Hi! My name is Eden Hankins, I'm 16 years old, and the founder/author of The Chronic Illness Chronicles!
Here's my story.
I've had noticeable health issues since I was very young, but because they weren't too serious, no one had any answers, and we didn't really know what to search for, so we just moved on. It wasn't until the summer of 2020 when my chronic pain was becoming unbearable that we finally began to really search for answers. I'd had some form of chronic pain for years, as well as chronic knee dislocations, and joint instability, but doctors just attributed it to my weight and told me to exercise. I tried that and had little success. When my pain was worsening that summer, I was determined to find answers. To start, my doctor was convinced it was just anxiety, so we tried treating that for 2 months, with no success. Then, I was tested for multiple autoimmune disorders, with all negative results. Our only guess was Fibromyalgia, but I was never evaluated for it, so we hit a dead-end for another month or two.
During that period, I started to learn about a disease called "Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome" through a close internet friend. The more I learned about it, the more things added up. This condition seemed to explain so many of the symptoms I'd had for years, and my friend who also has EDS and taught me about it, agreed. So, I went back to my doctor and suggested that I may have EDS. She agreed that it would make a lot of sense, so I was sent to a rheumatologist, and in December of 2020, I was finally diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, after having symptoms for 5-10 years. Since receiving an EDS diagnosis, I've been able to meet with appropriate specialists, and have further been diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Orthostatic Hypotension (OH), Fibromyalgia, and likely some type of esophageal dysmotility condition.
Having answers was what I'd always wanted, but it was also a lot to take in. So, I turned to social media and was able to find a whole community of chronically ill and disabled folks sharing their journeys and connecting with each other. Since chronic illness isn't very well spoken about, and many of my conditions aren't very well known, I decided that I wanted to start sharing my journey online to educate people on chronic illness, hopefully help others, and become an advocate for chronic illness and disability. I started my Instagram, @chronicallyeden, in February 2021, and since the, I've met so many amazing people and learned a lot.
As Instagram is a more photo-centric platform, I tend to condense the posts I write about things like Accessibility, Ableism, Rare Chronic Illness, etc., into much shorter blurbs, so that it is more digestible and suited to Instagram. I've really enjoyed sharing those posts, but I also want to be able to share longer, full-fledged articles on these topics. Hence, The Chronic Illness Chronicles was born! My intent with this blog is to elaborate on previously mentioned topics I speak about in my Instagram posts, as well as to write longer articles on them. I'll also be sharing more of my story here. I want to continue to advocate for chronically ill and disabled folks and educate people on these vital topics. I am so excited for the future of this blog, and I greatly appreciate anyone who chooses to read it.