Why you write tell us a little bit about why you write about your health online and what got you started
I started through a general blog I had running for years which I had to post pictures of family and so forth. It did not take long to realize that a lot of the blog was being consumed by health related issues and that I did not necessarily want to be as blunt with friends as I would with other people who shared my health problems. In other words I was discussing my health but in the same way I would in a conversation... keeping to the facade and being light on the details so as not to worry anyone I cared about. So I segmented my blogs: one for general, one for my fiction writing and one for all health relating issues. On my health blog I let myself say anything I wanted to because my target audience would be people just like me. In the beginning I just assumed there would be no audience so it was easy to be open as I wanted to but when it comes down to it, I wanted to be blunt and honest. It would be an outlet for my frustrations in part. A way to personally track side effects to medications, when I was on a certain medication and certain events that occurred. I don’t necessarily have a great memory for those things and tracking them is a good idea and my blog is one way to do that… I can go back through time and see exactly how I responded to something. Or note when specific symptoms occurred for the first time. It was also a way for me to make note of interesting research I discovered and again I would be able to keep track of those articles and sites. Fundamentally it is also a way to reach out to others… to say this is my life… maybe you can relate… maybe this makes sense to you as well. A way for me to list other health bloggers and remember their sites. There was no fibromyalgia or migraine support group in my area and while I like forums for questions and support… my blog is that space where I can just get it all out there without judgement. The real harsh realities of living with pain and my struggle to cope with it. A way to connect all those puzzle pieces of information I find into one place.
Blogging is one way I use to cope with chronic pain. Much like writing in a journal. I have a few ways to express myself but this particular one is the most raw way of getting out what I am experiencing, or what has been bothering me so that it does not keep wrapping itself around my mind. Sometimes once you write some of these things down you just feel better. I prefer blogging to writing in a journal because there is the added connection to others... so that they know they are not alone, so you know that you are not alone and so there is not that sense of isolation. I don't know if what I say will have a profound impact on anyone but I do know it helps me cope.
Why HAWMC? This is our third year of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge why did you get involved this year? Are you a newbie to #HAWMCor a veteran?
I’m new to it. I did to one for invisible disabilities. And last year I was aware of this but missed the deadline to begin. I jumped on it this time though. I think it is a great way to get out there and be involved with other writers. Open communication. Spread awareness. Share support.