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"Bounce Back"

We have all heard the phrase, "bounce back". Maybe you were told to "bounce back" from something that seems impossible to bounce back from, or maybe you have placed the expectations on yourself to "bounce back". No one is able to bounce like a ball.

For people living with chronic illness or pain, the idea of bouncing back is an unreachable goal at times. To bounce is to rebound, and rebounding is a long, ever changing process for many. If we are to see the ball as a flexible, moving object there is a comparison to draw with a person, but not in the physical sense, instead in the cognitive & emotional sense. Those who live with daily chronic illness and pain work with a constant flexibility of the mind, learning how to manage thoughts and emotions, to work within the physical differences that the body is experiencing.

When I sit to make an art piece sometimes it happens unconsciously, and I follow the lead of what emerges on the page. Half of a red circle led to my memory of one of those blue, red and white bouncy balls of my childhood. I was then lead to this idea of advertising, or being convinced of something that holds no truth for the audience, hence the "bounce back" phrase.

What I find myself wondering, "what we are to do with well-meaning encouraging phrases from others when chronic illness and pain are part of the lived experience?" Although challenging at times, one of the first areas to work within is expressing how one feels about the support they receive from others regarding their chronic illness. We often hope that those around us will just understand, but often they do not, no matter how much time has passed. It is about learning to express needs, and to set boundaries where they are needed. So, the next time someone tells you to "bounce back", it might be a good opportunity to say, "I don't think that is possible for me, but what I do need from you is an acknowledgement of what I am going through."

With Care,


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