Illness: Light Breaking Through The Darkness

Jessica Gimeno "Even If" © 2014
Jessica Gimeno “Even If” © 2014

Yesterday, two things happened:  First, I learned of a contest for artists with rare diseases.  I entered it.  (You can vote for my painting, “Even if” here.)  Second, I read a website that quoted my Huffington Post article from last year (4 Tips on Celebrating a Holiday Alone).  The website, Floral Manifesto by Margeaux, also recommended Fashionably ill to its readers.  What was striking about this honest article  about the author spending Christmas alone was that she was writing from the perspective of someone newly single and someone who misses her mom most around the holidays.  When I originally wrote about spending the holidays alone, I was writing from the perspective of someone who has experienced many limitations in my social life due to five illnesses: myasthenia gravis (a rare disease), the also painful polycystic ovarian syndrome, bipolar disorder, psoriasis, and asthma.  When I started the Annual Online New Year’s Eve Party (hosted during SyFy’s annual two-day Twilight Zone marathon) two years ago, I did it so no one would have to be alone on the holidays.  175 people attended last year’s NYE Party; this year’s will also be a blast.  Indeed, there are many reasons that people spend the holidays alone.  But I was touched by the fact that my experience and writing about it helped someone else who is going through a different experience.  I am fortunate to have both of my parents still, and I’m not going through a breakup.

Light Pierces The Darkness In Ways We See & Ways We Don’t See

This painting I made last year is about light breaking through the darkness–it’s a painting about faith and friendship.  A good friend’s unwavering faith in God post-diagnosis (cancer) inspired me to paint it.  This friend has been with me through all my illnesses–even way back when I only had one, bipolar disorder.  Every time someone says that my words–written or spoken–helped them through a situation, the light is shining through the darkness.  I am deeply grateful for the Fashionably ill readers who often reach out to me on social media just to see how I’m doing.  Many of you also go to war everyday with illnesses and your thoughtfulness does not go unnoticed.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), endometriosis, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

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