I’ve spent almost 5 years blogging about my chronic illnesses. At first I just blogged about anything and everything, but the day I got my diagnosis I decided to start blogging about things that actually had depth and meaning to me.
I still blog about anything and everything, but there’s one difference. Now when I do write about anything and everything, it has a lesson, a meaning, a story.
There are many reasons I started writing about my chronic illnesses, but I thought I should shorten the list, so here are my top ten reasons I started blogging.
Reason #1: To connect with others.
When you get diagnosed or even start having symptoms, life changes no matter how hard you try to make it stay the same. For me, my life changed so much I lost who I was for a while.
Reason #2: To share the illness experience.
When I first got my diagnosis, I thought going to a support group would help me, but I looked around and couldn’t find one. That was when I realized I didn’t have to have an in-person support group to get support. I found the best support groups on Facebook. Some of the best friends I have ever had are because of these groups.
Reason #3: To give to my hubby and friends some downtime.
There is only so much that my husband and friends can discuss issues about my illnesses. They need a break, too.
Reason #4: To deal with what I feel.
I’ve always been a writer, but blogging has helped me so much emotionally. I’ve been able to finally start dealing with what I feel. I am still dealing with it, and honestly, I may never fully be able to deal with everything that has been happening to me. But it’s a start.
Reason #5: To help others.
You are not alone. Even if we do not share the same illnesses, we understand each other on a level that most healthy people do not.
Reason #6: Encourage others to share their own stories
Writing has always been my preferred way of communicating with others. Family, friends, even strangers. There was just something so much easier about writing it all down in letter form.
Reason #7: Build and expand the chronic illness community
Finally getting my diagnosis was terrifying, but also amazingly validating. That was the day I really knew what was happening to me was NOT in my head. It was real. There was proof now. 6 years later there are still a large group of family and friends who refuse to acknowledge my pain, my illnesses. Even after trying for years to prove it to them, that I wasn’t looking for attention, I realized I had to let it go. I can’t make them believe me. And no one should ever feel the need to ‘prove’ how sick they are. You are not obligated to prove anything. If they can’t accept you for who you are, thats on them.
There is a small amount of extended family who want to believe I’m fine, so they pretend I’m fine, even with everything thats happened.
Reason #8: Raise awareness for all
There is not an illness or condition in the world that matters more than others. We all struggle. We all deal with emotional and physical baggage, no matter the illnesses. Every single one of us matters. We have to stand together and make the chronic illness community thrive and expand. We can all be a voice of support for everyone, no matter if its undiagnosed or finally has a name. #WeStandTogether
Reason #9: To reflect
One of my favorite quotes is, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes , but when you look back everything is different?” ― C.S. Lewis.
I spent a long time hiding from the truth of my illnesses. All I heard about was how I just needed to exercise more, eat better, work harder, and so on. Pretty soon, I convinced myself that they were right. But doing all of that still didn’t help the pain, the emotional trauma.
Finally one morning I woke up and couldn’t even get out of bed by myself and I woke up crying in pain. I began the circus of doctors, tests, surgeries and a pharmacy of different medications. It has taken a long time, but now I am able to look back at everything and see that it hasn’t been easy, but slowly I’ve begun finding myself. New parts of myself, but I’m not sure I can ever get back to who I was before this ‘journey’ changed my whole life in just a matter of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be who I was and for a long time I tried so hard to tell myself I just needed to do more, that I was just out of shape. Some of my best posts were rated highly, shared often of the beginning of my journey. My blog has been a way to see the amount of progress, no matter how small.
Reason #10: Becoming an advocate
While I don’t do much in the way of public speaking, I do the best I can with my blog and social media posts. I listen to everyone. I don’t judge. There is a “Don’t Punish Pain” rally every year in Boise and while I am unable to travel that far, I will be trying to get a group together here. We can make a difference. We can get our voices out there. It only takes one.