"TOO MUCH FOR ME" - An exhibition about Chronic Pain.
The series “TOO MUCH FOR ME” is my way of expressing how 
chronic pain affects my life. I don’t think I can fully explain what 
I go through every day, but I shall try.

2010 was when I started to study arts, at 19 years old. 
I embraced my talent and was happier than ever before. 
Finally I was good at something. I had value and a lot to give.
I graduated with great grades, still young and hopeful, full of life.
I knew I had to get a random job, for saving money, 
to invest in my art work. It took me so long to find a job because 
nobody wanted a young person without experience. 
It took a year until someone wired me. I started working as a
Cake Designer and I was great at it. 

The catch is, working in a bakery is hard work, really hard work.
I was giving my best working extra hours and doing the work 
they gave new people, because that's what was in the contract.
Because I was a young, white girl, people who worked with me, 
thought I was privileged, even though I wasn't.  I pushed myself to
prove them wrong, no matter it was a mistake.
I worked there for two and half years, while also working on 
building my art career, until something happened. 
Because of the hard work at the factory and my genetics, 
I became really sick. 
I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on both hands,
it was on an advanced stage, and two Herniated Cervical Disks, 
that were also on a stage that needed surgery. 
I was in so much pain and had to deal with the struggles 
of the portuguese health care system. 
I could barely exist.
Some doctors wanted me to get surgery on both hands but 
I absolutely refused because my mom had the same surgery and

it changed nothing. 
I also spent all my savings in physical therapy 
that I had for three months, acupuncture for 5 months, massages, 
lidocaine treatments… none of that worked.
Right now I already had surgery to deal with the 
Herniated Cervical Disks. They removed them and inserted prosthesis. 
Still hurts though. Nothing changed. 
I take a lot of medication for chronic pain. The medication is expensive 
but I can't function without them. I'm still in pain even taking the pills 
and I can't have a "normal" job because of it. I can't cook, clean, etc. 
I had to stop making comics... But what I can do is paint. 
Keep making art. Unfortunately I'm not making any money out of it 

and I'm depending on my parents who also have to deal 
with their own sickness.
I'm a full-time freelance artist. 
I also work as part of the organization of the Lisbon's Feminist Festival.
I want to build a community around Invisible Illness. 
People isolate themselves and let society pressure them into 
keep going as if nothing is going on. 
People kill themselves because of jobs where they’re not appreciated. 
Is it worth it? I don’t think so.  
I want better help for people like us. Better conditions. 
If we fight together, we’ll get there.
Now I’m going to tell you what’s behind the pictures.

The first picture represents my inability for cooking. 
The pots are too heavy for me to handle. Cutting and mixing 
ingredients is out of the question. I tried make Jell-O once and I was 
in more pain for days.

The second one shows my cat. I can’t carry him to the vet when 
he’s sick, which makes me feel hopeless. I don’t to want but I have 
to ask for help. Sometimes I just want to hold him, but he’s too heavy.

The third is an Euphorbia Lactea "Cristata" - cactus. 
I bought that cactus, because I’m in love with succulents and 
plants in general, and it was hell to take it home. 
Too heavy, except it is not, for other people.

No shopping for me without help. Right now I can carry an item 
or two if they’re not too heavy, which is better than nothing.

The forth shows my brushes. I’m so grateful I’m still able to paint. 
Watercolour is the best for me. Acrylic and Oil is fine too but I can’t 
paint in grand scale because my arms and hands get tired really easily, 
like in 20 seconds. 
Before I got sick I was making comics and manga but it was too hard
for me because of the pain. So I stopped and turned to watercolour.
I wanted to go live to Japan and become a mangaka but Japan's 
health care system regarding chronic pain and opioids is very old 
fashioned and extremely expensive.

The fifth shows my phone. At the beginning I could barely type. 
I was so afraid I was going to lose my best friend of the time 
because of it. She was in England and she didn’t want to exchange 
voice messages. That hurt me, because it would have been 
so much easier for me. 
The phone itself at that time was too heavy to carry for long periods 
of time too. Nowadays because of the increased medication 
I can type more easily which is amazing.

The sixth one is my old high heels. 
When you have chronic pain, you can say goodbye 
to your high heels. They’re only going to make things worse. 
In terms of how heavy they’re for me, they’re extremely heavy. 
No way I could buy a pair of these and bring them by myself home.

The seventh picture shows clothes pegs.
Do laundry is a “no! no!” also. 
The clothes pegs are horrible for the hands 
so I have to find a way to keep the clothes in place, 
and only take one piece of clothing at the time from the washing 
machine (because clothes get really heavy when they’re wet).

The eighth is all the medication I take. 
Which is always changing, even if it's just the dosage. It’s a lot, I know.
Different doctors and different people have 
multiple opinions about it. Some are pro some are not. 
I don’t really care. If I’m in pain, I’m going to do whatever it takes 
to feel better so I can have life quality. 
I feel some secondary effects of course but I have to choose. 
I don’t choose pain.
I know I have to think about the future, that I will feel worse with 
the years, and that I can’t take a much higher dosage now 
because of it. But I could die tomorrow… I want less pain now.
I also changed my diet but that didn't help so far. I'm still 
trying though. That's the thing... never stop trying. 
Portugal has legalized the medical use of cannabis. That's something 
I really want to try. Like Charlotte's Web Oil.

In conclusion… almost everything is heavy. 
Almost everything is a struggle. 
I need lots of help from people around me and 
that sucks. 
I’m so young and being through such a thing, 
my body betraying me… 
I feel really embarrassed even though I shouldn’t. 
That’s why support groups are important.

I am a creature of the night. Witch. Nerd. Queer. Feminist. Activist.
Every day is a struggle but I’m going to live my best life.

"TOO MUCH FOR ME" - An exhibition about Chronic Pain.

"TOO MUCH FOR ME" - An exhibition about Chronic Pain.

An exhibition about Chronic Pain.