Advice from Young People We’ve asked our Young Voices what would help others in similar situations to theirs. They’ve come back with some expert advice. Top Tips Connect with others - It helps to talk to someone about how you feel coping with a chronic invisible condition. It helps to be there for others, perhaps younger, who are going through the same things too. If you need help expressing yourself, try some therapeutic art activities to open communication. Lean on others – Tell your friends what they can do to help when you have a flare up or are in a lot of pain. Use things such as communication cards to tell your teachers when you need extra help. Educating others on what they can do beforehand and picking out things that will help means you’ll have a support system in place when it’s needed. Communicate without words – It can be difficult to tell your friends about your condition or how you are feeling. Try drawing a picture or using an object to describe how you are feeling. Ambassador Case Studies To help educate others at school, William, an active Teapot Trust Ambassador and member of the Young Voices, created a knee model in his workshop at home showing a Baker’s Cyst. After experiencing years of unkindness at school, William was inspired to create a science project on JIA in an effort to help others understand why life can be different for a child living with JIA. The project included displayed laminated literature and information, as well as a knee structure demonstrating some of the physical symptoms of this invisible disease. By depersonalising the project, he hoped to discreetly educate his school and teachers about what it really means for a child to live with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), an invisible disease that affects the joints. By modelling something visible through Art, William created a visual to reveal the invisible characteristics of this condition. William also created this poster in one of our Young Voices groups, offering tips and advice following his experiences over the years during regular hospital visits: Rebecca, a twenty-year-old who has been coping with arthritis for most of her life, recently wrote a blog for Young Scot, giving advice to others: My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with a chronic illness, I know how HORRENDOUS it can be but believe me when I say, it gets better! I used to have days, weeks and months where I thought life would never get better but now, I’m here as living proof that it can and does get better. To anyone reading this and going through similar, the advice I would give you is fight through the tough times and live life how you want to. Do anything you have a passion for, embrace your friends and family who are there for you and live life to the fullest. Take your diagnosis as a strength not as a weakness! Partner Suggestions Our Young People also found it helpful to connect with condition specific groups including the following: Versus Arthritis CCAA - Kids with Arthritis JIA-at-NRAS Cystic Fibrosis Trust National Kidney Federation If you have advice to share with others or tips that you found helpful coping with an invisible illness, please get in touch.