Friday 4 March 2016

Christina Tournant's one year anniversary : That could have been any one of us

It's nearly 11pm here in Ireland, meaning it's just one hour away from being March 5th.

For many sufferers of dysautonomia, and probably for the chronically ill in general, March 5th is a sad day of remembrance. Remembering a young women, Christina Tournant, who took her own life on this day last year. Christina had fought her battles with POTS, hiding her anguish and despair from friends and family. She had to take a break from her education and put her life on hold as the physical illness took over. But no one knew the real pain inside this young woman.

On March 5th of last year, because of the chronic pain related to her dysautonomia, Christina Tournant took her own life. She jumped
from an airport parking garage at Tampa bay international airport. 

She had sent a text to her mother's phone saying "I love you, mom" and left a note saying, "Sorry. I couldn't keep fighting". 

She was 17 years old.

I think the horrible shock that spread around the online community of POTS sufferers, and indeed those with "invisible illnesses" in general, was not one of disbelief. It was very much believable. Of course, her age adds an even further heart-wrenching element to this tragedy. But it was the underlying knowledge of -That could have been any one of us. Suicide is not something I personally ever think I could do, but I'm sure many people feel that way at one stage... and then later feel differently. No one can ever say "I wouldn't do that", not fully... And that's certainly something that has resonated with myself and I'm sure others, since Christina's death.

When her name is mentioned in Facebook groups, when I see her photo, or simply when I'm talking to a fellow potsie or spoonie online who seems a bit down, I think: That could have been any one of us. Living with chronic physical pain is tough and it is relentless. 

...I think about her often. 
She was a complete stranger, I don't even live in the same country as she did... but she still comes to my mind.

Let not the death of this beautiful young girl be in vain. 
Let her shining life be an advocate for hope and change...

  • Print off information about dysautonomia/ POTS (or even any other invisible illness/ chronic illness that you feel is under represented in the media and in society) and bring them to your GP. Not all doctors know everything, and while it's ok not to be an expert on everything, they should want to learn the basics. Especially here in Ireland! When it comes to knowledge of these conditions, we are seriously lacking behind even our UK neighbors.
  • Campaign and advocate where possible, tell friends and family the facts... even simply like some Facebook pages! Further information of the illness can be found on these pages and their websites. Plus liking a page simply helps show your support while promoting the cause.
  1. Irish Dysautonomia Awareness
  2. Dysautonomia Advocacy Foundation 
  3. Dysautonomia International 
  4. The Dysautonomia Project
  5. Make POTS Known 
  6. With a Side of Salt
  7. POTS Support and Awareness  
  8. Standing Up to POTS  
[There are loads of good pages on Facebook! If any of you know other good pages, please comment in the comments section and I'll add them.]
  • Put this image as your Facebook and or Twitter profiler:

~~ Christina's family and friends releasing balloons in her honor ~~

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