Once More, with Feeling

posted in: chronic illness | 4

Day 30 – Recap National Health Blog Post Month

Nothing Like The Sun © 2012 Jane Waterman
Nothing Like The Sun © 2012 Jane Waterman

Sitting here in the last hours of November 30, I feel a lot of things. I hope it wouldn’t be too obvious to say that one is an intense feeling of relief. It’s been a real roller coaster, with a couple of significant flares that beset me near the beginning and end, as if to test my resolution to follow through.

For me, a few of the highlights included:

– learning that it was possible to tackle two fairly different subjects (Sjogren’s Syndrome and depression) successfully in one blog.

– having people read and comment on my posts. It gave me a real feeling that I can make a difference by framing personal experiences of being ill.

– meeting other bloggers and, in a sense, getting to know my ‘community’. I met some amazing people, including other writers and artists, and I got a real sense of purpose that together we can all help to raise awareness for many conditions that have traditionally been ‘invisible’. I felt very much welcomed, even though I’m relatively new on the health blogging scene. I really appreciated the open and authentic people that I’ve met and I hope to continue to get to know and work with them in the future!

– having one of my posts featured in Toni Bernhard’s (author of ‘How to be Sick’) Facebook and Twitter feed and getting lots of feedback and the biggest number of hits ever for a day on my blog – such a buzz and an honour!

– being able to tackle difficult topics, working to make them approachable, and at turns, serious and humorous.

– writing some 33,000 words during the month of November (1,100 words per day).

– being nominated for a WEGO Unsung Hero Health Activist award, which felt amazing!

Some of the difficulties included:

– realizing that I still have serious trust issues where doctors are concerned. While this is not surprising, it was frustrating time and again to try to write about my experiences with many doctors, and finding that each time I seemed to revert into a wounded and angry child. I didn’t want to speak out of anger, and so many thousands of words got relegated to the ‘draft’ folder. Maybe one day I’ll feel brave enough to try again, but for now I recognize that this is an area of my life where there are ‘opportunities for growth’.

– realizing that trust issues aside, I have let fear of hurt isolate me from my community, and that I have to learn to (safely) open some of my protective barriers. I look forward to reading other people’s blogs and interacting with them, knowing that I’m a part of the community and not the resident ‘crazy’ person (or at least no more crazy than anyone else).

– finding the stamina to write every day. I didn’t manage it every day, but I ultimately wrote something for each day of the 30 day challenge during November (Day 28 is an interview which is now with my interview subject, and will be posted in the next few weeks).

– not being able to get much work done during the month on my part-time technical writing/editing job. It really proved to be a trade-off – for each hour I blogged, it was one hour less I had for working. Income is important, so for me the challenge going forward will be working out how to write about the things that are important to me, and still keep my day-job going.

I read quite a few posts during the month. Even if I didn’t get to comment on everything, the thing that struck me most is how many incredibly brave and beautiful people out there are struggling with challenges, and how they don’t see these incredible qualities in themselves.

Overwhelmingly, the message I got from reading posts was that people are brave because they have to be. The challenges are different from person to person, whether it’s dealing with being ill and alone, being ill in a relationship or with family and children to care for; or the difficulties associated with working or navigating the minefield of disability, benefits and insurance. These challenges are outside those that come with the illness itself. Most people are dealing with more than one illness, and often there’s a mental health challenge too. Wow! There are a lot of unsung heroes out there, and I feel honoured to have shared their stories.

It is my steadfast hope that the voices of all these heroes continue to be heard and that together we can help to remove the barriers that keep people struggling and marginalized and help them move into their strengths, where they can find fulfilment and self-actualization in life. Seeing all the brave stories and struggles and triumphs that were shared, I can’t help but feel hope that all of these brave people will overcome.

Above all, I thank all the people at WEGO Health for providing the platform and voice for us all.

Blessings,
Jane

4 Responses

  1. thebeepea
    | Reply

    Woot woot! It was a profound month for me, too. xoxo

    • Jane Waterman
      | Reply

      I just read your plan over at your blog – it sounds like you've indeed had amazing insights. I wish you all the best with your action plan! Many blessings. Jane

  2. Angela Tucker
    | Reply

    I have Shogrens Sydrome, Lupus SLE , connective tissue diease, chronic pancreatitus, and other smaller things that come with the package! I was finally diagnosed in 2005, husband left, got coustody because I take morphine ever day for pancreatic pain! I was immediately given Social Security disability the first time I applied. I have just found your blog and I'm touch and cannot wait to read more! Helping me not feel completely alone!

    • Jane Waterman
      | Reply

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for writing! Wow, it certainly sounds like you have had your share of challenges. How heartbreaking! I'm glad you were given the assistance you deserved.

      You're definitely not alone. I think many of us dealing with invisible illnesses feel that way, but when we reach out, we discover that there are many others who know what we're going through. Take care.

      Blessings,
      Jane

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