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The Power and Purpose of Blogging, and Why You Should Write

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*Note: This post was first published on writersam.co.uk

Is Blogging About Chronic Illness Worth the Effort?

Blogging about chronic illnesses can be hard work. For some, the exposure of their privacy or the intimacy of the topics can be a deterrent. Others struggle with expressing their thoughts, or posting content on a regular basis. Vicious, unconstructive trolls who don’t even bother reading are an energy drain. Usually, it is a combination of all of these factors. So why do we even bother?

To begin with, people with chronic illnesses are the minority of the population. Every single voice counts, if we want to make a difference. Many of us struggle with feelings of anxiety and guilt. We feel like a burden to our family and society, and that we don’t deserve help because we are ‘defective’. As a result, many of us remain silent for the entirety of our lives, and nobody even knows.

The Power of a Single Voice. Your Voice.

When one person with chronic illness speaks up, they become an advocate for many others who are like them. He or she isn’t the only one suffering with this condition out there. One voice is equivalent to hundreds, thousands, even millions. Imagine that. Your voice has power and purpose. Use it for good.

A Journey of Self-Refinement

Apart from that, I find that writing on a consistent basis has actually made me a better version of myself. How so? It forces me to face my fears, by digging them out from the recesses of my mind. Proper digestion and dissemination takes time and effort. It organises the chaos of my thoughts, which usually results in an organic plan or solution.

To write is to be present and mindful. As I type, I am focussed on this very word in the moment. It forces me to slow down, to think, and reflect upon myself. The interesting thing is, I may think that I’m writing about different topics each time, but they usually lead back to the same path. Polishing various aspects of myself as a person results in the total wellness of my entire being. When I put my words to digital paper, I am making a subconscious commitment. “This is what I think. This is who I want to blossom into.” Over time, my thoughts evolve and become more refined. What we think about shapes us in the end.

Its Roles in Humanity & Society

I also find that often people don’t mean to be rude or insensitive, but are just ignorant. While ignorance is never an excuse, often they aren’t even aware that they’re hurting someone else. They say things like “I’m so OCD” in a humble brag. Meanwhile, some people with real OCD are considering suicide from the mental torment.

It is our duty to speak up for ourselves, because we know what it feels like best. Your doctor is the trained theorist and expert in providing treatment, and should be your trusted advisor. But you are the experienced navigator and survivor of actual events, as well as the leader of your own life. Chronic illnesses are complex and no two cases are the same. We need to listen to as many perspectives as possible, because each one adds a little colour to the over all picture of understanding.

Provoke thought on our mortality. Highlight hidden flaws in society. Restore faith in our humanity. Standby to catch those who might fall next. Share real life experiences. Provide credible resources. Encourage empathy. Reduce ignorance. There is so much power in writing and reading. So why not write?

*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.

Read More:
Why I Write, Even Though it Makes Me Uncomfortable
Does Illness Form Part of Your Identity?

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13 comments

  • This is such a wonderful exploration and explanation of the power of blogging! I’ve been reading and writing blogs since 2006, and in that time the world of blogging has changed a lot! But the thing that consistently renews my love of it is the fact that no matter how much changes it continues to provide a space for us to express things we might not feel able to elsewhere. It empowers us (both as readers and writers) and connects us with others, which is huge when you’re dealing with the isolation chronic illness can bring with it. So many times over the years I have felt like my voice was worthless, and I’ve considered giving up blogging on several occasions, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Thanks for the reminder that by writing our blogs we help both ourselves and others.

    • Hi Amanda, thanks for taking the time to read this and share your thoughts! Yes sometimes I forget it myself too, so this post is also a reminder to myself 😉 Keep writing!

  • I’ve had all of these thoughts (and some wrestles) when it comes to writing about my experience of chronic illness too. However, it has been such a therapeutic tool and connected me to so many others (like yourself) who live with health conditions that affect them from day to day, and that alone is so invaluable. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Cheryl. Another great post.

    • Thanks Rachel, well said on your part, too! I am happy to have met you and many others in the community, which is a whole other world from the one we live in where many cannot comprehend. It definitely is therapeutic for me (when I can think straight enough! ;)). Sending hugs!

  • I’ve just started blogging and this nails it on the head. I have ME/CFS and wanted to contribute a positive voice to the community too. Excellent blog post

    • Great to have you with us in the blogging community, Lucy. Every voice counts 🙂 I’ve also followed you over on social media 🙂

  • Thanks Sheryl for the article – I’ve just come across your blog while thinking about whether I should start a chronic illness blog. What’s stopping me is that I doubt that healthy people would read it – I’m not sure what angle to take in order to be enticing to them.

    I already have a private instagram where I write short posts on how ME/CFS affects my life. There’s a strong spoonie community on instagram which I very much appreciate, but it feels like a bubble – very valuable to those of us in it, but not affecting the healthy people. My posts do reach select people from my old professional life and friends, but I’m not sure if they’d click through to a blog.

    I want to identify a purpose for my blog and I’d really like to help break down ableism, but I can’t see how that would work if I can’t get healthy people reading. Do you have any pointers?

    • Hi Lior, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me 🙂 It’s interesting because my intentions and concerns when I first set up my blog are exactly the same as yours.

      What I can say so far is that sharing both my own and other people’s articles on my various social medias has achieved this aim to a certain degree. Friends and acquaintances approach me with more awareness, and/or the subjects or language they use I think has changed a little over time organically. Of course there will be those who will just ‘mute’ you, there is always a choice no matter what. I’ve also been approached not only by people with chronic illnesses, but those whom I thought were healthy but are actually struggling, asking for resources or suggestions. I think there’s only one way to find out if blogging is your thing and/or if it will meet your goals through this medium 🙂 Good luck!

  • I have just come back to blogging after an extended break and its helping me no end! Firstly as someone with chronic illness i love having a platform to meet other people going through the same. Secondly im a student nurse and I learn a lot about other people and what they need from me as a nurse.

    • Hi Charlotte, thanks for dropping by, and am glad that you chose to blog again, and that it’s proving beneficial so far! The connections amongst others with chronic illnesses too is definitely a ‘highlight’. And am happy to hear that you’re a student nurse. We definitely need more who are ‘in between’. I think they make some of the best advocates out there 🙂 x

  • We, as patients, are the people who know exactly what it is like to live with a health condition. As well as being able to explain it to other people, our writing gives other sufferers the feeling of not being alone. Our voices definitely help others.

  • Sheryl,
    Thanks so much for posting this.
    I struggle with my writing ALL THE TIME for any combination of the reasons you listed in this article.
    When I started sharing my stories a few years ago, I was driven by the need to feel connected to other people who might be living through similar experiences, as much as I was to educate anyone about what it’s like to live with chronic pain (of any kind).
    There are times now when I am so overwhelmed by the pain or daily activity that writing is the last thing in which I can invest my energy.
    Thanks for the reminder that writing, even a short piece, can still meet those goals.

    I hope today is a good day for you.

    • Hello, thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read 🙂 Yes it can be useful, if not for others, for yourself as well, especially if you enjoy it! Sending love x

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