Once again it’s the most wonderful time of the year; and like the Christmases that have come before, we again have been inundated with various iconography associated with Christmas. Images such as Father Christmas, snow and Christmas trees adorn popular decorations, and greeting cards meant for the holidays.
However, in my opinion, there is one particular image that is often associated with the Christmas season, which is a perfect representation of those living with chronic illnesses. What is it, you ask?
It’s the snowflake!
It’s well-known that no two snowflakes are alike. Each one is entirely individual and unique – much like us spoonies. Not only are we individual, just like everyone else with differing interests and personalities, but also fits in with living with a chronic illness. Just as we are unique and individual, our chronic conditions and the way they manifest itself are just as unique. This can be especially true with neurological disorders like mine as well as conditions such as MS and myasthenia gravis (which are both known as a ‘snowflake disease’) because there are so many different symptoms and no two patients are likely to exhibit the same set of symptoms.
Snowflakes as well as being unique and individual, are also beautiful – just like the spoonies that I have had the pleasure of coming into contact with through my blog or my other social media sites. It is said that snowflakes are fragile, but when one or more snowflakes stick together, they actually become stronger.
During my journey living with this neurological condition, I have learnt many lessons and one such lesson that chronic illness has taught me that there is indeed strength in numbers. On the days that my body has felt weak and fragile, and feeling that the hope that helps me through is diminishing, it is messages of support from fellow chronically ill people that really helps me through the dark days. These give me the strength to fight my symptoms and continue to live despite the often debilitating symptoms.
Recently, the symptoms that I live with on a daily basis such as the pain and trembling in the legs, the dizziness, fatigue and weakness have been particularly debilitating, and as a result, I have been experiencing mild symptoms of depression that I often find accompanies periods of ill-health such as these. Part of these low moods, I have seen myself, comparing myself to others, particularly family and those friends who are close in age to myself, and feeling notably different to everyone else. And not in a good way.
However, snowflakes, and what they stand for can teach us that it is okay to be different from everybody else. It teaches us that being individual and unique is in actual fact a good thing and, it is these differences that sets us apart from anybody else, and what makes us special.
Therefore, perhaps when we know someone (particularly a fellow spoonie) who is struggling. Or who are feeling upset because of something which is affecting them and setting them apart, then maybe we should send them a card or a little present depicting a snowflake to remind them just how beautiful, special and unique they are – and that being different is more than okay.