Deep breath. Start fresh.

Every morning before I get out of bed, I do that. I breathe from the darkling air the determination, perseverance and steel I need in order to face my first few steps of the day. Take a deep breath. Suck in courage. Now, another. And another.

It’s my all-day-long, secret ritual. Rheumatoid arthritis, my own personal flavor of autoimmune illness, is invisible. So is lupus. Sjogren’s Syndrome is another. Psoriatic arthritis can be invisible. Multiple sclerosis can be, too. There are more than 100 illnesses that fall under the autoimmune category, and most of them are invisible.

They’re the diseases that elicit the famous words, “But you don’t look sick!”

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week starts today and runs through September 18, sponsored by Rest Ministries. “Deep Breath. Start Fresh” is this year’s slogan. The week isn’t a celebration, exactly. What it is, is this:

“… In past years we have featured a 5-day virtual conference with special guests who help us learn to live better lives even though we also deal with the day to day struggles of an unpredictable chronic illness.

“This year we will be featuring some of these exceptional workshops. Each day we will provide links to 3 or 4 podcasts we think you would enjoy. We hope that you find the information valuable and helpful and please feel free to share it with a friend, on your favorite social network, or even in your own blog (you can actually get the embed code at”

Rest Ministries asks, “How can you ‘live what you’ve learned’ about living with a chronic illness? How can you encourage someone else to start fresh?”

Pass it on.

5 thoughts on “Deep breath. Start fresh.

  1. It’s somewhat strange … hundreds of miles apart, never met, yet we do so many of the same things coping with an illness you can’t see. Hang tough Wren.


  2. Hi Wren,

    Thanks for sharing this information, as well as your daily empowerment routine. I say a prayer before I get out of bed. There was a time — only a few months ago — when I needed to say a prayer to be able to physically GET out of bed, so I’m making progress!


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