4.9 min readPublished On: September 2nd, 2020Categories: MA, Thesis

This blog post was written after my primary research, a compilation of thoughts to why I have decided to focus on the symptom of ‘fatigue’. This will be shortened to create a firm brand identity though my project.

IBD is different for everyone. Everyone with this disease experiences it differently. Not only because the extent of their illness is different for everyone [the severity] but the way you experience it. How you decide to take that information on from the day you are diagnosed. The day you are sat down in front of a doctor and they say “you have a chronic illness, do you know what that means?” it means that this is forever. What I’m telling you, its not just right now, its what you are going to experience for the rest of your life. That for some can be the end of all and for others, they can brush it off and get on with it. It can then later on sync in what this means and for others, it isn’t that much of a bother. Some people are fortunate enough to not have to experience it in such a visceral way that it doesn’t take up such a big portion of their life.

My story is not uncommon. Everyone has their own stories but…
I was diagnosed after 6 months of being very ill, my diagnosis, like for most, was a relief in the fact that I at least now know what it is. However, after that relief, it sunk in that there isn’t a cure, there isn’t a tablet, there isn’t a way of getting rid of it. I now have to learn to live with this. There will be periods of your life where it can be better, and it can be ignored, you can go into remission for…
You can get on with your life, but it will always be there and it will always come back. You don’t know when; you don’t know how bad. It could be tomorrow, it could be a month, it could be a year, a decade even. Knowing that can be extremely scary. For some, this can make
living every day, making the most of what you got in the ‘now’, being appreciative of the days where you are okay, makes the days where you are not a lot easier.

When I was in my first flare, it was extremely difficult for me, lots of different medications were not working and it was a trial and error of what we can do to get me at a stable rate. I was hospitalised 7-8 times in a 12 month period, a few weeks at a time each time. My lowest point for me was not when I was the illest. I was well enough to be at home and look after myself. But i wasn’t well enough to do what I wanted to do. I wouldn’t work, I couldn’t see my friends and I couldn’t leave my home. I couldn’t go long without needing the toilet which restricted me. But it was my fatigue that was unimaginable, and it is extremely hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I look healthy and well from the outside, but getting into a bath and washing myself was the most strenuous exercise. Which meant that I was only able to bathe once or twice a week. Pure lack of energy and mobility.

This is very physically isolating, you are stuck in one space. You may be with people, you don’t want to see people when you are like that. You are physically and mentally isolated. You don’t want to talk to people about what you are going through because they don’t understand and you don’t want pity or people to feel sorry for you. You just want to feel better and nobody can provide that. You only want people to understand what you are going through, and understandably, people can’t understand that so it’s easier to just do it on your own. This doesn’t always work.

This is a common scenario for a lot of people. Although your body isn’t working your mind is. You want to see your friends, you want to go to the shop or go for a walk, you want to work. Knowing what you want to do, “I want to have a shower, I know I can have a shower because I’ve been doing it all of my life. and now all of a sudden you can’t” Your body won’t allow you to do it and that is a very difficult thing to process. It is frustrating.

That isolation can be extremely painful. I know my story is very individual, everyone is different. A lot of people with IBD, other chronic illnesses and other illnesses in general, you can go through a period of time in your life where your body won’t allow you to do what your mind wants you to do. I want to make that easier. I want to use graphic design to aid positive mental wellbeing. I want to make it easier. I want to let them help themselves.

You can be in such a consuming space where you are not ready to let yourself be helped yet. You cannot be forced to do anything, this is your decision. It’s your body and it’s probably the only thing you have control of during this time. But if you want help, I want to provide something that will attempt to let you help yourself gain some positivity, creativity, something to occupy your time, a positive distraction. How can you become inspired that you are experiencing every day, how can you make every day different, how can you improve your different senses using graphic design. More specifically how can we use colour to do that?

How is colour used as a healing tool ??