This post is part of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. You can learn more about it here:http://info.wegohealth.com/HAWMC2012.
I write about my health because … Reflect on why you write about your health for 15-20 minutes without stopping.
A few months ago, I gave my blog link to one of my “in real life” friends. It is something that I do somewhat hesitantly, because sometimes I’m not as comfortable being as open and honest as I am on the blog with people I actually know. So I only give out the blog url when I feel like I can trust that person enough not to judge me and not to let revelations here come between us for any reason. Some of her comments were interesting to me. She wanted to know why I would want to first of all air such private thoughts for the world to read. Um, hello, (relatively) anonymous? She also couldn’t figure out why it would be helpful since I keep telling her that these diseases are experienced differently by everyone. Even the same symptoms can feel very different, and pain scales are totally subjective based on the patient’s opinions and experiences.
I didn’t even know where to start. I guess on some level, if I’m going to be completely honest, I write with the somewhat egotistical hope that someone might be interested in what I’ve got to say. More importantly, though, I write because I want to help the people who get on the internet looking for help. Sure, some of my posts might just be going off into cyberspace somewhere and not getting read by anyone. (Of course, WordPress tells me how many people read each entry on a given day, and now it even tells me which countries my blog was viewed from. That country bit is amazing, I love that my words have meaning to people all over the world.)
Truly though, the most validating experience for me is when I get emails from people telling me how much my blog was helpful. I love those emails, because they remind me that I’m NOT writing to the empty void of the internet, but to real people who are finding some use in my words. When I get emails from newly diagnosed people who needed to read about someone else’s experiences or find ways to explain to the people around them, I have supported and educated them, and I consider my writing to be worth it. When I get emails from caregivers who tell me that they think they understand what their loved one is going through a little better now, I have educated them and helped both their lives and those of their loved ones, and that means my writing had some use. When someone in the chronic disease community tells me that my post helped them see an issue from a different perspective or gave them ideas for how to explain to people or what to write about on their own blogs, I feel like I made a difference in the community. These messages tell me that what I wrote had a purpose. These sorts of emails, tweets, and comments and the knowledge that I was helpful are exactly why I write. Maybe each experience isn’t always relevant, but I try to draw a theme from them. Something that can translate into relevancy for different people. At the end of the day, if even one person finds a post useful, then writing that post was completely worth it.