Chronically Uncool – a Column by Ellie Bird

making time count, therapy

Ellie is 24 and lives just outside of London. She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2017 at age 22, having just graduated university with an English literature degree. Now she works in comms and PR for an online learning platform. When not dedicating spare time to raising awareness about PH, she’s singing, reading books, and going for walks in the countryside (when not too breathless!). She also, in stereotypically English fashion, drinks a lot of tea — preferably with a slice of cake!

PH Often Prevents Me From Getting Quality Sleep

Everyone feels the effects of a bad night’s sleep. But for those with chronic illness, sleepless nights can be debilitating. Since being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH), I have found that if I sleep poorly, I struggle to function, which can make surviving a day at…

Living Alone With a Chronic Illness

Three years ago when I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension at age 22, I never would have predicted I’d one day want to live alone. At the time, I was terrified and became reliant on my family for support and comfort.  A lot has changed since…

Counting My Steps Saved My Mental Health

Lots of people count their steps using a Fitbit device or their phone, but for me it has been a total lifeline.  Being less active during lockdown made me worry that my fitness had declined and that I had generally deconditioned. Putting on a bit of…

I’m Not ‘Lazy,’ I’m Sick

One of the hardest parts of having chronic health problems is the guilt. Many people struggling with complex conditions are branded “lazy.” And sometimes we even brand ourselves. Before I was diagnosed I was always exhausted, had very little energy, and would often take naps in…

It’s Important to Be Your Own Health Advocate

Before I got sick I thought doctors knew everything. I thought doctors would know exactly what to do if I was ever unwell, and that I could just mindlessly follow their advice. My experience with chronic illness couldn’t be more different. I remember the first time…

How COVID-19 Is Shining a Light on Ableism

Society doesn’t make it easy for people with disabilities and health conditions, including in the workplace. Historically, people with disabilities have struggled to hold down jobs. People with pulmonary hypertension (PH) rarely work full time, as it can be physically…

Juggling Health Admin and a Full-time Job

Sometimes I feel like having a health condition is a full-time job. I also have a “real” full-time job. Before I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH), I never considered how much admin would be involved in having a serious health…