We had the good fortune of connecting with Noraelisa Sparks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noraelisa, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Mexico and raised in Dallas, Texas. I was a gymnast and raised with parents who were differently abled, so health was always a focus of my life. When I retired and started getting chronic migraines, having symptoms of an undiagnosed chronic illness, and experiencing anxiety, depression, and PTSD from an assault, I felt alone and did not have much of a support group to go to. I also had food allergies and not many others understood them and what they could do or where we could go to eat safely. That is when I decided to create Chronic Health Hippie, to spread love and support to others like me who may feel alone with their chronic illnesses and who may need some help with understanding their illness and food allergies. My posts are full of positivity and relatable ideas, as well as resources to go to for safe eating and mental health awareness.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I got to where I was professionally by going to school and taking psychology classes and health classes while majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas A&M Commerce and by doing my own research and creating awareness. It was absolutely not easy getting to where I was. I have had to fight through the loneliness that comes about when you are diagnosed with major anxiety and depression disorders, as well as PTSD and other health issues. I felt very very alone because no one I knew expressed they had any issues. It wasn’t until I started speaking about my problems that I realized there are way more people than I realized that experienced things similar to me. I have learned that being open and honest and being an advocate for mental and chronic illnesses have made me feel so much better and has rescued me in a way. I have been able to reach others as well and that is my goal! I want to create a safe space for everyone experiencing health issues and to let everyone know there are so many other people who need support and to know that they are not alone!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would absolutely go to Stem Ciders in Lafayette for a drink and Holidaily in Golden! Stem Ciders is both delicious and gluten and dairy free, which is what I need! Holidaily is an exclusively gluten free brewery, which is so exciting! Their beers are delicious and it helps that there food trucks are also gluten free.. it is a safe haven for people with celiacs or a gluten intolerance! To eat I would go to Shine in Boulder. They have so many options for people with lactose allergies, celiac, or are vegetarian or vegan! I regularly hang out there because the food and drinks are amazing, the people there are so friendly, and the views of the mountains are beautiful!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my husband, Justin Sparks. He has been with me while I have been on my self care journey and has been so supportive. He encouraged me to begin Chronic Health Hippie to build a support group for myself and the thousands of others who may need support through their chronic illnesses and mental illnesses. Chronic Health Hippie wouldn’t be where it is at without him!