My Story: Kimmy and Lupus

In this video, Kimmy shares the box of "chronic illness tools" that help her manage lupus and other disorders. Hear what she has to say about listening to her body and knowing what to do when it comes to chronic illness.

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People are used to physical illnesses and disabilities being visible. Think that it is confusing to people to see me,
who looks totally healthy. And then you say, well, I have lupus and I have Addison's disease and psoriasis. And they're confused.
They're like, I don't see anything. [MUSIC PLAYING] I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 19 years old in 2014.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your own healthy tissues.
The biggest way lupus affects me on a day-to-day basis is through fatigue. And it's hard to explain to someone
who maybe hasn't experienced it, because everyone feels tired. But it is a certain type of tiredness that
is just this extreme feeling. And also, I tend to get a lot of joint pain.
That can make it hard to walk sometimes, or just hard to do some of my daily tasks. There's a lot of different ways that I try
to soothe some of my symptoms. And these are all my chronic illness tools. One of my favorite ways is just using different types
of heating pads. I think I have like four, different types at home. And rest is just the biggest helpful thing. Because if I keep going when I'm experiencing these flare-ups,
they often will just get worse. So a lot of time, I just have to pause and be like, OK. I'm taking a break, this is what my body needs,
and just really listening to your body and what it needs from you is so important when you're dealing with lupus or any chronic illness.
It can be really draining and just disheartening a lot of the times. At the end of the day, I like to think about the things that
went well that day, even if the day was filled with really bad symptoms, or a really bad pain day.
There's always something good about every day. So trying to pull those out and write them down so that, that's what I'm focusing on instead
of focusing on the really negative things that happened. I think it's so important to take care of your mental health. And that is something that is often left out
of the treatment of lupus. Living with a chronic illness is really tough. It can take a lot out of you. And being sure that you have people on your side
who are supporting you, whether that is your family, a therapist, a psychiatrist, whatever.
It is so important to have those people who are there to listen to you. Anyone with lupus is really trying their best, and doing their best.

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