Q: Why chronic illness and disability?
A: Health issues are often stigmatized and difficult to talk about. Many living with chronic illness feel they have to hide or mask what they're going through because of this. Disabilities can present accessibility challenges most people would never even think about. Often, when we do share about our health conditions, people say--even with the best of intentions--clueless and hurtful things that can make us feel even more alienated. But people want to talk about this stuff, and we need to talk about this stuff, I know I do. We're hoping that by talking more about what living with chronic health problems can be like, we can help to broaden the understanding of what it means to be ill or disabled, give people a window into living the chronic life, and normalize these issues to reduce the stigma.
We'll also be talking to people who are doing interesting advocacy work, and highlighting the various forms it can take.
Q: "Ugh, that sounds depressing." What will the show be like?
A: While these issues aren't all sunshine and rainbows, we're hoping the show will maintain a sense of both humor and heaviness. We'll want to address both the joy and the pain of human existence, and how it intersects with the living reality of chronic illness and disability. We want this to be a safe space for people to laugh, cry, and everything in between.
Q: Where will the show be posted?
A: We are on both iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud, YouTube, and right here on our website. If you stay tuned to the blog, our Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and/or Google+, we'll be sharing our content there as well. You can also opt in to our mailing list on the Contact page, so you'll never miss an episode.
Q: Can you help me with [fill in the blank medical problem]?
A: Sadly, no. We are not medical professionals and cannot help with individual medical concerns. We know from first hand experience how brutal the medical system can be, especially if you're still in search of a diagnosis. We wish you all the luck in the world, and hope to provide information resources only as a jumping off point.
Please seek qualified medical attention if you are experiencing a medical issue.
Q: Do mental illnesses "count" as chronic illness?
A: Absolutely. Any condition you live with over a long time (official definitions usually use > 6 months) can be a chronic illness. We'll definitely be touching on mental illness with the show, but the topic has already been wonderfully explored on The Mental Illness Happy Hour and The Dark Place--check them out!
Q: What chronic illnesses do you have?
A: You can read Cara's "30 Things" to learn more about her condition, or take a listen to her interviews on the Dear Friends & Family, Just Talking, and Lyme Voice podcasts.
Q: Who is the show for?
A: The show is for anyone living with chronic illness or disability, those who have experienced medical trauma, and people with everyday health struggles. We also want to encourage loved ones, caretakers, and healthcare providers to listen for a window into what our lives are like. We want the show to be for everyone. Even if your health issues "aren't that bad," we want to encourage you to honor them, and find community in our shared experiences.
Q: Who is involved with the show?
A: The show is hosted and produced by Cara Gael, and was created with help from Caitlin Carey and Rob Guizio. You can check out our About page to learn more.
Q: Can I be a guest?
A: Maybe! Cara prefers to do in-person interviews, but will also be talking to people via Skype. So if you have a great story about chronic illness, disability, or other health experience and live in the NYC area or could be interviewed on Skype, Contact Us!
Q: What's with the spoons?
A: The spoon imagery comes from Christine Miserandino's Spoon Theory essay. As a young woman with Lupus, Christine wrote about explaining to her friend what living with chronic fatigue is like. She used individual spoons to represent the limited energy resources she has to draw upon during the day. The Spoon Theory is often referenced in many conversations and projects about chronic illness. We'll be talking a lot about our spoons.