NHBPM Day Ten: To declare or not to declare? That is the question…

Welcome to the 10th post of the annual ‘National Health Blog Post Month’!!  One of the prompts for today, really caught my eye and thought it was a thought-provoking topic which could spark a lot of debate.  And the question is this:

“Should people post about their (or loved ones) health on Facebook?  Why/why not?”

So, what do you all think about the topic?  The immediate response, I thought was, “Well, if someone wants to post their health status on Facebook, then it’s their personal choice, right?”.  But, lets’ not all forget that once is something is on the Internet, and on social networks such as Facebook, it’s there forever; information that cannot be taken back or deleted.  I am sure that many people would not mind this, but just think that anyone in the future will be able to find this information when searching their name in a search engine.  Future partners, future children, even future employers. Perhaps, it doesn’t matter about future family members, but it may be that future employers finding about someone’s health status is a negative aspect of using Facebook to discuss health issues – employers may be unwilling to employ someone with a chromic illness; worried about the time they may need to take off, not being able to be efficient as someone who is healthy (this is of course, not always the case, but are often preconceptions that many people make, unfortunately).

Personally, I choose not to disclose a lot of my health issues and what I am going through daily on Facebook, as many choose to do.  I post links to blog posts, and little bits of information but instead I choose the privacy and security of support groups that I have found on Facebook.  These groups are completely private; and so anything that I choose to share in these groups are not added to my timeline.  This is my preference over adding comments regarding my health status and details of my health condition to the status bar within my Facebook Timeline, as for one it is completely private, and only those who I choose to share these details of my condition.  This is partly as there may be some people whom I am friends with on Facebook that I do want them knowing everything regarding my illness – the worry that they will share details of my condition with others, gossiping about me behind my back.  And then there’s Facebook ever-changing privacy settings – in the past I have had messages from friends that my privacy settings has changed so that their friends were able to see some of the posts that I have sent them after replying to their often question “How are you doing?”.  I mean, would you want strangers knowing the details of your health condition and illness?  Judging you when they don’t even know you?

But on the other hand, those who do write and share about their illness online who do fantastic work, and not only is it an outlet for the frustration and stress that living with a chronic illness causes, but it also helps others that are also  going through something similar themselves, and whom may feel lonely, like they’re only ones that are living with a particular condition, or perhaps are yet to be diagnosed and are looking for support from others – there are plenty of health activists out there who have gone many years searching for that definitive diagnosis – and there are still many more who have yet to be fully diagnosed.  Facebook and other social networks like it, are a fantastic tool for being able to find support, and network with other patients to not only find support but can learn from them about treatment options and so on – after all knowledge is power!

At the end of the day it is up to the individual whether they disclose their chronic illness or health conditions on sites such as Facebook, there are certainly pros and cons for both sides of the argument, but I would definitely advise to be careful about the information that they disclose and to also be vigilant regarding their privacy and security settings so certain information do not fall into the wrong hands!

WEGO Health Advocating for Another Carnival: Wrap it Up!

Welcome to the final post of the WEGO Health ‘Advocating for Another’ Carnival!  Hope you have all enjoyed the posts of this special week-long blog carnival.  I welcome any comments that you may have and now you can also contact me via email, or even on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even Google +

The last prompt of this carnival says:

Put a bow on our Advocating for Another week by sharing what you’ll plan to do going forward.  Free write or choose one of the bonus ideas…

So, what next?  Well, I am certainly going to continue with the blog – writing about life with this condition, problems and the truths behind living with an invisible illness and spreading awareness to others about the reality of invisible illnesses.  I am hoping to continue my work by blogging for the Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  And will take advantage of every opportunity to write that I can, from upcoming WEGO Health projects to the Invisible Illness Awareness Week – they all provide excellent opportunities to blog and spread awareness as well as providing brilliant inspiration on what to write.  The prompts and ideas often challenge us as writers’, often making us better storytellers and writers.

Will also continue using social media along with the blog – Facebook and Twitter to connect with others and hopefully making new friends along the way!

And in my private life, I am hoping that the group I am involved with will continue to grow and thrive, and am looking forward to the new opportunities that will present itself as secretary of the group – we already have so many great plans for the group.  Along with that I will also continue my work as a volunteer and now have been lined up as a potential tutor for courses as well as being asked to produce a newsletter for the Centre.

And all of this whilst trying hard to maintain my health and keeping as well as possible!

WEGO Health: Myth Mugshot Photo Contest!!

Hey Everyone

Right for those who are on Facebook, I would really appreciate some help.  For May, the folks at WEGO Health are aiming to dispel common misconceptions and myths surrounding illness and disabilities.

One of the ways in which they are raising awareness of different health conditions and causes is to hold a ‘Myth Mugshot Photo Contest’ which gets patients, carers of health activists like myself to share something that is true and important to their particular condition or cause, and to upload a photograph of ourselves holding a piece of paper that tells the truth about the person’s particular health condition.

I ave decided to share the following:

Hidden Disabilities DO Exist

There are many people still out there who still believe that if a person does not look sick or disabled then there can’t be much wrong with them.  This of course is s a huge misconception as there a large number of health conditions which are hidden, and cannot tell by looking at someone that they have a particular health condition.  These include conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, neurological conditions, those with brain injuries and the list goes on and on.

So please for those who are on Facebook please visit the WEGO Health Myth Mugshots Photo Contest Page (just click the link!) and ‘Like’ my photo (the 14th one on the page) of me holding a sheet which says my truth (“Hidden Disabilities DO Exist”)

Thank you