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How do you describe yourself?

Green background with cream handwritten text in block capitals. Text reads: "I'm an outdoorsy person, mentally. Physically, not so much."

It's something I've been thinking about recently. How I introduce myself to new people outside of work?

What do I say about myself?

I've been chronically sick for 12 years. My whole adult life. There's so many hobbies I had to give up. So many interests I can't engage with. So much I'd like to try, and probably never will.

What does that mean?

This year in particular I've met lots of new people online. Some have become really close friends. Some I speak to once and then we go our separate ways. But it's really interesting meeting new people through work or socially. How do I describe myself to them? How do they describe themselves?

Years ago, when I was new to chronic illness, I felt really lost. I didn't know who I was anymore. I'd had to give up my studying, my work, all of my hobbies, I couldn't see friends. I had to give up so many parts of my life, and each time I did it felt like I was giving up a piece of myself along with it.

After a while I started to wonder what was left.

But now I feel a bit less unsure. I'm still an outdoorsy person, even if I can't actually spend much time outdoors. I still like going for walks, even if it's only occasionally and I can't walk far. I'm still a big animal person, even though I can't have pets right now and my brain is too fuzzy to remember facts from the nature docs I watch on telly. I'm an arty person, even though I'm not well enough to paint or draw or craft in the ways I would like to. I love design museums and art exhibits, even though it hasn't been safe for me to enter one in years.

You're still a full rounded person with interests even if you can't engage with them anymore in the way you would like to, or at all.

I know what it's like to feel like a shell of yourself, a ghost.

I'm not saying it's always easy or to trivialise these struggles in any way.

But I'd love to know what you're interested in, what you love, as opposed to what you do.

Our worlds often feel small, and life with chronic illness often involves boredom. But just because you feel boring, doesn't mean you are boring.

I don't think you're boring at all.


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