WEGO Health Advocating for Another Carnival: These are a few of my favourite things!…

Welcome to the second post in the WEGO Health Blog Carnival. Today’s prompt says the following:

List time! Write 5-10 of your favourite things about your health community. Celebrate their uniqueness and be sure to tell us why those are your favourite things.

Today’s prompt asks us to reveal a few of our favourite things regarding our health community in a Sound of Music style!

What would be some of my favourite things regarding my health community as a whole?

Well number one would definitely be that I feel the community that I am a part of is that the people are much more understanding and less judgemental. Living with an invisible chronic illness makes you far more understanding of others and their circumstances, and less judgemental of certain behaviours or symptoms exhibited which healthy people may see as being odd. This is a really positive attribute not only for health activism but for life in general. And I believe that living with a chronic illness also teaches tolerance. Often people are suspicious and fear those who are different to themselves, those who are not congruent with the image that one holds of themselves. However, those who are chronically ill or disabled are brought together with an understanding of the difficulties experienced and which cannot be broken by those which more commonly divide – such as colour of skin, race, nationality, gender and so on. We are our own community, our own little family.

Another thing I love about the community is having to use time effectively – I used to procrastinate all of the time, always putting off chores until tomorrow. But now, as I never know how I will feel from a day-to-day basis I need to complete chores or tasks that need to be done when they arise, as I may not able to do them tomorrow. Also, comes in handy when I am able to go shopping – hated those days when Mum and I would spend endless hours trawling through different stores. This for me, and many others is now longer an option, so now am only able to go in and get what I need as quickly as possible, not wasting any time and not depleting my minimal energy. Then I have more time to spend on the things that I love (and able to complete without pain or fatigue) such as reading, writing, or simply watching my favourite feel-good film. Having time for ourselves is so important when living with a chronic health condition, important for our psychological well-being and great to do something that we enjoy during periods of remission or feeling well.

Another thing I love about my community is how everyone now embraces technology and social media. These new technologies and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, allows us all to stay connected with each other, posting comments of support through the bad times and send congratulatory messages during the good times. Many people assume the Internet is used for bad, and is a force for negativity and evil, such as ‘trolls’ sending messages of hate to others. However, the Internet can be used for good, it can be a positive form of communication. For me, and many others within the health community, going out of the home proves to be very difficult and so using the internet and the different social media that exists as well as support forums makes it possible for much-needed social interaction. And has an even more beneficial use if you take into account rare conditions such as mine, in real-life it may be very unlikely to meet anyone with the same condition but the Internet may make it possible to connect with the same condition. One group I participate in even uses Skype for group chats with members, which brings us all closer together and provides a more interactive experience.

The next point, I would say I love is being able to gain practical support from my health community. Often I find myself not knowing the best solution to a problem that I am experiencing; so asking others and brainstorming ways around the problem to find an effective solution which may even lead to more productive and independent life. And another great thing about being involved within the health community is the reciprocity – learning different tips and tricks on how to cope and overcome different obstacles and passing these onto others! Sharing information is so important in terms of health advocacy.

And the last thing what I love and think is great about my health condition – is that we are all unique and special in our own ways. Just like a snowflake, no two patients are alike and each exhibiting a different set of symptoms. Everyone is beautiful and special.

Hope you enjoyed the post – feel free to leave any comments….

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