Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists. Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon prompts given.
The first prompt reads as follows:
Why you write – tell us a little about why you write about your health online and what got you started.
Well, I got started writing about my health condition online on this very blog just over a year ago. For years, before I got my definitive diagnosis, I was for years banded around the healthcare system visiting various consultants in different specialities, hearing the “it’s all in your head” diagnosis again and again. Throughout this time, I felt scared, alone, isolated and so on. The loneliness and isolation I felt was extreme – I felt as though I was the only one that was going through the pain of misdiagnosis and all of the symptoms that I have had for so long they were like old friends.
And so after my diagnosis, and joining various support groups; I felt it was time to start a blog – a place in which I can share my story and let other know that they are not alone. Perhaps also hope – hope that one day they will too find that diagnosis that they have long been searching for. It was actually a close friend, someone who also write her own fantastic blog, whom I met in a support group in which I am a member of who first suggested that I start the blog; encouraging me to share my story with others. I had already regularly wrote in a journal, and felt a public blog was a natural progression for my writing as well as raising the profile for neurological conditions, which still seems to be under-discussed and not really publicised the same way as other conditions.
My condition is also unusual. It is so unusual, that I have yet to meet anyone who has been diagnosed with the same condition, and so by writing the blog, I can maybe one day meet others with the same diagnosis. However, this is not so important as I have not learnt that it is not the diagnosis that connects us but instead the experience of living with chronic illness. There are many facets within chronic illness that are a part of the majority of chronic conditions such as fatigue, depression, pain and so on.
Apart from keeping the blog up to date, I also regularly take part in the ‘Health Activist’ Chat (#HAChat) on Twitter, in which myself and other health activists discuss various topics relating to healthcare and health activism. I have also written articles for the ‘Invisible Illness Awareness Week‘ and a forum called ‘Disability Sanctuary‘. In addition, the blog has enabled me to initiate contact with others with brain lesions, a couple of whom also has lesions on their brain stem like me, and this would just not be possible without the blog.
This year sees me getting involved with the ‘Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge’ for the second year. I get involved not only for the challenge for writing for an entire month continuously, but in my opinion the original prompts also challenge me as a writer and blogger – making you think deeply about the conditions in which we live with and writing them in a way in which we wouldn’t normally discuss them. In addition, the HAWMC also allows us all the opportunity to connect with other health bloggers and read more about their journeys with chronic illness. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet many other health activists and bloggers through WEGO Health and the HAWMC.
And there you have it – how I started with how I started blogging about my health condition!