Since being diagnosed with multiple physical health conditions as well as depression and anxiety, I have started writing about my experiences. The aim being to not only raise awareness of what we go through as chronic illness warriors and let other people going through the same know they’re not alone, but to also have an outlet for what I go through.
It’s true, I’ve been told that my blog and Mighty articles have helped others to realize that they may have the same physical and/or mental health conditions as me. I’ve also been told that they’ve helped other patients realize they’re not alone. As have I been told that they’ve helped those who know someone with these conditions to understand what we go through.
But a few people lately have taken to telling me that my writing is making me more ill. Their idea being that because I’m focusing on the negatives and “bathe” in my health conditions, it reinforces them in my mind. I “become what I do” apparently. Because that’s how it works.
If I “think positive” it’ll all get so much better, right? I’ll feel less ill, less down about it and happily skip through life nice and easily.
Not really. It’s an outlet for me. Sure, I write some stuff that might seem negative or “focusing on the bad things” at times, but if you read what I’ve written, you’d also know I write positive posts, too.
I do believe there’s probably some psychology in the idea, but believe me when I tell you that’s not how it works for me. Before I started writing and was just going through the trials and tribulations of my health, I felt alone, frustrated and lost. Writing about it, I’ve met others who are in the same or similar boat and I feel calmer.
I don’t become what I write, I write about what I’ve already become.
I cover all sides of living with chronic illnesses and I write about what I’m going through at that particular time in my life. It’s kind of the point in a blog. I don’t hide anything, I cover the ups and downs. Getting that out onto a page is therapeutic for me and it opens up dialogue for discussion on chronic and mental health, which we need. We need to be talking about it.
I’m fed up with people only wanting to know the happy parts of others’ lives and so they brush the dark times under the carpet, as if we should be ashamed of them. They’re supportive when I write more positive posts but should I dare be honest about something difficult I may be going through and I’m “making myself more ill” or “basking in my problems.” Who are they to make such judgments about me?
I’ll keep writing for me, but also for those patients who feel less alone when they stumble across my writing and so friends and family members can understand that little bit more about what their loved one is going through and open up dialogue.
This post was originally written for The Mighty.
Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
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