Sunday, January 12, 2014

Interview with a Real Life Girl: Hannah of The Retired Bridgeburner

 
 
Today's interview with a Real Life Girl Fighting Evil is Hannah of the blog The Retired Bridgeburner Hannah's blog is funny and poignant, about living with Fibrymyalgia and Interstitial Cystisis. It's a great experience to read through her blog. She's also incredibly kind and friendly, and I'm really happy to be a recent follower of her blog!
 
1. Tell us about yourself.
 
Hi there! I'm Hannah, 24, geek girl (and proud!) from the UK who's only one inch too tall to be a hobbit and owns a car called Tardis. I'm more likely to be seen under the psuedonym The Retired Bridgeburner under which I've been writing a blog about my experiences as a sufferer of Fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis and hoping to offer some good cheer and humour.
 
2. What makes you feel brave?
 
Putting myself out there and exploring outside of my comfort zone. 

I resisted creating The Retired Bridgeburner for quite a while because it meant being very open about myself and my experiences with the wider internet where you can't choose or limit your readership, and there's something a little vulnerable about that. I'm not a showy person and I'm something of an introvert so it's far from my natural state of being. As time has gone on with the blog I've realised that as a person you're only going to be able to be completely true to what's in your heart and mind when you let the anxiety over what everyone else's opinion of what you're doing might be go. It's completely OK to sometimes do something that's just for you, to only try to please an audience of one. This all culminated in my New Horizons post, and that marked the point where I truly felt quite brave and liberated. 

3. What advice do you have for other young girls with a chronic illness?
 
I think there are two major things I'd want to pass on, and they only come with time:

1) Stand your ground. It's easy to fall into the trap of succumbing to pressure from others to go out when you know you aren't up to it or to put yourself in situations that can prove detrimental to your health just to keep others happy. If you've explained why something is an issue and you are still being put under pressure then the problem lies with the other person(s) doing the pressurising and not you, but it can still be a hard thing to resist. It's not always easy but ultimately you don't owe anyone else your health and happiness.
 
2) Stop apologising. To be honest that's a good bit of advice for life in general, but it also works rather well in this context. Having a long term illness be it mental, physical or both does not mean there is something irrevocably wrong with you as a person, it just means you have different difficulties to overcome compared with healthy people. There are communities out there who can offer guidance and support, but in the end we're all individuals and need to discover our own way of working with or around our health. Nobody else is in your shoes so nobody else has the right to tell you how you should cope. Find the way that works best for you and then, because you're still the wonderful and unique individual you always were, go forth and shine.
 
4. How do you keep your positivity up on days you don't feel it?
 
My method in life in general will always be to find as much humour in the situation as possible, and obviously some times are easier than others. I've really worked at almost training my mind to look at all the things I *can* still do despite the illnesses rather than regretting the things that are now beyond my capability. There are some days where none of this works, and if all else fails I've come to realise there's no shame in crawling back under the duvet and resolving to try again tomorrow. As someone in possession of a perfectionist streak a mile wide it's taken me some time to reach that conclusion, but there's little point in beating yourself up over things you can't change and I firmly believe self acceptance is a key part of recovery.

5. If you lived in a world where demons were attacking, what would be your weapon of choice?
 
A ranged weapon - small and slight does not ideal melee combat material make. Off the top of my head I think a specific weapon of choice would be the Gesen short bow from Baldur's Gate II - what could possibly go wrong with a bow that shoots never-ending lightning bolts instead of arrows? If nothing else it gives plenty of potential for cheesy one-liners!
 
 

1 comment:

  1. A belated happy new year to you, too Laura! Very insightful questions, and what a lovely subject - I particularly love the choice of weapon! :)

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