About the Zebra Pit

Offering Practical Solutions to Difficult Spoonie Problems

Welcome! At the Zebra Pit, our primary focus is on the health, wellness and overall happiness of people with chronic, disabling health conditions. Often referred to as “spoonie” or “chargie” conditions, because they feature extreme fatigue as a symptom. The Zebra Pit was created by Michelle Beltano Curtis in late 2015 and has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Originally known as “Disability Depot,” the name was changed in late 2017, just after Michelle, also known as Capricious, was finally diagnosed with hEDS because she wanted it to better reflect her own illness and that of the people she felt she would be helping the most.

Spoonie Health and Wellness

Our goal is to help people with chronic “spoonie” conditions (including ourselves) achieve the best health possible. This means finding and sharing effective treatments that allow us to live a less symptomatic, more comfortable life. The Zebra Pit is a patient-run, patient-centered website offering firsthand reviews, personal essays and well researched articles into the most effective natural therapies that have been successful in relieving the multitude of symptoms for the following conditions and more:

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility spectrum disorders (EDS/HSD) such as Marfans, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, Loeys-Dietz, and others
  •  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia, lipedema, cellulitis and related disorders
  • Mast Cell Activation Disorders (MCAD) including Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Mastocytosis, histamine intolerance, Interstitial cystitis, allergies and multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Dysautonomia, primarly Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), but we also offer some information on neutrally mediated hypotension (NMH) and general information on how to care for Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) or Orthostatic Hypotension (OH).
  • Chronic Head Pain conditions like migraine, occipital and trigeminal neuralgias, Chiari Malformation, Craniocervical Instability (CCI), TMJD, Tension headaches, coat hook headaches,  and more.
  • Related mental health disorders such as any form of PTSD, depression or anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), along with coping with chronic illness, living a housebound life and support for the grieving process when learning to accept and come to terms with a life of debilitating chronic illness.
  • Common spoonie stomach conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), gastroparesis and dyspepsia.
  • Any and all common comorbid conditions that go with these primary and secondary diagnoses, such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, sensory overload, vitamin and mineral deficiency, and so much more.

Become a Contributor

We are constantly working to expand what we cover and we’re always looking for people affected by chronic illness who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences to help support people with similar conditions. We would love to have writers covering other common connective tissue and neurological diseases and disorders. Submit something here.

Spoonie Art and Culture

While The Zebra Pit has always been the home of some great health and wellness information, it’s time to open it up to new voices and ideas, new ways of enriching the community it serves and focusing a little more on that “happiness” portion of our mission (though we talk a lot about mental health and self care, too). In addition to posting low FODMAP and low histamine recipes, exercise videos, wellness tutorials, medication and supplement information, we’re also working on a new art and culture section.

The art and culture section will be filled with the beauty and raw honesty of art created by and for the community we already serve. Just because many of us live a housebound life doesn’t mean we’re bereft of culture or the ability to make beautiful and amazing things. If anything, many of us utilize our few hours of daily productivity on what drives us most; making ourselves heard, believed and truly understood through our various creative skills. The Zebra Pit wants to celebrate and display this culture for the world to see. If you’re interesting in submitting your work, we’d like to start showing work as early as June, so make your submission soon. 

Quality Product Offerings

While the Zebra Pit has proudly reviewed supplements, health, wellness and mobility devices for some time now, we have recently begun offering sponsored affiliate posts where you can now order the products we review through the links we provide. While the Zebra Pit makes a modest commission from some of these affiliate posts, you won’t be charged any more for the product than if you bought it directly from the site. This helps to ensure you’re getting exactly what we are reviewing and allows us to help pay our operating expenses,  enhance our educational offerings, bring in new voices and ideas. It also provides stability to ensure the Zebra Pit will be around for a long time, ready to help spoonies get what they need to feel better. These efforts will be increasing as we grow, but our dedication to bringing you only the best, well-tested products along with our complete and honest review of them will remain unchanged. Our dedication is to our health and that of our readers first and foremost.

We obtain the products we review in a variety of ways, including Dealspotr, Amazon and the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. We are also happy to work with individual companies. If you’re a retailer or manufacturer who would like the Zebra Pit staff to review your product on our blog and/or social networks, please contact us here with your proposal.

Meet the Staff

We take pride in our regularly contributing writers! Get to know them here, in their in-depth bios (coming very soon).

Why the Zebra?

The zebra has come to represent rare illness because of a commonly used idiom. Doctors are trained in medical school that “if you hear hoof beats, think horses.” In other words, the simplest solution is usually the correct answer. Unfortunately this model has left countless people out in the cold, desperate for answers. People with rare illness are often misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed. The estimate for proper diagnosis of a rare disease is estimated to be anywhere from 7-15 years, in part due to this philosophy. Today, the zebra stands as a symbol of rare disease. It is a reminder to doctors of the problems this philosophy has created and the vast numbers of people still waiting for a proper diagnosis so they can receive the care they deserve.

Zebra Pride

We don’t want to brag too much, but people around here seem to like us okay. Here’s just a few ways they’ve shown it:

leibster-award-badge


In January, 2018, The Zebra Pit was nominated for a Liebster Award! We’re proud to have been nominated and hope it speaks to the quality work we’ve been doing. You can read more about the Liebster Award here, and see who we nominated in turn.


Testimonials

Just a few of the nice things folks have said about the Zebra Pit and Capricious Lestrange! We love feedback! Send us yours!

“Your blog posts are so interesting. You have your eyes open to a lot of things connected with chronic illness. You are a fantastic writer. Keep the amazing work up.” Advertisements

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Ruth

“Your Blog and posts inspire me and keep me motivated. Seeing how much of an impact simple, at home exercises can have has been so helpful. I also have a few of your recipes in my meal rotations. Thank you for doing what you do!” Advertisements

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Hayden

In response to El Houssaine Ichen, My Hero! on twitter, “This is such a good article. Very Inspiring. #inspiration #inspired” Advertisements

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Active Fitness

  Referring to this Tarragon Chicken Recipe, “Made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! Love using the #SlowCooker in the #fall. Thanks for the recipe @caplestrange” Advertisements

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@mydiyhealth

  in reference to our Instagram shares: “I’ve been dealing with chronic stuff off and on for 20+ years. Only learned about MCAS which seems closest match to all that happens to me. Thank you so much for sharing what you share here. Seriously makes me feel less lonely. Much Reiki and love to you!” […]

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@griefandcreativity

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2 thoughts on “About the Zebra Pit

  1. […] “Capricious,” is a prose poem, which means it’s written in paragraph form rather than in verse. It’s about reconciling what the mind wants with what the body can handle and how the world perceives these adaptations in someone with invisible illness. Note there’s a typo in this poem, unfortunately. The next to the last line should say “…body breaks better than breathes.” I talk a bit about why I adopted the name Capricious Lestrange in my bio. […]

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