#BuildALadder

Martina Stawski is my role model for doing my best to live well with chronic illnesses. She, with her husband Simon, runs the YouTube channel Simon and Martina along with the EatYourKimchi website. The two of them are Canadians that have been living in Asia the past ten years; first in South Korea for eight years, and now in Japan for the past two. I have been subscribed to their YouTube channel since 2015.

Martina has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome [EDS], a connective tissue disorder that affects the way the body forms collagen. It is related to (but not the same as) Marfan Syndrome, the connective tissue disorder that I have which affects fibrillin. Martina deals with chronic pain, fatigue, and joint dislocations on a daily basis. She manages to travel the world with Simon creating hilarious, beautiful, informative, and often mouth-watering videos.

It isn’t easy for her to do, and she often pays for it with increased pain in the days after her adventures, but it is what she loves. She says she would still be in chronic pain if she just stayed at home all the time and then she wouldn’t have all the awesome memories to sustain her on her darkest days. She uses those memories to ‘build a ladder’ to help her climb out of the pit of depression on her toughest days. Along the way Martina has inspired many people living with chronic illnesses, including me, to do the same. She emphasizes that it doesn’t have to be big things like going on a trip. There are little things we can do each day to add rungs to our ladders.

Since Martina made the video “An Open Talk About My Depression” last February, in which she first shared her Build A Ladder philosophy, I have really taken her message to heart. I give her some of the credit for my quality of life having improved in the past year. I don’t think I would have accomplished as much progress without her as inspiration.

Martina, if you ever read this, thank you. I have talked to you in the comments section on YouTube and Instagram on many occasions, but I just wanted to do a little write-up about you on my own blog so that maybe people who haven’t heard of you can find you and hear what you have to say. ❤

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