Jane Watermanis creating blogs, fiction, art & more - chronically ill & possibly crazy.
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This tier gives you access to my patron-only journal on Patreon. I write about what's going on in my life, my challenges with chronic illness and pain, and my progress with alternative and creative healing modalities including writing, art, and adaptive yoga. I also share photos of beautiful things that inspire me.
With love and gratitude,
This tier gives you early access and excerpts from works-in-progress, including blog posts about the experience of working through the challenges of chronic illness, pain, depression and anxiety as well as all rewards from lower tiers.
With love and gratitude,
This tier gives you early access and excerpts from works-in-progress, including books and healing tools based on my work in writing, digital art, cognitive behavioural therapy, and adaptive yoga, as well as all rewards from lower tiers.
With love and gratitude,
Welcome Dear Ones,
I've spent most of my life feeling different. I've never felt at ease navigating this strange and crazy world. Most of my life up until now has felt like something that happened to me. This Patreon will tell the story of how I'm changing that. As my patron, you will have a front-row seat!
I've spent the past 31 years navigating severe physical & mental health issues - all chronic illnesses - all invisible illnesses - some incurable - some intractable. I've spent years trying to recover from depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, and chronic pain.
Writing is how I connect with my history and make sense of it. Why do I want to share it? I want people like me to know they're not alone. I want people close to someone like me to gain some understanding.
I've written fiction, semi-autobiographical fiction, and poetry on and off since 1980. Semi-autobiographical because writing is the only place I can tell my truth. My fiction and semi-autobiographical writing are concerned with themes of both physical and mental illness, isolation, dissociation, love, resilience, and loss. I write in genres of literary fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and futurism.
I've written about chronic illness and depression since 2012, mostly on the blog Blackbird at Night.
I've taught chair yoga since late 2016 to people of all ages with both visible and invisible health challenges.
In 2017, after years of blogging about my experiences, writing and imagining stories, creating art, and filming yoga videos, I stopped. I fell silent. Part of it was a worsening of my chronic fatigue, which meant I had no energy to share anything. Part of it was fear about talking about "it." "It" being my feeling of difference and vulnerability dealing with things only I could see. I was sure I was crazy, and that meant carefully hiding that craziness, especially in a world where I shared yoga teachings with others. The few times I tried to be real reminded me painfully why I should just keep it all to myself.
The problem with silence is it exacts an invisible toll on your body. The trauma of holding back every pain, emotion, and doubt about your experiences comes at a huge cost. The past two years have seen my life as a chair yoga teacher come crashing down due to a huge flare of my symptoms, and new challenges, including asthma and constant respiratory issues. It's as though the weight of holding back all my feelings and stories - the grief, the loss, the anger - is crushing the breath out of me.
Resilience and determination are not enough to transcend chronic illness and pain. Inside me, still lives the 24-year-old who suffered pain and trauma through the actions of unfeeling doctors, and those trusted loved ones who couldn't understand - the youth who still blames herself for being somehow defective. The one who has to recover from this decades-long assault on her integrity and life.
Twenty-nine years after becoming chronically ill, I still hold a little hope for an answer or cure, but I'm also learning to live with not knowing. Despite exploring many different kinds of conventional therapies, complementary therapies, and spiritual paths, my health remains extremely compromised. I struggle to live my identity as more challenges restrict the life I want to lead — as a writer, artist, and yoga teacher — sharing my experiences to help others.
My journey back to health lies through the creative gifts I've shelved for too long. I know that the way to link the healing modalities I've been gathering with the life I want to lead is through untangling the years of pain, depression, anxiety, isolation, and fear that was my world for so many years.
I have to write. I have to share my struggles. The beauty of language, of stories, of art is in creating a bridge and connection with others who understand. You meet the kind eyes, the soft heart, the sad smile, and the bow of recognition that says: "I see you. You are not invisible. Your struggles are not invisible."
Your patronage allows me dedicated time to work on my writing, art, and the teachings I wish to share. It helps me publish blogs about the experience of chronic invisible illness and pain. It helps me share the tools that have helped me, as well as this final journey towards acceptance of the Dear One in me that was never believed. It helps me share my stories of difference, alienation, love, and transcendence.
My wish is that my creations will help you to understand you are not alone in this strange world. Through creativity, we can create a world where we belong.