*Note: I wrote this article when I first started this blog. Reading it three years later simply reminds me of why I need to continue writing. If you’re a chronic illness blogger yourself, I hope that this inspires you to carry on. If you’ve been meaning to share your story, I hope that this gives you that small nudge you might have needed 🙂
The Truth is
Revealing so much about my private life makes me very uncomfortable. I often hesitate for weeks before hitting the publish button. What business is it of a stranger to have a piece of my life? Why would anyone care about my problems, when they have their own? I also fear projecting the wrong image; I am not looking for attention, pity or aid (well more aid from the government would be nice ;)).
A Revelation of Vulnerabilities
To provide insight into life with chronic illnesses is to put all your vulnerabilities on public display. It goes beyond your closest circle of friends and family, to grant strangers access to your personal space. It means showing them the fragments of a broken body, and the ugly wounds that will never heal. It means revealing just how non-independent you are, and how much help you actually need to ‘adult’. This might become a consideration or ‘liability’ for a wide scope of activities, from selection as an employee to travel buddy.
Writing forces you to come face to face with the subject at hand, scouring it in search for its essence. You milk it for all it’s worth and package it. You offer it to all passersby for free, in hope that they will take a sip towards understanding.
Blogging about ill health is to set a public alarm clock that reminds everyone of your infirmities, and in turn, theirs. I do notice that people around me are paying more attention to how I am feeling, and I am grateful for that. Yet at the same time it makes me sad that I’m viewed in a light that I wish could be brighter.
If Not Us, Then Who?
Despite all these (maybe silly) concerns, I feel that it is an important job. It is something only I and others like me can do, and there aren’t that many of us out there. If not us, then who?
Many good people suffer too; disease does not pick and choose, and can strike on a whim. I write to provoke thought on our humanity, and with that, the need we have for each other in this world. Who else can you turn to, should you be dealt with such a card in life? I hope to contribute to this community that feels like family, and strengthen the safety net to catch those who might fall next. We understand pain and just how bad it can be.
We need to write to raise awareness on silent disabilities. There are too many ‘normal’ looking people who are suffering from circumstances beyond their control to ignore. We need to write in a bid to forge a more harmonious society. We need to serve as living reminders that we are all the same deep inside. We need to write to encourage thought and empathy for everyone around us, and to learn to make less ignorant judgments.
I need to write because I can. Because some of those like me cannot, and are unable to express their pain. I write so that loved ones who want to understand can begin to understand. I write in hope for a better world to live in, for the healthy and ill alike. Utopia might be impossible to achieve as a constant or final state, but even a glimpse of it can change the world. And guess what? This power is inherent in you and me.
*This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.
Read More: The Power and Purpose of Blogging, and Why You Should Write
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For More Insight:
- Wisdom in the Age of Information and the Importance of Storytelling in Making Sense of the World: An Animated Essay (brainpickings.org): https://is.gd/UovZvS
- One Book Which Changed My Life Forever (medium.com): https://goo.gl/a5HP3C
- Rules for Making Fun of Mental Illness (psychologytoday.com): https://goo.gl/AmSkfL
- What My Godfather’s Glass Eye Taught Me About Disability Humor (catapult.co): https://goo.gl/GfzvMS
Hello, I nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award http://seekingserenityandharmony.com/2019/04/30/the-sunshine-blogger-award-11-questions-and-11-nominees/
Thanks so much Laurie, I am honoured! 😀
Sheryl, this is so so beautiful. As you said, however painful it may be to write about our experiences, who else will? I love what you are doing for the chronic illness, mental health, and disability community. I have nominated you for the Disability Blogger’s Award, because your voice needs to be heard! Keep on writing 🙂 https://thechronicallyunimaginable.blog/2019/04/29/disability-blogger-award/
Thanks so much, Jordyn, what an honour it is! 😀 And yes, we need to work together as a ‘sick’ community, encourage each other, and help each other out to make maximum impact 🙂
I find it SO therapeutic to write and put all my health experiences in to words. It helps to process it and understand what it happening/what has happened to me much more clearly. It helps me move forward in my health journey. And probably most importantly – it raises awareness of them (hypothyroidism, Hashimotos, Anxiety etc.) and also helps others experiencing similar know that they’re not alone.
Hi Rachel, yes, it does kill many birds with one stone, doesn’t it! (Hopefully we don’t kill the birds literally though ;p)
I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel uncomfortable sharing so much online. Chronic illness often means being vulnerable, and I’m glad blogging gives me more control over what and how I share, and lets me use it for a purpose. Thanks for articulating so well why it’s important to keep sharing. I needed this reminder that it’s worth it!
Hi Cassie, yes it’s a huge vulnerability, I must say. Even your real life enemies know where to hit for maximum pain ha! But still an important job to get the knowledge out there, I think 🙂 Don’t stop writing, if that’s what you want to do! x
Wow, this is such a powerful post. It spoke to a lot of the same feelings inside me. I find writing can be very exhausting and since I am already totally fatigued why add something else? Because of everything you said. Thank you.
You’re most welcome, Lydia. Many chronic illness bloggers seem to feel the same way too; it’s such a private, vulnerable thing to do, and it does indeed take up a lot of mental effort. There is no rush, take your time, just don’t stop. Otherwise I and many others will miss out on important knowledge that only you can provide through your experiences 🙂 Take care!
Great post! I completely understand. I’m often struggling over how much negative to balance with positive.
Thank you. I am glad that many of you understand where this is coming from. It can indeed be a really difficult balancing act on a fine line!
Wow! This is so beautifully written! As a writer and aspiring novelist, I so, so agree. If we do not lift our voices about our experiences, especially our most challenging and honest ones…who will? Thank you for writing so courageously and so eloquently. I just found your blog today, but am looking forward to following it!
Thank you very much for the encouragement. I agree we need to keep writing and telling our stories. Ironically, it isn’t so much to talk about ourselves, but to lay ourselves bare for educational and solidarity purposes. Almost like a human experiment haha! Keep up with your words!
I love this, you expressed exactly how I feel as a chronic illness blogger. Sharing is hard for me and I rarely do it in real life, but with a blog I put it all out there on the internet.
Yes, it is the same for me. I don’t like pouring my heart out to strangers because it is so self-absorbed, whiny, and benefits no one. But over the years, I have come to realise that there’s a difference in sharing for the greater good, and sharing for selfish reasons. And the big difference is actually speaking less and listening more, before responding only in essence. (Which I’m still trying to learn, really). Wishing you all the best!
I struggle so much with sharing too. Sometimes I worry that I share too much. Lovely post, I can identify with this so much. Kudos to you for sharing your heart.
Thank you! It seems like there are quite a number of us who feel this way too (to my surprise). Keep up the good work writing and sharing over at Lilac and Lyme…there is no one else who can do this job 😉 Have a great day!