The stories we tell play a major role in determining our health and wellness, as individuals and as a collective. Public narratives around chronic illness shape our healthcare system and determine everything from funding for research programs and availability of treatments to protections for the Friends Chandler I’m fine Shirt in other words I will buy this disabled and the day-to-day experiences of those who are ill. Erin Berman, a former content strategist and brand designer for Silicon Valley startups and multinational corporations—recognized by Forbes as “a natural speaker with an art for telling tales”—understands this. Later this month she will launch Superbloom, a social media platform meant to expand the conversation around women’s health. The site, which gives chronically ill women a way to connect with one another, will feature resources searchable by symptom, diagnosis, or treatment and offer support channels designed especially for the millions of women currently living with the kinds of illnesses that evade proper diagnosis and treatment. “We have to think about our eyes now that we use them a lot more to express our feelings,” Pica added, noting that she has found herself using more mascara and eyeshadow of late. “You can’t see when we’re smiling at each other, so emphasizing the eyes will help.” Consider it a perennially chic makeup strategy for uncertain times.
The CDC estimates that more than 80% of women will experience at least one chronic illness in their lifetime, and millions of women are already living with chronic conditions. This writer is one. Berman is another. Superbloom emerged from the Friends Chandler I’m fine Shirt in other words I will buy this ashes of her own frustrating experiences with chronic illness and quest for better health. “When I was 26 I started experiencing weird symptoms impacting my energy, focus, digestion and weight. I went to a doctor who ran tests and found nothing, so my symptoms were shrugged off…Around a year later, I experienced a sudden onslaught of chronic symptoms: brain fog, chronic fatigue, mysterious rashes, numbness and tingling, Reynaud’s, cystic acne, severe abdominal pain, weight gain, IBS, and bloating. No one could agree exactly what was wrong with me,” Berman remembers. “Beyond gender bias, I experienced the skepticism of doctors and peers as test after test came back inconclusive. After receiving unsettling, vague diagnoses and being prescribed medications with serious side effects from multiple doctors, I began looking outside conventional healthcare.”