Creativity and Chronic Illness, Why I Create


The question we ask this year at Invisible Illness Awareness Week is ‘what do you choose?’


Patti shares why she chooses to create.

I don’t always consider my autoimmune arthritis a benefit, particularly when one day–or five days–have been cancelled due to lack of ability. But there are gifts that come with the burden that are too valuable to bury beneath self-pity.

patti-artI’ve learned so much about understanding the need for . . .

. . real priorities

. . . . valid choices

. . . . . . insightful empathy

. . . . . . . . living in the moment

and the need to abandon the false ego that really does waste a lot of time.

I’ve lived the better part of the last decade with illness and I choose to call myself an “altered artist.” Though I’ve been a writer and photographer nearly all my life, I never picked up a paint brush until the expanding need for self-expression gave me an ultimatum: either work to nurture an evolving, explosive passion or, well . . . go nuts.

I say that lightly knowing how fortunate I am to have had that opportunity.

Saturday I was on day-four of a major flare and as the anger swelled, and the bitter, mean, self-taunting voices began shouting, I grabbed my headphones, paint, and my watercolor book and dove in (gently).

I persevere.

Not because it’s my career (I’ve already done that, though I’m far too young to be retired) or because I have big plans–which invariably derail midstream.

No, aside from a few random events, the only people who see my art are you, my family, and close friends. But I don’t create for the sake of potential sales, exhibition, or publication.

I choose to make art because I can and because it helps me stay in touch with the gentle encouraging voice that is always there, whispering, “you make a difference, you have a purpose.”

Patti-EdmonPatti Edmon, a lifelong writer, began creating mixed-media art after chronic illness yanked the rug from beneath her feet. Over the years she has learned to make the most of life and, despite the many obstacles faced by those with chronic (invisible) illness, she has learned to love the new self she has become and appreciate the invaluable lessons. Visit her website





photo credit for scissors: Ivana Vasilj via photopin cc


  1. says

    I was really touched by this! You’re right, or burdens do come with blessings. That is so amazing! Thanks for the reminder. Good bless you, I’m praying you have refreshing flare – free days ahead!

  2. Karen Mireau says

    There is wisdom here for all of us. Thank you, Patti, for continuing to create, inspire and share despite all the obstacles you encounter, and for reminding us that we must the treat the artist in ourselves gently and with absolute respect.


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