When I started this blog a year ago, it was because I didn’t feel I was being heard in real life; especially by the doctors trying to figure out the cause of my illness. Filling the pages of a journal felt flat and empty. Although I was purging my emotions and thoughts in writing, it didn’t fulfill the need I had to be heard. I needed a place to speak uncensored and honestly about everything that had happened and what continues to happen to me because of my illness without worrying about judgement from friends and family. I created this space with the hope that someone would read my words and truly hear what I have to say, and maybe even learn from my experiences. I had no idea that this blog would lead to so many incredible things.
Writing here became a complement to my therapy sessions. I’m fortunate to have a great mental health support team while I make my way through the difficulties imposed on my life by illness and its unavoidable isolation. The talk therapy sessions with my therapist, which are mostly virtual now, help me to get out of my head and see what’s happening to me through the compassionate eyes of another person for a few hours each month. My therapist also helps me find positive ways to cope with my unending pain and overwhelming low, blue periods. However, writing here gives me an immediate outlet to articulate my thoughts and feelings. I’m connected to people who sympathize and want to extend their support, and people who truly empathize because they have lived through or are living with physical or emotional pain similar to mine.
Because of this blog, the support system I have now extends beyond my family and friends. The community I connect to stretches around the globe. It amazes me that each time I write here my words are reaching people in parts of the world to which I’ve never traveled. I have the opportunity to share my life experiences and be inspired by the lives of so many others living with chronic illnesses. Even though it might expose their vulnerabilities, people who connect to this space share their knowledge about living with chronic pain, medications, medical treatments, and self-advocacy in a world where doctors don’t always give the lived experiences of patients enough credit. This community makes me feel less alone and isolated, and I hope I do the same for some of them.
Others have helped to reawaken my creativity when the frustration I felt because of the haze of pain medications was at its height. I found muses here that brought poetry writing back to me with questions they ask in their lives about trust, truth, and change – among other things. I even found beautiful music that helps in moments when I need to calm my mind and body, and feel grounded so I can create my own art in the art/gratitude journal I never would have started without this blog. There are so many creative thoughts, images, and ideas exchanged in this community that it’s possible to learn something new every day.
Looking back at this year of writing, I can see how I managed to hold myself together. More importantly, I can read about the help and support I received here and in real life, and I’m grateful for all of it.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Every Day I Write The Book