Alexandra Jenna Olabarria was set for a dance career in the West End when tragedy struck, and she was diagnosed with a range of debilitating conditions including Lupus SLE, Elhers Danlos Syndrome and Fybromyalgia, that meant she would never dance again.
Going from the ballet barre to the prospect of being wheelchair-bound had a profound effect on the young dancer, who has detailed her struggles in gritty and honest account of her battle to overcome chronic pain and illness.
Olabarria set up a successful entertainment company, but her illness once again took her dreams, and she was forced to close it.
She spent several years overcoming the mental and physical toll of chronic illness, and learning to adjust to her physical limitations. She resolved to keep trying and fighting her illness and overcoming her challenges, and has resolved to help others to do the same.
”28 million adults in the UK experience chronic pain of some kind. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of hopes and dreams that have fallen by the wayside. Pain doesn’t need to be seen to be felt.
I want to inspire people to keep fighting and believing that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to. It’s common to have mental and emotional challenges caused by chronic pain and illness, but I want everyone to know they’re not alone. We all have bad days and we all need more time to recover than people that aren’t disabled or in chronic pain. But we should support and inspire each other every day,”
Olabarria’s book “Everyone has a chronic condition – it’s called LIFE!” is a lively and inspiring story of one young person’s battle to work in the entertainment industry blended with actionable steps for anyone else who may be suffering.
She asks important questions that all individuals dealing with chronic pain and illness might find themselves facing, such as “How has my condition changed me as a person?” and “Where would I be in life if I wasn’t so ill?”
Olabarria believes that these are legitimate and healthy questions to ask, and that chronic pain and illness sufferers can regain some of the aspects of themselves that they feel they have lost to their illness.
”Everyone Has a Chronic Condition… It’s Called LIFE!” will be released in January 2020. Follow this page for updates
Photo credits- Photography by Steve Candi & make up by Ellie Bebbington