This is the first in the line of createability interviews, following Rachael's interview, who
suffers from Sjogren's Syndrome. This time around we have a lovely young woman
named Tarren, who suffers from Fibromyalgia, but still finds the energy to create, and
look after two young boys. Have a look in her shop and see if you can find something
to help her along.
1. Tells us about how your illness. What do you suffer from, how long for, and how has that affected your social life? Were doctors able to diagnose you straight away, or did it take some time?
When I was 21 I was pregnant with my first child and it was a very hard pregnancy. Since then, I have been ill repeatedly. Three years ago I contracted mononucleosis, a pretty common virus. My immune system seems to be not the greatest, and it hit me very hard. Took 6+ months to recover from mono alone, and after that I noticed my energy being low all of the time, I was very fatigued and started having flu like symptoms with no fever. Lots of muscle and joint pain. Eventually, two years later, they deduced that I have fibromyalgia, which is more a set of symptoms than a defineable disease. They don't know what causes it, but it is believed to be associated with nerves and pain receptors becoming overactive or misfiring. It is also related to your fascia, which is a system in your body that carries circulation throughout everywhere in your body, it carries toxins out and oxygen and immune responses in. My doctor thinks that the mononucleosis virus can trigger the nerve damage that can cause this disorder. I have nerve pain and extreme fatigue that can be made worse by stress. I also have digestive disorders, common with fibromyalgia because there is a huge circut of nerves in your intestines and they are very sensitive. Having two children and becoming ill like this has drastically changed my life.
2. How about your crafting? Did you start crafting because of your illness, or were you crafting before?
I've always been an innately artistic person.
3. How has Etsy affected your life? Is it the route to taking your art further, or is it more of a life line to keep yourself busy and make some extra money?
Actually, I only got involved with Etsy because my great grandmother, then 93, had me promise her on her deathbed that I would try and sell some of my work. Talk about putting pressure on someone! Though I opened shop a couple of years ago, I never put anything into it until September or so of 2011.
4. While I am familiar with the Spoon Theory, how has your illness affected how those close to you view you? Do they think that because you might not look ill that you're fine? Are you able to explain to them how the illness affects you?
It is very hard. My family doesn't understand that I have a limited supply of energy. They also are of the mind that a doctor should be able to test me, find out what's wrong, and fix me. There is no test for a syndrome like fibromyalgia. People who suffer from this disorder look fine, usually. My family knows something is wrong because of how my personality has changed so much and I am no longer able to participate in a lot of activities I used to enjoy. They feel frustrated, and helpless, like me, that no one can help. I am lucky my family helps me when I am hospitalized and I have lots of great friends who help me with my children. Overall though, there is no way for someone who has not experienced this personally to truly understand how it feels and can affect. Many doctors do not understand this condition fully, either, and some refuse to believe in it. So it's rough in that respect.
5. Some people wouldn't give up their illness if they could because it's made them who they are. Others would trade it for a normal or easier life in a heartbeat - what about you?
I would never wish this condition on anyone. I would pretty much do anything to ave my normal life back. I took a lot for granted, and am grateful for the things I am still able to do.
6. Why did you take up your craft? What inspired you to begin, and then to start selling? Do you make to sell, or sell to make?
I have always been into art. Jewelry is kind of something that fell into my lap. I have an eye for design, I appreciate lovely aesthetics and the act of creation.
7. Tell us something interesting about you.
I didn't gt my name until I was over 10 days old. My mom was very indecisive.
8. What is your strangest habit?
I eat an avocado every day, usually.
9. What are you obsessed with at the moment? A craft form? A material? A certain food? A colour?
Unicorns have always been my number one obsession.
10. If you could have one special ability, what would it be? Would it be a superpower? Would it simply be a skill that has eluded you since you first discovered that someone else could do it?
Supermom. I have two boys, it's the hardest job ever. If my house could stay clean and my children pleasant I'd be happy forever.
You can learn more about Tarren from her Tumblr, and get up to date on her wonderful
jewellery shop if you like her facebook page!