from chronic illness but other emotional and physical experiences.

Over time I understood that we all have mental health and it includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act, the choices we make, how we handle stress and relate to others.

I’m so happy that I eventually took the plunge and utilised the services available to me. Counselling, coaching and medical information from knowledgeable organisations helped me to come to terms with my conditions, manage my mental health, find happiness and have hope for my future.

The positive impact motivated me to study counselling and coaching; enabling me to help others achieve the same.

There are so many in the community who not only have firsthand experience of living with chronic illness and, like myself, use their experience, skills and knowledge to guide, support and inform others so they don’t have to go through it all alone.

Having access to these resources is such a blessing.

So, as well as using the Chronic Warriors platform to share stories of how those in the community are able to excel and live a fulfilled life while managing chronic illness, I also want to highlight those who provide resources and services to help others.

In this month’s podcast episodes I’m delighted to share the wonderful work being done by two Chronic Warriors.

To hear about their experiences and what they do, tune in here CHRONIC WARRIORS PODCAST | Chronic Warriors (

Part 1 Sunday 5th September with Des Quinn

Part 2 Sunday 19th of September with Rachael Mole

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I’ve always been used to pushing through pain when it comes to exercise, but recently I’ve been reluctant to even do any at all and I’m just starting to figure out why.

For the past 16 months I’ve been dealing with ongoing injuries that seem never-ending. It started with nerve damage in my left wrist last February (I pushed down a soap dispenser!), followed by my right ankle in October (walking in the Corfu sand too much) and then my right shoulder rotator cuff in March - no idea what caused that one.

So I’ve been getting osteopath treatment for all 3 and a few months ago started a rehabilitation program which consists of stabilsiing and strengthening exercises.

I’m dying to get back to being able to lay on my right side, wash the dishes, drive, dance, boxercise and basically do normal things without pain...who am I kidding, what have I ever done without pain…

The injuries are finally beginning to heal, but there’s so much work to do to be fully functioning again and no guarantee it will happen.

However, I’m doing my best to maintain a positive mindset and hope for the best. Most importantly, I have to put in the work.

Anyway, as eager as I am, I’ve not been consistent with my exercises at all. It’s as if there’s a mental block.

I’ve never felt so overwhelmed and anxious about exercise!

I think it’s a combination of being apprehensive about causing flares in other parts of my body, re-injuring myself and the fact that healing is taking so damn long!

Re-injury would feel like a setback, a flare could render me immobile; particularly in my back as I possibly wouldn’t be able to use my crutches with the shoulder and wrist injuries being on opposite sides.

I’m generally used to the ‘everyday’ pain and flares, but it’s so much harder when it’s a new injury.

I know these are fears or concerns for many of us and a common reason that stops us exercising. Recently, I’ve realised even more how important building muscle strength, regular movement and using my body in the right way is.

I’m working on getting my head around this, so my mission is to get myself into the right mindset and to let go of the fear and apprehension so I can get my body back to ‘normal’.

In light of everything I’ve said, this month’s podcast is all about exercise and I’ve got a couple of really inspiring Chronic Warriors joining me.

They’ve had their struggles, have worked really hard to get to where they are today and share their experiences and knowledge to help the chronic illness community.

Whether you’re interested in energetic or gentle exercise, I think they will inspire you just like they’ve inspired me.

Part 1 Sunday 8th August with Tracy Rodriguez

Part 2 Sunday 22nd August with Mairi Sutherland

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